The feeling of freedom you get from hitching your rig and hitting the open road is something special.
But setting up and towing a caravan can be tricky, and dangerous if done incorrectly.
Caravans can be a great investment, as long as you invest the time to learn how to use them correctly. These tips are a good reminder, but it's a good idea for first timers look into a caravan towing course before hitting the road.
Here are some handy tips for towing a caravan, so your next road trip doesn’t end before it begins.
Before you head off:
- Service your tow vehicle – remember to service your tow vehicle regularly to keep it in top mechanical condition.
- Check your suspension – the suspension of the tow vehicle should be in good order. Learn about up-rated springs and shock absorbers, you might need them.
- Watch your download – the download on your towbar should never exceed the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum.
- Check your tyre pressure – tyre pressure on your caravan is just as important as the car you’re driving, check them both.
- Test your caravan lights – make sure you check all your caravan lights are working
- Check your wheel bearings – caravans need their wheel bearings checked every twelve months. This ensures there’s no excessive play and the grease is in good condition
- Don’t overload your caravan – travel light, and make sure any weight you add is evenly distributed across the axle
- Double check your connection – make sure your caravan is hitched correctly as a final measure.
On the road:
- Keep your distance – remember to keep a distance of 200m between your caravan and any other caravan on the road.
- Stop for checks – After every 100kms pull over and conduct basic checks on tyres, couplings and lights.
- The WA Department of Transport road rules state: "When towing a trailer or caravan the maximum speed at which you may tow is 100 kilometres per hour." As always, you must obey the posted speed limits and drive to weather and road conditions.
- Vehicle user should consult with state or territory transport authority for different road rules in each state.
What can happen when you don't hitch your tow-load correctly
RAC's Steven Hill caught this trailer detaching from its ride on his way to work.
This is the unbelievable footage of what can happen if you don't hitch your rig the right way - but you might not always be this lucky.
Always check your connection and don't overload.
Last updated September 2017