Ford Full-Size Cars 1968-1988 Repair Guide

Driving with a Trailer


Your car will feel quite different when towing a trailer. Before towing on a long trip, take some time to drive your car locally with the trailer to familiarize yourself with its handling, especially if you have never towed before.

Towing a trailer (even if equipped with trailer brakes) requires greater stopping distances. Try to anticipate stops and allow extra room between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Sudden braking can jackknife the trailer or cause the car to skid. To avoid overheating the brakes when going down a steep grade, place the gearshift in a lower gear.

Acceleration will be reduced when towing a trailer. If you must pass, allow plenty of time and room to get back into your lane. Remember to allow for the length of the trailer when pulling back in line.

Allow for the trailer when turning corners. Try to steer to the outside of the turn. If a turn is made too tightly, the trailer could strike the curb.

The stability of your car and trailer will be affected by crosswinds, passing vehicles and rough roads. Anticipate being passed by large vehicles, such as tractor trailers, so you won't be surprised.

If the car and trailer begins to sway, grip the steering wheel firmly and hold the vehicle straight ahead. Reduce your speed gradually, without using the brakes. The car and trailer should stabilize quickly if there aren't any extreme corrections made to braking, throttle or steering.

The art of backing up when towing a trailer can only be learned through much practice. Do not wait until backing up is absolutely necessary, to learn how to do it.