More and more Americans are exploring the great outdoors like never before. One of the best ways to enjoy nature is in your Intimidator UTV! In order to achieve these remote endeavors, one must master the art of towing the UTV. Although it isn’t a complicated task, it is one that demands preparation, attention to detail, and caution.
Hauling your side-by-side in order to explore new trails and embrace new adventures is a growing trend for all ages. Enjoying sand dunes, beaches, and even cruising streets can be a thrill! When you are deciding how to get your UTV safely to your destination, here are some things to consider:
Tow Capacity - Transporting your ride on a trailer or in a toy hauler that can handle the load is a must. Towing capacity must match or exceed the weight of your UTV. Failure to do so can not only be devastating, but can be deadly. It is imperative to consult your user manual and/or your Intimidator Dealer to make sure you are within the load limits of your transport choice. As a rule of thumb, it is better to haul with something that far exceeds the towing specs in relation to the weight of your UTV, as opposed to settling for a towing solution that is rated at the same or lesser weight of your trailer or RV.
Securing the Load - There are several items that are available to help you tie it all down and help ensure nothing comes loose or rolls off. D-rings add additional hook points to your trailer. D-rings can also help prevent straps rubbing against the steel frame of the trailer and possibly breaking. Other items that are helpful include ratchet straps, breakaway chains and safety chains. These are extremely beneficial for larger cargo loads, and are normally rated to secure heavy loads, providing much-needed stability.
Many UTV owners decide to transport their side-by-side in the garage portion of their Toy Hauler RV. Be sure the cargo weight capacity is more than the weight of the UTV. Also, make sure to utilize the built-in exhaust vents which allow the fumes from the UTV engine to escape out the back. These vents are normally positioned on the top and/or bottom in the back of the RV. Failure to open these can lead to toxic fumes infiltrating your entire RV.
Be Wise and Organize - Don’t make the mistake of just loading the UTV, strapping it in, and randomly throwing in a few extra supplies like coolers and other gear and head out. Take some time to organize the load. Secure EVERYTHING that is on the trailer/in the UTV bed/in the Toy Hauler garage. Make sure that the weight is symmetrical and centered. Some people like to follow the 60/40 rule where you place 60% of your total load towards the front of the trailer. Having too much weight in the back of the trailer increases the chances of trailer sway and possible overload on the hitch.
MISTAKES TO AVOID:
UNBALANCED WEIGHT - If you don’t follow the 60/40 rule mentioned above, you could be putting yourself and others at risk. If you are using a trailer with weight distribution bars, make sure they are set up right. If not, you may find yourself bouncing from one side of the road to the other.
ENGINE FATIGUE - Perhaps the biggest mistake one makes when towing is overworking the tow vehicle engine. This can be caused by several things - some of these include not having your tow/haul switch engaged, towing something that is too heavy for the tow vehicle, or simply travelling too fast. Also, keep an eye on your gauges - engine temperature, transmission temperature, oil pressure, etc.
BRAKE FATIGUE - Brakes, as one can imagine, can make you or BRAKE you. Learn how to “fan the brakes” when going down steep grades. Even better, utilize the exhaust brake system if your vehicle is equipped with one. This takes the pressure off of the brakes and transfers them to the engine exhaust. Also realize that many smaller trailers are not equipped with trailer brakes. Adding this option to any trailer is a win. Realize that brakes do wear out - so be sure to check for wear and tear often.
WRONG SIZE HITCH BALL - It is imperative to have the correct ball and mount for your trailer. The typical size is usually 2 inches, but some trailers require 1 7/8” or 2 5/16”. The last thing you need is for the trailer to become unhitched and cause harm to you or others. If your trailer does become unhitched, be sure you’ve secured the safety chains. There are true stories of people having their tow trailer passing them on the road!
TRAVELING TOO FAST - We all like to get where we are going as fast as possible. However, if you're towing anything, you must learn to reduce the speed! Avoid aggressive driving, using more courtesy than usual. Drive slower. Realize that it will take a little more time to accelerate with a larger load, and it will also take a little more time and effort to come to a stop. Getting to your destination safe and sound is what matters the most. “Better late than never!”
OVERLOOKING MISCELLANEOUS MAINTENANCE - Be sure to lubricate everything that requires it. Check your tire pressure on the tow vehicle and the trailer before leaving. Double check ratchets and straps to ensure the load is secure. Ensure that all lights and signals are working properly. Consider making a checklist, and going over that list each and every time you load up to go.
LET THE FUN BEGIN
The idea of hauling something expensive and heavy behind your truck or SUV can be intimidating. By following these and other safety rules will ensure that your adventure will be a success! Remember, towing a trailer is a much bigger deal than just driving your truck. Take the time to take precautions and safety measures and get your trailer loaded the right way.
For any questions feel free to contact an Intimidator Dealer near you! Also, consider test driving one of our new 2021 models - all just waiting to be taken on your next off-road adventure!