If you have been on the road, you have probably seen a car hauling something or a can towing a camper. These drivers have probably already cracked the weight their vehicles can pull and carry just that amount. Anything more would likely damage any parts bearing the load in your car. Below are five essential things to know about your vehicle towing capacity:
How do you calculate the towing capacity?
Your car’s towing capacity is the maximum weight your vehicle can pull without causing dangerous situations or damages to your vehicle. Exceeding this weight limit often damages your axle, engine, gearbox, and wheel bearings. Usually, the weight can be specified by the manufacturers in the car owner’s handbook.
To determine your maximum towing capacity, you need to know these manufacturers’ ratings and compare them to the trailer you want to tow. You can read the value on the driver-side door jamb or the manufacturer’s website.
And if you are still not so sure, you can always call the manufacturer to clarify. If the weight limit of your vehicle is larger than the weight you want to tow, then it is safe to haul the trailer. If not, your car could end up with some severe damage.
Your vehicle’s gross weight
As stated before, there is a weight limit that your car can carry when hauling luggage. This weight constitutes the total weight of your vehicle, the passengers, cargo, and the weight of the tongue the trailer will be using. This whole weight should not exceed the specified towing capacity for your car.
This is undoubtedly one of the most important factors to consider. The weight of the trailer your car can handle depends on its towing capacity. It should be within the limit, and this weight should be within the allowable limits of the vehicle’s hitch.
How to know your towing capacity
The writings included in the manual or driver-side door may not be evident for you to understand right away. Most of them are in acronyms, which you can refer to below:
- GVWR- the gross weight rating- this is the maximum loaded weight of your vehicle. It includes the weight of the passengers, cargo, and the car itself. This rating is for the safety of the vehicle’s suspension system, frames, wheels, axles, and other parts bearing the load. Do not mistake this for the towing capacity of the vehicle.
- GCWR-gross combined weight rating– this is the maximum weight of the car with the trailer attached as per the manufacturer. The combined weight includes the vehicle itself, the trailer, and cargo placed in either vehicle.
- GAWR-Gross Axle Weight Rating– this is the weight you can place on your vehicle’s front or rear axles. The FR is the front axle weight, while the RR is the rear axle weight rating.
- GTW- Gross trailer weight– this is the trailer’s total weight, including any cargo loaded onto it.
- TW- Tongue weight is the force exerted at the back of the tow vehicle by a towable load. In other words, it is the downward force your car experiences due to the load it carries on the trailer. This weight depends on the positioning of the load on the trailer.
Difference between the trailer weight and the towing capacity
The trailer weight is the total calculated weight of the trailer and any cargo loaded into it. However, the towing capacity is how much your vehicle can haul without damaging its systems. The trailer weight might exceed the towing capacity, making it dangerous to transport.
All in all, you should take care of your car and follow the laws regarding towing in your state.