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Safe towing

09/05/2012 @ 3:37pm

On any given day, a farm truck is expected to work hard and do everything from tow farm equipment to haul a heavy load of hay.

Hauling and towing can take their toll and cause trucks to sag and wear prematurely. But there are steps you can take to improve the performance and longevity of your vehicles.

Keep the load level

Truck manufacturers recommend a specific load capacity for the maximum amount of weight a particular vehicle ought to carry. Known as gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), trucks can quickly maximize those weight capacities when you add a load to accomplish a chore.

“Overloaded vehicles can be damaged, uncomfortable for the driver, and unsafe on the road,” says Todd Green, Firestone Industrial Products regional sales manager. “Keeping a heavily loaded vehicle level is essential for maintaining proper steering control and braking effectiveness, reducing tire wear, and keeping headlight beams on the road.”

Solution = air springs

The solution, he says, is air springs. “Our Ride-Rite air helper springs help maximize a truck's stability and braking effectiveness, reduce tire wear, and more,” he says. “These double convoluted air springs offer maximum load support for years of worry-free service.”

This system utilizes air springs that can be adjusted to changing loads. “Each application is specifically designed to maximize the safe load-carrying capacity, stability, and ride quality of that particular vehicle,” explains Green. “A pair of Ride-Rite air springs provides 3,200 to 5,000 pounds of load-leveling capacity.”

What this system does, in a nutshell, is complement your truck's suspension.

“All of that weight is not being applied to one section, which is the rear of the vehicle. The weight is being distributed back to the whole vehicle,” he says. “When your truck is not bogged down with all of that weight, your stop time and effectiveness in braking are going to be enhanced with air springs.”

But Green cautions that air springs do not increase the load-carrying capacity of the vehicle, and you should never exceed the vehicle's recommended GVWR.

Installing a set of air helper springs is a relatively easy process that you may be able to do yourself.

“Most of the kits are no-drill, so you're picking up existing holes in the frame and on the suspension,” says Green. “Usually they can be installed in one to two hours.”

Cost savings

The benefits go beyond reducing the wear and tear on your vehicle.

“By installing air helper springs, you're reducing your tire wear and increasing your leaf spring life span,” notes Green. “We know how expensive tires are, and the leaf springs can be $300 or $400 easily. You can even improve gas mileage when you level the vehicle up.”

Compare those cost savings to the price tag of a basic Ride-Rite kit, which is around $300, and the savings quickly add up.

“When you consider increased vehicle life, your safety while carrying a load or towing a trailer, and ease of installation, investing in air helper springs is a no-brainer,” says Green.

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