Towing Mirrors and towing advice

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Lynden-Jeff, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405


    Well my 6' by 12' JDJ trailer is ready and I pick it up in the morning. Any tips of driving with it? I have never driven with a trailer and I have just gotten the hang of driving a pickup truck. Would you guys suggest getting extended towing mirrors? I have regular mirrors with mini convex but I don't think it will give me a good view of the trailer. Any suggestions appreciated!

  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You do it however you want, but if you drive it wrong, you will replace a LOT more tires, brake pads, and your transmission / clutch will fail long before its time, not to mention you might rear-end someone. You don't really need any extra equipment, I don't have any of that, my trailer has no brakes but I have learned to stay way back and take it real easy. On that note, try and pick some out of the way routes where there is less traffic and most of all, less intersection and traffic lights.

    Anyway, here's a thread I wrote, I get over 100,000 miles out of my brakepads, my tires last until they literally rot off the rim, and my 3/4 ton truck gets 15mpg:
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    As for backing up, practice, practice, practice.

    Take it nice and slow, one tip is to put only ONE hand at the BOTTOM of your steering wheel when backing up the trailer: Now, whichever way you pull your hand, the back of your trailer will go the same direction. Again, when backing up, the slower the better. Most of all, watch for obstacles: If you must back between a tree and another car, think to yourself: It is ok to hit the tree, it is NOT ok to hit the car, and you should be ok :) On that note, think of backing slow enough that if you do hit an obstacle, you barely 'touch' it, thus minimizing damage. Always back slow, so slow that if you hit something, the only way you realize that you're up on something is when the rig fails to move any further... You always go real slow, you'll be fine.

    Far as driving on the road, get some blind-spot mirror to stick on your passenger side (one of those little round convex things with the sticky backing). For the driver's side, if you move your head FORWARD and towards the side mirror, now you can see your blind spot.
    As for changing lanes, you're the last one in traffic already, right? Right...
    Seriously, put on your turn signal kinda early, I also mounted extra signal lights on the trailer just for this reason but anyway... Check your blind spot and make sure nothing is coming, and ease on over. There comes a time you may have to force the lane change, don't be afraid to rest one hand on the horn when nobody will let you over, it gets like that and my turn signal has just become my 3-second warning that I'm coming OVER but again, be careful because if you hit someone it is still your fault heheh...
  4. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,707

    go to a parking lot and practice backing up with the trailer, it takes a bit of practice to get down. wider mirrors help, but they are mostly for using enclosed trailers. Remember that you are now 12' longer and are much heavier, so remember that the next time you try and race accross an intersection before the other car.
  5. LazerZHP

    LazerZHP LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 28

    Mirrors should be fine,when you make turns pull further forward before starting your turn.This wiill avoid running up on curbs and sidewalks etc. Backing up that short trailer for the first time should get your blood pressure up,and give onlookers some cheap entertainment.anyways just be aware of that 12 plus ft.behind your truck at all times and you should be fine.
    Also your stopping distince will be loooonger.
  6. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    LOL @ topsites...

    The "net" style tailgates are a joke. Several universities and engineering firms have concluded that mileage is actually increased with a standard tailgate in the UP position. This result was also found by the team on Discovery Channel's show Mythbusters--the truck with the tailgate UP went considerably farther on a tank of gas than with the tailgate DOWN.

    I'd like to see you get 15 MPG pulling my trailer--you can have it if you do! (And you have to travel at least 60 MPH).

    Tires last until they "rot" off the rim? You've got some safety issues there, bud.

    I'm not sure what engine you've got in your pickup, but I'd have to think it'd be underpowered in the Rockies where I live.

    "High performance air filter"?! Congratulations, you've bought yourself an expensive piece of marketing success that just lets more dirt (silicon) into your oil.

    But what do I know...
  7. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Sorry, to answer the original post: No, I don't think you'll need towing mirrors for a trailer that small. Even factory, non-towing mirrors should be fine for a trailer only 12' long.

    Happy towing!
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh, here's another trick: The jack-knife turn.

    You have to be dang careful or you will ding or dent your truck, but it comes that time when you get into a cul-de-sac or other spot where you just don't have the space to turn around in one swoop.

    So, turn and go around as far as you can, then stop, and follow these steps:
    Turn your steering wheel the opposite direction and put in reverse. Now, back up real slow until the trailer is jack-knifed against your truck but be CAREFUL with that and be sure to stop before you damage either. Once it's jack-knifed, put gear in forward and turn the steering wheel back the original way and go forward - repeat if necessary.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Here's yet another great Picasso-like drawing of mine on the jack-knife turn:

  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Far as safety issues, if you have the 600 dollars it costs to put new tires on my truck, pm me. Other than that, I'll replace my tires when I think they need replacing, unlike many of your relaxed rocky states, we have state inspections our cars must pass, and I can assure you my 20-year old truck gets at least one annual state inspection. Please remember I live 100 miles south of Washington DC, and rest assured that the closer you live to the seat of national government, the tighter your butt will squeak.

    As for fuel and mileage, you're assuming I drive an EFI but my truck has a 318 carbureted Dodge motor, so you are correct in all of your assumptions since you drive an EFI, you should be seeing 16-18mpg but then your fuel is a lower octane (85 regular, 91 super vs. our 87 / 93) and I can see first-hand your problems. Don't worry, the real reason the octane in the rockies is lower is not because of the baloney they feed you about being higher up in the air, it is the simple fact that trucking a higher octane fuel up there would cost your kind an arm and a leg and the fuel industry got tired of hearing it so now you have your stuff just the way you've always wanted it.
    Because believe you me, I got far better fuel mileage in my car when I filled up with 93 right before hitting the heights than any time I ever ran that baloney 91 garbage, I love the large fuel tanks they put on performance cars allowing those of us to drive right through any areas that don't sell a quality fuel.

    We were just talking about the wild west, where men are men and sheep are nervous, land where folks with underground caches of weapons and survivalist gear worry about the BIG war, while chupacabras run rampant.

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