Essential Tips for Towing With Your New Ram Pickup
We're all aware of the capabilities of Ram pickup trucks, especially when it comes to their hauling abilities. The Ram 1500, the "least-capable" of the brand's vehicles, is still able to tow an incredible 10,650 pounds, and the 2500 and 3500 deliver even more impressive specs!
While it's all well and good that these pickups present such incredible towing capabilities, it doesn't do you much good if you don't understand how to utilize your trailer. It's not a seamless transition, since you're potentially adding several thousand pounds to the weight of your vehicle, you're going to have to adjust your driving tendencies.
Luckily, we've provided a guide below to help you get acclimated to your new truck's towing abilities. Whether you're operating the vehicle or simply securing the cargo, this advice could be all you need to prevent a potentially devastating accident. After taking in all of these suggestions, you'll better understand how to manipulate that trailer when you hop behind the wheel of any of the Dodge Ram trucks...
Loading Your Cargo
You may think of this as a rather mindless task. You can simply load all of the cargo into the trailer and then travel to your destination, right?
Wrong. It actually takes a lot more effort and planning than that, especially if you want to increase performance while decreasing the chance of an accident. After all, an uneven trailer is more susceptible to swaying, and you'll also find that you can't steer or slow down your vehicle as effectively.
The Ram website suggests loading 60 percent of the total cargo weight towards the front half of the trailer (closest to the pickup's bed). This will keep the weight evenly distributed, which will vicariously keep the center of gravity as close to the ground as possible. Another theory is to stack the heaviest cargo in the middle of the trailer and surround it with lighter luggage. This will also help maintain those desired aerodynamics.
Understandably, you're also going to want to secure your load. While it may not be all that important to the driver if one of their tools suddenly falls off the trailer, it could negatively impact another driver. If a large object is thrown at an incoming vehicle (or driven over), it can cause extensive damage to a vehicle... and there's a good chance that you'll be held responsible.
Avoid this predicament and secure your cargo as tightly as possible. The Ram website suggests using nylon rope or towing straps to tie all of your cargo into place.
Driving Your Pickup/Trailer
Now that your trailer has been secured, you're ready to travel. Of course, your concerns shouldn't be gone...you'll still have to be mindful that you're hauling hundreds of pounds of cargo with your pickup.
The brand first suggests taking it slow. No matter how fast your believe your pickup is capable of traveling, it's easy to forget that you've added an extra thousand pounds. Therefore, it's going to take additional time to both accelerate and brake, two factors you'll certainly want to account for. By taking it slow, you can get a better feeling for how the new weight effects your truck (while also preventing a potential accident). This is especially important when traveling on icy roads.
You're also going to want to focus on how you're controlling the vehicle. While you can normally get away with slightly swaying your pickup, this won't be plausible when hauling cargo. If you do happen to feel your trailer beginning to sway, you'll want to gently remove your foot from the gas pedal. You'll be causing even more harm by either braking or accelerating.
What about turning? Well, if you've ever driven behind a giant truck, you know they need more room to make a simple turn. You'll now have to account for this in your own pickup, as the trailer significantly lengthens your vehicle. Of course, it takes more than just knowing that a wider turning radius is necessary. You'll also want to account for any other vehicles that may be on the road. If you don't see these fellow drivers, you may find yourself banging into their car.
This same logic applies to passing. Remember that you're now operating a longer vehicle, so it's going to take more time to pass a vehicle than usual. Assure that your truck (and the accompanying trailer) have completely cleared your fellow drivers before you decide to pass. You'll also want to use your turn signal and allow for plenty of clearance room.
Parking is relatively simple, even when you've got a load of cargo attached to your ride. You'll basically just want to park on a flat surface, and you'll ideally find a space that allows you to exit by pulling forward. Regardless of where you've parked, make sure you utilize the parking brake as well as the trailer wheels' chock blocks.
What about backing up? This can be rather confusing when operating a trailer. Ram suggests starting the process with your hands at the bottom of the steering wheel. To turn your vehicle right or left, you'll want to turn your hand in that respective direction. You won't want to complete the motion all at once; slight turns will provide "greater movement." In the event that your truck jackknives, simply straighten the truck and readjust.
Finally, when traveling on uneven terrain, you're going to want to travel slowly...brutally slowly, in fact. Your pickup will take some time to get acclimated to these changes in road conditions so ease the vehicle into the process. If you're operating a Ram truck with manual transmission, you'll want to utilize the downshift whether you're traveling uphill or downhill.
Pretty easy to understand, right? All of these suggestions are simple and straight-forward and they are rather obvious when you think about them. Since you're adding thousands of pounds to your pickup (and multiple feet of length), you'll have to be more cognizant of how you're operating your vehicle. By not following these tips, you could find you and your cargo seriously compromised.