Ford Escape: Trailer towing
Trailer towing with your vehicle may require the use of a trailer tow option package.
Trailer towing puts additional loads on your vehicleвЂ™s engine, transmission, axle, brakes, tires and suspension. For your safety and to maximize vehicle performance, be sure to use the proper equipment while towing.
Follow these guidelines to ensure safe towing:
вЂў Do not tow a trailer until your vehicle has been driven at least
1,000 miles (1,600 km).
вЂў Consult your local motor vehicle laws for towing a trailer.
вЂў Refer to the instructions included with towing accessories for the proper installation and adjustment specifications.
вЂў Thoroughly prepare your vehicle for towing. Refer to Preparing to tow in this chapter.
вЂў Stay within your vehicleвЂ™s load limits.
вЂў Use extra caution when driving while trailer towing. Refer to Driving while you tow in this chapter.
вЂў Service your vehicle more frequently if you tow a trailer. Refer to Special operating conditions in your scheduled maintenance.
For load specification terms found on the label and instructions on calculating your vehicleвЂ™s load, refer to Vehicle loading - with and without a trailer in this chapter. Remember to figure in the tongue load of your loaded vehicle when figuring the total weight.
WARNING: Do not exceed the GVWR or the GAWR specified on the certification label.
WARNING: Towing trailers beyond the maximum recommended gross trailer weight exceeds the limit of the vehicle and could result in engine damage, transmission damage, structural damage, loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover and personal injury.
вЂў Maximum trailer frontal area should not exceed 24 ft2 (2.2 m2) if
vehicle is equipped with a 2.5L engine; 30 ft2 (2.8 m2) if equipped
with a 3.0L engine.
вЂў Certain states require electric trailer brakes for trailers over a specified weight. Be sure to check state regulations for this specified weight. The maximum trailer weights listed above may be limited to this specified weight, as the vehicleвЂ™s electrical system does not include the wiring connector needed to activate electric trailer brakes.
Preparing to tow
Use the proper equipment for towing a trailer and make sure it is properly attached to your vehicle. Contact your authorized dealer or a reliable trailer dealer as soon as possible if you require assistance.
Do not use a hitch that clamps onto the vehicleвЂ™s bumper; use a load-carrying hitch. You must distribute the load in your trailer so that 10вЂ“15% of the total weight of the trailer is on the tongue.
Always connect the trailerвЂ™s safety chains to the hook retainers on the vehicle. To connect the trailerвЂ™s safety chains, cross the chains under the trailer tongue and allow slack for turning corners.
If you use a rental trailer, follow the instructions that the rental agency gives to you.
Do not attach safety chains to the bumper
Electric brakes and manual, automatic or surge-type trailer brakes are safe if installed properly and adjusted to the manufacturerвЂ™s specifications. The trailer brakes must meet local and Federal regulations.
WARNING: Do not connect a trailerвЂ™s hydraulic brake system directly to your vehicleвЂ™s brake system. Your vehicle may not have enough braking power and your chances of having a collision greatly increase.
The braking system of the tow vehicle is rated for operation at the GVWR not GCWR.
Trailer lamps are required on most towed vehicles. Make sure all running lights, brake lights, turn signals and hazard lights are working. Do not connect trailer lamps directly to your vehicleвЂ™s tail lamps. This can cause damage to your vehicleвЂ™s electrical system. Contact your authorized dealer or trailer rental agency for proper instructions and equipment for hooking-up trailer lamps.
WARNING: Never connect any trailer lamp wiring to the vehicleвЂ™s tail lamp wiring; this may damage the electrical system resulting in fire. Contact your authorized dealer as soon as possible for assistance in proper trailer tow wiring installation. Additional electrical equipment may be required.
Driving while you tow
When towing a trailer:
вЂў Do not drive faster than 70 mph (113 km/h) during the first 500 miles
(800 km) of trailer towing and donвЂ™t make full-throttle starts.
вЂў Turn off the speed control. The speed control may shut off automatically when you are towing on long, steep grades.
вЂў Use the grade assist feature (automatic transmissions) when towing.
This feature provides engine braking and helps eliminate excessive shifting for optimum fuel economy and transmission cooling.
вЂў Allow more distance for stopping with a trailer attached; anticipate stops and brake gradually
Trailer towing tips
вЂў Practice turning, stopping and backing-up before starting on a trip to
get the feel of the vehicle-trailer combination. When turning, make
wider turns so the trailer wheels will clear curbs and other obstacles.
вЂў To aid in engine/transmission cooling and A/C efficiency during hot weather while stopped in traffic, place the gearshift lever in P (Park) (automatic transmission) or neutral (manual transmissions).
вЂў After you have traveled 50 miles (80 km), thoroughly check your hitch, electrical connections and trailer wheel lug nuts.
вЂў If you are driving down a long or steep hill, shift to a lower gear. Do not apply the brakes continuously, as they may overheat and become less effective.
вЂў Vehicles with trailers should not be parked on a grade. If you must park on a grade, place wheel chocks under the trailerвЂ™s wheels.
Launching or retrieving a boat
Disconnect the wiring to the trailer before backing the trailer into the water. Reconnect the wiring to the trailer after the trailer is removed from the water.
When backing down a ramp during boat launching or retrieval:
вЂў Do not allow the static water level to rise above the bottom edge of
the rear bumper.
вЂў Do not allow waves to break higher than 6 in (15 cm) above the bottom edge of the rear bumper.
Exceeding these limits may allow water to enter vehicle components:
вЂў Causing internal damage to the components.
вЂў Affecting driveability, emissions and reliability.
Replace the rear axle lubricant any time the axle has been submerged in water. Rear axle lubricant quantities are not to be checked or changed unless a leak is suspected or repair required.
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