Quick facts you should know - before and after you purchase a Ford Vehicle.

Before you buy(Towing Tips)

  • If you are selecting a vehicle that will be used for towing, you should determine the approximate weight of the trailer you intend to tow, including the weight of any additional cargo and fluids that you will be carrying in the trailer. Also, be sure the vehicle has the proper optional equipment. Keep in mind that performance can be severely compromised in hilly terrain when minimum acceptable powertrain combination is selected. Consider purchasing a vehicle with a more powerful engine.

After you buy (Towing Tips)

  • Before heading out on a trip, check your vehicle Owner's Manual for break-in and severe-duty maintenance schedules (do not tow a trailer until your vehicle has been driven at least 1,000 miles). Be sure to have your fully-loaded vehicle (including passengers) and trailer weighed so as not to exceed critical weight limits. If any of these limits are exceeded, cargo should be removed from the vehicle and/or trailer until all weights are within the specified limits.


  • Many states require a separate braking system on trailers with a loaded weight of more than 1,500 pounds. For your safety, Ford Motor Company recommends that a separate functional brake system be used on any towed vehicle, including those dolly-towed or towbar-towed. There are several basic types of brake systems designed to activate trailer brakes:
    • 1. Electronically Controlled Brakes usually provide automatic and manual control of trailer brakes. They require that the tow vehicle be equipped with a controlling device and additional wiring for electrical power. These brakes typically have a control box installed within reach of the driver and can be applied manually or automatically.
    • 2. Electric-Over-Hydraulic (eOH) Trailer Brakes are operated by an electrically powered pump that pressurizes a hydraulic fluid reservoir built into the trailer?s brake system. Many of the available EOH Trailer brake models are compatible with Ford?s factory installed, dash-integrated Trailer Brake Controller (TBC).
    • 3. Surge Brakes are independent hydraulic brakes activated by a master cylinder at the junction of the hitch and trailer tongue. They are not controlled by the hydraulic fluid in the tow vehicle?s brake system, and the tow vehicle?s hydraulic system should never be connected directly to the trailer?s hydraulic system. Be sure your trailer brakes conform to all applicable state regulations.  (top of page)

Trailer Lamps

  • Make sure the trailer is equipped with lights that conform to all applicable government regulations. The trailer lighting system should not be connected directly to the lighting system of the vehicle. See a local recreational vehicle dealer or rental trailer agency for correct wiring and relays for the trailer and heavy-duty flashers.  (top of page)

Safety Chains

  • Always use safety chains when towing. Safety chains are used to retain connection between the towing and towed vehicle in the event of separation of the trailer coupling or ball
  • Use cross chains under the trailer tongue to prevent the tongue from contacting the ground if a separation occurs. Allow only enough slack to permit full turning ? be sure they do not drag on the pavement
  • When using a frame-mounted trailer hitch,attach the safety chains to the frame-mounted hitch using the recommendations supplied by the hitch manufacturer
  • See your vehicle Owner's Manual for safety chain attachment information
    For rental trailers, follow rental agency instructions for hookup of safety chains  (top of page)

Trailer Wiring Harness 

  • Some vehicles equipped with a factory installed Trailer Tow Package include a trailer wiring harness and a wiring kit
  • This kit includes one or more jumper harnesses (to connect to your trailer wiring connector) and installation instructions (top of page)

Tips on towing.

Towing a trailer is demanding on your vehicle, your trailer and your personal driving skills. Follow some basic rules and you?ll tow more safely and have a lot more fun. 

Weight Distribution

  • For optimum handling and braking, the load must be properly distributed
  • Keep center of gravity low for best handling
  • Approximately 60% of the allowable cargo weight should be in the front half of the trailer and 40% in the rear (within limits of tongue load or king pin weight)
  • Load should be balanced from side-to-side to optimize handling and tire wear
  • Load must be firmly secured to prevent shifting during cornering or braking, which could result in a sudden loss of control  (top of page)

Before Starting

  • Before setting out on a trip, practice turning, stopping and backing up your trailer in an area away from heavy traffic
  • Know clearance required for trailer roof
  • Check equipment (make a checklist)  (top of page)


  • Back up slowly, with someone spotting near the rear of the trailer to guide you
  • Place one hand at bottom of steering wheel and move it in the direction you want the trailer to go
  • Make small steering inputs ? slight movement of steering wheel results in much greater movement in rear of trailer   (top of page)


  • When turning, be sure to swing wide enough to allow trailer to avoid curbs and other obstructions.  (top of page)


  • Allow considerably more distance for stopping with trailer attached
  • Remember, the braking system of the tow vehicle is rated for operation at the GVWR, not GCWR
  • If your tow vehicle is a F-150, F-Series Super Duty®, E-Series or Expedition and your trailer has electric brakes, the optional Integrated Trailer Brake Controller (TBC) will help assure smooth, effective trailer braking by automatically proportioning the trailer braking to that of the towing vehicle
  • If your trailer starts to sway, apply brake pedal gradually. The sliding lever on the TBC should be used only for manual activation of trailer brakes when adjusting the gain. Misuse, such as application during trailer sway, could cause instability of trailer and/or tow vehicle  (top of page)

Towing On Hills

  • Downshift the transmission to assist braking on steep downgrades and to increase power (reduce lugging) when climbing hills
  • With TorqShift® transmission, select Tow/Haul Mode to automatically eliminate unwanted gear search when going uphill and help control vehicle speed when going downhill  (top of page)

Parking With A Trailer

  • Whenever possible, vehicles with trailers should not be parked on a grade. However, if it is necessary, place wheel chocks under the trailer?s wheels, following the instructions below.
    • Apply the foot service brakes and hold
    • Have another person place the wheel chocks under the trailer wheels on the downgrade side
    • Once the chocks are in place, release brake pedal, making sure the chocks will hold the vehicle and trailer
    • Apply the parking brake
    • Shift automatic transmission into park, or manual transmission into reverse
    • With 4-wheel drive, make sure the transfer case is not in neutral (if applicable)  (top of page)

Starting Out Parked On A Grade

  • Apply the foot service brake and hold
  • Start the engine with transmission in park (automatic) or neutral (manual)
  • Shift the transmission into gear and release the parking brake
  • Release the brake pedal and move the vehicle uphill to free the chocks
  • Apply the brake pedal while another person retrieves the chocks  (top of page)

Acceleration And Passing

  • The added weight of the trailer can dramatically decrease the acceleration of the towing vehicle ? exercise caution.
    • When passing a slower vehicle, be sure to allow extra distance. Remember, the added length of the trailer must clear the other vehicle before you can pull back in
    • Signal and make your pass on level terrain with plenty of clearance
    • If necessary, downshift for improved acceleration   (top of page)

Driving With An Automatic Overdrive Transmission

  • With certain automatic overdrive transmissions, towing ? especially in hilly areas ? may cause excessive shifting between overdrive and the next lower gear.
    • To eliminate this condition and achieve steadier performance, overdrive can be locked out (see vehicle Owner's Manual)
    • If excessive shifting does not occur, use overdrive to optimize fuel economy
    • Overdrive may also be locked out to obtain engine braking on downgrades
    • When available, select Tow/Haul Mode to automatically eliminate unwanted gear search and help control vehicle speed when going Downhill  (top of page)

Driving With Speed Control

  • When driving uphill with a heavy load, significant speed drops may occur.
    • An 8-14 mph speed drop will automatically cancel speed control
    • Temporarily resume manual control through the vehicle?s accelerator pedal until the terrain levels off  (top of page)

Tire Pressure

  • Underinflated tires get hot and may fail, leading to possible loss of vehicle control
  • Overinflated tires may wear unevenly
  • Tires should be checked often for conformance to recommended cold inflation pressures  (top of page)

Spare Tire Use

  • A conventional full-size spare tire is required for trailer towing (mini spare tires should not be used; always replace the spare tire with the road tire as soon as possible). (top of page)

On The Road

  • After about 50 miles, stop in a protected location and double-check:
    • Trailer hitch attachment
    • Lights and electrical connections
    • Trailer wheel lug nuts for tightness
    • Engine oil ? check regularly throughout trip  (top of page)

High Altitude Operation

  • Gasoline engines lose power by 3-4% per 1,000 ft. elevation.
  • To maintain performance, reduce GVWs and GCWs by 2% per 1,000 ft. elevation.  (top of page)

Powertrain/Frontal Area Considerations

  • The charts in this Guide show the minimum engine size needed to move the GCW of tow vehicle and trailer.
    • Under certain conditions, however, (e.g., when the trailer has a large frontal area that adds substantial air drag or when trailering in hilly or mountainous terrain) it is wise to choose a larger engine
    • Selecting a trailer with a low-drag, rounded front design will help optimize performance and fuel economy  (top of page)
Note: For additional trailering information pertaining to your vehicle, refer to the vehicle Owner's Manual. Photography, illustrations and information presented herein were correct when approved for printing. Ford Motor Company reserves the right to discontinue or change at any time the specifications or designs without incurring obligation. Some features shown or described are optional at extra cost. Some options are required in combination with other options. Consult dealer for the latest, most complete information on models, features, prices and availability. Many of the recreational vehicles shown in this brochure are modified or manufactured by companies other than Ford Motor Company. Ford assumes no responsibility for such modifications or manufacturing. Metric Conversion ? To obtain information in centimeters, multiply feet by 30.48; to obtain information in kilometers, multiply miles by 1.6. - information within this blog was taken from Ford Motor Company.