Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Towing a Fiberglass Camper

Towing a U-Haul Fiberglass Camper
Recently as I posted before, U-Haul bought a CT-13 camper back and did a roadtrip back to their headquarters in Phoenix, AZ this summer. It's pretty neat that they are taking a renewed interest in the old campers and their legacy. If there's one thing I can say about the Uhaul campers, it's that they were built to last and to handle the rough aspect of rental life.

U-Haul put up a recent post on their blog about towing a camper. It's a good brief post about things you need to be aware of when towing. They could definitely have gone into more detail on some of it. I wanted to highlight a few things to think about. Hooking up correctly is the first thing.
  1. Make sure the trailer coupler is connected securely to the tow vehicle's hitch. A good test once you've connected it to the ball on the tow vehicle is to use the tongue jack on the trailer to crank the tongue back up. If it stays connected and doesn't pop off then you're secure (don't go too far with this, you don't want to damage anything). Your just testing that it's not going to pop off when you hit a bump; 
  2. Connect your chains by crossing them. Yes, cross the chains. This should hold the tongue of the trailer if it does pop off allowing you time to stop.
  3. Always make sure your trailer lights are connected and working. Test them before you leave! Test running lights, brakes, and each turn signal. It's a simple step but if you don't you could get a ticket or worse rear-ended. If something's not working, fix it before you leave. If you know you're going on a long trip, you may want to even hook up and test the lights a day or two before you leave to make sure there are no electrical issues or bulbs burned out. Still always check every time you hook up.
  4. Brakes: If you have trailer brakes (there are two types surge and electric), then make sure they are hooked up correctly and that you know how to adjust them if necessary. It's always a good idea to test them too before you pull out. (The Uhaul CT-13's do not have trailer brakes; the VT-16's have surge brakes).
12v Air CompressorI usually check the tires for air pressure before loading the camper. Always look at the tires every time you hook up to tow. Check for wear and the air pressure. Also, remember to move any rocks, chocks or whatever you use to brace the wheels when parked before pulling out. It's a good idea to carry an air compressor in case you need to add air to the tires. Make sure that you have one with a long enough cord/hose to reach the trailer tires. My tow vehicle has a 12v power port in the rear cargo area. If your's doesn't, consider adding one. They really do help get your air compressor closer to the trailer tires. I use this air compressor. I've had it for years and I specifically bought it because the combination of the cord + coiled hose is long enough to reach the tires on either of my trailers. Better yet, some vehicles have a compressor built in. I do realize that you can get roadside assistance if you get a flat through various roadside service programs. However, sometimes you may just need to top off or you may find yourself with a slow leak that you want to add some air to get you to the next exit where you can find a safer place to pull off or get help.

This is by no means an exhaustive discussion on these topics. I just wanted to go into a little more depth.

Do you tow a camper regularly? Have any more suggestions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.