Don't run away from trailer safety.(Auto Monday)(Auto aftermarket)
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
August 21, 2006
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Byline: Bob Kocher
A safe trip when pulling a trailer should always be first and foremost. I will never forget the time I was driving north on the West Virginia Turnpike when a pickup truck passed me pulling a trailer with a NASCAR display car. Just after the truck passed me the trailer came unhitched and took off running wild. We were going up a steep grade and by the luck of the draw, the trailer ran into a bank and stopped. Of course I now watch with care when all trailers approach me when I am driving.
A safety feature for trailers that might come loose from their towing vehicle is what is known as trailer breakaway systems. They are becoming mandatory in more and more states each year. The breakaway system is simple. If a trailer gets loose, the breakaway system applies the trailer brakes. Many but not all trailers use a breakaway system. You should check the law in your state pertaining to these systems. I believe Illinois requires breakaway kits for trailers exceeding 5,000 pounds.
In response to the growing number of states requiring a breakaway system, trailer hitch and towing hardware company Valley Industries offers trailer breakaway kits that contain all the components needed to automatically apply power to the trailer brakes in the event the trailer becomes separated from the tow vehicle.
"Drivers should understand the heavy fines they subject themselves to when towing without a breakaway system," said Bryan Fletcher, president, Valley Industries. "The cost of one citation can far exceed the purchase price of a kit. More importantly, a breakaway system ensures the safety of other motorists, your trailer and its contents."
Valley's standard kit (@#53700) provides a complete system to power electric trailer brakes should a breakaway occur. It includes a lockable polyethylene battery box, rechargeable 4.5 amp/hr. sealed lead acid battery, pulse preventer, breakaway switch and batter charger/tender.
The new deluxe trailer breakaway kit includes the same components but features a stronger battery and charging system designed to monitor the battery voltage and reduce its output when fully charged - thus increasing overall life.
Kit components can be purchased individually. Professional installation is highly recommended.
Valley towing equipment can be purchased at leading automotive parts and retail stores including Blain's Farm & Fleet, Napa Auto, and Tractor Supply Company locations. To find a Valley dealer in your area, visit the company online at www.valleyindustries.com and select the "Where to Buy" link (or call 800-344-3112).
Valley Industries has been manufacturing quality towing products since 1947. To ensure customer satisfaction and a safe towing experience, Valley develops, designs, and tests its products in a state-of-the-art R&D facility. Valley products are manufactured to exceed federal and state government towing standards.
Motorists Can Order Free Guide Online
A new Car Care Guide for motorists turns technical automotive jargon into easy-to-understand everyday language, taking the mystery out of vehicle maintenance and repair. The free guide, published by the Car Care Council, can be ordered on the council's Web site at www.carcare.org.
The guide, which fits easily in a glove box, explains the nine most common preventative maintenance procedures and repairs that need to be performed to keep cars operating safely and reliably while maintaining their long-term value. It also includes a list of questions to ask when these maintenance or repair procedures are being done on a car.
To further familiarize motorists with their vehicles, the guide has clear, concise descriptions of 12 major vehicle systems and parts. A Car Care Checklist reminds motorists what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service or repair should be performed.
"The first step toward a safe and dependable vehicle is to be car care aware - to understand your vehicle, what kind of care it needs, when it needs it and why," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "The easy-to-follow guide provides this information, cutting through the technical language and terms that often confuse or prevent motorists from really taking good care of their vehicles."
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit www.carcare.org.
With gas prices at record levels, there is no better time for motorists to make sure their vehicles are running efficiently in order to save at the pump. The new Car Care Guide explains the nine most common preventative maintenance procedures and repairs that need to be performed to keep cars operating safely and reliably, while maintaining their long-term value. It also includes a list of questions to ask when maintenance or repair procedures are being performed on a car.
The Car Care Council's "Be Car Care Aware" education campaign is an ongoing campaign to build awareness and knowledge to prepare consumers to make sensible decisions about their vehicles. The Council has joined forces with NASCAR to launch the "Be an Angel, Maintain Your Car and Save Some Gas" public service announcement.
- Bob Kocher is president of the Chicago-based Midwest Automotive Media Association. Questions may be e-mailed to autotalk@@aol.com.