ARE YOU TOWING SAFELY?

Every holiday season, Australians take to the roads with caravans and trailers as they seek out the perfect spots

But drivers should be careful, warns James Maslin – General Manager of All-Air Suspension, Airbag Man’s NSW appointed distributors. He cautions that prolonged towing trips and heavy loads can show up suspension issues not evident during day-to-day, shorter or unloaded trips.
These safety issues can become particularly evident in both family and work vehicles where they are taken out of their usual environment and subjected to rough country roads and Outback odysseys.
“Towing isn’t just a matter of attaching a trailer and away you go. You have to consider the extra strain this is going to put on the vehicle, and make sure you are adequately equipped to handle it, without jeopardising the safety of yourself and your family,” James said.
“For all its usefulness, towing will lead to some serious safety concerns if the suspension is not correctly set up to support the load.”
All-Air Suspension lists the following as some signs that you are not hauling safely:
• Your suspension is sagging – this can happen at both the front and the back of the vehicle. If one half looks visibly lower than the other, this is called suspension sag and means that the vehicle’s suspension is not able to cope with the load. Driving with suspension sag leads to extra wear and tear on the vehicle.
• Your vehicle is leaning to one side – this can happen when too much of the load is positioned on one side of the vehicle and your suspension isn’t set up to handle the uneven load.
• Your shock absorbers are wearing out too quickly – heavier loads will inevitably wear down shock absorbers faster than usual.
• You’re over your Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) – this is the maximum operating weight, and is set by the vehicle manufacturer. Exceeding this weight should be avoided at all costs, as it strains the vehicle and is unsafe for the user.
If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, James says it may well be worth considering the solutions offered by All-Air Suspension, which distributes Airbag Man suspension kits throughout NSW (and which can provide Airbag Man contacts for all other States and Territories).
The Firestone airbags used in the Airbag Man kits are outstanding for front-to-rear and side-to-side levelling control of a vehicle. They enable it to “level up” when carrying heavy, uneven loads and when towing trailers, caravans and boats. Users can adjust the airbags for varying loads and road conditions by simply inflating or deflating them, just like inflating or deflating a tyre. Airbag Man also offer a wide range of airbag inflation options.
“The kits also have benefits when the vehicle is loaded or empty, towing or not towing, because the air pressure can be adjusted to suit the load, preventing sagging and helping them to last longer,” James said.
“This adjustability can be particularly important where a vehicle (such as a 4wd or dual-cab vehicle) doubles up as a work vehicle and as a family vehicle.”

For more information, visit www.allair.com.au