Preparing for Winter Roadside Emergencies

What’s The Big Deal About Towing An AWD Vehicle?

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s The Big Deal About Towing An AWD Vehicle?

The promise of extra traction in wet and snowy weather has made all-wheel drive (AWD) a popular option for many car buyers. However, the addition of all-wheel drive can make towing a vehicle so equipped a bit complicated. The following explains why it’s important to err on the side of caution when towing an AWD vehicle. You’ll also learn a few safe ways to get the job done, whether you’re towing your own vehicle or having a towing service do the work for you. Understanding AWD and 4WD Before getting down to the nuts and bolts of AWD, it’s important to clear up a bit of confusion concerning the term “all-wheel drive.” That’s because it’s commonly used interchangeably with “four-wheel drive” (4WD), which works similarly to AWD in some respects. However, there are a few important differences between AWD and 4WD: 4WD systems are generally optimized for off-road use. Part-time 4WD systems allow the driver to manually engage all four wheels at low speeds. Full-time 4WD systems work similarly to AWD, allowing drivers to keep all four wheels engaged. Most 4WD systems use front and rear differentials, plus a transfer case for engaging the front and/or rear axles. AWD systems are optimized for on-road use. AWD systems typically use front and rear differentials just like their 4WD counterparts, but with the addition of a viscous or electronic coupling to split power between each set of axles or even individual wheels. Most AWD systems are also permanently engaged to varying extents, making it impossible to disengage without removing a driveshaft. The Problem With Towing AWD Vehicles When it comes to towing a vehicle on two wheels, common wisdom dictates that the vehicle being towed shouldn’t be towed by its drive wheels. Even if the vehicle is left in neutral, towing a car by its drive wheels can cause significant damage to the transmission. With a front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicle, that means towing the car with its rear wheels on the ground. For a rear-wheel drive (RWD) car, the opposite applies — the car must be towed with its front wheels on the ground (with the steering locked for safety) or with the driveshaft removed while its rear wheels are on the ground. For an AWD car, however, that common wisdom flies out of the window. Towing a vehicle equipped with a permanent AWD system on two wheels could result in damage to the coupling, as well as the transmission and various other drive components. How to Tow an AWD Vehicle without Damage When dealing with AWD vehicles that need a tow, keeping it off the ground is usually the best strategy. For this, you’ll need a flatbed tow truck or a flatbed trailer. Trailering or towing an AWD vehicle on a flatbed is the easiest and often safest choice of moving such a vehicle without causing thousands of dollars in damage to its drivetrain. When flatbed tow trucks or trailers aren’t available, many tow truck and crane services resort to tow dollies to transport AWD vehicles while keeping their wheels above ground. Keep in mind these aren’t the tow dollies normally offered by moving truck rental companies. These tow dollies consist of an inline pair of small wheels attached to a metal frame. The frame is placed against the vehicle’s...

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Determining The Proper Trailer Length When Hauling Heavy Equipment

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Determining The Proper Trailer Length When Hauling Heavy Equipment

Contractors don’t always have a lot of experience hauling heavy equipment on the crossroads of America. This is why they often ask the question, “What’s the longest trailer I can use?” The answer is: “It depends.” Unfortunately, that answer isn’t very clear, but it’s a common response for many questions that involve sizes and weights. This is because the states in this country have their own rules and regulations when it comes to trailer length limits, in addition to federal size and weight limits. The answer also depends upon what type of vehicle is pulling the trailer, the number of trailing units, the kingpin to rear axle length, and even what route you are driving. With all of these variables, it can be a bit confusing to arrive at the right answer for you. Keep reading this article to learn about federal size and weight limits and the most confusing variable – the kingpin to rear axle length. Federal Size & Weight Limits Federal size and weight limits are determined by the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA for short. Specifically, federal size and weight limits are included in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 23, Part 658. The purpose for this part of the CFR is to follow the provisions set forth by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982. This section also prescribes national policies that govern truck size and weight. Every state must allow the federal government to set maximums on highways, regardless of what the state’s laws are. Federal Minimum Length Thanks to the Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, all 48-foot semitrailers are allowed to drive on any portion of the National Network of highways, as long as it’s being pulled by a truck-tractor. This provision includes lowboys, step-trailers, and flatbeds. A 48-foot trailer will meet the needs of most contractors who haul heavy equipment. But if you need something bigger, like a 53-foot trailer, the rules become more complex. The Act grandfathered any trailers or semitrailers that were currently in use and were within each state’s standard of length. When the Act was first introduced, this was a problem because only about half of the United States allowed a 53-foot trailer to travel on the highway. The other states had minimums that were less than 53 feet. Thankfully, over the years, those states updated their laws to allow 53-foot trailers, that is, every state except for Hawaii. Here’s where the kicker comes in. Some states that originally had a 48-foot maximum trailer length added a kingpin to rear axle distance limit for any trailer over 48 feet in length. The reason is to allow these states to regulate this distance in order to help control the turning radius and wheelbase of the trailer and the vehicle pulling it. How To Measure Kingpin To Rear Axle If your trailer has a single rear axle, start at the kingpin and measure the length to the center of the rear axle. If you have a group of rear axles, then measure from the center of the kingpin to the center of the group of axles. In case you are not sure, a kingpin is the round steel shaft that’s attached to the front of a fifth wheel trailer. It’s considered to be a coupling apparatus. States With...

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