3 August 2021

Ute Towing Guide: Key Things To Know Before You Tow

Triton Towing Boat Near Sea

If you’ve ever looked into ute towing, you will have realised it is more complicated than simply hitching up your trailer to your vehicle. Towing can impact your safety on the road, so it’s vital to prepare with the right equipment, capacity, and load placement. In this towing guide, we cover the key things you need to know before you tow. It’s important to note that this guide does not contain everything you’ll need to know about towing, and is no substitute for booking yourself into a towing course with your ute and trailer. However, it will help you to start preparing so you can tow efficiently and safely.

1. Get the right equipment for ute towing

Before you can start connecting your trailer and loading up to tow, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment. Look for equipment constructed to Australian safety standards, and consider genuine accessories made for your ute.

  • Ute: It all starts with the right ute. Choose a reliable ute with a towing capacity to suit your needs. Check for 4WD capabilities – features like the Mitsubishi Triton Super Select II can help you adapt to changing road conditions while you’re towing.
  • Trailer: Choose a trailer that is appropriate for your ute. You’ll need to consider size, width, drawbar length, and wheel size.
  • Towbar: Choose a towbar with an appropriate shape and rating for your ute, trailer and load. A quality towbar, such as our Mitsubishi Genuine towbars can help minimise the stress placed on your Mitsubishi when towing. 
  • Towball and Coupling: Choose a towball appropriate for the terrain you plan to drive in, as well as the weight you’re planning to tow. The trailer coupling and towball should be the same height from the ground, so your ute and trailer will be level. If your towball and trailer coupling are not compatible, you will need to purchase an adaptor.
  • Safety chains: Regulations require that your trailer is securely fitted with an appropriately rated safety chain. If your trailer is over 2.5t, you will need two safety chains. Make sure your chains are short enough to provide a secure connection, but long enough to allow for tight turns.
  • Brakes: Trailers with a gross weight over 750kg must be fitted with a braking system. If your gross trailer mass is over 2t, you must have electronic brakes.
  • Tow mirrors: If your ute’s mirrors do not provide a full view along the length of your trailer, then you may need towing mirrors. You must be able to see along the full length of the trailer at its widest point, as well as behind it.
  • Weight distribution and anti-sway equipment: This equipment may help with distributing load on your trailer and ute, and preventing sway. However, most are only suitable for certain terrains and weight loads, so seek advice from your ute’s manufacturer before purchasing.

2. Know your ute’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) to determine your ute towing capacity

Your ute’s GCWR determines the maximum amount your vehicle and trailer can safely weigh when loaded. Yes, this means that any weight you add to your ute will reduce the amount of weight you’ll be able to carry in your trailer. It’s also important that your ute and trailer do not separately exceed their individual weight ratings, so you stay safe on the road. 

You will also need to consider your towball weight. For safe, stable towing, this usually will be about 10% of your total load. However this can vary with each ute, so refer to your owner’s manual for specific information.

In our towing guides, we recommend you visit your local weighbridge to understand the total weight of your ute, trailer, accessories, and couplings so you know how much you can safely load.

3. Load your ute and trailer properly

Loading your ute and trailer correctly is vital to minimise sway and cargo impact on the road. Load your ute so that any cargo is sitting over the rear axle, or as close to the rear axle as possible.

Place heavy items at the bottom of your trailer, over the wheels. Heavy items should never be carried behind the wheels, as this can make the trailer unstable. Place lighter items at the top, or on either end. It’s also important to load your trailer evenly on both sides to increase stability.

4. Check maximum speed limits and weather conditions

When you’re towing, you may find yourself affected by speed limits and weather conditions that wouldn’t ordinarily impact your driving. It pays to check ahead, and make sure you’re familiar with state regulations that impact towing speed limits.

You should also check ahead for weather conditions, and try to avoid heavy rain or strong cross-winds if possible. If conditions are bad, consider choosing a more sheltered route to avoid the impact of wind on your trailer.

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