Every day there are arguments, questions and lengthy discussions about what is legal when it comes to towing with a 4WD, and every guide I’ve ever read has not made things overly simple or clear. There is a lot more to towing capacity than just the one rating, and lots of people don’t understand this.
Tow ball weight, or Tow Ball Mass (TBM) is a term that’s being thrown around more and more today, and for good reason. Understanding how it works, how to measure it and what is acceptable is critical for safe towing.
There are a lot of people in Australia who make the decision to purchase a trailer and tow it behind their 4WD while travelling. Whether its a box trailer, camper trailer, hybrid, caravan or boat, towing something behind your 4WD has a number of benefits.
So, you’ve got a heavy caravan or boat that you want to tow? Don’t be misled by the advertising! Just because your 4WD has a certain ‘towing capacity’ doesn’t mean you can actually tow that under normal conditions.
In my opinion, too many people today are using 4WD’s to do a job they were never really designed to do. When I say 4WD’s, I’m referring to anything from a Suzuki Sierra through to a full size wagon like a Y62 Nissan Patrol or 200 Series Land Cruiser.
I’m tired of reading over and over again of weight issues that thousands of people are being caught out by. These relate to trailer weights, tow vehicle capacities and weight distribution, and if you don’t take the time to carefully look into it, you’ll be in a world of pain.
Buying a 4WD is a pretty big decision, and once you start looking into it you’ll see its just the beginning of a myriad of choices you’ll need to make.
Petrol vs Diesel? Automatic vs Manual? Ute vs Wagon? New vs old? The list keeps going, and ultimately, you should be looking for a vehicle that is going to suit your requirements as best as possible.
How many vehicles do you see driving down the road with the trailer pointing towards the road, and the vehicles headlights pointing towards the sky? There’s a distinct lack of understanding when it comes to towing safely, and a portion of this comes from not setting your tow hitch to the correct height.