DRIVING/TOWING - TOWING
Tyremasters is a retail tyre business, based in the NSW Southern Highlands town of Mittagong. This family owned company offers a weighing service for caravan and trailer owners, to ensure their rigs are weight-legal.
This initiative is one we’d like to see available in tyre outlets all over the country, because the importance of tow vehicle and trailer being weight-legal can hardly be understated.
For a fee between $250 and $300, Tyremasters will weigh your loaded and coupled tow vehicle and trailer, using certified portable scales similar to the ones used by Australian road authorities when they do roadside vehicle checks.
The service also includes a separate measurement of the weight the towing coupling imposes on the towing vehicle, using a ball weight scale.
The weight results are printed out and given to the client. At the same time, a full tyre check is carried out and an assessment of tyre suitability for the measured weight is done.
The final step is ensuring that tyre pressures are appropriate for the weight being transported.
OTA attended a weighing appointment at Tyremasters, where a new Ford Ranger was coupled to a new, dual-axle Retreat caravan. The Ranger owners were keen to ensure that their investment was legal, before heading off on a major road trip.
They had been told to load the tow vehicle and van exactly as they planned to travel, with water tank topped up and all tools, recovery gear, spares, camping kit, food, drink and clothing packed aboard.
We were pleased to see that the placarded weights on the caravan appeared to be accurate, in contrast to some van plates that bear little resemblance to reality.
The combination was driven onto the scales and the axle loads noted. Interestingly, the forward van axle carried more weight than the trailing axle, so the tyre pressures were adjusted accordingly.
The owners headed off, secure in the knowledge that their combination was legal and well balanced.
Fortunately, this combination was legally compliant in terms of tyre ratings and axle capacities, but not all combinations that Tyremasters has weighed are legal. Mostly, that situation can be rectified by rethinking and repacking.
At OTA we reckon every tow vehicle and trailer should be weighed in the same manner and we encourage other tyre retailers to implement such a service.