How Much Can You Tow?

img_20160914_091603517

The last realization you ever want to have is, “I just bought this trailer but don’t know if my truck can tow it.” At that point, you may be in trouble. It’s much better to know exactly how much your truck, van, or SUV can tow before you even begin shopping for a camper, equipment trailer, or whatever it is you may be in the market for. Check out how you can calculate your payload and learn exactly how much you can tow.

Calculating Your Payload

On your truck, usually in the doorjamb, you will find a sticker showing the Weight Ratings or Cargo Carrying Capacity. You’ll want to get this information and then load up your vehicle as if you were going on a trip. Load up your driver, frequent passengers, any luggage you’d take, and, of course, your hitch. Then you’ll want to go to a place where you can get your vehicle weighed. Truck stops, quarries, and dumps are just a few places you can get your vehicle weighed.

Once you find out your total vehicle weight, find the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating on the Weight Ratings sticker. Alternatively, you can find a statement such as, “The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed ___ kg or ___ lbs” on the Cargo Carrying Capacity. Take either of these numbers and subtract the total vehicle weight. The number leftover is how much you can tow. This is called tongue weight, pin weight, or payload.

Using This Information

Now that you’ve calculated your payload, you can begin searching for a trailer or camper. While shopping, you’ll want to get the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of whatever it is you intend to buy. If the dealership doesn’t list the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating then you can figure it out by combining the Unloaded Vehicle Weight and Cargo Carrying Capacity. Take that number and multiply it by 0.15. No matter how much is loaded into that trailer or camper, that is the most the weight could ever be. This is the number that you’ll need to be less than your payload.

If you’re still worried about choosing the wrong trailer you can always get help from a professional dealer. The experts at The Hitch Man in Maryland and Pennsylvania can make sure you get exactly what you need and that you can tow it too.

Maintaining Your Trailer Brakes

Wal Used

No matter what you drive or where you’re driving, no piece of equipment is more important than your brakes. It’s even more vital when you’re hauling a trailer as the tiniest mistake could send the trailer and your vehicle off the road or into another vehicle. You need to be sure that your trailer has quality brakes and that those brakes are always well maintained. Here are just a few tips to maintaining your trailer brakes and staying safe on the road.

Check For Corrosion

Water and salt are especially bad on brakes and depending on what your trailer tows, such as jet skis or snow equipment, there is a very good chance your trailer brakes are seeing a lot of both. Be sure to check your brakes annually for rust or corrosion. Remove the wheels and hubs and check all parts for wear and rust flakes. It is recommended you visit your local trailer service at the first sign of corrosion and get your trailer brakes replaced.

Keep An Eye On Brake Fluid

Brake fluid levels should be checked monthly. Most brake problems you’ll ever have stem from brake fluid issues. Check your manual or consult your local trailer dealer for more information on brake fluid and your trailer brakes.

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes are different from disc brakes as they require more upkeep. You’ll need a fresh water wash down kit to clean the hub drums after each use. This is something you can find at your local trailer store. They can also be used to wash down your boat, jet ski, or any other important equipment that may have come in contact with corrosive materials.

If you’re ever unsure about the brakes on your trailer you should immediately visit a professional to have them looked at and replaced if necessary. The Hitch Man in Pennsylvania and Maryland provides expert trailer service at affordable prices to keep your trailer running safely and smoothly.

Questions To Ask When Buying A Dump Trailer

IMG_20160226_110217987
Dump trailers are versatile tools with a variety of applications that can be used in any number of jobs. They’re used daily in many different industries ranging from construction to farming. They’re popularity and usefulness stems from their affordability and the convenience of being able to haul and dump material without the need for a heavy duty, full size dump truck. They’re a good fit for many needs but there are some key questions buyers should be asking themselves when shopping for the dump trailer that’s right for them.

What Will You Be Hauling?

This is the most important and obvious question. Dump trailers come in many sizes and you want to be sure that whatever you’re hauling will fit inside.

How Frequently Will You Be Hauling?

If you’re only going to be dumping a small load every so often then there are a variety of smaller dump trailers that can be hooked onto a pickup or similar vehicle. However, if you’re lugging materials every single day then you’ll want to get something larger and more heavy duty as the bigger dump trailers are built to last longer.

How Heavy Is Your Haul?

If you’re carrying heavy loads, then you will most assuredly need a larger dump trailer. Even if what you need to carry is small and will fit into a smaller dump trailer, it is recommended to get a larger one as they are the only ones designed to carry heavyweight loads. Putting a dense load into a smaller dump trailer will most likely result in a broken dump trailer.

What Vehicle Are You Hauling With?

There are many different styles of dump trailer. The style of dump trailer you need will depend on the type of vehicle you’re using. It is recommended you check your vehicle operating manual and look for help from your local trailer store to make sure you’re getting the dump trailer that is best suited for your needs.

How To Pull A Trailer Safely

8.5 x 24 Homesteader Champion SGT 10k
No matter how big or small your trailer may be, whether you’ve had it for decades or just bought a trailer for sale, you should always treat it with the respect you’d give to any vehicle. Proper safety measures save lives while ensuring a safe drive.

Before You Haul
• Check your vehicle’s manual to make sure you are within your towing capacity. Hauling too much with the wrong kind of vehicle can put a lot of people in danger.
• Make sure your trailer is safely and securely connected to your hitch. The locking mechanism and lock pin should firmly be in place. There should also be two chains crisscrossing in an X shape between the trailer and your vehicle. Consult a professional if you aren’t sure.
• Pull on the trailer. You shouldn’t be able to move it from the hitch. If you can, it needs to be reattached.
• Check the brake lights and signals to make sure they are connected and working properly.
• If your trailer has a wheel stand, make sure it is in the up or drive position.

While You Haul
• Many states require vehicles pulling trailers to drive in the slower right hand lanes. Check your state’s laws for more information.
• Always remember to signal before changing lanes and give the adjacent cars enough time to clear the area.
• Break gently and always give yourself plenty of space to stop. You’re carrying more weight than usual.
• Backing up can be extra difficult. Remember to turn your wheel in the opposite direction you want your trailer to go. So, if you need the trailer to go right, turn the wheel to the left. If you mess up you can always pull forward to straighten out and try again.
• Make wide turns to compensate for the trailer.
• Be aware of the height of your trailer. The last thing you want is to become stuck in a tunnel or under a bridge.
• Take your time and don’t rush.

Use caution while driving, take everything slow, and keep these safety suggestions in mind. They’ll go a long way towards keeping you, your passengers, and your cargo safe.

Finding The Accessories You Need

The staff at The Hitch Man wants to invite you to visit our showrooms and check out our state of the art trailers, hitches, snow plows, and other truck accessories. Whether you’re buying a trailer for your truck, a new hitch for your trailer, or an entirely new snow plow, you want options. We know there are a lot of things to think about when buying such important equipment and we want to be sure you’re getting exactly what you need for the price that you deserve.
TTown Showroom (1)
Purchasing online can be risky as you can’t inspect any of the equipment and what’s the point of going to a dealer that only has one or two options. When you visit our showroom at The Hitch Man you’ll find dozens of affordable options, the latest plow equipment, and all the truck accessories you could possibly need. To top it off, our experienced and expert staff is always ready to assist you in finding the equipment that best suits your requirements. We’re proud of the relationships we build with our customers and we appreciate that getting the right equipment for the right job can be a monumental task. Our staff works to keep our customers informed and prepared so their equipment lasts longer and works stronger.
Waldorf Showroom
The Hitch Man is your one stop shop for all your trailer and snow plow needs. Don’t waste money on equipment you don’t want when you’ve got options waiting for you at The Hitch Man! Stop by our showroom where our inviting and dedicated staff can help you outfit your truck or snow plow with the accessories you need to get the job done and keep everything running smoothly. Whether you’ve got a custom build or simply need some of our amazing products, you’ll always find a wide selection of inventory at competitive prices.
TTown Showroom (2)
The Hitch Man is a family owned and operated company with locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Come visit us in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania or check out our Maryland locations in Taneytown and Waldorf. The Hitch Man is right around the corner and you can rest assured you’ll always find exactly what you need.

Get Your Trailer the Attention It Needs

trailer_header.1jpg
Keeping something from breaking is always a better idea than trying to fix something that’s broken. This goes for trailers as much as it does for anything else. Proper and timely maintenance of your trailer is less costly, avoids major repairs, and gets you back on the road faster. Follow these simple suggestions to get your trailer the proper maintenance it needs.

Create A Maintenance Plan

You should have your trailer serviced at least once a year but you should also be aware of your individual trailer’s specific needs. That may mean taking your trailer in earlier. Remember to consider how much you carry and how far you travel. The heavier loads and longer distances require more frequent trailer maintenance. Inspect your trailer before, during, and after every trip for signs that it may need a checkup.

Find A Reputable Service Provider

Make sure the people working on your trailer are licensed and care about your safety. Incorrect maintenance could lead to a broken trailer, damaged goods, or even a major accident. Contact The Hitch Man for more information about trailer service in Maryland and Pennsylvania and to create a preventative maintenance schedule that works best for you and your trailer.

Test Your Trailer

Keep track of your maintenance records to better view the progress of repairs. You can also evaluate the success of trailer maintenance by simply being aware. Ask yourself these questions:

• Are you getting places faster?
• Are you paying less for repairs overall?
• Does the equipment have fewer problems?

Preventative maintenance on a regular basis will save you time and money while keeping your trailer in safe working order.

Buy Equipment, Get A Tax Deduction

IMG_20150121_080344_337
The holiday season is here and we understand that between festivities and preparing your snow plow there is a lot of work to be done. But you can’t forget that this time of year is also the time to get ahead of your taxes for next year. It’s a good time to consider any equipment purchases you’ll need to make and which may qualify you for the IRS 179 tax deduction.

How To Qualify
Created as an economic stimulus program for small businesses, the IRS section 179 tax deduction allows small businesses to use this deduction to minimize business expenses after leasing or purchasing equipment. To use this deduction the equipment must be purchased and used at least once in the year you’re filing for.

What Equipment To Buy
Any furniture, vehicles, vehicle accessories, hardware, software, and tools purchased for your business qualify for the 179 tax deduction. This means if you haul equipment in your trailer or use a salt spreader on your plow or even if you buy a new snow plow they can all be written off under this deduction. Making it the perfect time to visit The Hitch Man and get the equipment you need this year so you can get the tax break you need next year.

Keeping The Roads Clear

SP575-3
Winter is here and it won’t be long before the roads become hazardous with patches of ice and snow. In America, more than 1,000 people die every year due to slushy, snowy, or icy roads. Plowing and de-icing the roads can prevent up to 93% of accidents. What most people don’t know is that there are many ways to de-ice your driveways, sidewalks, and streets. With over a hundred brands on the market it can be quite the task to know which de-icing compounds and chemicals are right for you. Each compound has its own pros and cons. So, we’ve taken the time to compile a few of them for you.

Road Salt

The most commonly used form of de-icer is road salt. Whether it be sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, or potassium chloride, people use salt everywhere from their front steps to their major highways. Salt works by lowering the freezing point of water, effectively breaking up and melting the ice along the roads as well as making sure the ice doesn’t reform. Salt works best on well paved roads where the sodium chloride rests on the solid surface and breaks the bond between road and ice. Salt will not work as well on gravel roads and driveways as the salt mixes with the water and seeps into the gravel. Leaving the opportunity for ice to reform. The lowest temperature salt works in is -25°F. Any lower and you’ll want to pursue other forms of de-icing.

Liquid De-Icers

Liquid de-icers are to be used proactively on pavement and therefore must be spread before snow falls. The chemicals attract moisture which form a heat generating brine that stops ice from even forming. This method uses less chemicals overall and is most likely to save you money as it requires less de-icer and less plowing after the fact. However, if a snowstorm or blizzard comes on too fast it can be daunting to apply the de-icing compound along the roads before the snow hits.

Fertilizers

A method that has become more popular in recent years has been the use of fertilizer to de-ice roads. Fertilizer works well on unpaved roads as the fertilizer is much harder to wash away then salt or liquid compounds. However, it often takes more fertilizer than would normally be used in an area which can be harmful for the environment and may even cause more road damage than road salt.

Organic Alternatives

Fearing the damage that salt runoff can have on the environment, many local communities have found alternate methods of de-icing. Sand, sawdust, and kitty litter wont melt ice but it will provide more traction and doesn’t use chemicals. Agricultural communities have been known to use beet juice and cheese brine as natural de-icing compounds which work much the same as liquid de-icers. Even sugar cane molasses can be used as a natural and environmentally friendly de-icer. These alternatives can also save a lot of money as they are naturally produced byproducts that most farms look to get rid of. However, getting enough beet juice or cheese brine to coat the roads is not an easy alternative in many communities.

There are many choice compounds you can load your plow or truck up with. For more information on snow plows, salt spreaders, and other de-icing equipment, contact The Hitch Man and speak with a professional.

4 Uses For Enclosed Trailers

IMG_20160114_075608812

Most people own open trailers for towing boats, cars, campers, and a range of other things you don’t mind out in the elements. But when you need to keep your cargo protected, or it requires a bit more security, well, enclosed trailers aren’t just for towing horses. Here are some great uses for enclosed trailers.

1. Hauling Motorcycles
There’s nothing like the wind in your face and the sun at your back as you ride your hog. But whether your bike needs repairs or the weather is keeping you off the roads, there’s going to come a time when you need to move your motorcycle without riding it. An enclosed motorcycle trailer will not only keep your bike pristine but it can be customized with tools, equipment, and anything else your motorbike may need. They’re also perfect for hauling classic motorcycles to shows without any danger of scratches or dents.

2. Hauling Tools
No matter what your job, an enclosed trailer can be customized to fit any profession. Maybe you need it to deliver heavy items. Or you just need a safe place to store delicate tools and important equipment. They can even be turned into portable workshops. From musical instruments to medical equipment, an enclosed trailer is exactly what you need.

3. Hauling ATVs
The sun is shining and nature is calling. Time to dust off the old go karts, four wheelers, dune buggies, and dirt bikes. An enclosed trailer helps you get your vehicle and your friends exactly where you want to be. Many people even leave their ATVs inside their enclosed trailers so they’re always ready for use.

4. Hauling Snowmobiles
Just like your ATV and your motorcycle, a snowmobile can be a lot of fun in the right conditions. But you don’t need to wait for winter with an enclosed trailer. There’s nothing to stop you from loading up your snowmobile and heading up to the mountains. When you’re finished, you can even throw all your wet clothes into the trailer for the ride home.

Enclosed trailers have a wide range of uses and can be modified and customized for any situation. Contact The Hitch Man for more info on enclosed trailers and let us know what you use your enclosed trailer for.

11 Tips To Prepare Your Snow Plow For Winter

western-hts-07-dodge-1500

The temperatures are dropping, the nights are getting longer, and that chill in the air is letting you know Autumn is ending and Winter is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to get your snow plow out of storage and make sure it’s ready for the winter months. Follow these tips to make sure you and your plow are ready before that first snowflake even falls.

1. Check all fasteners and bolts on your plow. A loose plow can damage the plow and your vehicle.
2. Check and re-fasten all fasteners in the vehicle mount for the very same reason.
3. Examine all welds in the vehicle mount and the plow. Even these can come loose.
4. Inspect the tread and cutting edge of the plow. Replace if they’re looking too worn.
5. Change the hydraulic fluid.
6. Check and re-fasten all trip and return springs. It should be just tight enough that a business card can fit in between the coils of the spring.
7. Lube the vertical pin and any pivot pins.
8. Cover all electrical connections on the plow and truck in di-electric grease.
9. Check all of the lights on the plow and truck to make sure they are in perfect working order. You’ll also want to make sure the headlights are properly adjusted now that the plow is on.
10. You should have an emergency parts kit available for any on the go repairs. Some items to include are:
• Hydraulic Fluid
• Hoses
• Solenoid
• Fuses
• Trip and Return Springs
• Safety Strobe
• Flares
• Tow Strap
• Shovel.
11. Have the battery and charging system inspected by a professional. The last thing you want is to be trapped in a winter storm.

The winter months can be harsh. Remember these tips to protect your plow, your vehicle, and yourself.