6 Steps to Towing a Caravan With an Automatic Car

Towing a Caravan can be tedious and fun at the same time. You can make it more enjoyable when you learn how to go about it the right way.

In a few easy steps, you can determine your car’s towing capacity and gain access to all the available options.

This article will help you to prepare your Caravan for towing, as well as the best practices to keep your automatic car in check which will help you to tow your Caravan. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to trailers or camping, if you can follow the right approach with your automatic car, towing a brand new or used Caravan is pretty achievable.

The necessary vehicle’s inspection

These small but important things are worth mentioning here. These will guide you on minor details and would be helpful in preventing a major setback.

Not a rule though, but the first thing you might want to do is to install a cooler that will help to eliminate the excessive heat generated while towing. That’s because ‘towing’ a vehicle or any trailer causes an extra heat generation in the transmission case.

Thus, it would be more than helpful to install a trans cooler.

Image result for trans cooler

Use a more compatible fluid for the transmission lubrication. The market is enriched with a lot of fluids types.

They all are not the same. Be careful and research extensively on the right fluid. Because if you choose the wrong grade or brand, it could damage your transmission.

Additionally, transmission shifting by backing off slightly will minimize the transmission load and assist with a smooth change.

Address the small discrepancies right on time. Small things left unattended would cause a big damage in the process of towing. So before a major downside, make sure all the small faults are addressed properly.

Last but not least, check your fluid quality. Your transmission has a dipstick. Screw it out regularly and check carefully whether the color and smell of fluid are qualified to move on?

Recommended Upgrades for Towing

Always remember to note the fluid temperature and control. As the temperature and fluid control is directly related to the car’s performance and reliability.

If you notice any problem, more likely high fluid temperature, immediately fix it.

Before setting out for a journey, make sure that the temperature gauge is working properly. Start engine for a test and read the live temperature.

In order to increase performance and reduce the heat generation, use a full synthetic ATF or a nomad valve for the body up gradation purpose.

Last but not least, for the temperature control and fuel economy purpose, use a lock-up control kit.

Other controls you need to know

You should know some important things about the system of an automatic car like gearbox, modes, and the creep, etc. The more you’re aware of these things, the less harm or mishap you will experience.

The Creep is the function of an automatic car to move forward or backward when it is not in parking or neutral mode. It must always be restrained by either the hand or the foot brake.

In addition to the manual selection of the modes like winter, sports or economy, many gearboxes are programmed to shift modes automatically simply by observing driving style.

For example, driving enthusiastically on the zigzag road will shift the mode becoming more “sporty”. The gearbox will hold lower gears longer to provide necessary acceleration.

Similarly, some automatic vehicles have specific towing modes. You can shift the transmission to the towing mode which will automatically recognize the load and acceleration aptness.

A sharp stab on the accelerator will result changing down the gears ratio to one or more. This will provide extra acceleration particularly helpful when overtaking another vehicle.

Common Mistakes When Towing a Caravan with an Automatic Car

It is a most common misconception among camper travelers and RV owners that driving moderately diminishes fuel utilization and load. However, in case of an automatic vehicle be cautious.

The automatic car will not select lock-up of the torque converter while towing in the drive position.

Thus, an automatic car in drive position will constantly shift in and out of lock-up and even down to a lower gear. Driving in the drive position when under load will add to high heat generation in the transmission and overheating by and large.

Instead of driving in a drive position, it would be better to select a lower gear in order to control heat and increase reliability.

Driving Techniques

Car and Caravan combination is something basic and crucial to decide, that is more likely to be faced by new travelers.

Even if it becomes more upsetting when a traveler fails to assess the compatibility of his vehicle, incorrect loading or simply a lack of skills. By using common sense, you can fix all challenging issues and you can get skills only by practicing, as practice makes a man perfect.

When you have resolved all of the above-mentioned issues, you can drive your camper trailer as easy as driving a car.

Before you set out for a recreational journey with a camper trailer, it would be helpful to read the following driving techniques.

If you are required to overtake a longer vehicle, particularly trucks and other caravans, do it very cautiously.

Besides reducing speed well before approaching the other vehicle, you must use the indicator to make other drivers aware of your next move.

Also, take a long time before returning back into the left-hand lane.

Remember to check mirrors to ensure it is safer to overtake. Avoid overtaking slower vehicles when going down the hill.

If you are moving off with a load behind the acceleration, the rate will automatically be reduced. Your camper trailer will move farther than the simple car when you put off your foot from the accelerator.

Also, consider the gear sequence; use the selector level wisely to control up to the changes in an automatic transmission fitted vehicle.

You need to put special attention on the selector controlling up changes when going uphill.

Always be cautious about fuel consumption and timely filling the fuel tank.

Pulling a given load requires a specific level of power and the power required will be same whether the engine has four, six or eight cylinders.

This means that when you are towing with a four-cylinder engine, the fuel consumption will be as equal as if a six-cylinder engine was fitted in the vehicle.

Besides this technique, you can reduce the fuel consumption by simply following a rule. Reduce the speed by judging the traffic some distance ahead. It can prevent you using unnecessary braking and delays.

Some pros and cons you would like to know

An automatic car offers many advantages — thus making driving more enjoyable for the drivers as well as towing a trailer or Caravan.

Drivers do not need to use their left leg time and again to depress a clutch pedal against a resistance of the clutch spring. This happens more likely in towns or traffic jams.

The tendency to creep is very helpful in driving at low speeds. For example, hitching up or backing onto a pitch requires a smooth and continues dragging.

Often, you can control your car at low speeds, using the only brake, with no need to press accelerator and brakes in a precise and balanced way.  

On the other hand, when you are halted shortly on a gentle upward slope, you do not need to apply brakes.

You also do not have to release brake with an accurate combination of clutch management and engine revs.

You need only to transfer your right foot from brake to the accelerator-ready for moving off.  The main disadvantage of towing with the automatic car is that they have the lower maximum towing capacity.

It is more important to know towing capacity of your vehicle, otherwise, you can lose your insurance validity and more likely to be penalized by the Police.

In fact, automatic cars are not suitable for heavier caravans though you can tow a lighter caravan more conveniently.