What Is Towing Capacity (And How to Measure It) - TulsaCW.com: TV To Talk About | The Tulsa CW

What Is Towing Capacity (And How to Measure It)


Towing Capacity

Have you ever wanted to take a vacation without paying for a hotel room? Well, why not get an RV and go where your heart desires?

Maybe a stop in a quiet meadow will sooth you? Or perhaps staying near a remote beach is more your style?

Either way, to get to your dream location, you’ll need a vehicle that can take you there! But, not just any car will do.

So, in this article, we’ll look at towing ratings, towing capabilities, other measures, and we aim to answer the question; what is towing capacity?

Let’s dive in!

What Is Towing Capacity?

Simply put, towing capacity is the vehicle’s ability to tow. It can be a trailer or some other object, but no matter what you’re hauling, the maximum weight remains a crucial aspect.

How much a vehicle can tow is determined by a manufacturer. Other vital elements are GVWR, GCWR, and GTW.

When you consider what is towing capacity, you shouldn’t underestimate its importance.

Towing more than is recommended for your vehicle can be very dangerous. Exceeding the recommended capacity may ruin your vehicle or endanger you or others, so always be aware of your vehicle’s limits.

However, keep in mind that the number given in your vehicle manual might be the maximum only in the best of circumstances.

It would be wise not to think of the number as an absolute. Keeping below the maximum will help both your vehicle and the towed trailer.

Additionally, different states have different towing laws. Mostly they involve the weight capacity.

But, there’s also regulation involving the speed a towing vehicle can reach. Or even the break requirements that you have to meet before towing your trailer.

How to Calculate Towing Capacity

To find out if your vehicle can handle the trailer you want to tow, you’ll need to compare the weight of your trailer with the ratings given by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Basically, if the rating is higher than the weight of the trailer, you can tow it safely. But, if the rating is lower, you shouldn’t attempt towing. It really is that simple.

The manufacturer determines the vehicle’s towing capacity. Ignoring the recommended maximum towing capacity for your car will only end up putting your property and safety in danger.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the critical factors that determine the towing capabilities.

GVWR means gross vehicle weight rating. It stands for the maximum weight you can put in your vehicle. This is cargo or passengers the car is carrying as well as the car itself. The towing contents are usually not included in this definition.

A bit more directly related to the towing capacity is the term GCWR. The abbreviation stands for gross combined weight rating.

This is a number that the manufacturer determines that takes the maximum weight of the vehicle and adds an attached trailer to it.

GVWR only states the maximums of the vehicle, while GCWR includes the trailer as well. Be sure not to confuse the two. Otherwise, you might make a miscalculation.

GTW stands for gross trailer weight. This refers to the weight of the trailer and its content. Usually, GTW is measured by placing a loaded trailer on the scale.

GTW and towing capacity go hand in hand. Once you know the gross weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of your vehicle, you’ll see whether it’s safe to tow.

Common Situations

Depending on what you want to tow, you’ll have to factor in weight. For instance, let’s say you wish to pull an RV for your vacation.

Most small RVs will need a vehicle with a capacity to tow at least 4,500 pounds.

If you aim to tow a more substantial RV, you’ll need to have a vehicle with 7,000 pounds worth of towing power. These numbers are just the basics. You’ll need to calculate the luggage you are taking and the passengers in the vehicle itself.

Should you find yourself towing a car, you’ll face a bit different situation than with the RV.

However, knowing the towing capacity of your car is still crucial. It’s recommended to use a vehicle that can pull at least 5,500 pounds.

That way, you’ll be able to drive more smoothly, and the trip won’t be hazardous. Otherwise, if your vehicle’s towing capacity is lower than the weight of the car, your own vehicle might be dominated by the vehicle you’re towing.

However, if you aren’t planning on great towing adventures, many vehicles might work for you.

For example, if you only seek to tow small weights or get rid of old furniture, you’ll need to have a towing capacity of only about 3,000 pounds.

But, that’s usually a maximum. Often you’ll only require a bit over 1,000 pounds. And keep in mind that a trailer that weighs 3,000 pounds might need additional brakes.

Basically, always evaluate what you’re planning to tow. Measure it and compare it to your vehicle’s capabilities. Try not to reach the very maximum to give yourself more control and room to act in a dangerous situation.

Consider Your Vehicle

It’s undeniable that different models from different manufacturers have different capabilities. A light sports car cannot be equal to a massive truck. If you think you will need a lot of towing power in your vehicle, there are some options you should consider.

One of the great vehicles could be the Volkswagen Touareg. It’s capable of towing up to 7,700 pounds. The car also has four-wheel steering, so despite its large frame, it’s easier to handle than many other similar cars. This model also has a 12-inch screen installed, as well as other gadgets.

Toyota Tacoma is another truck worth your attention. The towing capacity for a Toyota Tacoma depends on the type of vehicle and engine you’ll purchase. 2.7L four-cylinder engine comes with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

A 3.5L V6 engine can tow 6,800 pounds (but it requires the towing package). The vehicle is also spacious, capable of handling the heavy load even without a trailer.

And if you don’t want to get a truck, you don’t have to say goodbye to good towing power.

Skoda Octavia Scout can tow up to 4,400 pounds. This means you’ll have decent towing capabilities, even with a lighter vehicle. The model also has a four-wheel drive and an economic engine.

Things of Note

Once you’ve got yourself a suitable vehicle and you’re ready to tow the trailer, you should also double-check it.

Securing the trailer will ensure you won’t stumble into a hazardous situation on the road. Even if you have experience towing, don’t overlook such a simple action.

There are ways to increase the towing capacity. You can purchase specific accessories, but be sure they match your vehicle’s rating. One of such accessories can be a weight-distribution hitch.

But, if you invest in these accessories, you have to regulate your towing weight according to the lowest-rated part. If one component cannot handle the load, your efforts might be in vain.

When towing, it might be smart to drive on a slower side. Be aware of what terrain you’re driving on.

Try to take full turns to execute the maneuvers successfully. Additionally, maintain a longer following distance from other vehicles. With a heavier load, it will take longer for your car to stop than normal. Keeping a good distance will give you enough time to stop if they do so suddenly.

All Things Considered

Knowing the answer to the question, what is towing capacity, is especially important when it comes to getting to grips with your personal vehicle. Not least because it can help you save both effort and money.

Obeying the maximums set by GVWR and GAWR helps to ensure you never exceed the capabilities of your car. And as we’ve said, picking the right vehicle for the task is also essential. Different models have different towing power.

Yes, there are ways to increase the towing capacity of your vehicle, but these modifications wouldn’t be enough to make a vehicle like a sports car suitable to tow an RV. This might seem hyperbolic, but you get the idea.

The manufacturer decides the ratings, and you should make your towing choices accordingly.

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