Guide to Prep Your Truck for Towing During Summer in Wisconsin
Anytime you hook up your trailer, boat, or camper to your truck, the possibilities for Wisconsin summertime fun and adventures quickly multiply. However, it’s always important to properly prep your truck before you hit the road.
It is all too easy to focus on what you’re towing rather than on the vehicle doing the work. Towing a boat, trailer, or camper tests your truck’s engine, transmission, suspension, tires, brakes, and more.
5 Tips for Prepping Your Truck
As you navigate through the next sharp turn on your upcoming adventure, you’ll want to do so with the utmost confidence. Here are five important ways to prep your used truck for successful towing.
1. Get a multi-point inspection
Towing problems ruin the joy of a great road trip. So, start with a complete multi-point inspection by a certified local mechanic you trust. Discuss your towing plans at the car dealership, marina, or RV center to get some expert advice.
A proper brake inspection is essential given the extra pressure towing exerts on the braking system. When you’re surging downhill in a rainstorm, you don’t want to be wondering about your brakes.
It is also important to make sure your cooling system is in tip-top shape. No one enjoys being stranded along the side of the road with steam rising from under the hood. Don’t overlook the little things like your truck’s wipers and fluid levels. Get an oil change, and go with a high-quality synthetic or synthetic blend.
2. Use the right hitch
Be careful not to underestimate your trailer hitch requirements. For safety’s sake, respect ratings regarding gross trailer weight (GTW) and maximum tongue weight.
There’s quite a range of towing capacities, identified by classes one through five. A Class 1 hitch is rated at 2,000 lb. GTW and 200 lb. tongue weight, while a Class 5 hitch is rated at many times this level. Keep in mind that GTW includes possessions onboard along with the contents of any water tanks. Also, it is important to realize that tongue weight is related to load placement and balance.
Consult with the experts to determine what type of trailer hitch you need:
- Weight-carrying hitch
- Weight-distributing hitch
- Gooseneck hitch
A gooseneck hitch is often ideal for heavy-duty towing. Its location and design allow it to handle the maximums allowed by law.
3. Select the right tires
For safe and reliable towing, your truck’s tires require:
- Proper inflation
- Adequate tread
- A sufficient load rating
Properly inflated tires will run cooler, while those with adequate tread will hold the road better under difficult circumstances. Always run on tires with at least the tire speed rating and load index of the original tires.
Heat build-up and potential tire failure are a real concern when towing significant loads. Sudden tire problems can make it difficult to control your truck and trailer.
4. Check trailer wiring and harness
Check to confirm that your vehicle’s wiring harness is in good working order. Tail lights and brake lights on your trailer must work in all weather conditions. To prevent corrosion and maintain a good connection, spray contacts with dielectric grease.
5. Prep your truck with an upgrade
Sometimes, the best way prep your truck for towing is to upgrade or add equipment. To better handle a bigger trailer, consider various upgrades, like:
- Adding an intercooler or upgrading
- Selecting an auxiliary engine oil cooler
- Installing a larger radiator
- Upgrading the engine control unit (ECU) to coax more power out of your engine
- Adding a high-flow aftermarket cold-air intake
Once your truck is prepped and ready to go, check out these tips from Popular Mechanics for setting up your trailer.
Check Out Our Inventory of Used Cars, Trucks, and SUVs
Look to 199ride for a Nicer, Newer™, Worry-Free pre-owned vehicle for all your adventures. We have five Wisconsin dealerships ready to serve you: Green Bay, Appleton, Wausau, Antigo, and La Crosse. Check out our extensive used car inventory to find exactly what you’re looking for!