Check Towing Capacity
The very first thing you should do is check your vehicles towing capacity. The towing capacity is the maximum weight your vehicle is rated to tow. This can usually be found in the vehicles owner’s manual.
Your vehicles towing capacity will need to be high enough to handle the maximum loaded weight of the caravan.
Estimate the average total weight of the caravan by finding the weight of the empty caravan. This will be in caravan’s owners manual or written on the caravan itself. If you haven’t purchased the caravan yet, check with the manufacturer or dealer. Next, estimate the weight of your cargo to go in the caravan and add it to the empty caravan weight.
Make sure the towbar on your car is rated to carry your caravan. If your vehicle already has a towbar fitted there should be a sticker or plate with the max towbar capacity (trailer and ball load). You may need to check on the towbar it’s self or in the door jam (see photo >). Many towbars are only intended to tow light trailers and will be totally unsuitable, illegal and potentially unsafe for heavy use.
Now the fun stuff!
Once you’ve worked out the towing capacity, it’s time to look at what can be done to your vehicle to make towing a caravan easier, safer and more enjoyable.
Towing a caravan impedes the line of sight within your mirrors. There are two solutions:
- Extension Mirror’s – attach to the existing side mirror of your car. You can get removable options if you don’t tow that often or permanent ones if you are hitting the highway for a big trip.
- Clearview Towing Mirror’s – replace your existing mirror and are extendable. You can extend them out when the caravan is attached or bring them back in when it isn’t.
Electric Brake Controller
Due to the legal requirements of needing an efficient braking system on at least one axle of all caravans exceeding 750kg GTM, it is likely your caravan will be fitted with Electric brakes. Electric brake controllers are legally required on all caravans over 2000kg GTM however, we recommend them on all caravans. The benefits of having an Electronic Brake Controller far outweigh not having one. By using an Electric brake controller you will find there will be less push from behind. They allow easier and quicker braking and stopping. They also reduce the likely-hood of jack-knifing and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle’s brakes.
We personally love the REDARC Tow Pro Elite due to its dual braking method capabilities.
I remember seeing old movies and cartoons, where a caravan breaks away from the car and goes off on a course of its own. Entertaining on TV, but not what you want to see on the road in real life.
It’s a legal requirement in all States in Australia that caravans over 2000kg GTM be fitted with breakaway units and for good reason. In the event the caravan or trailer detaches from the car, the Break Away Unit system will apply electrical breaks to the runaway trailer or caravan preventing an accident. Read more here.
Dual Reverse Camera
So you’ve got yourself a caravan, and then you realise you need to reverse it into a tight spot. Option 1 – you’ve got someone out spotting, but you just can’t line it up. Frustrations are rising, and tempers are boiling, it’s looking like a great start to a long trip. Option 2 – you completely avoid this scenario and by installing a dual reverse camera. This amazing little piece of tech can be mounted to the rear of your car and again to the rear of the caravan and makes reversing up to hitch the caravan, or reversing the caravan into tight spots a breeze. They’re also great when driving on the highway and taking over other vehicles. See one of our installs here.
Anderson plugs allow you to keep everything in your caravan going or charging while you’re on the road without the fear of burning out some wires. Which we often see in 7-pin and 12-pin trailer plugs. They’re compatible with most dual battery set ups, are designed to handle power rated at 50amps (or more) and are available in various colours and amp ratings. Find out more here.
The added weight of towing a caravan can cause the back of your vehicle to sag and put added pressure on your suspension. Most tow vehicles come with factory standard suspension and which may need to be upgraded to take the weight of your caravan. There are many options available, we think one of the best solutions is Air Suspension. These operate via a compressor that puts air into the airbags which allows you to level up a sagging rear end for towing. Check out our review of the Airbag Man Suspension here.
Roo Systems ECU Remapping
Get more grunt and lower fuel consumption from a Roo systems ECU remap on your tow vehicle. Not only does an ECU remap increase your vehicle’s torque and power by 30% and improve fuel economy by 10%, it also enhances and sharpens throttle response, providing a much smoother and more progressive delivery of power.
If you need more information on any of the options listed above
call us today for COMPETITIVE PRICES and GREAT LOCAL SERVICE
Call Now On: 1300 CAR ELEC
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I want to set up a ford falcon G6E to tow a caravan up to 2.0 tonne.What do I need in as far as suspension,stability,do I need a bigger radiator and cooling for the 6 speed auto.Any other advise would be greatly appreciated.