Some Corvallis drivers figure that anything they can attach to their trailer hitch can be towed by their vehicle. Nope. If you're going to do any towing around Corvallis, you should be aware of safety issues, Oregon towing laws, and potential liability.
Understanding tow ratings is important for safe towing. A tow rating is the weight limit that your vehicle can safely tow. They calculate the tow rating for every vehicle, but different options on the vehicle can affect that rating. Corvallis drivers need to read the towing section in their owner's manual to get the specific tow rating for the vehicle they own.
Your trailer hitch also has a weight limit, and it may not match the tow rating for your vehicle. Your vehicle may be rated for 10,000 pounds, but if you have a 2,000-pound hitch limit, you shouldn't be towing more than 2,000 pounds. If you tow a 10,000-pound trailer on that hitch, it could break free and you would be liable for any resulting damages.
Another example, one popular pick-up truck has a tow rating of 10,300 pounds. But in the owner's manual, it specifies that a sway control device be used for trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds and that a weight-distributing hitch is required for trailers over 5,000 pounds. If the vehicle owner tows a 6,000-pound trailer without a weight-distributing hitch and ends up in an accident, the owner will be held liable for not complying with the towing requirements in Oregon.
Corvallis auto owners also need to keep in mind that tow weights include the weight of passengers and cargo inside the tow vehicle. So if your tow rating is 7,000 pounds, and you're carrying 700 pounds of passengers and cargo, you can only tow a trailer weighing up to 6,300 pounds.
Two numbers that Corvallis drivers should be aware of are the GVWR and the GCWR. These codes are usually imprinted on the inside of the driver's side door. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. Take GVWR and subtract the total weight of the vehicle, and you have the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry in passengers and cargo. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Take that number, subtract the weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, and you have the maximum weight of passengers and cargo that the tow vehicle and trailer together can safely carry.
This may seem a bit complicated, but you ignore these ratings at your own peril. If you haul or tow loads over the maximum ratings around Oregon, you become liable in event of an accident.
Local Corvallis laws require that safety chains be attached when towing a trailer. Some Oregon jurisdictions may require trailer brakes as well. Others mandate trailer brakes only in certain situations. If you are going to tow a trailer, you should find out the local Corvallis laws regarding trailer brakes, hitches, as well as weight and length restrictions.
To tow safely, Oregon drivers also need the proper tires on the tow vehicle. Tires need to be in good condition, with adequate tread, and they need to have a load rating high enough to handle the weight of the trailer. Your trained Clayton's Auto Service tire professional can help you select the right tire to use when towing around Corvallis.
Your 's owner's manual is your primary source for auto advice regarding towing since it is specific to your vehicle. Be sure to read it carefully before doing any towing. And as always, keep your preventive maintenance up-to-date and practice good car care to ensure the safety of your vehicle on the road—especially when pulling a trailer.
Car care is part of auto safety in Corvallis. But the most important thing we can do to improve safety on Oregon roads is to drive safely.
Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won't let anyone take your safety away from you. You'll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.
Don't leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.
Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.
Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.
Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you're not paying enough attention.
Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.
Keep your car in good shape so that it handles properly: Maintain tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wheel alignment and steering.
Always use your turn signals while driving around Corvallis, Oregon. Avoid other vehicles' blind spots.
Don't drive faster than your headlights – if you can't stop within the distance you can see, you're going too fast.
Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.
Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an Corvallis, Oregon intersection. That way if you're hit from behind, your car won't be pushed into on-coming traffic.
My daddy always said that when you drive, you're actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can't trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you've got to be aware of what they're doing at all times.
If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you're downtown Corvallis, or take the next exit on the Oregon highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our Corvallis community.
Never follow too close. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: 'one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand'. If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you're following too close.
Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you're alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it's foggy or rainy.
Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.
If someone follows you too closely, just move over.
Don't play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don't want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.
Safe Oregon travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Clayton's Auto Service. But there are other things Corvallis residents can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here's some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else's.
First, Corvallis auto owners should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.
Some items you should carry in your vehicle include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.
But taking care of your vehicle is only part of emergency preparedness. It is to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in Oregon and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.
Depending on where you live, you may need to add other items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy Oregon season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your vehicle for emergencies.
When you travel away from your Corvallis home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.
When you travel, it is important to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.
The automotive professionals at Clayton's Auto Service want Corvallis drivers to be safe. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.
Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse's annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Corvallis, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it's not good marital advice, it's good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Corvallis are drivers' blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.
First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn't include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn't designed to be a baby monitor.
Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver's side window. Now adjust the driver's side mirror so that it just catches the side of the vehicle. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger's side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.
Of course, you can't eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can't see what's there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup's or SUV's blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the vehicle for a few minutes before backing up, it is to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Corvallis. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.
Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in Oregon, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Corvallis drivers learned to properly share Oregon roads with trucks.
While learning to share Oregon roads and freeways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good car care. Keeping your vehicle out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.
The team at Clayton's Auto Service in Corvallis urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!
When your vehicle has a problem, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car's so important to your life in Corvallis, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.
If you've ever checked into some of the technician training Clayton's Auto Service professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much specialized knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. For example: Today there are four cylinder engines that generate more power than the 1980s-era V-8's. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket's Ferrari in a race to sixty.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Corvallis gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars driven around Oregon are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.
Some vehicles have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Corvallis motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It's a real challenge for Clayton's Auto Service in Corvallis technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technicians and the Corvallis service centers as well.
Clayton's Auto Service technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Clayton's Auto Service by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.
In addition to the expensive training, there's the financial commitment for Clayton's Auto Service to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.
There are many independent certifications held by the pros at Clayton's Auto Service. The ability to repair your vehicle requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Corvallis auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.
It's like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what's the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Clayton's Auto Service, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn't.
The next time you bring us your vehicle, don't worry. You're in good hands at Clayton's Auto Service.