Whether you're towing a boat, a camper, or simply hauling construction supplies to and from your home, you want to ensure that your truck or sport utility vehicle (SUV) is up to the task. Because all vehicles aren't created equal, you may need to do a bit of preliminary research to determine exactly what size and type of vehicle you'll need to tow your intended cargo. And with advances in technology, there are now more towing assistance features available than ever before. Read on to learn more about some of the necessary (as well as the nice-to-have) features you should seek in a towing vehicle.
High maximum towing capacity -- without high weight
While you don't want to buy more vehicle than you need, it's important to ensure that your vehicle's towing capacity is adequate for its intended purpose. There's nothing worse than spending tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle, only to find out that it's physically unable to tow your trailer or boat up even a mild incline. You may also forget to include the weight of the trailer in your calculations -- so while your boat itself could be fine, the boat and trailer together may be overweight for your vehicle, and could cause damage to your drive train. Towing a too-heavy load downhill could interfere with your ability to brake and avoid an accident.
When determining how much towing capacity you'll need, you'll want to calculate the full weight of everything you're planning to tow as well as your vehicle's "fully loaded" weight -- often known as the "gross combination weight." Because trucks and SUVs must use a certain proportion of their engine power simply to cart around a full tank of fuel, passengers, and any other vehicle contents, don't assume that the gross combination weight equals the amount of weight you can attach to your tow hitch.
If you'd like to keep your ride streamlined, you may want to invest in a mid-sized pickup or SUV with a diesel engine. These engines are both efficient and strong for their size, providing you with the power you need without adding unnecessary weight or bulk to the vehicle.
One of the most common gripes among newbie towers is how difficult it can be to safely and quickly back up a truck or SUV with an attached trailer. The difficulty in steering a segmented piece of heavy equipment, combined with visual impairment if there aren't large enough mirrors located in the right places, can make this a frustrating process even for a pro.
In response to this, several manufacturers have recently redesigned their new trucks and SUVs to include backup assist -- utilizing cameras, sensors, and electronic guides to help show you exactly how you'll need to turn the wheel to park your truck and trailer. Not only can this help reduce the odds of backing your truck (or trailer) into a freestanding object, it can help nearly eliminate the risk of striking a child or pet you're unable to see from the driver's seat.
Automatic hitch detection
Another innovation poised to make towing much more convenient is your truck or SUV's ability to automatically detect the location of a hitch and help guide the truck to allow the hitch to be attached without much effort. This can help render trailer attachment and detachment a one-person job, rather than requiring an extra set of eyes (and hands) to help you guide the trailer to its precise location. Although this feature is likely to be rolled out in new vehicles only, once the technology becomes available, it may be a viable aftermarket option that can save you a lot of time if you frequently move or detach your trailer. For more information go to websites.