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How Much Can My Car Tow

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Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

What Can My Vehicle REALLY Tow?

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can support while sitting still. It is affected by your cars frame, wheels, suspension, and axles. A change to any one of those will change the GVWR.

The GVWR is usually found on a sticker inside the drivers door jamb and in the owners manual.

Likewise, a tow vehicle and the trailer it is pulling each have a unique GVWR. What is important is that you dont overload either.

GVWR is not towing capacity. To clarify, the amount of weight your vehicle can support that pushes down on it, and the amount of weight it can pull behind are two different numbers. For instance, its like how the weight you carry on your shoulders is not the same as the amount you can pull in a wagon.

Exceeding Towing Capacity: Shortened Life For You And Your Car

Just because your pickup might be able to manage the extra weight of the boat for a quick trip doesn’t mean it’s OK to do. Your ailing grandmother could probably carry a heavy backpack across the room too, but would you really ask her to do it?

Just like repeated trips across the room with a bulging bag would put a strain on Nana’s back and likely lead to broken bones, a few trips to the mountains with that four-wheeler will put a similar break in the life of your truck. Vehicles are designed to handle only a certain amount of force, and the way they’re constructed reflects that. That’s why commercial trucks that regularly haul tons of cargo across the country have significantly bigger wheels, more powerful engines and stronger braking and suspension systems than do passenger cars.

When you ask your truck to pull more than it was meant to — exceeding its towing capacity — a number of things start to happen: The brakes begin to fade, the added weight contributes to tire failure, and the extra work required of your engine causes it to overheat, which, in turn, overloads the drivetrain and shortens the life of your transmission.

Although you may not see the effects of exceeding towing capacity at first, the gradual wear and tear will lead to eventual failure. The best case scenario is repeated trips to the repair shop the worst is a major wreck.

Originally Published: Oct 24, 2008

Online Charts Are Not Reliable

Some website post online charts of vehicle towing capacities. While these charts can be useful if you’re buying a new vehicle, they are probably the least reliable source of information about your vehicle’s overall towing capacity. Most experts do not recommend using online charts to find out how much your car can tow.

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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.

What To Keep In Mind When Towing With Your Vehicle

Not sure if this counts. " Can you send a tow truck to my ...

On paper towing with vehicles seems to be simple. It really inst that complicated, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you are getting ready to tow with your vehicle in regards to how much your vehicle can handle.

Vehicles Listed Max Towing Capacity

When researching your vehicle online, most towing ratings on websites are listed at the vehicles maximum towing capacity. That means a vehicle shouldnt attempt to tow more than that number listed. In fact, you should avoid towing loads that fall anywhere close to the vehicles maximum abilities because it could end up being more than it can handle, especially if you are driving through the mountains or other rough terrains.

Towing weight that it over or too close to a vehicles maximum towing capacity causes problems to the car and also be very dangerous to the driver and other passengers if something did happen to go wrong. It is best to keep it safe and not push the limits.

It is beneficial knowing what your vehicles limit is to know how much it can, cant, or shouldnt handle, and for that reason the numbers that i have listed above are all the different types of vehicles maximum capabilities for towing.

Other Weights to Keep in Mind When Towing

Do your best to estimate how much these things will end up weighing and double check if your vehicle can handle it.

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Learn The Weight Of The Trailer

Trailer dealers can easily mislead you in the allowed weight a trailer can handle. This is because trailers use both GVWR and what is known as either dry weight, unloaded vehicle weight or dry hitch weight. Dry weight refers to the weight of the trailer when empty and does not include any extra equipment you may load such as batteries or tanks. Ignore this number and find the GVWR of your prospective trailer. Ask for assistance if you cannot locate the number on the trailer.

Note that the hitch on your towing vehicle will only tow the weight transmitted through the tongue of the trailer. To calculate the maximum tongue weight of the trailer, multiply the trailers GVWR by 15%. That is,

GVWR x 0.15 = TW

Other Towing Tips For A Safe Ride

First, check with your states laws concerning towing. AAAs list will help guide you in finding out what laws you may need to adhere to. Many states have relatively lenient regulations, while others have special requirements. Be sure to consult the laws in your state and any state you plan on traveling to with your trailer.

Always take your time when preparing a trailer and its load. Double and triple check to be sure all items are secure and you have the trailer connected properly. This will help you avoid any accidents that could occur if something was done incorrectly.

Knowing and following your towing capacity will help keep your vehicle and your passengers safe. Dont exceed the recommended rating for your towing truck or car just for the sake of saving money or time. Your life, as well as others, could be at risk.

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Towing A Combined Weight Over 3500kg

If you wish to tow a trailer over 750kg which would result in a combined weight of over 3,500kg, you will require a B+E entitlement on your driving license.

The date on which you passed your driving test also has some baring on the amount of total weight you are able to tow without needing a B+E entitlement on your license. Drivers who passed their driving test after 1st January 1997 and only have a standard category B driving license can:

  • Drive a vehicle up to a maximum weight of 3,500kg while towing a trailer of up to 750kg
  • Tow a trailer heavier than 750kg, providing the combined weight of the trailer and the towing vehicle is not over 3,500kg

For anything heavier you will need to take a category B+E driving test.

However, drivers who passed their driving test before 1st January 1997 are generally allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of up to 8.25 tonnes.

How To Figure Out Towing Capacity

What can my Truck ACTUALLY Tow

The short answer is that you want to make sure the weight of the trailer and its load doesnt exceed the gross vehicle weight rating of your truck, car, or SUV. In standard situations, if your vehicles GVWR is 10,000 lbs and you only plan to haul 1,000 lbs of cargo, youre good to go. But thats not always the case.

A post shared by GMC on May 5, 2019 at 9:47am PDT

If you feel you might be close, you will need to dig a bit deeper. Lets say you have a truck thats rated for 12,000 lbs. If you want to haul a camper trailer thats 10,000 lbs, you could potentially exceed the rated towing capacity of your vehicle. You must determine what your actual combined weight is with towing vehicle, passengers, cargo, and camper. Then youll need a calculation of all the items you plan to put into the camper, like bedding, linen, food, and water. Those items might put you over.

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How Do I Work Out My Cars Towing Capacity

Towing capacity is the maximum weight a car can tow legally. However, it may not be safe or comfortable to do so, especially with a caravan or trailer that has a large box-like profile.

The towing capacity may be published within the handbook of the vehicle. It can also be calculated from the VIN plate, where line one is the maximum allowable mass and line two is the maximum trian mass. Simply deduct line one from line two and you have the vehicle towing limit.

For safe towing it is recommended by many towing experts that a novice should keep the fully laden weight of the caravan no heavier than 85% of the kerbweight of the tow car. This is known as the 85% rule. Bear in mind that it is a guide and not legally enforceable.

To calculate this, you only need to know two key figures: the kerbweight of the car and the maximum mass of the caravan .

If the mass of the caravan is 85% or less of the cars kerbweight, the car will tow it with ease.

If its between 85% and 100%, be careful only experienced caravanners should use that car to tow such a heavy van.

But if the caravan is heavier than the car, then it is strongly recommended not to use it to tow that caravan. This calculation is known by experts as outfit matching.

How Much Can Your Heavy

What Qualifies As a Heavy-Duty Truck?

Heavy-duty trucks live up to their name by being able to tow the heaviest duty items. They are made to be extremely bulky and haul virtually anything and everything you want to throw at them. They may guzzle lots fuel. but thats what it takes to get the jobs that they have done. Contruction companies often utilize these types of trucks for their heavy projects.

Some examples of these heavy-duty trucks are the Ford F-350 and F-450. The Ram 2500 and 3500 are also tough and highly rated.

How Much Can Your Heavy-Duty Trucks Tow?

Heavy-duty trucks can tow insane amounts of weight, having an average of maximum of 22,000 lbs. A good portion of them have tow ratings of a lower 18,000 lbs, while others are rated at 23,000 lbs.

The biggest and strongest of trucks can even tow a crazy weight of 30,000+ lbs!

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Heavy-Duty Trucks?

The real question to be asking is what cant these trucks tow! Heavy-duty trucks can haul fifth wheels, heavy machinery, and other large objects with ease. The things that need to be towed that are outside these trucks towing capacitycan only be towed by other large vehicles like semi-trucks.

My Top 5 Heavy Duty Trucks for Towing

Here is my list of the top 5 biggest and strongest heavy-duty trucks out there:

  • Ford F-450 Super Duty Tows up to 32,500 lbs
  • Ram 3500 Tows up to 31,200 lbs
  • Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Tows up to 23,300 lbs
  • GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD Tows up to 23,100 lbs
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    I Want To Tow A Horsebox

    Horses come in all shapes and sizes, and average weights can vary from 200kg for a small pony up to 1,000kg for a Shire. Horseboxes also vary greatly in weight so its important to have an accurate figure of what is to be towed before you start.

    We would recommend using a vehicle that has more than a 2,000kg towing capacity in any case.

    Important Things To Remember When Towing

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    • > The maximum speed when towing is 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 50mph on single carriage roads
    • > The maximum width of a trailer should not exceed 2.55m
    • > The length of a trailer should not exceed 7m
    • > If the trailer is wider than the car you wish to drive then towing mirrors should be fitted
    • > If you fit a tow bar to your vehicle then it must meet EU regulations and be designed for use with that car
    • > If you have never towed before, it is always a good idea to practice as much as possible especially reversing and parking with a trailer attached
    • > You must display the same number plate on your trailer as on your towing car. If you tow more than one trailer at a time, fix the plate to the trailer at the back
    • > You can be fined up to £2,500 and have three points put on your licence if you are deemed to be using your car in a dangerous condition. Find out more at

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    Ultra Lightweight Trailer And Car Combination Example

    • Car Honda CRV all-wheel drive
    • Towing capacity 1500 lbs

    The best ultra lightweight trailer and car combination includes small teardrop trailers, like the those from Colorado Teardrop Camper. The Basecamp model weighs in at 900 pounds so options will need to be kept to a minimum to stay within the weight limit of the CRV. It is built around a queen size bed and sleeps 2. No kitchen or bathroom, but for two people with a small car this will get keep your camping gear together and ready to go while providing a cozy place to sleep. The Colorado Teardrop Basedrop is a great example.

    Maintaining a safety margin on the max tow weight of small vehicles is tough. Be careful not over load the trailer or tow vehicle.

    Small trailer and car combination example

    • Car Mid size SUV like the Chevy Equinox or Lincoln MKZ
    • Max towing 3500 lbs

    The best small trailer for a small car is a popup or tent camper like the Forest River Rockwood Freedom 1940ltd. The trailer weighs 1600 lbs dry and 2350 gross vehicle weight. It has a tongue weight of only 195 pounds. Loaded up it is safely with in the limits of the Equinox and other SUVs the same size. Has plenty of sleeping room for the family.

    Because it is a Popup or Tent Camper it will have less wind resistance when being towed. There may also be some travel trailers that have light enough dry weights to tow with this size SUV, but their gross weights max out or exceed the towing capacity.

    Medium-light weight trailer and car combination example.

    Best Subaru For Towing

    With their potent all-wheel drive systems and reliable Boxer engines, Subaru vehicles have always been rugged, capable companions for those in the Minneapolis area. While they aren’t going to haul as much as a pickup truck, all of Subaru’s crossovers and SUVs have the ability to tow when equipped with a towing hitch, and many offer enough towing capacity to move your snowmobile, dirt bike, or other small trailer items. Here’s how much each Subaru vehicle can tow.

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    How Much Can Your Sedan Tow

    What Qualifies as a Sedan?

    Sedans are typical small cars, generally only designed to fit 5 people at most and without much extra space. They are common for individuals, couples, and small families. Sedans arent very high off of the ground and have closed bodies and trunks. These vehicles usually get very good gas mileage, especially compared to the other vehicle types on this list. Due to the design of these cars, they arent the best for towing.

    Common examples of sedans are the Ford Fusion, Honda Civic, and the Chevy Malibu.

    How Much Can Your Sedan Tow?

    Out of all the vehicles on this list, A Sedan is the least capable vehicle for towing. They are great vehicles, but towing is just not what they are designed for because few people use them to haul. However, these cars are so commonly used that sometimes the occasion arises that something is needed to be towed, and they can pull enough to where simple and small things are no problem.

    Sedans on average have a maximum towing capacity of 1,750 lbs. Many of them can only tow about 1,000 lbs, but there are some that have been made to be stronger and have higher towing ratings above 3,500 lbs while still keeping the features of a Sedan.

    What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Sedan?

    As mentioned before, Sedans arent the best for towing, but here is a list of simple things that your Sedan can tow.

    • Small trailers
    • Other equipment, trailers, and items under 1,000 lbs
    My Top 5 Sedans for Towing
  • Volvo S80/S90 3,900 lbs
  • Check Your Cars Towing Capacity

    Determining what can i tow with my car

    If you are towing a trailer or caravan it is really important that you take extra care as there are a lot of additional factors you need to take into account.

    When towing a trailer you should always think Safety first!!

    In general, car and van accidents that involve a trailer have far greater consequences than those where no trailer is involved. The main reason for this is the additional size and weight that the trailer adds to your vehicle along with the fact it is only attached by a very small point.

    Making sure that the trailer you are planning on pulling is within the towing capacity of you car is extremely important. Whilst the 85% Rule is there as a guide, its important to know that the towing capacity and weight vary from car to car and between different models so please make sure you find the exact towing capacity for your car and that you double check this in your cars handbook.

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