Follow by Email

StatCounter

Thursday, May 31, 2018

No Trailers



I was doing some research on my lovely wife's little car, a 2015 Nissan Versa Note. With the van on its last legs, I was wondering if maybe I could put a trailer hitch on the car. Of course, it was too small to tow a boat, but the thinking was that maybe it could pull my small utility trailer. In short, nope.

The car is so light that even a few hundred pounds of trailer would seriously affect its handling. Not only that, a trailer hitch would adversely affect its ability to withstand a rear end collision. When driving such a small car, you want all the crash protection you can get. Sometimes it's not worth taking chances.

You have to pay attention to those safety ratings. My cousin once borrowed an enclosed utility trailer to move stuff from Virginia to New Hampshire. The guy was using a small Jeep. He loaded up the trailer and headed out. At the first stop sign he blew right through it as the brakes weren't nearly strong enough. He successfully completely the trip, but it was a slow and dangerous journey. Only later did he figure out that the trailer exceeded the Jeep's towing capacity -while empty.

One of the people who we camped next to had a nice little pull behind camper. It was one of those ultra light designs that could be pulled by smaller vehicles. The owner wasn't very happy with it. His car pulled it just fine, but he didn't dare go over fifty miles per hour. The camper trailer was so light that at higher speeds it would get blown all over the road.

Pay attention to the tow ratings and leave yourself some slack. One guy told me his boat and trailer could be pulled by his vehicle, but only if the boat was absolutely empty. Forget about filling the water tank, gas tanks, and loading it with fishing gear. Not only that, there's a difference on the type of towing being done. Are you making short trips on level ground at low speeds? Maybe you plan on climbing mountains all day at highway speeds.

In our travels we see a lot of bad mismatches between tow vehicle and trailer. There's a lot of disasters waiting to happen going down the highway. Sometimes they even have the right vehicle for the job, but the wrong hitch. Those things matter. The roads are scary enough out there without taking unnecessary chances.

-Sixbears

24 comments:

  1. Too bad more folks don't pay attention to the tow ratings and such. Certainly would make the highways a lot safer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was scarier than usual this last trip. Our roads are weird.

      Delete
  2. I've seen some scary driving with trailers out there, some by people who should know better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are too willing to take chances.

      Delete
  3. Have seen someone put some vortex wind stabilizers on the trailer, that work like fins on an arrow. Supposedly they make a big difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll keep an eye out for those in my travels.

      Delete
  4. I put a rcvr hitch on a Lexus ES300 sedan. Pulled my old '68 Chevy pickup bed trailer to our desert place,500 miles one way, loaded with motorcycle, generator, tools,etc. Tyranny trashed 6 months later. Lessons Learned.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have a Ford F250 with a turbo charged 6.7L Diesel that is rated to pull 20K lbs, I have a 5th wheel hitch also rated to pull 20K lbs. I have a 40ft trailer that when stuffed full maxes out at 14K. I consider my truck to be maxed out and am very careful when towing this load.

    MSG Grumpy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi MSG Grumpy,
      Just curious how you got a F250 rated for 20K. That engine should make it a 2011-2018, I thought those were limited to about 15K?
      (-justjohn)

      Delete
    2. Always good to have some slack, just in case.

      Delete
  6. On a recent move I got a 5th wheel enclosed trailer from a rental place, very light compared to the big rig above. On the way to pick up the household goods (300 miles away) I had a terrible time finding a stable speed because the trailer wanted to bump and hop anytime we went above 5omph. After loading a few hundred pounds of furniture the stable speed increased to 60mph.

    MSG Grumpy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loading makes a huge difference on the ride. Empty, it was probably too heavily sprung.

      Delete
  7. Wife has a trailer that might work for your purposes. Started out with a Harbor Freight trailer kit. Used 2x6s for the deck, oil soaking them for longevity. Used expanded metal panels (about 18" high) on sides, with 1" angle iron corner and center posts. Expanded metal panels on sides, front and 4' ramp on back end in case something heavy needs to be rolled up. Spare tire hub on front.

    Works great with her Suzuki XL7 mini SUV. Class III hitch (I think), vehicle is six cylinder for reference. We've loaded hay bales, dead clothes washer and other bulky items - no problems or issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While my lovely wife's car might be able to pull a small trailer, a hitch is not recommended. In a rear end crash, a hitch would transfer energy deeper into the car rather than let the crumple zone take the damage.

      Delete
  8. I think a Yaris could easily tow a load of 1000 lbs. I just looked at one on U hauls web site they show it mounting on bumper studs. My convertibles mounted to the body pan which is weaker and we towed a teardrop over 3 years 12000 miles with no problems. The U haul model is 120$ I would have to try myself. You are no rookie at towing. 95% of of people don't really have any business towing .
    Take a chance if it don't work your not out much. If it does you save big time. If a 69 beetle could have a clamp on tow ball and do ok a 2013 Yaris should also !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why I looked up a yaris. the versa hitch mounts to frame rail and is 160$ . That's a strong mount point for a small car . your not going to load it stupid it should be ok.

      Delete
    2. I probably found that same hitch on-line. Thanks for looking. However, just having a hitch on the car makes it more dangerous in a rear end collision. It transfers the energy of the crash deeper into the car. Don't feel like taking the risk day to day for a sometime use.

      Delete
  9. Learned my lesson a long time ago. Moved my belongings from RI to FL in a U-Haul behind a Toyota station wagon. When I reached FL and turned in the trailer the guy said I should never have been allowed to hitch the trailer to my car. It was a hairy trip.

    ReplyDelete
  10. the most memorable thing is to have a trailer which can shift its weight (horses in a trailer) so as to make the tongue lift the rear wheels of the towing vehicle - there is absolutely nothing you can do - no control, no brakes just kamikazee until you slow down -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! I can just imagine it. No thank you very much.

      Delete
  11. I agree with your general sentiments, but also feel that the US car companies sometimes just want to take the easy way out. I've seen trailer tow ratings that were zero here in the US, but the identical car is 1500# in UK or EU.
    And I was driving a 2000 New Beetle, I think that is rated for 1000# here. But I would frequently see Germans say that 2000# is fine there. (and they have pretty strict regulations in the EU...)

    But I did learn that you can't just assume "pick-up truck, no problem". Back in the 80's, full size pickups might have been limited to 4000# towing, unless you knew what you were buying.
    (-justjohn)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JustJohn! I had heard that Canada often has different ratings. Looked there for info on the car but they didn't recommend towing either.

      Delete