Have you ever wondered if your tow vehicle is actually designed to tow your trailer?
After experiencing a blowout on my fifth wheel trailer on a highway in New Mexico, I began to search online looking for an easy way to figure this out.
It was a frustrating process piecing together the information.
After several months, I finally decided to put all I found on the topic of safe towing in one place. This online resource became FifthWheelSt.
Avoid Blowouts by Weighing Your Rig First
The number one most-reported RV insurance claim is the result of damage from the sudden release of air from tires, otherwise known as a blowout.
An overload combined with under or over inflated tires can cause a sudden blowout or breakdown.
When towing a trailer, it’s very important to ensure that the load is distributed evenly.
You want to make sure that all necessary safety precautions have been taken to prevent an accident or a blowout.
Even a slight overload, or unequal weight distribution, can seriously restrict the vehicle’s braking and steering capabilities.
Higher fuel consumption and driver fatigue are also common side effects of traveling with an overloaded, heavy and generally poor-handling trailer.
Many RVers Exceed Recommended Weight Ratings
According to the RV Safety & Education Foundation, data indicates that 57% of RVs on the road exceed one or more weight safety ratings.
My simplified worksheet and calculators will keep you from becoming a statistic.
And don’t worry if your trailer isn’t a fifth wheel.
Although the website started out designed for fifth wheel and gooseneck trailer owners, as time passed we’ve developed tools that will help all RVers.
I made easy-to-use web-based calculators and several smartphone apps. But if you like to work off-line, you can do that too.
There are printable worksheets with easy to understand instructions that assist you in weighing your rig and crunching the numbers.
Fifth Wheel St. (RV Weight Safety Calculator) App
This unique RV weight safety app is the premier self-help app that provides an industry-leading 13-Point Weight Safety Report.
This app will help you determine if you are towing safely below your load ratings.
It’s designed especially for RV owners, outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, and ranchers who tow fifth wheel or gooseneck trailers.
Here’s the process you’ll use to make the app work for you:
Gather the required certification ratings from your tow vehicle and trailer.
Obtain your tow vehicle and towed trailer’s axle weights.
Information is included to assist you in locating a truck scale location near you.
Weigh only the tow vehicle’s axles.
Enter the data into the Fifth Wheel St. app
The final report reveals 13 weighing points, including 7 points indicating the safety margin or overload conditions by displaying red or green numbers.
Know Your True Tongue Weight
An important element of safe towing is knowing the true hitch tongue weight when weight distribution systems are used.
This is vital to ensuring your tow vehicle’s rear axle is not overloaded. Weighing a rear axle with the weight distribution system activated will give a false reading of the real axle weight.
Before You Buy RV (BYBRV) App
If you’re in the market for a new tow vehicle or trailer, you’ll want to determine if your tow vehicle and trailer are compatible.
The Before you Buy RV App is a first-of-its-kind web-based app that ensures RV purchase compatibility for RV and tow vehicle buyers.
This app is available online and also as an app for your smart phone. Plus – it’s totally free.
Towing guides are not enough to ensure that prospective tow vehicles or recreational vehicles are compatible for towing.
This is especially true concerning the truck for a fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer towing combination because of the need to account for the rear gross axle weight rating.
Some trucks may have a high gross combined weight rating and maximum trailer weight, but the pin weight of some fifth wheel or gooseneck trailers may exceed the tow vehicle’s rear gross axle weight rating.
Believe it or not some dealers – unbeknownst to themselves – may have mistakenly matched the wrong RV and tow vehicle.
After entering the required weight data, buyers can purchase with confidence and dealers can rest assured knowing they’re selling the correct setup to you.
Truck Campers – We’ve Got You Covered Too
With the assistance of an engineer from Alberta, Canada we recently introduced another web-based app unique to truck camper buyers and dealers called the Before You Buy TC App.
Before You Buy TC (BYBTC) App
The Before You Buy TC App is expressly designed to assist recreational vehicle buyers with the safe selection of a truck camper for their truck.
This calculator is available online or as an app for your smart phone.
It’s simple to use and provides a viewable and printable worksheet and instructions.
Some truck camper buyers experienced a terrible feeling when they discovered their camper was too heavy for their truck.
Only after the rear springs flattened unsafely to the axle and the front end stuck way up into the air, did they realize their mistake.
You can now buy a truck camper with confidence when you use the Before You Buy TC App.
Other Great Content You Don’t Want to Miss
We regularly add new RV safety content to FifthWheelSt for the benefit of all RV owners.
There are several safety related and instructional videos as well.
Two popular articles you might want to check out before you pay for your new rig are:
I look forward to seeing you out on the roads.
And first and foremost – travel safely!