RV Towing Safety Basics – Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog

2017 an image of backside pick-up on the road in Hiawatha, Iowa

Whether you want a travel trailer, a truck camper, a fifth wheel trailer, or a toy hauler, having the proper RV towing vehicle and accessories is critical. At Ketelsen RV in Hiawatha, Iowa, nothing is more important to us than keeping you (and everyone else) safe on the road. That includes providing you with the recreational vehicle best suited to you and your family. Just as important, it means making sure you have the best possible towing accessories and advice so you can operate that vehicle in the safest, most comfortable manner.

Why are tow vehicles and RV towing accessories so important? Anyone who has experienced being behind a trailer being buffeted by high winds, swaying precariously on the road in front of your dogging it up a steep incline unable to keep up with the flow of traffic, can understand the potential for disaster. It’s even worse when you are the driver whose trailer is “wagging the dog.”

In addition to the safety issues, the strain of improper towing quickly increases the wear and tear on the RV. For new RV owners, we’ve found that if it’s a harrowing experience to get to your camping destination, you probably won’t want to do it again. Failing to pair up your new RV with the proper equipment and tow vehicle is just a bad deal all around.

To make sure you can operate that trailer safely, your RV dealer should talk to you about the most appropriate tow vehicle, hitch and brakes for the unit you want. You can also find the 2015 Guide to Towing at one of our favourite resources, Trailer Life if you want to do a little more research on-line. Or, if your RV dealer has a parts and service department, they’ll also be able hook you up (so to speak) with the towing resources you’ll need.

As we mentioned in our last post on tips for buying your first RV, the vehicle you use to tow your RV can make or break your camping experience. But just because your owner’s manual states that you can tow a certain weight that doesn’t mean it’s best suited to tow every trailer in that weight class. You have to consider everything from the terrain you’ll be traveling on, the weight of the vehicle, the weight of the trailer, and the aerodynamics of the vehicle, among other things.

You’ll also need to make a decision on the right trailer hitch. There are a wide variety of trailer hitches out there, each designed for different applications and trailer types. Don’t let the wide selection intimidate you, just be sure to consult with your dealer and do your research to make sure you’re getting the hitch you need.

Another consideration is the braking system for the trailer. A separate brake system for towed vehicles is recommended for increased safety. Most states require a separate braking system on towed vehicles with a loaded weight over 1,000 – 1,500 pounds.

Of course, in some cases, you don’t have to own a tow vehicle at all. For example, if you plan to park your RV in the same spot for a season or even permanently, the team at Ketelsen RV can deliver the unit to your campsite, make sure you are all set up and that everything is working properly, and then pick it up and deliver it for storage at the end of the season.

We don’t just sell units to strangers that we’ll never see again. We share camping experiences, sponsor camping trips and even run our very own camping club. For many of our customers, we see you on a regular basis as we service your RVs over the life of the unit.

If you have any questions or if you are ready look at some RVs, stop by Ketelsen RV in Hiawatha, Iowa and we’ll be glad to talk to you. For more RV News and Tips, please sign up for our newsletter.

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