It’s getting to that time of year again, warmer weather, sunnier skies and longer days. It can only mean one thing; time to load that truck and head off to the great outdoors, weather its a long weekend camping with the family or a full on overland adventure. One thing we all need to is ensure the truck is packed safely and correctly so as to cause no issues when driving on or off road.
Here are a few tips to help you achieve that …
Do you know your vehicles GVWR?
Whether you are going on a road trip or moving to a new house, it’s important to pack your truck safely. Its totally different from packing a trailer but just as important to get it right or it will effect the handling of your vehicle and your safety.
Just because you own a SUV or truck doesn’t mean it can be loaded to the roof. Every vehicle has it’s own limits which you need to know, these can usually be found on the vehicle paperwork. You’ll need to know.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) the maximum weight the car can be.
Vehicles Curb Weight (VCW) means the empty weight of the vehicle the car as it stands parked, no passengers or shopping bags. It does include ½ a tank of fuel and engineering fluids topped to the max.
To calculate Load Capacity subtract the vehicle’s curb weight VCR from the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating GVWR.
Load capacity, is the weight to remember especially when packing lock, stock and barrel. It’s the maximum amount of passenger and cargo weight that a vehicle is designed to carry. This can vary if you have upgraded tyres or suspension with airbags, stronger springs.
Load capacity not only includes passengers but cargo, fuel at 2.7kg per gallon for all over half a tank, even your maintenance kit. Include everything extra strapped to the exterior, the roof tent is an obvious addition but don’t forget that CB aerial, winch, everything.
If you have a truck with a load capacity of 454kg. and five 86kg. adults inside, you only have 22.5kg left for luggage or the wife’s handbag.
Put the heaviest items up front
Make sure the heaviest items are put centrally as far forward in the cargo area as possible between front and rear wheels. Keeping them close to the floor. This will help keep the trucks gravity/ handling true and balanced preventing the risk of rollover. Placing a heavy weight just in side your boot might be great for access and your back but your car it’s dangerous. The front end of the vehicle will lift like a seesaw affecting steering, braking and cornering.
Tie it down
To prevent cargo from flying around during a sudden stop or sharp corner strap it down. Smaller items should be packed into boxes and larger items should be strapped down using the car’s cargo anchors. Loading large or even small, loose items on top of your pile can become dangerous fast objects flying towards your head or windows in a panic stop or a crash.
Visibility is important
Make sure that you don’t stack your belongings so high that you can’t see out the windows. Using just your wing mirrors makes driving difficult and creates additional risk when reversing. You’ll need those side back windows as well if your driving anywhere that requires changing driving lanes.
Tyre pressure is important
Visually inspect your tyres before preparing for a trip. Make sure there are no sidewall bulges and there is no indication of tread damage or extreme wear, such as chunked tread, exposed steel belts, punctures, or sidewall cuts. Check tyres are properly inflated, the recommended inflation pressure can usually be found on the driver’s door frame. Be sure to use these inflation pressure numbers, not the maximum pressure figure on the sidewall of the tyre. Your car may recommend different tyre pressures for high speeds or heavy loads.
Keep essentials handy
Ensure your roadside emergency kit, cell phone, and maps are readily accessible, just in case. If you’re moving house keep the kettle handy. Be aware that you may need to unload the boot area to gain access to a spare tyre.