Towing a caravan and exploring all the beautiful scenery Australia has to offer has become one of the most popular pastime activities for Nissan Navara owners country-wide. You get to venture into the unknown, escaping the inconveniences brought by the ongoing pandemic in the process and ensuring you get some rest and peace of mind, even if it’s just for a couple of days.
But in order to legally and safely tow a caravan in Australia, there are a couple of important things to take care of first. First and foremost, you need to make sure your vehicle and caravan comply with Australian laws. This means getting the essential accessories for towing, such as number plates, towing mirrors, as well as other upgrades that will help you stay safe and assist you in case you get stuck.
There are many Nissan Navara accessories for towing, so deciding which ones to purchase can leave you feeling uncertain. Here’s a simple guide to help you out.
Accessories to Comply With Australian Law
Number Plates and Towing Mirrors
Your caravan must have the same number plate as your Nissan Navara. More importantly, your Navara must be fitted with towing mirrors that allow you to see both sides of your caravan, as well as behind it for at least 20 metres. Failing to do so can earn you negative points and a hefty fine. Fortunately, towing mirrors aren’t the most expensive accessories, and you have a wide range to choose from. There are removable and permanent installations, so you can choose based on what suits your personal needs best.
Additionally, towing mirrors can come with a few other features that improve your Navara’s driveability and towing ability. Removable mirrors are recommended, otherwise, your Navara will be road-illegal when you aren’t towing your caravan.
These accessories are relatively inexpensive, yet can be invaluable should you get in an accident where your caravan detaches from your Nissan. If that happens, the breakaway cable will automatically activate your caravan’s braking system before detaching. As a general rule, caravans with over 750kg of maximum technically permitted laden mass must be fitted with such a cable.
Rear Marking Plates
If your caravan has a gross trailer mass of over 10 tonnes, you must attach a rear marking plate to it. If it’s lower than 10 tonnes, then it’s not necessary, but it can still be beneficial. Most rear marking plates are made of durable aluminium and are generally placed 40-150cm above the ground.
Jockey Wheels and Clamps
Jockey wheels and clamps are some of the essential 4×4 car accessories when towing a caravan, and it’s important to frequently check them for wear and whether they’re properly fastened. The purpose of jockey wheels is to help you steer or guide your caravan onto and away from your Navara’s hitch. Some are height-adjustable.
Although stabilisers are an optional accessory, they’re used by the majority of caravanners. When combined with safe loading practices, these accessories can play a crucial role in preventing serious accidents, such as when the caravan snakes. Snaking is a very scary and stressful experience, especially for people who are new to towing.
If you’re unaware of what snaking is, it’s basically when your caravan starts swaying from right to left and the caravan axle is unaligned with your Navara. This is a result of your caravan’s attempt to realign but failed to do so and over-corrected itself, leading to snaking. There are two types of stabilisers – towball and leaf/blade stabilisers.
These stabilisers are the most popular ones nowadays, and they’re fitted on almost every caravan. They operate by applying pressure on the towball directly by taking advantage of special friction pads. Some of the most popular brands that manufacture towball stabilisers are AL-KO and Winterhoff.
Leaf/blade stabilisers were the most popular up until recently, and they operated by taking advantage of the downward torque supplied by friction discs that enable sideways movement. These stabilisers are affordable but have lately fallen in favour of towball stabilisers as they provide superior usability, convenience and style.
Imagine stopping at a gas station to grab a bite, and when you return your caravan is gone. While security accessories aren’t considered necessary, they’re the first thing I get personally. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on my caravan, why wouldn’t I spend a hundred extra bucks or so on some extra security.
While there are also some expensive security accessories, you’ll still end up saving money on insurance costs and it will prevent your caravan from getting jacked and lost in the wind. Wheel clamps and hitch locks are the two most popular accessories for caravan protection, but there are other options as well.
Wheel Clamps or Locks
These accessories will prevent access to your caravan’s wheel studs that hold your wheels onto the hub, as well as the tyre deflation/inflation valve. These accessories are easily installed with little effort and aren’t prioritised for heavy-duty wheel clamps. They’re best suited for winter storage.
Hitch locks come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and they offer varying levels of security. if you aren’t sure which hitch lock to get, contact your insurance company and see what they have to say. There are quite a few insurance-approved hitch locks online. Some locks are smaller and lighter compared to wheel clamps, and they’re easier to install. This makes them great for people using their caravan frequently.
While it may be the last thing that crosses your mind, sudden breakdowns or accidents can happen. Having some 4×4 car accessories like an air compressor, torque wrench, hi-lift jack, recovery tracks, etc. can come in very handy in many unfortunate situations.
None of these accessories will break your bank, yet they’ll give you peace of mind knowing you have a recovery solution to get your 4×4 out of almost any situation you encounter when off road. After all, keep in mind that you might not be near another living soul in a hundred-kilometre radius, so it only makes sense that you are capable of handling any potential issues yourself.