Towing fails are pretty common on America’s roads and highways. We’ve all seen someone trying to pull far more than they ever should with a Honda Civic, or maybe they’re hauling a massive trailer with nothing tied down so all of its contents spill out on the road. However, it’s a towing fail like this that’s a rare gem.
In the ultimate fail, this Chevy Suburban owner decided to hook up his SUV to the rear bumper of his fifth-wheel trailer. Aka the wrong end. Of course, there are a number of problems with this. But, we’ll get into that later. First, let’s check out this fifth-wheel towing fail in action.
WATCH: Fifth Wheel Towing Fail
As you probably know (or can, at least, assume), that huge overhang at the rear of the travel trailer is typically meant to be secured to the trailer hitch in the truck bed of a pickup truck. By hitching the rear of the camper to his SUV, the Suburban owner in the above video is creating a host of problems. First, the distance from the rear wheels of the Chevy to the camper’s rear axles is too short, making it hard to handle or back up. Then, there’s the weight distribution problem, which could make braking an absolute nightmare. If that SUV gets lifted, that’s gonna spell bad news for not just the driver, but for everyone on the road.
How 5th Wheel Towing Works
Now, this brings us to the correct way to tow a fifth wheel, which is a hitching mechanism between a trailer and a tow vehicle that helps to increase the turn radius. Simply put, a fifth wheel works by locking a king pin (similar to a hitch coupler) into what is known as the lock jaw (the hitch receiver).
While technically it is possible to use a van or SUV to tow a fifth wheel by using an automated safety hitch, generally only trucks, given their higher tow rating, should be used when towing RVs or campers. To determine the right tow vehicle for the job, you want to know the towing capacity. This is determined by factoring in the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), the gross axle weight rating (GAWR), the gross trailer weight (GTW), and the tongue weight (TW).
To avoid being like the guy in the video, you’re going to definitely want to take weight limits into account and do enough research to make sure you’re not exposing yourself to any safety issues. Getting that RV to and from the campsite doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you definitely don’t want to wing it either.
This post was originally published on April 26, 2019.