Towing

Considering the importance of safety, the most suitable towing vehicle is one which is heavier than the caravan or trailer it tows and which has enough power to permit quick and safe passing manoeuvres.

As long as manufacturer’s towing recommendations are not exceeded modern passenger vehicles, including those with front wheel drives, are just as capable of towing a caravan or camper trailer as a four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drives are only necessary for venturing off the beaten track or pulling long and heavy trailers. While a vehicle with a manual gearbox is often preferred by drivers, many vehicle manufacturers recommend an automatic transmission for towing larger trailers or caravans.

One advantage is that the driver needs only to concentrate on the prevailing road conditions and not worry about whether the vehicle is in the correct gear. Reversing is much easier if the vehicle has an automatic transmission. Some vehicles may need to be fitted with an auxiliary transmission oil cooler. Check with the car dealer or manufacturer if this applies to your vehicle.

Generally the type of suspension on the towing vehicle is not important as long as it is firm. Leaf springs are often considered more capable of supporting loads than coil springs but a good load distribution hitch will counteract the tendency of the rear of the vehicle to sag (see 'Suspension Modifications' for information on coping with loads in the vehicle).

If the vehicle is fitted with self levelling suspension, manufacturers recommendations in regard to hitching up a trailer must be followed. Unless the trailer is very small, a load distribution hitch is essential on vehicles with self levelling suspension. Failing to follow the recommendations or failing to use the correct towing equipment could result in damage to the vehicle’s suspension.

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