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10 Great Boat Towing Tips

Chevy Trucks offers these top 10 towing tips, no matter what brand of tow vehicle you drive.

September 18, 2017
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10 Great Towing Tips
10 Great Towing Tips Jim Hendricks

1. Stay Within Your Limits 
• Review the towing capacity of your specific vehicle and ensure it is capable of handling the weight of your trailer and cargo you are towing. 
• Confirm your trailer hitch is capable of handling your trailer’s loaded weight. Your owner’s manual will show the maximum tongue weight it can safely support.

2. Ensure You Are Not Overloading the Tow Vehicle
• Ensure that the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), vehicle weight when empty, and the payload, the weight of all people and cargo in the vehicle, and the tongue weight of the trailer, do not exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), the maximum operating weight of a vehicle. 
• Do not exceed the GVWR maximum load capacity, which can be found on the Certification/Tire label on the driver’s side B-pillar or door.

10 Great Towing Tips
10 Great Towing Tips Jim Hendricks

3. Know the Appropriate Tongue Weight 
• Check the trailer owner’s manual to determine the downward force that the tongue of the trailer exerts on the hitch. This is usually between 10-15 percent of the total weight of the loaded trailer, but specific trailers (such as boat trailers) may fall outside of this range. Correct tongue load is critical in avoiding trailer sway.

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4. Pack Your Trailer Properly 
• Remember to stay within the trailer’s maximum load capacity which is shown on the trailer’s load capacity label. 
• Ensure weight is evenly distributed on the left and right sides of the boat. 
• Properly secure all gear in the boat to prevent the load from shifting.

10 Great Towing Tips
10 Great Towing Tips Jim Hendricks

5. Check Your Tires
• Refer to the tire pressure label placed in the driver’s doorjamb for proper inflation pressures for the tow vehicle. 
• Ensure that your tires on your trailer are filled to the correct tire pressure as shown on the trailer tire pressure sticker or trailer tire sidewall. 
• The trailer tire sidewall will show the tire manufacture date. Most trailer tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are more than six years old. 
• Check the speed rating on the tires for both your tow vehicle and trailer and ensure that you never exceed that speed while on the road. Most trailer tires are rated at 65 mph unless stated otherwise on the sidewall.

6. Check Your Lights
• Check that the turn signals, tail lights and brake lights function properly by having a partner stand behind the vehicle while it is in park and you are testing.

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7. Check Your Brakes
• Check the specific trailer brake requirements for any state where you plan to tow a trailer. 
• Chevrolet requires trailer brakes to be used on trailers weighing more than 2,000 pounds when pulled by a Chevrolet Silverado.  • Confirm that the emergency “breakaway” cable is properly attached to your tow vehicle, whether your trailer is equipped with hydraulic surge brakes or electric brakes.

10 Great Towing Tips

10 Great Towing Tips

10 Great Towing Tips Jim Hendricks

8. Adjust Your Mirrors
• Adjust your side view mirrors to have a clear view that extends to the end of the trailer before driving. 
• Before taking off, make sure your side view mirrors are adjusted to create a clear view that extends to the end of the trailer. 
• Consider installing mirrors specifically designed for towing that extend in order to expand the mirror’s field of vision.

9. Travel at Safe Speeds
• Leave at least four seconds between your towing vehicle and the vehicle in front of you when road conditions are good. 
• Remember that stopping times are increased when you are towing.

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10. Regular Inspection
• Walk around the vehicle when you make a stop to ensure that the hitch, wiring and tires are all operating properly.

For more information, refer to Chevrolet’s 2017 Trailering Guide.

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