Towing is the process of pulling or drawing behind a chain, line, bar or some other form of coupling. Commonly, towing is done by road vehicles, but anything from boats to tractors to people can tow cargo.

Types of trailers

Almost any SUV, van, minivan, pickup truck, garden tractor or passenger car can be equipped to tow a trailer properly when given the correct equipment.

Most trailers can fall into one of four categories:
*Flat bed or open trailers are platforms with no sides or stakes. This type of trailer works well for hauling large or unconventional shaped objects.
*Enclosed trailers are fully covered by four sides and a roof. These types of trailers are generally used for carrying livestock since they protect the contents from weather. People also rent these types of trailers for moving boxes, furniture and other materials.
*Boat trailers are used specifically for pulling boats. These types of trailers are designed for easy loading in and out of the water and are purchased based on the specific type and style of boat they will be hauling.
*Recreational vehicles (RV) are utility vehicles or vans that are often equipped with living facilities. These types of trailers can be attached to the back of most any road vehicle and are commonly used for camping outings or road trips.

Towing safety

There are many safety considerations to properly towing a caravan or trailer (vehicle) / travel trailer starting with vehicle towing capacity and ranging through equalizer hitches to properly and legally connecting the safety chains.

According to the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Association, more than 65,000 crashes involving passenger vehicles towing trailers occurred in 2004 in the US, jumping nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

In 2006, Master Lock did their annual study on towing safety to see how many Americans tow their cargo correctly. The study, “Towing Troubles,” included responses from trailer owners across the country and found that while the majority of trailer owners believe they know what they’re doing when it comes to towing, most were lacking the proper education. Master Lock reported that 70 percent of trailer owners did not fully know the correct way to tow their cargo.

An important factor in towing safety is tongue weight, the weight with which the trailer presses down on the tow vehicle's hitch. Insufficient tongue weight can cause the trailer to sway back and forth when towed. Too much tongue weight can cause problems with the tow vehicle. [cite web
title = Towing a Trailer
url =
accessdate = 2007-03-04

Towing capacity

Towing capacity is a measure describing the upper limit to the weight of a trailer a vehicle can tow. In the United States, towing capacity is expressed in pounds, while many other express in kilograms.

Some countries demand that trucks and buses have the maximum trailer weight and eventually maximum trailer length signed close to the coupling device, while this is rare with smaller cars or pickup trucks.

See also
*Gross combined weight rating
*Gross trailer weight rating
*Gross vehicle weight rating

Types of towing hitches

A tow hitch, tow bar or recovery point is a device attached to the chassis of a vehicle for towing.

It can take the form of a tow-ball to allow swivelling and articulation of a trailer, or a tow pin and jaw with a trailer loop - often used for large or agricultural vehicles where slack in the pivot pin allows the same movements. A further category is the towing pintle used for military vehicles around the world with a hook and locking catch.

See also

* Vehicle recovery
* Tow truck
* Tugboat
* Tow hitch
* Trailer Brake Controller
* Dolly (trailer) - supports the front wheels of a second vehicle
* Predatory towing


* [ National Highway Traffic Safety Association]

External links

* [ Factors affecting towing capacity]
* [ Towing capacity changes]
* [ Extensive searchable database of tow ratings from a camping magazine]
* [ Fitting a Towbar]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Towing — Tow Tow, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Towed} (t[=o]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Towing}.] [OE. towen, to[yogh]en; akin to OFries. toga to pull about, OHG. zog[=o]n, Icel. toga, AS. tohline a towline, and AS. te[ o]n to draw, p. p. getogen. See {Tug}.] To draw or …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • towing — tow·ing || təʊɪŋ n. dragging, tugging təʊ n. act of towing, act of dragging or pulling with a rope or chain v. pull, drag …   English contemporary dictionary

  • towing winch — towing engine …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • towing rope — noun (nautical) a rope used in towing • Syn: ↑towline, ↑towrope, ↑towing line • Topics: ↑seafaring, ↑navigation, ↑sailing • …   Useful english dictionary

  • towing path — noun a path along a canal or river used by animals towing boats • Syn: ↑towpath • Hypernyms: ↑path * * * variant of towpath * * * towˈpath or towing path noun A path beside a canal or river for horses towing barges …   Useful english dictionary

  • towing path — Towpath Tow path , n. A path traveled by men or animals in towing boats; called also {towing path}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Towing kite — A towing kite is a system of propulsion that uses higher altitude winds at higher velocity than traditional sails.AdvantagesThe advantages of towing kites include cuts in fuel consumption and carbon emissions, as well as monetary savings,… …   Wikipedia

  • towing line — noun (nautical) a rope used in towing • Syn: ↑towline, ↑towrope, ↑towing rope • Topics: ↑seafaring, ↑navigation, ↑sailing • …   Useful english dictionary

  • towing bitt — noun vertical posts on a vessel to which towing or mooring lines are secured …   Wiktionary

  • towing hook — hook attached to a towing cable, hook used to pull objects …   English contemporary dictionary

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