Towing 101: Size Matters

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Towing

As you can imagine, with the number of trailers and trailer-mounted equipment available for rent, towing is one of our top priorities when it comes to safety.   Towing safety requires a lot of different components and you will find that “there’s a lot more to towing a trailer than just hitching up and taking off down the road.”  Over the next several posts, we’ll provide general towing information and safety tips to prepare you for renting a trailer and to help you make safe decisions when driving a tow vehicle and trailer.

Most of us probably remember Chevrolet’s “Like A Rock” advertising campaign and the related commercial showing a pickup truck, carrying a giant bolder, driving up the side of a mountain.  The set for that commercial was at one time located at the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Washington.  The Olympic Game Farm is home to many local wildlife and animals; some who starred in feature-films filmed over the years at the location.  A number of years ago, I took a tour of the farm, which included not only the animals but also the movie sets.  Anyway, according to our tour guide, the axles on the Chevy truck they used broke multiple times during the filming of that commercial.  Obviously the “rock” was beyond the tow capacity of the truck!

I was reminded of that part of the tour when I started working for Bunce Rental and became familiar with the policies and procedures regarding tow vehicles.  The top insurance claims in our industry are towing or trailer related claims.  Due to the risky nature of towing, our insurance company has set strict guidelines for the selection of an appropriate tow vehicle specific to our trailers or towed equipment:

  • All tandem axle trailers require a 3/4 Ton Full Size Pick Up (F250 or 2500) with a minimum 133″ wheelbase (axle to axle).
  • Other pieces of equipment such as 20KW generators, 185 CFM Air Compressors, and 6″ chippers will require a 1/2 ton full size pick up (F150 or 1500).

While we understand that your tow vehicle manufacturer ratings may allow you to tow much larger items with your truck, our job is to err on the side of caution and follow our insurance company’s guidelines.  This not only ensures your safety and that of your passengers, but also the safety of other people on the road, when you are towing a trailer.

For example, if a tow vehicle is towing an item bigger and heavier than itself, this creates the likelihood of fishtailing and losing control of the vehicle and trailer, particularly when attempting to stop.   If you have ever visit one of our stores, we have on display a picture of what was a Nissan Pathfinder that had attempted to tow a 2-horse trailer.  The trailer was not one of ours, but is a prime example of what can happen when the towing vehicle is mismatched to what it is towing.  When the driver of the Pathfinder tried to stop or slow down, the heavier weight of the trailer compared to that of the SUV, caused the vehicle and trailer to fishtail.  The end result was the front end of the Pathfinder sheared off when it hit the freeway barricades.  Thankfully, no one was injured and the horses involved in the accident survived.

As much as we would like to believe our SUVs, pickup trucks or minivans are equipped to tow any trailer, the reality is the selection of an appropriate tow vehicle and the proper equipment to tow a trailer is affected by the type of trailer, its size and weight, and the amount of weight being towed. If you have any questions about whether your vehicle can tow one of our trailers, free free to contact our staff. We will be more than happy to answer your questions.

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