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Published On: Thu, Dec 20th, 2018

Automatic versus Manual: Which is Best for Towing?

While towing professionals undergo extensive training to haul cars, trucks, motorcycles and more, the average driver is obviously at a disadvantage. Actually rigging the trailer or vehicle to your own may seem like the most complex part, but that’s not quite true: have you thought about your transmission type?

While it might not seem to make much of a difference whether you’re towing with a manual or an automatic, it actually does. And in this post, we’ll look at just what that means.

photo courtesy of Pine Towing

First things first: Weight and capability

Before we get to the transmission type, let’s consider an equally pressing issue: the towing vehicle’s capabilities.

It’s vital your car or truck is capable of hauling the cargo safely. Trying to transport vehicles that exceed your maximum capacity is dangerous — and not just for the vehicle itself. The customer’s car and other drivers on the road could all be at risk.

Your car manual should carry both its own weight and its maximum towing capacity. If not, or you don’t have said document, you can check the manufacturer’s website or the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate on your car.

This carries the different weights your vehicle supports (to help you avoid overloading it with passengers and cargo). One technique is to subtract the gross vehicle weight from the gross train weight, but do consider checking with the manufacturer or a car expert if in doubt.

Added strain and terrain

Before towing, you have to think about the type of terrain to be covered. Will it be a smooth ride all the way, or there maybe be some rougher patches to negotiate?

In general, a car or truck with manual transmission will be slightly better on challenging terrain as you have the flexibility to shift gears and throttle, to accommodate the landscape’s demands.

However, if you plan to be passing over soft sand at any point, automatics will experience no reduction in momentum caused by changing gears.

Towing in challenging weather conditions

Towing in wet or snowy weather conditions can be tough too.

An automatic transmission offers more control in rough weather as traction won’t be lost when changing gears. You’ll also have more freedom to focus on staying safe on the road rather than stressing over which gear is best.

In windy conditions, the vehicle being towed must (obviously) be secured as tightly as possible.

The risk of overheating

One issue that can affect towing with an automatic is overheating.

Towing a vehicle that pushes the truck to its limits is dangerous and could leave you stranded. A transmission cooler will prevent overheating and help you stay on the road for as long as you need to.

This isn’t an issue with manuals, though.

Crossing hilly terrain

If you’re crossing hilly terrain, bear this in mind: it’s simpler to start ascending a slope in an automatic than a manual.

Why? You’re less likely to overwork the clutch or lose traction. Of course, depending on the size of the trailer or vehicle being towed, you may want to find an alternative route made up of flat terrain instead.

Staying alert, staying focused

One final point to factor in before you start towing: the constant attention required when driving a manual can help you stay alert and avoid complacency. It’s easy to forget you’re actually carrying extra weight if you’re on the road for hours without needing to stay on top of gear changes.

As you can see, while there are differences between towing with a manual and automatic, good preparation and safety measures are vital regardless of the transmission type. If in doubt, you may want to consult a local towing firm for advice — or to let them handle the hard work instead!

For more information on professional towing solutions, go to http://autotowing-long-beach.com/

Author: Colin Steinway

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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