Using a Car trailer

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 19:50
ThreadID: 88963 Views:2736 Replies:10 FollowUps:5
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G'day, I want to buy an unregistered car which is about 50klm from my place. I've towed many things in my life but never used a car trailer. I have a prado and want to pick up a commodore but not sure on how to do this.. Will the trailers you get from the servo be ok, how is the car secured to the trailer.... I have a tekonsha brake controller ?

Cheers Don
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:10

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:10
Hi Don. Had a friend's son borrow his BT50 to tow a commodore on a car trailer recently. Coming down Mt Ousley near Wollongong they lost control and did 16k damage to the ute. Turns out they had the car on the trailer backwards so make sure you load it with weight up front. Probably a hire co would be the best as they will supply all you need and go through it with you. Cheers,Bob

AnswerID: 464740

Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:27

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:27
I would put that down to being a Ute and no weight V's car trailer with car going down a hill. The trailer will want to overtake you, you put on brake and then you overturn, lose control or run into a bank or oncoming car. Every car has a towing capacity and if you exceed it the above happens.
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Follow Up By: Dion - Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 00:08

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 00:08
Not nescessarily being a ute having no weight.
The original post said the car was on the trailer backwards, which if the commodore had it's engine installed, would have made the trailer tail heavy, and the invetable is sure to happen, as it did.
It is likely that if the commodore had been loaded front first, with the weight on the trailer where it should have been, the trailer would have likely been more stable and the accident may not have occured.
Of course what I don't know, is why the commodore was put on the trailer rear first.
I did witness recently, a Holden 1t ute on a car trailer which was loaded front first, being towed by a Holden Crewman, 95% of the time, likley to remain stable. So why did it go pear shaped, whip across the road and turn itself over? The engine for the 1tonner was not in the engine bay, but sitting on the back of the 1tonners tray. As it approached me, I could see it being whippy and could only think this was going to end in tears, I moved that far left, my left wheels were off the bitumen in the gravel, I moved back fully onto the bitumen only to look in my rearview mirror to see a heap of dust and combination going sideways, upways downways and lots of tears (only about 250-300m after we crossed each other). I'm by no means an expert, but I'd suggest the combination was unstable because the loading and weight distribution on the trailer was poor.

FollowupID: 738745

Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:17

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:17
Hi, Every car comes with tie down points which are on the front and back of the car under the bumper, Use chain or straps to secure from their to the car trailer, but not to the rails of the trailer, use the body of the trailer. As for the Prado I don't know it's weight so can't comment on that.
AnswerID: 464742

Reply By: mikeyandmary - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:35

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:35
Hi Don,

Car trailers (and other large trailers) from the servo are generally fitted with over-run brakes. These work by applying the trailer brakes when the trailer is travelling faster than the tow vehicle (i.e. when you use the brakes).

You can tow up to 2T with these brakes and the tow vehicle must be heavier than what is being towed.

I have used large (1.8T loaded) furniture trailers and and a large (10' x 6') cage trailer which used these brakes. Drove 1100km with the furniture trailer and a diesel challenger and had no dramas. As long as you drive smoothly you should only notice the trailer when you accelerate. Brake smoothly and the trailer will slow smoothly.

Others may be able to help with tying down the commodore but I would expect you would tie it down using straps between the tow hooks on the commodore and suitable hooks on the trailer.

Anyway... Hope this is helpful
AnswerID: 464746

Reply By: Road Warrior - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:12

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:12
All the ones I have used over the years have been hire ones, but from hire places like Coates or whatever as I doubt the local servo practices much preventative maintenance on their trailers

I've never towed anything heavy apart from a car on a trailer and all I would say is just use common sense - you're towing something heavy and unwieldy and carrying its weight rather high so load it correctly (you can position the car on the trailer just right for weight distribution) and use chains to secure the vehicle under its front K-frame and rear axle (in addition to the hand brake and in-gear of the Commode, if it works). Is the Commodore drivable? If not you'll need a trailer with a winch and it will probably have mechanical or hydraulic brakes on it so your electric brake controller won't be of much use

I used to use a V8 Fairmont Ghia when I towed cars and never had an issue towing them
AnswerID: 464749

Reply By: Member - Andrew L (QLD) - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:46

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:46
Ge a local tilt tray / tow operator to transport it for you...last time I did that this year it was a pick up fee of $90 and $1.00 a kilometre.

Beats the hassle of servo trailers and possible accidents, breakdowns etc.
AnswerID: 464756

Follow Up By: ss--ss - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:50

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:50
That sounds pretty good, I actually have about 35 klm but I was thinking it would be over $300.. Will do some ringing around tomorrow. Cheers don
FollowupID: 738735

Reply By: ss--ss - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:47

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:47
Thanks guys. Sounds like it's do-able, I'll take it easy... Cheers Don
AnswerID: 464757

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:52

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 21:52

I towed a car trailer from Winton, up to Ravenshoe, on Atherton Tablelands, to pick up a Falcon XR6 sedan. That's about 600 km the short way, and I came home via Charters Towers, so as to keep on the black stuff. Towed it with a Landcruiser 79 series, and handled it no worries.

If you don't want the commodore to move, then get 4 old tyres, say 13" or 14", and lay these flat on the bed, where you expect the Com's wheels to be. Drive the sedan up onto these, so each wheel is sitting in the centre of the old tyres. The Com won't "walk" on the bed this way.

Then need 4 ratchet straps. Put the strap over the back of each Com wheel, high up, bring around the front, say just above the hub, cross the strap one full turn, then tie to secure places on the trailer. By tying the wheels in this way, the Com is free to move on its suspension, but the 4 straps stay tight, and keep the wheels, and vehicle, secure.

You have a look at most trucks carrying any vehicle, they'll either tie the wheels, or failing that, tie the axle. If you pull the vehicle down using tie-down points, the straps used will be continuallly "loose-tight-loose etc",as the suspension moves up & down and you risk breaking the tie downs.

Good luck with it, sorry haven't got a photo to show you,


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 464758

Reply By: tonysmc - Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 09:39

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 09:39
Towing the trailer shouldn’t be a problem, however where most people get into trouble is they don’t put the rear safety legs down when loading the car on the trailer!
What happens is the weight of the car then pushes the back of the trailer down and lifts the drawbar up. It either pops off the tow hitch and hits the back of the car or lifts the back of the towing vehicle up, so you no longer have the back wheels or handbrake stopping all three rolling off down a hill. So I can’t stress it enough, put the rear legs down when loading on and off the trailer.
Cheers Tony.
AnswerID: 464778

Reply By: Member - nick b - Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 09:54

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 09:54
Gooday Don : could you get a permit and drive it or rego it if its a goer that would save a bit of stuffing around .
Also i would agree with don't load car on trailer backwards ( wild fish tails ) , did this many years ago picked up stolen ford wagon from pit land well south of ayers rock , car was damaged & couldn't be loaded front first a very slow trip @ 60 ks/hr back to Alice towing with FJ47
cheers nick
Cheers Nick b

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AnswerID: 464780

Reply By: workhorse - Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 13:06

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 13:06
Have just been through all of this 2 weeks ago.
Hire trailers only have run over brakes not electric and their max carrying capacity is 1200 kg. They will ask you what you are towing and how much it weighs, if it's over that they wont hire it. I have a close friend who manages a branch of a large chain of hire equipment who told me they know people tow over that limit but make an unofficial assessment based on the towing vehicle and if the person seems sensible. I chained the front axle up, let the car roll back and then chained the front. One adjustment needed in 800km.
A car carrier was cheaper after taking into consideration trailer hire, fuel and time but he demanded the owner be available at 3am for pick up.
AnswerID: 464791

Follow Up By: garrycol - Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 14:50

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 14:50
I agree - a Commodore will not go on most hire trailers legally. Trailers and load weighing more than 2 t require breakaway breaks and most hire places are reluctant to fit them - hence the 1200kg load limit which with the 800kg trailer weight brings the total load up to 2t.

Now the trailer can physically carry the car (they were doing it up until the breakaway brake rule came in) but other than a really small car they cannot legally be used.

However some places do have the correct trailers etc but they are very hard to find.

FollowupID: 738770

Follow Up By: Geepeem - Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 19:03

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 19:03
Workhorse is correct - all the hire trailers I could find from the servos on the northside of Brisbane had a load limit of 1200 Kg (or maybe it was 1250kg) and a max speed towing of 80KPH. If you break these conditions and have an accident you have no insurance on the trailer. It was only a bit extra for me to get a tilttray and have them take all the repsonsibility. If you shop around and contact some private tilttray operators you can usually negotiate a good price if you are flexible in the timing of pickup - they can slot your job in when they are a bit quiet.
FollowupID: 738781

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