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What should I know before I tow?

Whether you’re hitting the highway with your caravan in tow or loading up the trailer for a trip to the tip, there are a few things you need to know before you head out on the road.

First, you’ll need a towbar. These days, towbar fitters will do all the work for you, installing the maximum-rated bar to your car, compliant with Australian Design Rules, vehicle standards and regulations.

Keep in mind though, the weight of your loaded trailer or caravan has to be within your car’s towing capacity – you can find this in your car’s owner’s manual.

Some manufacturers place a recommended towing speed in their owner’s manual, so make sure to check for this too. You can usually find your trailer’s weight on a plaque on the towbar.

If you’re carting a load around, it can’t protrude more than 15cm from the side of your trailer and can’t exceed a total width of 2.5m.

Lengthways, your car and attachment can’t measure more than 19m. If anything sticks out more than 1.2m from the back of your trailer, you’ll need to fasten a brightly coloured flag to it.

No matter what you’re towing, safety chains are vital. Anything weighing less than 2.5 tonnes requires one safety chain, while trailers weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes must have at least two chains.

Finally, make sure that whatever you’re towing has operational tail-lights, brake lights and indicators, and that all tyres are suitably inflated.

Have a burning question related to cars or motoring?

Have a chat to AANT’s Technical Advisory Service on 1300 661 466.

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