Getting Your Pickup Ready for Trailer Towing

14 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog


When you bought your truck you didn't expect that you'd be pulling a big vacation trailer. Now you have the bug to get out on the open road. Before you hitch up that 5th wheel, though, there are a few changes to make to your truck so it won't struggle to pull the load. Here are some of the things to do to your truck to make it ready for heavy duty towing.

Upgrade Your Oil

Heavy towing puts additional stress on the engine, which causes more heat. The heat reduces your gas mileage and creates more wear and tear on the engine. Change the oil in your pickup and use a synthetic blend made for towing. These oils work better at high temperatures. They thin out less when hot and keep your engine lubricated at all temperatures. They also don't break down as quickly as the natural organic oils, so they have a longer life before needing to be changed.

Suspension Changes

As you pull the load down the road, the trailer puts additional stress on your truck's suspension, and you can find yourself bouncing and swaying when you hit bumps and potholes. Consider installing heavy-duty shocks and springs on your truck. If you have leaf springs, add a leaf or two and re-arch the springs.

Keep the Engine Cool

Besides the oil upgrade to keep the engine cooler, install a larger capacity radiator. Use a mixture of equal parts water and coolant for it to get the best protection. You'll get the maximum antifreeze properties in the winter, and in the summer heat, it will help prevent corrosion and wear on the water pump.

Additional Cooling for the Transmission

If you don't pull a trailer heavier than the rated load for your pickup, your transmission should be kept cool enough with the factory cooling that came with the truck. However, you can install an additional radiator to cool the transmission even more, if you wish. This may be of most use if you do a lot of mountain driving where steep grades are involved.

Get Extra Stopping Power with Trailer Brakes

Electric and hydraulic brakes are available as aftermarket options for your trailer. These connect to the braking system of your truck so as you push on the brake pedal, the brakes on the trailer are applied. This gives you much better stopping power. It will also keep your truck running cooler since it's not responsible for stopping both the truck and trailer. This is another option to seriously consider if you do a lot of trailering on steep grades.

For help with any of these additions and upgrades, contact a company like Crouse Body Shop Inc. to set up an appointment.