Own a ute or SUV, and in Australia, it likely has a towbar.
Done incorrectly or without the proper gear towing can be one of the most dangerous things we do with our vehicles. Whether it’s dragging the work trailer, taking a van around the country, or hauling your favorite fishing boat away for the weekend, these are our top tips.
Where you are going and what you want to tow will depend on the tow bar you choose. The traditional hitches with a tow ball are pretty standard. But some heavy van towers swear by a weight-distribution hitch. Off-roaders may prefer an off-road coupling or even a rear step for ground clearance.
If you are loading up to take a van away from the weekend or even purchasing a new one, it’s essential to know what you can legally tow.
Working that out can be easier said than done. Using your Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM), Gross Trailer Mass (GTM), and Gross Combined Mass (GCM) can help you work out what you can tow.
Take your vehicle GCM, deduct the GVM, and that’s the maximum weight you can tow (GTM). But don’t forget that the gear installed and added, plus passengers for a weekend away, all contribute to the GVM.
If you are unsure always check in with your local towing specialist or your vehicle manufacturers service department.
Correctly loading your trailer or van can help reduce trailer sway and on-road stability. Heavy items should be at the bottom and all weight distributed evenly across both sides and axles if possible.
Rear cameras are priceless when reversing your van into that riverside camping spot but are not a substitute when you are on the road.
Towing mirrors are needed when towing anything wider than the tow vehicle to provide a more expansive view.
Even the most experienced on-road towers can face challenges by the extra complexity that comes with off-road towing. If you plan on taking a van or trailer off-road, ensure that it has rated recovery points. And, if you are unfamiliar with the track, see if you can unhook and drive the path first or ask a spotter to talk you through it.
You have hooked up the van and are ready to go. Check out our favourite country pubs to head to.