The Skoda Octavia is a fantastic family car for everyday use, and it’s a competent light towing vehicle to use at the weekends. Many people don’t need to tow very often, and when they do need to tow a trailer or caravan, it can be difficult. This situation is exacerbated because there is a lot of misinformation about towing. In this article, we will look at four common towing myths and disprove them. Hopefully, this will help you when you next decide to tow with your Octavia.
1. The Towing Capacity is Exact
Many people believe that the list towing capacity of their car is the maximum weight that they can safely tow. This is false; the figure that you really need to be concerned about is the Gross Combined Mass (GCM). The GCM determines the combined weight of the Octavia and the towed trailer to get the maximum legal weight or mass. This will include the weight of any passengers or cargo carried inside the car that will increase the kerb weight. In some cases, you may have to reduce the towing payload to ensure that you stay below the GCM limit or the car can become unstable. The Skoda Octavia owner’s manual contains detailed information on this subject.
2. You Need an SUV or Ute for Towing
This is false; many people use sedans, saloons, and hatches to tow small trailers and caravans on our roads. It’s is true that a four wheel or all wheel drive does make a better towing vehicle. Larger vehicles such as SUV’s and Ute’s with diesel engines that are not restricted by a front or rear wheel drive setup are ideal for towing large loads.
3. You Can Tow Safely Right up to the Speed Limit
If you’re new to towing or you haven’t done it in a while, you will quickly notice that a towed load makes your car and the towed load unstable. The trailer will always try to follow the path of least resistance which is a straight line and if you need to corner it will take some effort to get it to change direction with you. Also, if you need to brake quickly, the stopping distance will be lowered as the trailer will add its mass to the car. So, when you tow a trailer, it will have a major effect on how you maintain control when you drive. So, it’s recommended that you keep the speed down below the speed limit when your towing. The owner’s manual contains plenty of information on towing including some recommended safe towing speeds.
4. Accelerating Will Correct a Swaying Trailer
This is wrong, the faster the Octavia is travelling when towing, the more unstable the trailer will be. Many trailers have an electronic or mechanical device to limit the effects of trailer sway. However, no current system will be able to stop a trailer swaying and accelerating to correct the issue will make things far worse. It’s a better idea to ease off the accelerator and gradually slow down until the trailer comes back under control. This can be nerve wracking, you may be tempted to brake suddenly, but this will also introduce instability, only apply the brakes gently slowly after you have begun to decelerate.