Car towing cables: types, characteristics, selection
Probably everyone at least once saw a faulty car being towed to a car wash or to a parking lot. Someone was involved in such an operation while driving a faulty car. In any case, every motorist should know what a towing a car is, how it happens and what you need to know and be able to do. For experienced drivers, it is no secret that you should always have a cable with you in the car.
What is towing?
This procedure at first glance seems quite simple. Two cars are connected by a coupling, and one drags along the other. When evacuating, the driver must always be in the second car. He will at the right moment to slow down and adjust the direction of movement. However, not all so simple. Towing a car and driving a trailer with a tow bar are two different things. A trailer always joins rigidly, like a cart to a horse.
Various methods of towing
There are only two methods of operation: on a rigid and flexible coupling. Stiff is just a trailer. There is a metal profile hinged to the towing vehicle so that you can pass through turns. Flexible hitch - soft cable connecting the two cars.
The first option is suitable for the evacuation of heavy vehicles (trucks, cranes). The second method is for cars and light trucks. The advantages of this option is that for the organization of such an operation only a cable is needed. It is very compact, but imposes limitations due to its safety margin. Flexible coupling is a more common option, and here the most important point is the cable itself. Or rather, its characteristics.
Towing cable length
It is governed by the Rules of the road and is 4-6 meters. This length is chosen for a reason. Too short a cable causes the towed vehicle to slam into the rear of the vehicle when it is braked. Too long can interfere with maneuvering on the road. In a turn, a towed person may simply drive off the road, and when driving in a straight line, he will be inclined to yaw along the road.In addition, towing cables must be equipped with red flags. Instead, it is possible to tie pieces of red rag at regular intervals. During movement, the cable becomes, surprisingly, invisible. It is not uncommon for the hurry-ups to try to integrate into the place of an element that is too long without flags, of course, with deplorable results.
Surprisingly, in our country towing cables for cars are not regulated for durability. Also not legitimized mounting methods and materials. Therefore, drivers can use any strong rope for towing. But they are different. Below will be considered the main options.
It is made of highly durable caprone and has a high tensile strength, so you can be sure that under extreme loads it will not break. This is probably the best towing cable. In addition, aviation nylon resistant to frost and moisture, which is also a definite plus. Under load, such fibers do not stretch.
This option is also suitable as a towing cable, it is resistant to moisture - it does not get wet at all.It can be used at any time of the year and stored in any conditions. The only negative - with strong loads such an element will stretch.
One of the most common materials for cables. It can be woven from plant materials or from synthetics. With a strong load, such an element does not stretch, but simply breaks. Due to the fact that it is soft (usually made in the form of a flat ribbon), it will not cause any harm to the car when it breaks. Another disadvantage is that it absorbs water well. After use, washing and drying are mandatory. Store it preferably in a plastic bag. The advantage is that it is very compact - it does not take up much space in the trunk.
Such a cable is woven from metal wire and is of high strength. Unfortunately, his advantages and limited to this.
With a heavy load exceeding its tensile strength, the steel towing cable breaks and can cause damage to the car or people around it. In addition, the metal cable is subject to corrosion. Therefore, they place increased demands on its storage conditions.
And one more minus - the element bends poorly (if thick and durable) and takes up a lot of space in the trunk. Thus, it is worth using it in the absence of other options.
This is an elastic and lightweight element, it can stretch and contract again. This property can help in rescuing a stuck car from dirt. Flexible hitch on such a cable is the most optimal. Polypropylene perfectly extinguishes jerks with inaccurate acceleration. It is best to use non-braided cables. They will fray themselves about themselves.
The maximum load is the second most significant parameter of the towing cable. The element should be selected on the basis of the maximum vehicle weight. And you need to be guided by the following rule: the maximum load of the cable should be one and a half (and even better two times) greater than the weight of the car. For example, if a car weighs 1.5 tons, then the cable should withstand up to 2.5-3 tons. As for towing in the mud, there are often loads that are three times greater than the weight of the car. After all, there are static and dynamic efforts.Towing cables must cope with these peaks - reinsurance is not superfluous here.
Another example of such a load (more precisely, overload) is the engine start by towing. At the time of the start of the motor, the force increases so much that the wheels can stop spinning and the car is actually dragged. With this jerk cable must cope. Otherwise, it will break with a loud bang. The cable can break in any place - in the middle, at the ends, in the places of fastenings, in the stitching.
Ways and places of fastenings
The easiest mounting option is two loops at the ends. They are simply put on the eyes. But this option is difficult to install. The best choice is hooks at the ends. They are the most reliable. Hooks are usually equipped with special spring clips. They serve to ensure that the elements themselves do not fly off the eyes when towing. But the most important thing in this design is the place where the ends of the cable are sewn together. You should make sure that it is sufficiently reliable and at the most crucial moment the element will not come off the hook. If the cable is woven (flat), then the stitching point should be in the form of a square. Additionally, it is stitched crosswise.
Elements towing for SUVs
Off-road cables are more appropriate loops at the ends, so as not to accidentally damage the car. For off-road vehicles, the length of the towing cable should be longer: there is very little of six meters. After all, sometimes the towing vehicle cannot get close to the stuck person without the risk of getting bogged down. Such an element must be soft, not afraid of water, frost, and in addition to withstand significant overload. For such conditions, suitable towing cable 5 tons and above. Such items are in specialized stores for SUVs.
Also, instead of a special cable can be purchased halyards. They come in different diameters and load limits. Halyards are sold for running meters. It should be borne in mind that such an element in the folded state will have a decent size.
A few words should be said about what are towing cables for trucks. In general, they are exactly the same as for cars. Differences in size, namely in thickness. Of course, steel cables are still held in high esteem, but their age has already ended. This is the lot of the old-timers, who are not embarrassed by the torn wires of the cable that dig into the skin.They were replaced by light and durable synthetic products that can withstand almost any mass.
Fastening types are also different - loops, hooks and brackets. The latter are very easy to use and do not rub the cable. Also note that you need to choose a towing element not for the curb, but for the full weight of the truck. For example, if it is a “Gazelle”, it is necessary to purchase a cable designed for a load of at least four tons. The higher the rate, the better, the main thing is not to break the hook from the frame itself.
Color and manufacturer
Towing cables for cars should be as bright as possible. In this case, you can do without flags. Such a cable will be clearly visible to other drivers. Also a bright element will help track its tension. Some cables are equipped with light-reflecting elements, which also makes evacuation safe in the dark. As for the country of origin, the nameless options should be dismissed immediately. Such cables may fail at the most inopportune moment. Here the price often serves as an indicator of quality. Therefore, the miser pays twice.
Care and maintenance
Even such a seemingly unassuming accessory needs care.If the cable lies in the trunk in the package, from time to time you need to get it, unwind it, check it for breaks. Hooks on the ends is desirable to lubricate. Even after one use, they can start to rust. Prevention here will not be superfluous. Towing cables should not be broken and cracked, shaggy and have detachment. Special attention should be paid to the firmware of the ends near the hook or loops. Roughing stitches is also unacceptable.
Thus, the choice of a towing cable is not an easy task, provided there is a clear understanding of what is required of it and under what conditions it will be used.