Trailer Towing - Information

Trailer Towing

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The Toyota Celica is designed primarily as a passenger-carrying vehicle. Towing a trailer will have an adverse effect on handling, performance, braking, durability and driving economy (fuel consumption, etc.). Your safety and satisfaction depend on the proper use of correct equipment and cautious driving habits. For your safety and the safety of others, you must not overload your vehicle or trailer. Toyota warranties do not apply to damage or malfunction caused by towing a trailer for commercial purposes. Ask your local Toyota dealer for further details before towing.

Before towing, make sure the total trailer weight, gross vehicle weight, gross axle weight and trailer tongue load are all within the limits.

The total trailer weight and tongue load can be measured with platform scales found at a highway weighing station, building supply company, trucking company, junk yard, etc.

* The total trailer weight (trailer weight plus its cargo load) must not exceed 907 kg (2000 lb.). Exceeding this weight is dangerous.

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* Trailer hitch assemblies have different weight capacities established by the hitch manufacturer. Even though the vehicle may be physically capable of towing a higher weight, the operator must determine the maximum weight rating of the particular hitch assembly and never exceed the maximum weight rating specified for the trailer- hitch. Exceeding the maximum weight rating set by the trailer hitch manufacturer can cause an accident resulting in serious personal injuries.

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* The gross vehicle weight must not exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) indicated on the Certification Label. The gross vehicle weight is the sum of weights of the unloaded vehicle, driver, passengers, luggage, hitch and trailer tongue load. It also includes the weight of any special equipment installed on your vehicle.

* The load on either the front or rear axle resulting from distribution of the gross vehicle weight on both axles must not exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) listed on the Certification Label.

* The trailer cargo load should be distributed so that the tongue load is 9 to 11% of the total trailer weight, not exceeding the maximum of 90 kg (200 lb.). Never load the trailer with more weight in the back than in the front. About 60% of the trailer load should be in the front half of the trailer and the remaining 40% in the rear.

* Use only a hitch which is recommended by the hitch manufacturer and conforms to the total trailer weight requirement.

* Follow the directions supplied by the hitch manufacturer, and bolt the hitch securely to the rear bumper. Lubricate the hitch ball with a light coat of grease.

* Toyota recommends removing the trailer hitch whenever you are not towing a trailer to reduce the possibility of additional damage caused by the hitch if your vehicle is struck from behind. After removing the hitch, seal any mounting holes in the vehicle body to prevent entry of pollutants such as exhaust fumes, dirt, water, etc.

NOTICE: Do not use axle-mounted hitches as they can cause damage to the axle housing, wheel bearings, wheels or tires. Also, never install a hitch which may interfere with the normal function of an Energy Absorbing Bumper.

* Toyota recommends trailers with brakes that conform to any applicable federal and state/provincial regulations.

* A safety chain must always be used between the towing vehicle and the trailer. Leave sufficient slack in the chain for turns. The chain should cross under the trailer tongue to prevent the tongue from dropping to the ground in case it becomes damaged or separated. For correct safety chain procedures, follow the hitch or trailer manufacturer's recommendations.

* If the total trailer weight exceeds 453 kg (1000 lb.), trailer brakes are required.

* Never tap into your vehicle's hydraulic system as it would lower its braking effectiveness.

* Never tow a trailer without using a safety chain securely attached to both the trailer and the vehicle. If damage occurs to the coupling unit or hitch ball, there is danger of the trailer wandering over into another lane.

* Ensure that your vehicle's tires are properly inflated.

* The trailer tires should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the trailer manufacturer in respect to the total trailer weight.

* Trailer lights must comply with federal, state/provincial and local regulations. See your local recreational vehicle dealer or rental agency for the correct type of wiring and relays for your trailer. Check for correct operation of the turn signals and stop lights each time you hitch up. Direct splicing may damage your vehicle's electrical system and cause a malfunction of your lights.

* Toyota recommends that you do not tow a trailer with a new vehicle or a vehicle with any new power train component (engine, transmission, differential, wheel bearing, etc.) for the first 800 km (500 miles) of driving.

* If you tow a trailer, your vehicle will require more frequent maintenance due to the additional load. For this information, please refer to the scheduled maintenance information in the "Scheduled Maintenance Guide" or "Owner's Manual Supplement".

* Retighten all fixing bolts of the towing ball and bracket after approximately 1000 km (600 miles) of trailer driving.

* Check that your vehicle remains a level when a loaded or unloaded trailer is hitched. Do not drive if the vehicle has an abnormal nose-up or nose-down condition, and check for improper tongue load, overload, worn suspension or other possible causes.

* Make sure the trailer cargo is securely loaded so that it can not shift.

* Check that your rear view Mirrors conform to any applicable federal, state/provincial or local regulation. If not, install the rear view Mirrors required for towing purpose.

When towing a trailer, your vehicle will handle differently than when not towing. The three main causes of vehicle-trailer accidents are driver error, excessive speed and improper trailer loading. Keep these in mind when towing:

* Before starting out, check operation of the lights and all vehicle- trailer connections. After driving a short distance, stop and recheck the lights and connections. Before actually towing a trailer, practice turning, stopping and backing with a trailer in an area away from traffic until you learn the feel.

* Backing with a trailer is difficult and requires practice. Grip the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hand to the left to move the trailer to the left. Move your hand to the right to move the trailer to the right. (This procedure is generally opposite to that when backing without a trailer). Also, just turn the steering wheel a little at a time, avoiding sharp or prolonged turning. Have someone guide you when backing to reduce the risk of an accident.

* Because stopping distance may be increased, vehicle- to- vehicle distance should be increased when towing a trailer. For each 16 km/h (10 mph) of speed, allow at least one vehicle and trailer length between you and the vehicle ahead. Avoid sudden braking as you may skid, resulting in jackknifing and loss of control. This is especially true on wet or slippery surfaces.

* Avoid jerky starts or sudden acceleration. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, prevent excessive clutch slippage by keeping engine rpm low and not racing the engine. Always start out in first gear.

* Avoid jerky steering and sharp turns. The trailer could hit your vehicle in a tight turn. Slow down before making a turn to avoid the necessity of sudden braking.

* Remember that when making a turn, the trailer wheels will be closer than the vehicle wheels to the inside of the turn. Therefore, compensate for this by making a larger than normal turning radius with your vehicle.

* Crosswinds and rough roads will adversely affect handling of your vehicle and trailer, causing sway. Pay attention to the rear from time to time to prepare yourself for being passed by large trucks or buses, which may cause your vehicle and trailer to sway. If swaying happens, firmly grip the steering wheel and reduce speed immediately but gradually. Never increase speed. Steer straight ahead. If you make no extreme correction with the steering or brakes, the vehicle and trailer will stabilize.

* Be careful when passing other vehicles. Passing requires considerable distance. After passing a vehicle, do not forget the length of your trailer and be sure you have plenty of room before changing lanes.

* In order to maintain engine braking efficiency do not use fifth gear (manual transmission) or overdrive (automatic transmission).

* Because of the added load of the trailer, your vehicle's engine may overheat on hot days (at temperatures over 30C [85F]) when going up a long or steep grade with a trailer. If the engine coolant temperature gauge indicates overheating, immediately turn off the air conditioning (if in use), pull off the road and stop in a safe spot. Refer to "If your vehicle overheats" in your vehicle's owners manual.

* Always place wheel blocks under both the vehicle and trailer wheels when parking. Apply the parking brake firmly. Put the transmission in "P" (automatic) or in first or reverse (manual). Avoid parking on a slope with a trailer, but if it cannot be avoided, do so only after performing the following:
1. Apply the brakes and hold.
2. Have someone place wheel blocks under both the vehicle and trailer wheels.
3. When the wheel blocks are in place, release your brakes slowly until the blocks absorb the load.
4. Apply the parking brake firmly.
5. Shift into first or reverse (manual) or "P" (automatic) and turn off the engine.

When restarting out after parking on a slope:
1. With the transmission in "P" position (automatic) or the clutch pedal depressed (manual), start the engine. (With an automatic transmission, be sure to keep the brake pedal depressed.)
2. Shift into gear.
3. Release the parking brake (also foot brake on automatic transmission vehicles) and slowly pull or back away from the wheel blocks. Stop and apply your brakes.
4. Have someone retrieve the blocks.

* Do not exceed 72 km/h (45 mph) or the posted towing speed limit, whichever is lower. Because instability (swaying) of a towing vehicle trailer combination usually increases as the speed increases, exceeding 72 km/h (45 mph) may cause loss of control.

* Slow down and downshift before descending steep or long downhill grades. Do not make sudden downshifts.

* Avoid holding the brake pedal down too long or too frequently. This could cause the brakes to overheat and result in reduced braking efficiency.