Tips For Safely Transporting An Off-Road Vehicle

16 August 2016
 Categories: Automotive, Articles

If you love going off-road but don't want the hassle of driving your off-road vehicle to and from the trailhead, trailering your off-road vehicle gives you a flexible alternative. You can still have fun and not have to worry about getting back in case something on your off-road vehicle breaks.

When towing your off-road vehicle on a car hauler, it's important to know how to keep your prized possession safe and secure during transit. After all, an improperly tied down four-wheeler is one obstacle that other drivers don't want to see come undone from a trailer. Here are a few solid tips you can use to keep your off-roading machine safe and secure while trailering.

Always Load Your Vehicle Forwards

The general rule of thumb when towing any type of trailer is to always have 60 percent of the load's weight on the front half of the trailer, ahead of the trailer's front axle. This helps prevent the trailer from swaying back and forth while it's being pulled. Keeping 60 percent of the vehicle's weight up front is easy to do when the vehicle is loaded forwards onto the trailer. The only times you'll want to load a vehicle backwards onto your car hauler is if the vehicle's engine is located in the rear or if the vehicle's wheelbase is short enough to accommodate the 60-percent threshold.

Lock It Down in Low Range

If your off-road vehicle is equipped with 4-wheel drive, it's a good idea to put it in low-range mode or "4-Low." If the vehicle has locking hubs, then you'll want to make sure those are locked, as well. In addition to setting the parking brake, these steps offer added assurance that the vehicle won't move while it's being trailered.

Always Run Straps over Smooth Metal

Regardless of how you attach straps to your vehicle, you should always run them over the smoothest possible surface. Running your axle straps over jagged, uneven bits of metal can easily sentence your straps to a short working life. As the vehicle moves back and forth, sharp surfaces can slice into the strap and cause it to fray and tear over time.

Watch Out for Brake Lines

The worst thing you could do is route an axle strap over a brake line or a speed sensor wire. The force exerted on the strap as it's being cinched down can pinch or even break one of these lines, which could make for a miserable time when you're out on the trail. If you have a brake line or any other sort of line or wiring running over the axle tube, you'll want to run your straps underneath instead of over the line.

Never Rely on the Winch

You can use your car hauler's recovery winch to pull your vehicle up the ramps, but you should never rely solely on it to hold your vehicle in place. There's always the possibility that the winch could give way under the extended period of stress, so you'll want to have your vehicle properly tied down with ratchet or cam buckle straps.

Always Tie Up Those Loose Ends

In a lot of cases, there's bound to be a sizable amount of unused strap at the end of your ratchet or cam buckle straps. You should never let your strap ends flap in the breeze, as this could cause the straps to become frayed. Instead, use a small bungee cord or a Velcro strap to tightly bundle the excess strap to the strap handle. Not only will it help preserve your straps, but it'll also give your car hauling rig a much cleaner look.