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Illustration 2005 US Mercedes

Illustration 2005 US Mercedes

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Published by cow6oy

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Published by: cow6oy on Oct 07, 2008
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01/17/2010

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DRIVER'S ED
by Sam Charles
HITCH YOURTRAILER
TO
OUR STAR
What to know before you tow
PEOPLE TO NAME THE PERFECT
m-ueather
car, and many willa convertible. But for millions ofericans, spring and summer
in
SUV time, because
thiise
y vehicles are ideal for towing
ipers
and boats.Surprisingly,t
states
don't require a specialer's license to
tow
a trailer, butdoesn't mean you don't need
ial
skills: A trailer completely
iges
the driving dynamics. With
tie
practice and common sense,ever, anyone can master the fine
if
towing.\ctually,towing is more of
a
sci-e than an art-it's physics, to be
ct
Once you hitch up a trailer,r presence on the road becomes
;er,
heavier, and in most cases,er and taller. This size change
iriably
has a huge effect, basedhese two basic laws of physics:
xly
at rest tends to stay at rest,a body in motion tends to staytotion.
Die
first thing you'll notice is a
i
in your tow vehicle's ability to
aerate-after
all, you're now ask-the same engine and drivetrain
laul
more weight. Conversely,n you brake, your much-heavier
is
will require more time (and
mce)
to come to a halt. The keyg to remember is that once yout moving, your cargo takes on alife of its own:
It
will tend to continuein the direction you've been travel-ing, even if you decide to changecourse. That's why it's critical to fas-ten your cargo securely and todistribute the weight property.
A
rule of thumb is that about 60 per-cent of the weight should go towardthe front of the trailer. For specific
towing
guidelines, however, consultthe owner's manual for your vehicle,and your Mercedes-Benz retailer.As anyone who has hauled atrailer can attest, the trickiest aspectof towing is backing up. Make thetask easier by installing mirrors thatallow you to see your entire load, anddon't be shy about asking someone
to
guille you. If backing up still leavesyou frantic, try this: Put both handsat the bottom of the steering wheeland move the wheel in the directionyou want the rear of the trailer to go.Mission
accomplished,
o
The best advice can be summed up in three words: practice,practice, practice! But here's a list of other things for thefirst-time tower to keep
in
mind.
Always use safety chains. Crisscross them under the trailertongue to support the trailer in case of separation.For safety, maintain a slow and steady speed. Don't forgetthat everything (slowing down, speeding up) takes longerwhen your road presence is heavier, longer, and wider.A slow and steady pace also helps your fuel mileage.Keep your distance. Remember the old rule of one car lengthfor every
10 mph?
Your vehicle length might now be threetimes longer, so space yourself accordingly. Also, justbecause your Mercedes SUV has ABS brakes doesn't meanyour trailer does, and a quick stop can lead to
fishtailing.
If someone is
tailgating,
pull over and !et him
by:
Towi
• Be aware of the
wind.
A tall trailer can react just the way asailboat does. If it's too blustery out, wait for calmer weather.you wantchanging
advance-especially wl
ting.
Last but not least, have fun. Sure, driving slowly and carefullymight mean
it
takes longer to reach your destination, but aren'tvacations made for taking it easy?;t but not least, have
fu
MERCEDES

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