Tips for Towing and Trailering

Towing and Trailering tips advice


Eventually the Groundhog will be Right… right?

Why do my daydreams of summer always begin with a road trip that includes camping and boating?  Then I remember that we don’t even own a trailer or a boat!  But if we did, just how does one safely transport them?


Know your weight limits:

When determining your weight limit it is important to combine the weight you are trailering with the additional weight you have loaded into your vehicle.  First calculate your payload weight by adding Weight of Occupants + Cargo + Optional Equipment.  Add this to the truck’s base Curb Weight + Tongue Weight or Kingpin Weight (if trailering).  If towing, find out the maximum weight of your trailer.


Vehicle limits assume that the load is shared equally between axles.  However, when towing the rear axle takes the majority of the weight.  DO NOT go over your rear axles’ capacity.  Rear Axle Rear Gross Weight = Cargo (carried in tow vehicle) + People Load (approx. 50% of total passenger weight) + Rear Curb Weight of Tow Vehicle + Tongue Weight (approx. 10% of trailer’s GVWR) + Weight Distribution Factor.


Learn About the Parts:

Educate yourself on Safety Chains, Sway Controls, Trailer Towing Mirrors etc. and how to use them properly.


Drive Differently:

More weight means more time to accelerate and to brake.  Allow extra time and space to turn, switch lanes and pass other vehicles. To help with slowing down you may want to consider trailer brakes.


Certain road conditions, such as gravel surfaces or larger hills, call for shifting from overdrive to a lower gear.  This reduces strain on the equipment and may improve gas mileage.  Avoid potholes and large pumps that could damage the vehicle, trailer or even the hitch.


If you feel the trailer starting to sway stay calm, slowly reduce speed, steady the steering wheel (no sudden moves) and apply only the trailer brake to reduce trailer sway.


Check out the GM Trailering Guide for more information.