Ford Escape: Trailer towing - Tires, Wheels and Loading - Ford Escape Owner's ManualFord 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 vehicle’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:

• Do not tow a trailer until your vehicle has been driven at least 1,000 miles (1,600 km).
• Consult your local motor vehicle laws for towing a trailer.
• Refer to the instructions included with towing accessories for the proper installation and adjustment specifications.
• Thoroughly prepare your vehicle for towing. Refer to Preparing to tow in this chapter.
• Stay within your vehicle’s load limits.
• Use extra caution when driving while trailer towing. Refer to Driving while you tow in this chapter.
• 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 vehicle’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.

the certification label. WARNING: Do not exceed the GVWR or the GAWR specified on the certification label.

gross trailer weight exceeds the limit of the vehicle and could 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.

Notes:

Notes:

• 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.
• 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 vehicle’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.

Hitches

Do not use a hitch that clamps onto the vehicle’s bumper; use a load-carrying hitch. You must distribute the load in your trailer so that 10–15% of the total weight of the trailer is on the tongue.

Safety chains

Always connect the trailer’s safety chains to the hook retainers on the vehicle. To connect the trailer’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

Trailer brakes

Electric brakes and manual, automatic or surge-type trailer brakes are safe if installed properly and adjusted to the manufacturer’s specifications. The trailer brakes must meet local and Federal regulations.

directly to your vehicle’s brake system. Your vehicle may not WARNING: Do not connect a trailer’s hydraulic brake system directly to your vehicle’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

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 vehicle’s tail lamps. This can cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical system. Contact your authorized dealer or trailer rental agency for proper instructions and equipment for hooking-up trailer lamps.

vehicle’s tail lamp wiring; this may damage the electrical system WARNING: Never connect any trailer lamp wiring to the vehicle’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:

• Do not drive faster than 70 mph (113 km/h) during the first 500 miles (800 km) of trailer towing and don’t make full-throttle starts.
• Turn off the speed control. The speed control may shut off automatically when you are towing on long, steep grades.
• 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.
• Allow more distance for stopping with a trailer attached; anticipate stops and brake gradually

Trailer towing tips

• 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.
• 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).
• After you have traveled 50 miles (80 km), thoroughly check your hitch, electrical connections and trailer wheel lug nuts.
• 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.
• Vehicles with trailers should not be parked on a grade. If you must park on a grade, place wheel chocks under the trailer’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:

• Do not allow the static water level to rise above the bottom edge of the rear bumper.
• 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:

• Causing internal damage to the components.
• 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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