Towing a trailer

There are numerous legal requirements concerning the towing of a trailer, e.g. speed restrictions. Make sure that your vehicle/ trailer combination complies with the local requirements not only in your area of residence but also at any location to which you are traveling. The police and local authorities can provide reliable information.

Please observe the following when towing a trailer:

  • To acquaint yourself with driving with a trailer and with the resulting changes to handling, you should practice cornering, stopping and reversing in a traffic-free location.
  • Before driving, check:
    - the trailer tow hitch
    - the safety switch for braked trailers
    - the safety chains
    - the electrical connections
    - the lights
    - the wheels
  • Adjust the exterior mirrors to provide an unobstructed view of the rear section of the trailer.
  • If the trailer features electronically controlled brakes, pull away the vehicle/ trailer combination carefully, manually brake using the brake controller, and check the brakes for correct function.
  • Secure any objects on the trailer to prevent the cargo from slipping when the vehicle is in motion.
  • If you couple up a trailer, regularly check the cargo for secure fastening and make sure that the trailer lamps and (if applicable) the trailer brakes are functioning correctly.
  • Bear in mind that the handling will be less stable when towing a trailer than when driving without one. Avoid sudden steering movements.
  • The vehicle/trailer combination is heavier, accelerates more slowly, has a decreased gradient climbing capability and a longer braking distance.
    It is more susceptible to side winds and requires more careful steering.
  • If possible, avoid abrupt braking. Depress the brake pedal moderately at first, so that the trailer can activate its own brakes. Then increase the pressure on the brake pedal.
  • If the automatic transmission continues to shift back and forth between two gears when driving up or downhill, restrict the shift range. Select shift range 4, 3, 2, or 1. A lower gear and lower speed reduce the risk of engine failure.
  • On long and steep gradients that are difficult to drive down in shift range 1, switch to the off-road program or engage the LOW GEAR off-road gear.
  • When driving downhill, shift to a lower gear to utilize the engine's braking effect. Avoid continuous brake application as this may overheat the vehicle brakes and, if installed, the trailer brakes.
  • If the coolant temperature increases dramatically while the air-conditioning system is switched on, switch off the airconditioning system.
    Coolant heat can additionally be dissipated by opening the windows and by setting the blower fan and the interior temperature to maximum.
  • When overtaking, pay particular attention to the extended length of your vehicle/ trailer combination.
    Due to the length of your vehicle/trailer combination, you will have to travel an additional distance beyond the vehicle you are overtaking before returning to the previous lane.
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