Top 10 Towing Risks to Keep in Mind


Vehicle Not Rated for Towing

Be careful not to overload your trailer.
Be careful not to overload your trailer.
Harald Tjøstheim/iStockphoto

It shouldn't come as a surprise to find out that not every vehicle can tow a load behind it safely. While there are trailer hitches on the market that can fit cars, trucks and SUVs that aren't designed to tow a load, it's probably not a good idea to rely on them too often. If your vehicle isn't rated for towing, attempting to tow something behind it might cause serious damage. Your vehicle's suspension, brake system, engine and transmission might not be able to handle the strain.

Even tow-rated vehicles have their limits. Each manufacturer lists the load weight their vehicles can tow safely. Towing gear, like hitches, couplers and trailers, also have load limits. Exceeding these limits is unwise -- it can cause damage to the equipment and can increase the risk of accidents. The heavier the load, the more difficult it is to control the towing vehicle.­

If you need to tow something that exceeds your vehicle's rated load limit, consider renting a vehicle with a greater load limit. If you're moving equipment in a trailer, you may need to make multiple trips. While that may take some of the convenience out of towing, safety should always be a primary concern.

Next, we'll learn about an issue that is very dangerous but one you can correct easily in many cases: unbalanced loads.