So you’ve finally bought that trailer you always wanted but you’ve never towed one before! Here are some fundamentals to help you get started.
Weight is the key, duh.
Key here is knowing how much your truck is capable of towing. Normally, there’s a sticker or plate near the driver’s side door which lists its maximum towing weight. Lets start with that number.
Next, you’ll need to determine how much your trailer plus everything in it weighs. You typically will find a similar metal plate, like the one on your truck, on your trailer stating the weight. Then add-in the weight of the load you are going to carry to get the sum of the load and the trailer weight.
So, the math here is pretty simple. Make sure your maximum towing weight is less than your load and the trailer weight.
A few other weighty matters
You should know these additional weights in addition to checking that you aren’t towing more than what your maximum towing weight.
Tongue Weight (TW) is the downward pressure on the ball by the trailer coupler. Put too much weight on the ball, and your truck will rise in the front and down in the rear. Generally, adjusting your tongue weight means balancing the load in your trailer so it sits better across the trailer wheels.
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the total mass of everything truck and trailer – including what you are towing, what you are putting in the cabin and the passenger’s weight. Adding this all together and matching it against the vehicle’s GCWR maximum will tell you whether you are being safe or not.
So how much can the Ram 1500 tow?
The engine type in your Ram 1500 will determine its towing capacity. Thanks to Steve White Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram we have the max towing rating the Ram 1500 Big Horn Quad Cab:
|3.6L Pentastar V6 Engine with eTorque||Max towing capability is 7,730 pounds|
|5.7L HEMI V8 Engine||Max towing capability is 11,610 pounds|
|5.7L HEMI Engine with eTorque||Max towing capability is 12,750 pounds|
Let’s Get Towing
Safety is key here- you don’t want the hitch to pop free while hauling down the road (Get it?), so be sure when you place the trailer hitch on a ball that the hitch covers the hitch ball completely.
Tires – Let’s avoid making the evening news, shall we? You want to be sure to check on the wear/tear of all your tires and the tire pressure. Blowing a tire while towing can have very serious consequences. No one wants those.
Are all your lights working? – check the brake lights, turn signals and hazards and don’t overlook plugging in your lights for the trailer.
Get chained together – The cross chains are the last fallback for the hitch if something goes wrong. Don’t forget to hook up the cross chains after hooking up the hitch.
Get level – Ensure the load is level by stepping back and doing a visual check or use an actual level. You want to arrange items until you achieve a level trailer.
Take it Easy
turns!– You want to keep the trailer load stable and
avoid swaying. As you make your slow wide
turn (you need to make them as WIDE as you can), glide into the curve and bring
the load behind you.
Nice and slow, just like a good BBQ – Towing means you do everything nice and slow. Ease into and anticipate when slowing down, and when moving from a dead stop, slowly gather speed. Getting used to the timing means understanding how much it takes to on-ramp onto the highway. You may even want to try a few test drives without the weight and add weight on as you gain experience.
Bon Voyage! (Wait, isn’t that for boats?)
Whether you are towing your boat or have loaded the trailer to take the family to camp, towing can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. These basic steps provide the right way to tow and help avoid a towing disaster. So have fun! and stay safe on the roads with your new trailer.