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May 31, 2018

8 Tips on How to Properly Pack Luggage in an SUV

In many markets around the world, including the Philippines, more consumers are getting out of passenger cars such as sedans and into SUVs, in part to take advantage of the segment’s versatile interior design. With three-row tumbling fold-flat seats, these SUVs enable a variety of configurations for passengers and cargo.

Whether going on a holiday road trip, moving to a new house, or going on a major shopping trip, it’s important to keep driving safety in mind when packing an SUV. Here are several packing tips:

#1. Do the Math

Just because an SUV has plentiful space for cargo, the user should not fill it from floor to ceiling. Load capacity, which is the maximum amount of passenger and cargo weight that a vehicle is designed to handle, can start from 400 kilograms and varies greatly from vehicle to vehicle.

The vehicle’s pay load is calculated by subtracting the vehicle’s weight (vehicle when empty) from the Gross Vehicle Weight (the maximum permissible weight the vehicle can carry). Don’t forget to include passengers and fuel in load capacity as well as cargo. If you put two 60-kilogram adults and two 40-kilogram kids inside, you will have to reduce your load capacity by their combined weight of 200 kilograms. And don’t forget about the extra weight of a full tank of fuel. For example, diesel fuel weighs about 0.832 kg per liter, so filling a 76-liter tank would effectively reduce carrying capacity by another 63 kilograms. Do the math to ensure best results.

#2. Keep a Low Center of Gravity

Load the heaviest items in the cargo area and keep them on the floor. This helps keep the overall center of gravity lower, reducing the likelihood of a rollover. This also reduces the potential adverse effect on vehicle handling that could be caused by the cargo weight; a significant load at the back shifts weight off of the front wheels, which can adversely affect steering and braking.

#3. Secure Loose Items

To prevent cargo from becoming a dangerous projectile during a sudden stop, smaller items should be packed into boxes and larger items should be strapped down using the vehicle’s cargo anchors. This will help make sure items from the cargo section do not strike passengers in an emergency situation.

#4. Maintain Sightlines

Resist the temptation to stack cargo from floor to roof. Maintain your sightlines. An obscured rear view makes driving difficult and creates considerable risk when driving in reverse. Without rearward visibility, the risk of backing into someone or something is too high.

#5. Regarding the Roof

Loading cargo on a vehicle roof is generally discouraged because it negatively affects aerodynamics and raises the center of gravity, therefore impacting fuel economy and vehicle handling even at low speeds. Furthermore, if anything flies off while the vehicle is in motion it can be hazardous for other vehicles. However, a properly installed roof rack with cross rails can help keep properly secured cargo in place at safe speeds. Even so, it is prudent to use an aerodynamically designed, properly secured, waterproof rooftop carrier, and avoid loading anything heavy, bulky or loose.

#6. Keep Essentials Accessible

Be sure your roadside emergency kit, including jump-starter cable, cell phone, and drinking water are readily accessible, just in case you need them. Depending on the SUV model, the spare tire may be stored inside the vehicle, and accessing it may require the cargo to be unloaded. However, for some which has their spare tire attached to the undercarriage, this proves easier since it’s readily accessible when needed.

#7. Check Tire Pressure and Condition

Before driving, it is important to inspect your tires to ensure there are no sidewall bulges, tread damage or extreme wear, such as chunked tread, exposed steel belts, punctures, or sidewall cuts. Make sure tires are properly inflated; the recommended inflation pressure usually can be found on the driver’s side doorjamb, inside of the fuel-filler door, or in the owner’s manual. Use these inflation pressure numbers, not the maximum pressure number on the tire sidewall, because the vehicle may recommend different tire pressures for high speeds or heavy loads.

#8. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks

Finally, don’t take unnecessary risks by overloading any vehicle, even if it’s the most rugged SUV out there. If it seems like you are overloading, then find a way to lighten your load. Safety should always be your top priority.

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