When you are about to embark on a new journey, one that involves hauling a trailers, and it happens you lack towing experience, you might get a little bit overwhelmed. Regardless of if you have a powerful truck or a light-weight vehicle, you will still need to know the basics of towing, and more importantly, the towing capacity indicated on your vehicle. If you have no idea what we are talking about, don't worry.
This guide walks you on towing capacity and the importance of ensuring you don't exceed this capacity.
What is towing capacity
Towing capacity simply refers to the amount of weight a vehicle can tow when pulling a trailer. It is always advisable not to exceed this rating as doing so would put the towing vehicle on unnecessary stress that could have detrimental effects on vehicles engine. It could as well damage transmission and rear axle and this could put your safety and that of other road users into jeopardy.
On the inner side of a driver's door frame, you will find an attached certification plate or sticker that contains vital information about your car or truck. For towing purposes, there are a couple things you need to follow;
1. GVWR - The gross vehicle weight rating refers to the total weight a car or truck can handle without a trailer. This rating includes the weight of the vehicle, cargo and passengers.
2. GVW - Gross vehicle weight refers to the total weight as per manufacturer's estimate for your vehicle with all fluids, passengers and cargo. The actual weight may slightly vary depending on your cargo and passengers on-board your vehicle.
3. GCWR - This is the gross combined weight rating. It includes the weight of the vehicle, cargo, passengers and trailer with a load. It is the maximum allow combined weight and exceeding this weight could be devastating to your vehicle.
Lastly, we have the gross axle weight rating that shows how much load or weight a single axle can safely handle at any given time.
How to figure out towing capacity
To figure out the towing capacity, ensure the weight of the trailer and its load do not exceed the indicated gross vehicle rating. In most cases, this rating is about 10,000 lbs., though this will vary from one vehicle to the next.
Additionally, you need to pay attention to the tongue weight. Tongue is a device that connects a trailer to the towing vehicle. On conventional trailers, the tongue weight on ball mount hitches should be about 10-15 percent of the total weight of the trailer and its load.
You need to observe all towing laws set to ensure you have a safe ride. Many states have relatively lenient regulations while others will have special requirements. Ensure you check on these requirements and adhere to all of them. When preparing a trailer and its load, put enough time to ensure everything is properly fixed. Ensure all components are securely fixed and the trailer is properly connected. Doing will work in ensuring your safety and that of other road users.