Heavy-duty Utility Trailer: Towing and Precautions

Utility Trailer

Utility trailer is a useful thing, especially for recreational vehicles and even for commercial use for construction and other businesses. But without any knowledge on proper steps for loading and towing, you are only putting yourself at a big risk, also damaging your goods and the safety of other people. Let me give you some tips in order for you to have a safe towing.

1.    Determine the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

All towing components have a maximum weight capacity which is usually displayed on each part of the equipment. Always remember that your components should be rated at a higher capacity than the heaviest trailer that you will tow.

You have to find it out so you may know the most weight allowed on your utility trailer and your cargo. You should also be aware of Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) as this will be the maximum distributed weight that the axle of your vehicle can support.


Trailer Weight: The weight of the fully-assembled empty trailer. Payload Capacity: Total weight capacity of the trailer.

Tongue Weight: the downward pressure placed on the ball by the coupler.

2.    Additional Loading tips to keep in mind:

Fixed Loads: If you have this kind of loads that are needed to be dumped, be sure to do so.

Rear Loading Equipment: Always remember to lower your rear stabilizer if your trailer is equipped. Place blocks under the rear of your trailer for additional help and keeping the front of the trailer in place  during loading. Make sure your trailer’s doors are open and put the ramps on the place. Load the trailer and make sure that the cargo weight is distributed equally.

Side loading: unlatch and open the side panel when your trailer is equipped with a fold-down side and then load cargo. Be sure to follow the steps in securing your cargo on the trailer and make sure to raise and lock the side panels before loading your utility trailer.

Loading bulk things in a dump trailer: Be sure to tell the loader operator about your trailer’s payload so they can determine an approximate weight of the materials that can be loaded. If you are not sure about the weight, distribute the load in the trailer equally across its width and length; then, cover it with a tarp if any of the materials can cause leak during the travel. Do not attempt to do an overload.

3.    Find out the Trailer Towing Equipment:

Find out the various kinds of equipment related in towing below:

Trailer Hitches: Trailer hitches are specific to each vehicle and rated accordingly.

To find out how much weight the trailer can hitch, look for the sticker that is usually found on the hitch.

Ball mounts: The trailer’s gross trailer weight and tongue weight is needed in selecting a ball mount for the trailer’s hitch.

Hitch balls: Remember that hitch ball weight rating is greater than the gross trailer weight.

Safety Chains: Make sure to connect the trailer’s safety chain securely to the trailer hitch or tow vehicle by crossing them underneath the coupler and the safety chain must be long enough to allow for tight turns.

Trailer Wiring: Make sure that the brake lights, turn signals, tail lights, breakaway switches, and electric brakes are working and properly maintained.

Brake control: electric trailer brake control send signals that applies to the trailer’s brake.

Trailer couplers: you should keep the inside of this clean and lubricated properly with grease, preventing binding during turning.

Weight distribution: it is recommended if the vehicle is pulling a trailer that weighs more than the capacity of the tow vehicle.

Sway control: it can help prevent sway on trailers with a large surface area such as enclosed or traveltrailers.

Trailer tires: Check tires and tread wear often before traveling.

Trailer Towing Mirrors: it increases visibility, allowing the driver to see the end of the trailer.

Transmission coolers: lowers the operating temperature of the oil by 60 degrees. Overheating causes 90% of transmission failures.

Trailer bearings, races, and seals: you should keep these 3 should in good repair in order for your trailer to keep working correctly. If the bearings are not working correctly, the internal rollers are not moving freely that can cause damage to the spindle and hub assembly. Also you don’t properly grease the bearings, they can get hot and weld themselves to spindle assembly. You should repack wheel bearings every 6000 miles or every 12 months.

4.    Follow the Precautionary Measures:


The addition of the trailer also adds the weight and length towards the tow vehicle in which your rig will accelerate slower and takes longer to stop. Allow extra time when you switch lanes, passing other vehicles and stopping when you’re towing your vehicle. Trailer brakes can help improve your rig’s power. Extra length that the trailer adds can also cause problems on turns.

To conserve fuel when towing, travel at a moderate speed. Faster speeds can increase wind resistance, reduces gas mileage, and have an added strain to the vehicle and trailer. Shifting out of overdrive and into lower gear can improve gas mileage.

Be cautious of potholes and large bumps. They can give severe damage to the tow vehicle, trailer hitch and the trailer. Be careful and take your time when pulling a utility trailer.

The driver needs to assess the situation and determine the proper action once the trailer begins to sway.

  • Avoid being distracted while driving.
  • Don’t drive when you’re sleepy or feeling fatigued.
  • Maintain the regular speed regulated per place.
  • Maintain the proper and safe distance especially from the vehicle in front of you.
  • If reaching downhill, slow down.
  • Avoid sharp turns
  • Ease off the gas pedal and slow down at the required speed per hour. In the event that the wheel goes off on a paved road, steer up your vehicle and trailer gradually back on the road.
  • Making routine stops to make sure to check and retighten lug nuts, check the air pressure, the cargo, and the safety chains.
  • Do not slam on the brakes.

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