Safe Trailer and Towing: Four Tips for a Successful Trip

When it comes to towing, you can never be too safe. Anything that can be done to increase safety is a good thing. When getting ready to trailer or tow cargo with your GMC vehicle, keep these four safety tips in mind before hitting the road. Employing them will help guarantee an enjoyable trip.

 

Check the Tires

 

You will not get far without a good set of tires, and tires become even more important when you are trying to ensure a safe trailer and towing experience. Tires that are not properly inflated create more road drag, forcing the engine to consume more gas and work harder to move the vehicle and whatever cargo it may be pulling. Check tire pressure not only before embarking on a trip but also during any extended stop, such as when refueling. For owners of the GMC Canyon, Sierra, Acadia, Yukon, and Savana, they can rely on the company's tire pressure monitoring system, which uses sensors in each tire to warn the driver when a specific tire is low.

 

Know the Vehicle's Towing Capacity

 

Not all vehicles are built the same, so each has a different maximum towing capacity. It is always best not to go over the recommended maximum towing weight. Otherwise, the vehicle could suffer serious engine and transmission damage. Always check the owner's manual for the vehicle's towing capacity. Even when the vehicles are of the same model line, they can have a different towing capacity because of different features. For example, the Sierra 1500 has a maximum trailering capacity of 10,700 pounds, but the towing capacity of the Sierra 1500 Denali is 9,600 pounds.

 

Weight Distribution

 

To further ensure a safe trailer and towing trip, load the cargo so that the heavier items are in the front of the trailer, before the axle. In fact, industry experts advise that you limit tongue weight to 15 percent of the total trailer weight in order to minimize the possibility of trailer sway. To help with swaying, GMC's Sierra trucks feature trailer sway control technology that uses sensors to detect sway and apply the brakes to control it. It's also best to evenly distribute the weight on both sides of the trailer and keep the larger and heavier cargo at the bottom, so that nothing topples over during the trip and the heavier weight up top does not cause the trailer to flip sideways.

 

Be Smart about Braking

 

Even if your GMC vehicle is equipped with the company's diesel exhaust brake, which uses engine compression to create negative torque to help slow the vehicle, or grade braking, a system that senses when you want to slow down and helps maintain a desired speed, give yourself more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you to brake. Remember that the heavier the cargo, the more force and distance you'll need to brake safely.