What Camper Can My Vehicle Tow A Safe Towing Guide
If you buy an RV before asking yourself What kind of camper can my vehicle tow? youre making a huge mistake. Heres why.
When my wife and I wanted to buy a camper, I already owned a truck. But I didnt know how much it could tow. I looked it up and got multiple answers that varied between 5,000 pounds and 9,100 pounds.
Example Cars Suvs Trucks And Trailers With Towing Capacity Estimates
Below is a sample list of vehicles and campers that match together based on weight. The vehicles listed here are assumed to have the tow package if available. Some of the trailers listed below will also require a weight distribution hitch, sway control or fifth wheel hitches.
The best trucks for towing a travel trailer depend on different factors. For example, half-ton trucks can tow a fifth wheel but not all bed sizes can accommodate a fifth wheel.
The following are examples of trailers that can be towed by typical vehicles. Your particular car may tow more or less and it is your responsibility to confirm your vehicles capabilities. There are countless floor plans so hopefully this list will jump start your search.
What Information Is Provided To Me When I Get My Car
Anytime you pick up a towed vehicle whether it was ordered by police or towed from private property the tower must give you an invoice, in addition to any credit or debit slip, complete with:
- information about your car,
- time and date of the tow,
- time and date of the release of the car to you,
- reason for the tow,
- an officers identification number or name of the company that authorized the tow,
- identification number or initials of the tow driver,
- location towed from,
- a tow number assigned as a reference if there are any inquiries about the tow,
- an inventory of personal items visible from the outside of the car,
- notes about any pre-existing damage on the car,
- an itemized listing of all fees, identifying the reason for each.
If a parking ticket was written on your car, the tower is responsible for delivering the ticket to you with your invoice.
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How To Claim Repossessed Vehicles:
If your vehicle has been repossessed, please be aware SFPD has small involvement in this issue.
Vehicle owners must go to the Court Liasion Office located at 850 Bryant Street Room #511 and pay a $15 fee acceptable by cash only.
The Court Liasion Office is open Monday through Friday 9 AM – 5 PM. Their main office number is .
This is the only location to address this matter. Police Stations and the Legal Office at Police Headquarters will be unable to assist.
To Find Out If Your Car Has Been Towed
The majority of cars towed in San Francisco have been parked illegally or abandoned. These tows are managed by the San Francisco MunicipalTransportation Agency. If you think your car was towed for a parking issue, call the City and County of San Francisco Impound, at or click here to look for the car online. You will need to provide your license plate number, vehicle description, suspected tow date and location.
Note: If you cannot confirm your vehicle has been towed, it may have been stolen. To report a stolen vehicle, call the SFPD at .
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How Is Your Tow Vehicle Equipped
Does your vehicle have multiple engine options, wheel bases, cab styles and/or final gear ratio options? If so, the manual will have a chart showing the combinations and how much each will tow. Read these charts carefully. Many times towing charts will only apply if the vehicle has the trailer tow package. The charts will also include lots of foot notes. Some charts will be sorted by combined gross weight or the gross vehicle weight as a determining factor as well as wheel base, engine, and axle ratio.
The towing capacity of a base vehicle versus one that is properly equipped can be several thousand pounds. Knowing how your vehicle is equipped is the only way to know how much it can tow.
Best Practice For Max Trailer Weight:
My old Chevy had a max towing capacity of 6,800 pounds and was maxed out when towing. It showed, especially going up hills or when fighting a head wind.
The best practice is to give yourself a 10 -15% buffer on your max trailer weight. This gives you some power reserves for weather and elevation changes. If you regularly drive through the Mountains maybe go as high as 20%. The elevation changes effect turbo charged engines less, but it is still better to be safe than sorry.
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Understand What Makes A Car A Good Candidate
According to Edmunds.com, a vehicle must have a transmission that is self-lubricating when the engine is off in order to be a candidate for dinghy towing. This rules out some, but not all, vehicles with automatic transmissions, as well as a few stick shifts. If these cars are flat towed without the proper lubrication, the transmission can be irreparably damaged.
You have the best chance of being able to dinghy tow a car that is a manual transmission and operates using rear-wheel drive. Some four-wheel-drive vehicles, especially those with manual transmissions, are also good options.
Research Your Tow Vehicles Towing Capacity
For example, Ford advertises the F150 can tow up to 13,200 lbs. But that is for a regular cab, long bed 2-wheel drive, 3.5-liter Ecoboost with the max tow or heavy-duty payload. The same truck without the tow package is limited to 5,100 pounds. Big difference.
People who buy new RVs must match the towing capacity to the camper trailer theyve chosen. Others decide years after buying the truck or SUV that it would be nice to take the family camping. The question then becomes: what camper can my vehicle tow? Heres how to find out.
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Weigh Camping Gear Too
My trailer has a 2,000-pound payload limit and the gross vehicle weight of 5,900 pounds. I estimate that most of the time it weighs about 4900 pounds when being towed.
Here is my gear list and estimated weights
- Full holding tanks: 1000 lbs
- Propane tanks: 100 lbs
- Battery: 65 lbs.
- Clothes and bedding: 80 lbs
- Food: 75 lbs
- Camera gear and electronics: 50 lbs
- Tools: 50 lbs
- Chairs, pots, pans and other camping gear: 250 lbs
- Fishing gear: 50 lbs
- Total: 1,720 1,870 lbs.
Reasons A Car Might Be Towed
There are many reasons for your car getting towed. Here are just a few to be mindful of and try to avoid:
- It is obstructing traffic
- It is blocking a tunnel, driveway, or intersection
- It is parked in a handicapped space
- There is a moving violation or unpaid parking tickets registered on the vehicle
- It has been abandoned for a lengthy period of time
- The license plates are not properly attached or registration is out of date
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Work Out Your Car’s Towing Capacity With The Free Out & About Live Towmatch Service
Discover exactly which new or used caravan a car can safely tow, with our useful Caravan Towmatch Guide.
In a few easy steps, see what you can safely tow, along with direct access to the Out and About Live Caravan Buyers’ Guide to buying your dream caravan.
Read more about towing your caravan, towmatch, essential skills, basic maintenance and everything else you need to know about owning a caravan in our brand-new edition of Buying Your First Caravan. The 2021 issue is available to buy here.
How Do I Find My Towed Car In Los Angeles
There are so many reasons why your car could get towed in Los Angeles. Perhaps you parked on someone else’s private property without permission or remained on public property for longer than legally permitted. These situations can result in your car getting towed without warning.
What’s worse is that no one will notify you about the tow. You will go outside looking for your vehicle, only to find that it is not there. The first thing you should do in these situations is to look for public warning signage about parking in that area. Sometimes these signs will have the name and phone number of a towing company, but not always.
Most vehicles get towed in Los Angeles because of parking violations. Since these violations concern the police, it means the cars get impounded under the authority of the law. While that is bad for you from a legal perspective, it does make it easier for you to locate your vehicle. It means your vehicle is sitting in a police garage somewhere in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Official Police Garages has a website where you can conduct a public search for your towed vehicle. All you need to do is enter your license plate number and the state where it was issued or enter the Vehicle Identification Number. Click the search button, and the database will locate which police garage your vehicle was towed to in Los Angeles. The Vehicle Information Impound Center updates the database every hour. If you don’t see your vehicle listed right away, check back in an hour.
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San Jose Police Department Ca
To lookup the status of a towed vehicle, and find out how to recover it, contact SJPD Vehicle Records Assistance Line at 408-277-4263.
This line is answered 24/7 except between the hours of 12:00 noon to 2:00pm. Have your case number, vehicle license plate or VIN number ready.
You can also visit the Auto Desk in person:
201 W. Mission Street
Auto Desk hours of operation: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Every Day.
Check Your Tongue Weight Too
You should also pay attention to your tongue weight. The tongue is a device that connects the trailer to the towing vehicle. According to General Motors, the tongue weight on conventional trailers and ball mount hitches should be 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer and its load. So, for a loaded trailer weighing 1,200 lbs, your tongue should weigh 120-180 lbs. For gooseneck or 5th wheel campers, they recommend 15-30%.
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Where Is My Car
If your car is not where you left it, your first call should be to Police Auto Records at 823-0044.
They can tell you if your car was:
- Moved for utility work or a special event or film/video work or
- because it was parked on private property without permission or,
- because it was blocking access to a driveway, or special parking zone, or a utility meter or,
- because it might contain evidence needed for an investigation or,
- due to a traffic violation or,
- Tag Warrant or,
- possibly stolen.
If Your Car Has Been Towed How Can You Get It Back
Vehicles towed by the SFPD for parking violations, non-injury collisions, or recovered stolen vehicles can be retrieved immediately at the City and County of San Francisco Impound. Vehicle owners must first obtain a release form from the SFPD. In most cases, the legal owner of the vehicle can obtain the form by bringing his or her drivers license and proof of ownership to the nearest police station, where an officer will verify the information. The owner may then pick up the vehicle at:
The City and County of San Francisco Impound450 7th Street San Francisco, CA 94103
Click here for information on towing fees.
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Water Weight Changes Towing Capacity
On-board water can also change the balance of the trailer. For example, my trailers 30-gallon fresh water tank is located in the front. The 45 gallon black tank is over the rear axle. The 40 gallon grey tank just behind the axle. An empty fresh tank and half full black and grey tanks will give the back of the trailer more leverage. It will sway more because the water is moving as the trailer goes down the road. If all of the tanks are full the trailer is more balanced and because the tanks are full the water will slosh less.
This goes back to having that extra towing capacity for changing conditions. Even if you try to always tow with empty tanks you will have to be able to tow with full or partially empty tanks and still be safe. Always plan for the unexpected when towing.
- When estimating weight, I generally round up. If all of the tanks are full it is 115 gallons of water times 8 pounds per gallon equals 920 pounds. I just round that up to 1,000 lbs.
How To Locate A Towed Vehicle
Panic and anxiety will definitely set in if you walk out of a vicinity to then notice your car is gone. If you have determined it not stolen, you could have been in violation of a city parking code, thus having it impounded. More than likely, the business establishment where the car was towed from will be able to provide the tow company’s contact information. If it can’t, then there are a few methods you can take to quickly locate your car.
Ask which towing company the place of business uses when cars are in violation. This way, you will have enough information to be able to contact them, to inquire about your towed vehicle.
Visit the city’s towed vehicle locator website, as most cities have one. In order to look up the towed vehicle online, you will need the vehicle’s VIN number and/or license plate number.
Contact the city’s information hotline by dialing 311. This number comes in handy if you do not know your VIN or license plate number off hand. Provide your name, the make and model, insurance policy, car year or in some cases, your driver’s license number, so that the operator can find the precise company that impounded your vehicle manually.
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Towed Car Locator By City
FIND TOWED CAR BY CITY
If you cant find your car and you believe that your car was recently towed, it can be pretty shocking. Often, finding your car after it has been towed can be a scary process. This site was created to help simplify that process. It is intended to be a database of all the towed car databases in the county. Not every city has an online towed car search system, so sometimes you will have to call city agencies to get more information about your towed vehicle.
How to get your car back after being towed
If your car was towed, here is what to do in the following cities:
Atlanta Find Towed car in Atlanta
Baltimore Find Car Towed in Baltimore
Check For Tow Zones And Signs
Look for restricted parking signs, tow zones and other signs in the area where you parked. Take pictures of the signs, especially if you believe that you were towed without a valid reason.
If you see “No Parking” signs and there’s a number listed, call it for the location of your towed car. If not, call the local police department. If your car has been towed they will give you information on the vehicle’s location, such as the impound lot address.
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Why You Should Adjust Trailer Weight For Driving Conditions
Heres an example of why you should consider max trailer weight during your travels. For instance, driving from Florida, sea level, to Denver 5,200 feet above sea level, changes your max trailer weight.
- Your truck starts with a 17,000 pounds GCVW and the truck with passengers weighs 6,600 lbs. The trailer can weigh 10,400. By the time you get to Denver the GCVW will have dropped by 10% to 15,300.
- The truck and passenger still weigh the same 6,600 pounds so your max trailer weight is now 8,700 lbs.
Even here in Illinois and Wisconsin where I do most of my towing I should reduce the CGVW by 2%. Most of my towing is done between 500 and 1,000 feet above sea level.
The other reason to have a weight buffer is that some of the load in a camper can be a live load. This means it moves as you go down the road, making it act heavier because the weight has momentum.
Maximum Trailer Payload Considerations
The difference between the dry weight and the gross weight is the trailers payload. If the trailer has a payload of 2,000 pounds, thats how much stuff you can pack into it.
Remember the heaviest thing in your trailer is water. If you travel with water in your fresh water tank, grey and black tanks, consider water weighs 8 pounds per gallon. It can also have the unique property of being a live load while going down the road.
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What If A Car Is Towed Away Wrongfully
If you are convinced that your car has been wrongfully towed, document the scene and take photographs of any signs around the place your car was parked. Lodge a complaint with your local authority and keep receipts that prove you have paid for your parking. Before leaving the impound lot, take photographs of the exterior and interior of the car to document its state and condition and to be sure that any damage caused by the tow truck is accounted for.