With the increasing popularity of electric cars, many people are wondering if it is possible to tow a trailer with a Tesla, and in the snow. My dad and I picked up a couple of used snowmobiles this past summer along with a Sled Bed trailer and recently hit the snowy roads to a Washington State Sno-Park with them. We’ve previously covered Can Tesla Cars Tow Trailers, however, in this article we’ll focus on towing in the snow. The short answer is yes, you can tow a trailer with a Tesla in the snow. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind before you hit the snowy road.
Towing a trailer in snow can be challenging and requires extra precautions to ensure safe and smooth driving. The most important thing to remember is to slow down and take your time. Snow and ice can create slippery and unpredictable driving conditions, so it’s essential to drive at a slower speed and leave extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Towing a trailer with an electric vehicle can drastically reduce its range, so can cold weather. Steep inclines do as well. Combine two or even three of these components, and you’ll find yourself depleting the battery much faster than you’d like.
Have the Right Equipment
When towing a trailer in snow, it’s also crucial to have the right equipment. Make sure your Tesla and trailer are equipped with appropriate tires, such as snow or winter tires, that are designed to provide better traction and control in snowy conditions. You may also want to consider using tire chains for added traction. Depending on where you’re traveling, chains, or at least traction tires may be required.
Additionally, it’s important to use the right type of trailer for snowy conditions. A lightweight trailer may not provide enough traction and stability in the snow, while a heavy trailer may put too much strain on your Tesla. A well-balanced trailer with good weight distribution and appropriate brakes is essential for safe towing in snow.
Prepare for your Trip
Before setting out on your trip, check the weather forecast and road conditions to ensure that it is safe to travel. It’s also a good idea to pack an emergency kit with essentials like food, water, warm clothing, and a shovel in case you get stuck in the snow.
Firstly, it’s important to know the towing capacity of your Tesla. The Tesla Model X has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, while the Tesla Model Y has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds. This means that you need to make sure that the weight of your trailer, plus everything you’re carrying in it, does not exceed the towing capacity of your Tesla. Exceeding the towing capacity can lead to safety issues and damage to your vehicle.
Once you have determined that your trailer is within the towing capacity of your Tesla, the next thing to consider is the range. Towing a trailer requires more energy than driving without one, so your range will be reduced. This means you need to plan your trips carefully and make sure you have enough range to get to your destination, as well as any charging stations along the way. You may need to make more frequent stops to recharge your Tesla, which can add time to your journey.
Ideally, you want to know the roads you’ll be traveling to before you head out. Are there steep inclines, areas that are prone to closures, Tesla superchargers along the way, third party charging (if needed), etc?
Know the Current and Expected Road Conditions
It’s crucial to check road conditions in winter weather because snow, ice, and other winter weather conditions can make driving hazardous and increase the risk of accidents. Road conditions can change quickly during winter storms, making it essential to stay informed about the latest updates to ensure that you can travel safely.
Checking road conditions can help you plan your route and adjust your travel plans accordingly. For example, if you see that a particular road is closed or experiencing severe weather conditions, you may need to find an alternate route or postpone your trip until conditions improve. We were heading home once and found weather conditions worsened to the point where the highway mountain pass was closed. There’s not a lot of options for detours in this area and many motorists were parked waiting for over 2 hours already when we got to that point.
Moreover, road condition reports can help you prepare for the driving conditions you may encounter, such as black ice, slushy roads, or heavy snow. This can help you adjust your driving accordingly, such as driving at slower speeds, leaving extra space between vehicles, and increasing your following distance to reduce the risk of accidents.
Additionally, checking road conditions can help you prepare your vehicle for the trip. For example, if you know that you’ll be driving in snow and ice, you may want to equip your vehicle with winter tires, chains, or other traction aids to improve your vehicle’s grip on the road.
Electric Trailer Brakes
Multiple times my dad has asked me if my trailers had electric brakes, none of them do. Trailers with electric brakes can be beneficial in snowy conditions as they can provide improved control and stability when towing in slippery conditions. Electric brakes are designed to provide proportional braking force based on the amount of braking applied to the towing vehicle. This means that they can help prevent the trailer from sliding or swaying on slippery roads, providing better control for the driver.
Electric brakes also have the advantage of being more responsive than those without any. They can quickly and easily adjust to changing road conditions, such as sudden stops or turns, providing more precise control over the trailer’s braking.
However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of electric brakes in the snow also depends on the condition of the tires and the weight distribution of the trailer. Properly inflated and well-maintained tires are essential for good traction in snowy conditions, and a well-balanced trailer with appropriate weight distribution can help prevent fishtailing or jackknifing.
Trailers with electric brakes can provide better control and stability when towing in the snow, but other factors such as tire condition and weight distribution are also important for safe and effective towing. As always, it’s essential to exercise caution and adjust your driving to the conditions of the road. If you’re looking to buy a trailer to tow with your Tesla, especially in snow, it’s worth look at ones with electric brakes.
Trailer Size and Balance
Another thing to keep in mind is the type of trailer you’re towing. A smaller, lighter trailer will have less impact on your range than a larger, heavier trailer. Additionally, a well-balanced trailer with good weight distribution will be easier to tow and put less strain on your Tesla’s battery.
When it comes to towing with a Tesla, there are a few things you can do to maximize your range and ensure a safe journey. These include:
- Using regenerative braking: Regenerative braking can help you recover some of the energy lost while braking, which can increase your range.
- Driving at a steady speed: Avoid sudden accelerations and decelerations, as these can use more energy and reduce your range.
- Packing light: The more weight you’re carrying, the more energy you’ll use. Try to pack only what you need for your trip.
- Checking your tire pressure: Properly inflated tires can improve your range and make your trip safer.
Keep Lights Clear and Visible
On our Tesla Model X, we’ve driven in snowy conditions where the backside of the vehicle became caked with snow. This can be extremely dangerous, especially in low visibility situations where it becomes even harder for other motorists to see your lights.
Not only is it important to make sure the taillights on both your Tesla and trailer are clear, but any side markers as well. My Sled Bed trailer has marker lights at both the front of the trailer and the sides. You can’t tell from the photo below, but these side marker lights are completely covered by snow.
Winter travel can be challenging without a trailer in tow. Therefor, t’s important to be prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise. Here are some safety items you should consider bringing for winter travel:
- Emergency kit: An emergency kit should include items such as blankets, extra warm clothing, food, water, a first aid kit, and a flashlight. If you get stranded or stuck in your vehicle during a winter storm, having these items can help keep you safe and comfortable until help arrives.
- Snow shovel and ice scraper: A snow shovel and ice scraper can help you clear snow and ice from around your vehicle and windows, making it easier to drive safely. I’ve driven in situations where I had to pull over multiple times to clear freezing rain off the windshield, visibility became extremely poor. Windshield wipers and washer fluid weren’t able to clear all the ice.
- Traction aids: Traction aids, such as tire chains or traction mats, can help provide better grip and traction in slippery conditions, especially if you get stuck in the snow.
- Road flares or reflective triangles: If you get stranded on the side of the road, road flares or reflective triangles can help make your vehicle more visible to other drivers, reducing the risk of an accident.
- Portable air compressor: Fluctuations in temperature can cause your tires to lose pressure, so a portable air compressor can be handy to inflate your tires when needed.
- Mobile phone charger: Your mobile phone can be a vital tool for calling for help or checking weather and road conditions, so it’s essential to keep it charged and ready to use.
- Navigation tools: In case of getting lost or stuck in a remote location, having a map, GPS, or compass can help you find your way to safety. Winter weather can lead to road closures and you may need to take unexpected detours. We’ve had to detour in an area where we did not have cell signal and weren’t sure how much range we would have left in the event weren’t able to take a background that hills. I definitely wouldn’t have taken that route with a trailer in tow with snow and ice conditions.
In conclusion, towing a trailer with a Tesla in the snow is possible, but it requires careful planning and consideration. Make sure your trailer is within the towing capacity of your Tesla, plan your trips carefully, and take steps to maximize your range and ensure a safe journey. With these things in mind, you can enjoy the benefits of towing with an electric vehicle and help reduce your carbon footprint.