How To Tow With An ATV Safely and Securely
Keeping your ATV or UTV safe while towing it to the local ride area is something many people do not take enough time to prepare for. Properly securing your trailer is important, as it will not only keep you safe but also free of getting any fines.
Also, setting up your ATV for the purpose of towing is crucial to ensure it is safe and won’t be damaged. So to help you safely tow your ATV and use it for towing, here are all the ATV towing safety tips you need.
Towing An ATV
When towing an ATV on a trailer, the weight should be evenly distributed from left to right, so each wheel has the same amount of weight on it. Look at the trailer from behind to make sure of this.
An even weight distribution will help the trailer wheels wear evenly and also help the trailer move more predictably on the road. Uneven weight can cause the trailer to turn in one direction.
Also, consider the weight distribution from front to back. Most of the weight should be centred over the front axle, with about 10 to 20% of the trailer’s overall weight resting on the hitch. Otherwise, a trailer with too much weight on the hitch will cause the tow vehicle to rise and reduce its braking and steering abilities.
And if the weight sits too far back on the trailer, the trailer will be unstable when driving at high speeds and can end up fishtailing.
Safety Tips For Towing An ATV
Be sure to follow these safety tips when towing an ATV:
- Practice driving slowly on secluded roads if you are new to driving with an ATV trailer.
- For long trips, pull over once an hour to check that the towing equipment and ATV are safe and secure.
- Use the right equipment, including hitch size. The weight capacity of your vehicle and towing equipment must be enough to handle your trailer and ATV. If possible, use a trailer specifically for ATV towing.
- Make sure the trailer brake and signal lights work and are synchronized with the tow vehicle.
- Keep the tires inflated properly and make sure they are in good condition before heading out. Also, check the wheel bearings.
- Secure large and loose objects properly on the trailer.
- Hitch the trailer properly. Follow the correct procedures for hooking up your trailer. Double-check the connections, including the coupler and wiring, and be sure that your safety chains are securely connected and crossed under the trailer tongue.
- Increase your following distance behind vehicles. Since it takes longer to stop when towing a trailer and ATV, increase the amount of space between you and the vehicle in front of you to have a safe stopping distance.
- Observe traffic flow and scan the road farther ahead to anticipate problems developing further away. It takes longer to stop, accelerate, change lanes, and turn with a trailer, so be perceptive to avoid collisions.
- Avoid trailer sway—when your trailer swings back and forth behind your vehicle. High speeds, crosswinds, large passing trucks, and steep downhill grades can all cause a trailer to sway. The best way to prevent this is with a sway control unit. You can also take your foot off the gas and manually apply the trailer brakes with the brake controller. Pressing the button once should align your trailer with your vehicle.
- Be cautious when changing lanes since trailers increase blind spots and slow down your accelerating capabilities. Give yourself plenty of space and change lanes slowly. You may also wish to install tow mirrors to increase your view.
- Be patient when passing or being passed. You will need more room and time to pass other vehicles, and you should avoid passing on a two-lane road.
- Stop gradually if possible. Help prolong the life of your vehicle and trailer brakes by easing into stops. You can do this by anticipating stops and starting to brake sooner than usual. Also, maintain your trailer brakes and keep your brake controller properly adjusted.
- Avoid sudden turns. And always have your seatbelt buckled when driving.
- Always check your mirrors to keep an eye on your ATV and trailer.
- Don’t park in spots that are difficult to pull out of. You can get easily stuck or blocked in with a trailer when pulling out of a small parking lot. So make sure there is plenty of space to make a complete turnaround.
- Use a coupler lock to deter trailer theft and keep your coupler secure while towing.
- Use a transmission-oil cooler to reduce friction and increase the transmission’s resistance to heat so it will last longer. Towing creates intense heat in transmissions that can reduce their service life.
- Drive slowly while towing an ATV.
Important Towing Accessories
Consider using these towing accessories for a safe and secure ride:
- D-rings—can be welded or bolted onto a trailer to add extra hook points.
- Large ratcheting straps—to prevent heavy machines from becoming loose on a trailer.
- Multiple straps—use two or three straps, crossing them to secure your ATV in place on the trailer.
- Trailer brakes—controlled internally or via a computer controller.
- Breakaway chains—hooked to the tow vehicle via the tow hitch, keeping the trailer attached at two points to keep the trailer secure.
- Quality trailer tires—make sure the tires are in good shape and inflated correctly before hitting the road.
- Safety chains—these chains cross over the trailer in an X, connecting the trailer to the towing vehicle in case the hitch connection fails.
- Brake lights on the trailer—to prevent rear-end collisions.
- Turn signals and clearance lights—if the trailer blocks the towing vehicle’s turn signals.
- Reflectors—to keep the trailer visible.
- Breakaway brakes—power brakes that apply to the trailer if separated from the tow vehicle.
- Flares—to keep a section of the road clear in case of an accident.
- Tie-downs—to secure anything on a trailer at multiple angles.
Why Use An ATV/UTV To Tow?
ATVs and UTVs are effective vehicles for plowing, towing, and hauling heavy loads. They are also useful for farm work, such as turning ground with custom equipment (e.g., an ATV tow behind tiller), getting around large areas faster, and plowing snow in winter.
ATVs and UTVs have many uses and are also more affordable than buying a tractor or a plow truck.
How to Tow Using An ATV/UTV
Follow these safety tips for towing with an ATV or UTV:
- Know the rack capacity—how much you can safely carry on your ATV rack. The amount of weight on the rack will affect ATV control, steering, and braking.
- Respect the tow rating. And remember that the tow rating is just a suggestion and you shouldn’t try to tow the maximum weight every day.
- Evenly distribute the weight. Like with towing an ATV on a trailer, when towing using your ATV, make sure the weight being towed is evenly distributed from left to right and front to back to help balance your ATV.
- Make sure the tires are in good shape before towing. Check the tire pressure and keep an eye out for leaks.
- Keep the braking system in good shape. When towing loads with your ATV or UTV, you’ll need to be able to stop safely. So make sure the brakes are in good condition.
- Check the CVT belt regularly. If you use your ATV to tow often, the extra stress can be tough on the belt, so check it often.
One of the biggest safety concerns when towing an ATV or towing with an ATV is the trailer becoming detached and hitting oncoming traffic. Other concerns include fishtailing and having an uneven weight distribution that will affect steering and the overall control of the vehicle.
To prevent these hazards, be sure to follow all the safety tips mentioned above.
How to Ensure the Longevity Of Your ATV/UTV
The best ATV for towing is a working ATV. So ensure your ATV or UTV works well and for longer with regular ATV/UTV maintenance. Also make sure you never push your vehicle to the limit when towing.
ATVs and UTVs are both fun to ride and useful for carrying heavy loads. But you need to keep them safe and secure when towing them on the road or using them for towing heavy loads to ensure your safety, the safety of others, and to keep enjoying your ride for many years to come.