Do You Know How Much Your Vehicle Can Tow?

How to Pick the Proper Tow Vehicle

Are you planning to move this summer? If you’re going a road trip, will you be hauling a camper or U-Haul container? Whatever your reasons for a towing, you’ll want to find the right type of towing vehicle for your cargo. Before you decide on buying just any car or SUV, you’ll want to consider your needs carefully.

Think about what you are planning to tow and how often you will need to do so. Do you take a Fifth Wheel camper out every summer? Does your work require you to do a lot of hauling? Once you’ve prioritized your towing needs, you can start thinking about a vehicle.

If you’re typically towing a trailer that’s 3,000 to 4,000 pounds, then you have a wide variety of options to choose from, including models from several different automakers. Many standard trucks and SUVs can handle this level of need. Vehicle options get more limited when you need to tow between 4,000 and 9,000 pounds. This will require a full-sized truck, van, or SUV with a higher powered engine and powertrain. Anything over 9,000 pounds will more than likely require a truck from the heavy-duty lines of Ford, GMC, or Dodge.

No matter what vehicle you choose, never exceed the maximum towing or hauling capacity. Keep in mind that the gross vehicle weight of a specific model includes the curb weight, cargo weight, and the weight of all the people sitting in the vehicle combined. You need to take all of these factors into consideration to determine how much you can actually tow or haul at any given time. Most gross vehicle weight figures are factored around a 150 pound person with half a tank of gas in the vehicle. Go conservative on the towing numbers. Either tow less weight than your vehicle is capable of or get a vehicle with a bigger gross vehicle weight than you’ll usually need.

Choosing among a diesel engine and a gas engine can also affect towing capability. Diesel engines add another 700 pounds or so to the vehicle’s curb weight, but they also often offer a higher tow rating. For more information about car buying tips before you make your next purchase, check back with us at Honest Car Dealer for automotive advice.

May 31, 2012 by Jamie Rettig