Towing your travel trailer or fifth wheel comes with its own set of challenges and skill levels. Whether you’re towing a mini camper or a deluxe fifth-wheel, towing gets easier the more you do it. We’re sharing some tips that will make your travel days a bit easier, safer, and less worrisome.
Tip #1: Compatible Tow Vehicle
You can’t have one without the other. It’s critical that your tow vehicle has the correct capacity to safely tow your fifth-wheel or travel trailer. If you already have your tow vehicle, it’s crucial you only look at RVs that are below your towing capacity max in weight. You can learn more about your RVs weight and why it matters here! Your tow vehicle must be able to handle the Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW), and everything else you will be packing in, or the Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC). If your tow vehicle is unable to tow your rig, you can cause major damage to your RV, vehicle, and others on the road.
Did you know that Wholesale Warranties also offers coverage options for your tow vehicle as well? Click here to learn more about our truck and auto protection.
Tip #2: Practice, Practice, Practice
The only way you will get comfortable on the road is by practicing towing and driving around. Find empty parking lots or low-traffic streets and practice making turns, backing out, and parking. The only way to get over your fears is by putting these actions into motion. You don’t want to hit the road with zero practice! “White knuckles” is the term referred to the tension drivers feel behind the wheel, and that is not a fun spot to be in while towing your home-on-wheels.
When you’re out practicing, your co-pilot should also be out there getting used to how they can help the driver. Check out these tips for being a good RVing co-pilot. You don’t have to be in it alone, and the driver shouldn’t have to carry a ton of responsibility—pun intended!
Tip #3: Tow Hitch Properly
This may seem like a silly tip, but trust us, hitching up incorrectly is more common than you think—especially when RVers are newbies. Hitching your tow vehicle to your rig is more complex than you might think. If you’re new to RVing, have an RV professional or experienced RVer walk you through the process. Don’t leave this task up to guesswork and cross your fingers that you did it correctly.
Once your set-up is correct, safeguard your life on the road by purchasing an extended service contract.
Tip #4: Keep Weather in Mind
Nobody likes to drive in bad weather. Before you hit the road, consider the weather during your travel days and avoid rain, storms, hail, and windy days. There is risk for everyone when they are driving on the road but these risks dramatically increase due to bad weather and the heavy load you’ll be towing. If you can avoid it, skip travel days and stay cozy inside instead.
Tip #5: Pump the Brakes
When you’re towing a fifth-wheel or travel trailer, give yourself plenty of braking room. You will need to brake more often and give yourself more space between cars. When you know you’ll be coming to stop, brake earlier than you usually would. It takes longer to come to a full stop when towing a heavy load. Most towable RVs have an electric towing system that helps you when braking. Always refer to your manufactures manual and adjust these settings. You should always be able to feel the trailer behind you and the wheels should never lock up. Check out this reference guide for a more detailed explanation!
Tip #6: Adjust your Driving
When towing, you will need to adjust the way you drive. Towing will be considerably different than just driving a car. Now, when making turns, you will need to turn wide and slow! Your turning radius will be wider in order for your travel trailer to make the turn smoothly. This is why it’s very important to practice making turns before you hit the road. Remember, drive slow and steady. Don’t feel pressured to drive faster than you feel comfortable. Safety comes first!
Tip #7: Plan Ahead
A responsible RVer knows to plan ahead and map out their route. Before hitting that pedal, you will need a clear plan on which routes you will be taking, where to make stops, and how often. Making decisions while on the road or at the very last minute is not advised. Planning ahead will allow you to only concentrate on driving and nothing else! Have your co-pilot help out during the drive. Two sets of eyes are always better than one. Additionally, your co-pilot will be the one directing you when it comes to backing in and parking your rig. If you’re planning on staying at a campground, make sure the length of your rig will be able to fit the campsite. Another reason planning ahead is key!
Tip #8: Protect What’s Important
Protecting your adventures and investment is extremely important! That’s why Wholesale Warranties believes in the importance of purchasing an extended service contract before you hit the open road. Breakdowns and failures will eventually happen whether we expect them, or not. While mechanical and electrical failures are inevitable, preparing for them puts you one step ahead. Travel trailers require a little more prep work than a motorized RV. That’s why it’s extremely important to plan ahead and do your research and homework before setting off on that RV camping trip.
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