Whether you are heading up north with your boat for the weekend, or hauling a camper on a cross-country road trip, Bowman Chevrolet is here to make sure you have all the information you need before you hit the road.
1) Know the terms
Six trailering terms everyone should know:
- AXLE RATIO – The relationship between driveshaft revolutions per minute and the rear axle revolutions per minute. The most powerful and efficient ratio for each individual is determined by the frequency and the usual weight being hauled.
- CURB WEIGHT – The weight of an empty vehicle, without payload or driver, with standard equipment, fuel, coolant and oil. It is also known as the vehicle weight.
- GROSS COMBINED WEIGHT RATING (GCWR) – The maximum weight of both your loaded vehicle and your loaded trailer combined.
- TRAILER TONGUE WEIGHT – The amount of weight put on the trailer tongue to keep it balanced for a safer driving experience.
- GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT – The weight of a loaded trailer.
- GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR) -The actual weight of the entire Chevy truck or SUV and its contents, including fuel and occupants.
2) Know how to pull your own weight
Before hooking a trailer up to your truck, make sure you know the towing capacity – how much the truck can safely pull. For example, the Chevrolet Colorado can pull up to 12,500 lbs. and the Chevrolet Silverado 35000HD can pull a maximum of 23,300 lbs. When figuring out the maximum weight that your truck can carry, keep in mind the added weight of extra passengers and added equipment. The driver and the base equipment are already included in the given weights in the Chevrolet 2018 Trailering Guide.
3) Know what hitch is right for your vehicle
Picking the correct hitch and successfully setting up electronic connections between your truck and trailer is imperative. A proper hitch positively affects the way your truck handles corners and brakes. When purchasing a hitch, it is important to know how much weight your trailer can carry. The weight limit for your trailer dictates what hitch is right for your truck, whether it is a fifth-wheel hitch or a gooseneck hitch. Visit the Chevrolet 2018 Trailering Guide to determine which hitch is best for your truck.
4) Know how to properly load your trailer and complete a safety check
Once you believe your trailer is correctly attached, double check to ensure everything is secure. Test your brake lights, adjust your mirrors and always use safety chains. The chains will keep your truck connected to your trailer in the event the hitch ball becomes disconnected. When loading your cargo, 60 percent of the weight should be loaded in the front half of the trailer. Heavier items should be loaded in the front and lighter items placed near the rear. You also want to check the tire pressure on both your truck and trailer. Finally, make sure the breakaway switch is connected and working properly while checking that all the loads are secure.
5) Know that the more you drive, the easier the ride
The first couple times you trailer, it may take some time getting used to the difference in the way you drive. A slow, constant speed will help keep the trailer safely behind you at all times. With the gross combined weight rating, your truck will need more time to come to a complete stop. The trailer will need more space to turn, so prepare to make wide turns. And remember, practice makes perfect.
For additional information about trailering and towing, and specifics about each Chevy truck, check out Chevrolet’s Trailering and Towing Guide.