GM Prizm/Nova 1985-1993 Repair Guide

General Recommendations


When towing a trailer, your car will handle differently than without the trailer. The three main causes of trailer-related accidents are driver error (notably failure to anticipate and react earlier than usual), excessive speed and improper loading.

Since the Nova and Prizm are front wheel drive cars, attaching the load of a trailer to the rear bumper creates special problems. As the weight of the trailer is hooked to the rear, the rear of the car is forced downwards. At the same time the front of the car rises, resulting in less weight on the drive wheels. This lightened, nose-up attitude has a definite effect on the go, stop and turn functions of the tires. Wet and/or slippery roads compound this problem since the tires have already lost some of their grip. You must alter your driving style when towing; moderate speeds and anticipation of problems are required.

Always check the trailer lighting before departing. Double check the hitch and its safety chains. Remember that the trailer makes the car tail-heavy; braking distances are increased and acceleration is slower. Chevrolet states that you should not exceed 45 mph when towing with these cars due to the increase in trailer sway at higher speeds.

Simply being conscious of the trailer at all times will go a long way to making your trip a safe one. Wider turns, extra length and a greater exposure to cross-winds need to be in your mind every minute.

When parking the car with the trailer, seek level ground if possible. If the unit must be parked on a slope, make sure the parking brake is firmly set and the transmission is set either in PARK (automatic) or first or reverse (manual). Always use wheel chocks on at least one vehicle wheel and one trailer wheel when parking, whether on a slope or not.