How Much Can My Truck Tow?
Before you decide to use your vehicle for towing, you need to know its maximum towing capacity. The manufacturer indicates a standard rated capacity, wherein it is best to follow. If you go beyond what is recommended, you might be at risk of accidents waiting to happen.
Setting aside the dangers it can cause to people, towing a vehicle that is too heavy can also damage your truck. You put your brakes, engine, rear axle, wheel bearings, and transmission. In addition, this would make the manufacturer's warranty invalid.
If it is your first time to buy a tow vehicle, do some research about its towing capacity. Preferably, choose a tow truck that is capable of hauling a larger capacity than what you originally planned.
Table of Contents
Read And Understand The Owner's Manual
The easiest way to find out the towing capacity of your truck is to check the owner's manual. Review the details there and see if they are the same with the information on the certification plate on the vehicle. You can read the limitations and instructions in the owner's manual. It usually includes safe towing tips that you can follow especially if you are a beginner.
You must avoid exceeding the towing capacity as it can affect the performance of your truck. It can also alter the stopping feature of your vehicle, not to mention that you put your drivetrain at risk.
Actually, there are some vehicles that come with towing hitches (also called tow bars) to increase the towing performance. A tow hitch is suitable for a variety of tow trucks. But for safety purposes, simply stick to the towing capacity that is specified by the manufacturer.
Find The Certification Label Of Your Vehicle
It is important to review the certification label of your vehicle for your compliance. If you are not familiar with this, it is a sticker that is located at the door sill on the driver's side. This particular label comes with the following information:
- GVW - Gross Vehicle Weight. The GVW is the average curb weight of the truck. It also refers to the allowance for the basic amount of gas, luggage, and even passengers. But these are all the predictions of the manufacturer, as the actual weight of the truck varies. It all depends on how much gas, luggage, and passenger you place in your vehicle. In other words, GVW is just an estimation.
- GVWR - Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This rating is considered the maximum safe weight of the truck. again, this is the safe gross weight, which means you should follow the weight limit. Going beyond this will stress the transmission, engine, and brakes.
- GCW - Gross Combination Weight. This is the accurate weight of your truck, including the entire weight of the trailer. It does not refer to the tongue weight. Your gross combination weight should be lower than the gross combination weight rating.
- GCWR - Gross Combination Weight Rating. It refers to the combined maximum weight of your truck and trailer, including people and luggage. Your towing setup should not go over this GCWR so it does not negatively affect the design mutilations.
- GAW - Gross Axle Weight. This is the amount of weight that is estimated on both the rear and front wheels. But, the weight of the two is different due to a few factors such as the engine system.
- GAWR - Gross Axle Weight Rating. This is the maximum weight on the rear and back wheels. Remember that the weight of the two is different, considering the weight of the trailer tongue, engine, and luggage. Avoid exceeding your GAWR so as not to the damage the truck.
Determine The Weight Of the Trailer
Aside from knowing the towing capacity and weight capacity of your truck, you need to know the weight of your trailer. Generally, a truck has a vehicle identification number (VIN) plate attached to it. Check this plate for the serial number of your vehicle. It also includes the maximum GVWR of the vehicle, the GAWR for every single axle, and its GVW unloaded.
Find your VIN plate, so it would be easy for you to know the weight information of your truck. You can also quickly estimate the total weight that you add to the standard gross vehicle weight.
One way to determine the weight of your truck is to put things on it as you regularly use it. After that, go to a vehicle scale stops, or highway weigh stations in your state. Going to these places is beneficial for you as you will really know the weight of your truck when loaded.
Consider The Weight Of the Tongue
The tongue weight indicates how heavy the couple is when your vehicle is loaded. It is recommended to carry 10% on the total weight of the truck. You do not want to put too much or too little on the tongue, so as not to affect the towing performance.
Always ensure safety when you use your tow vehicle. Aside from complying to its recommended weight limit, make sure your engine has enough power to carry your load. A powerful and well-maintained engine is essential to perform all the towing jobs that your vehicle needs to do.