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Trouble-Free Towing

Posted in How To on May 1, 2001
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Need lights that are a snap to hook up? This has to be the ultimate in ease of mounting&#151;they&#146;re wireless! Yep, the transmitter goes in the truck plug, and the magnetic mount unit sticks to the rear of the towed item, up to 100 feet away. The recharger is good for 110-volts or 12-volts, and comes with its own battery. <p><b>Price:</b> $179.95. Need lights that are a snap to hook up? This has to be the ultimate in ease of mounting—they’re wireless! Yep, the transmitter goes in the truck plug, and the magnetic mount unit sticks to the rear of the towed item, up to 100 feet away. The recharger is good for 110-volts or 12-volts, and comes with its own battery.

Price: $179.95.

For those of us who tow a variety of trailers with a variety of vehicles, this adjustable ball setup is a godsend. Regardless of tongue height or ball size, this product fits the bill for 90 percent of your towing needs. Simply pull the safety clips and pins, and you can adjust it up, down, sideways, or probably even backwards if you need to. <p><b>Price:</b> $272. For those of us who tow a variety of trailers with a variety of vehicles, this adjustable ball setup is a godsend. Regardless of tongue height or ball size, this product fits the bill for 90 percent of your towing needs. Simply pull the safety clips and pins, and you can adjust it up, down, sideways, or probably even backwards if you need to.

Price: $272.

With the proper equipment, tying down your vehicle on a trailer can be a snap. Chains and binders are a common way to lash the load, but nylon straps specifically rated and made for this purpose are lighter and just as strong. With the proper equipment, tying down your vehicle on a trailer can be a snap. Chains and binders are a common way to lash the load, but nylon straps specifically rated and made for this purpose are lighter and just as strong.
Our favorite style has the hook and loop combined with a wear sleeve on one end which makes for simple, fast, and safe hookups. Use one strap per wheel, and you know your load won&#146;t be shifting. <b><p>Price: </b></p>$27.57 Our favorite style has the hook and loop combined with a wear sleeve on one end which makes for simple, fast, and safe hookups. Use one strap per wheel, and you know your load won’t be shifting.

Price:

$27.57
Tired of wiring trailer lights or rigging a flat-towed vehicle with lights? The simple solution is magnetic mount lights that slap on the back of what&#146;s being towed. Plug in the harness and away you go&#151;as long as you don&#146;t have a fiberglass body on the towed vehicle. Homemade mounts of two lights bolted to a board also work if you&#146;re on a budget. Just see our wiring story (&#147;Getting Wired&#148;) in this issue to get &#146;em working right. <p><b>Price: </b>$69.95 Tired of wiring trailer lights or rigging a flat-towed vehicle with lights? The simple solution is magnetic mount lights that slap on the back of what’s being towed. Plug in the harness and away you go—as long as you don’t have a fiberglass body on the towed vehicle. Homemade mounts of two lights bolted to a board also work if you’re on a budget. Just see our wiring story (“Getting Wired”) in this issue to get ’em working right.

Price: $69.95

What looks like an inverted hovercraft is actually a transmission oil cooler with an electric fan. Auto trannies are put under lots of extra stress and heat when you tow, and this style continues to cool even while sitting still. Factory coolers are usually not enough with big loads, and the added insurance of more cooling will make the tranny last much longer. <p><b>Price: </b>$229.95 What looks like an inverted hovercraft is actually a transmission oil cooler with an electric fan. Auto trannies are put under lots of extra stress and heat when you tow, and this style continues to cool even while sitting still. Factory coolers are usually not enough with big loads, and the added insurance of more cooling will make the tranny last much longer.

Price: $229.95

A weight distributing hitch looks like a weird contraption from the trailer frame to the ball mount, but it really works well. The idea is to place the load over the entire tow vehicle, rather than just on the rear axle. This distributes the weight (hence its name) and levels out a big load and makes for safer towing, especially on curvy roads or less-than-desirable conditions. <p><b>Price: </b> $300-$400 A weight distributing hitch looks like a weird contraption from the trailer frame to the ball mount, but it really works well. The idea is to place the load over the entire tow vehicle, rather than just on the rear axle. This distributes the weight (hence its name) and levels out a big load and makes for safer towing, especially on curvy roads or less-than-desirable conditions.

Price: $300-$400

If you can&#146;t see behind you, how safe can you be? These extendable mirrors make for easy vision out back, bolt to the original location, and still look good when they&#146;re retracted. Available in electric or manual versions, it&#146;s a lot better than drilling holes in the door for old-man-style trailering mirrors that get whacked off in the drive-thru at Burger Crack. <p><b>Price: </b>$260-$345 If you can’t see behind you, how safe can you be? These extendable mirrors make for easy vision out back, bolt to the original location, and still look good when they’re retracted. Available in electric or manual versions, it’s a lot better than drilling holes in the door for old-man-style trailering mirrors that get whacked off in the drive-thru at Burger Crack.

Price: $260-$345

If you&#146;ve never used an in-cab brake controller, you don&#146;t know how good it can be. These units energize the electric trailer brakes for smooth, safe, and controlled stops automatically. Easily hooked up and wired, most models feature a hand switch to manually apply those brakes when you don&#146;t want to apply the vehicle brakes, such as when a trailer is fishtailing. <p><b>Price: </b>$50-$100 If you’ve never used an in-cab brake controller, you don’t know how good it can be. These units energize the electric trailer brakes for smooth, safe, and controlled stops automatically. Easily hooked up and wired, most models feature a hand switch to manually apply those brakes when you don’t want to apply the vehicle brakes, such as when a trailer is fishtailing.

Price: $50-$100

Towing is sometimes more of an art than a science. Some people can drive elegantly while towing the most out-of-kilter tow setups, while others can jackknife a perfectly balanced load. Even flat-towing a vehicle behind you can be fraught with problems if you aren’t prepared. Regardless of which type of driver you are, or whether you are trailering or flat-towing, there are some products that can make you seem like an artist while towing—even though it’s the science that makes it look easy. Even simple items like lights and hitches are made in many different configurations, and selecting the right one for your needs can make trailering a happy experience, instead of a disastrous one.

Check out some of these products we’ve selected for your perusal, and see if it’s time to upgrade to a more sensible, safe, and sane way of trundling down the road.

Sources

Reese Products
Elkhart, IN

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