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How to Tell If a Towing Prep Package Is Installed

by Eric Cedric

Many cars are sold with an optional two prep package. This add-on option is not easy to locate, especially for those unsure of what it even is. The tow prep package provides your vehicle with a larger radiator, alternator and a transmission oil cooler. These items "prep" the vehicle to haul heavy weights behind it, relieving the added stress on the engine. Perform a cross comparison with other vehicles of the same make and model to visually check the size of the radiator -- a tell-tale sign of a prep package.

Park your vehicle next to another of the same year and make. Open the vehicle hoods. If at all possible, go to a dealership and check several of the same vehicles.

Check to see if your radiator, typically found in the front of the engine, is larger than the others. This is a clear indicator of the tow prep package.

Open you car's driver door and write down the VIN code found along the inside edge of the door. The VIN, or vehicle identification number, is the car's "DNA". Write this code down and bring it to the dealer of the make of your car. Ask the dealer to run a check on the car with the VIN to find the factory installed options.

Read the sale contracts and documents if available. Look at the options page and check for the Tow-Prep Package.

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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