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Frequently Asked Questions

Inside your vehicle, usually on the interior door, you might find your estimated towing capacity as measured by its manufacturers. If it’s not there, it could be in your vehicle’s manual or online towing guide on the manufacturer’s website. Many owners of older vehicles may not have this luxury. Even if you find this estimated calculation, you still might have to do some of your own math. Some calculations only take into account the weight of the driver and exclude that of any passengers and accompanying gear. Knowing how to calculate your towing capacity comes in handy nevertheless.

To calculate your towing capacity, there are a few terms you’ll need to become familiarized with: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) The first number you’ll want to identify is your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum weight your vehicle can carry while idle. This weight includes all original vehicle parts, including your axles, suspensions, frame, and wheels. Find this number on your vehicle’s Safety Compliance Certification Label, usually located on a placard in the doorjamb of the driver’s side. You’ll need this whether or not you’re using a towing capacity calculator. Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) Next, you’ll want to find the Gross Trailer Weight, which is the weight of your trailer and additional cargo combined. This number can never surpass your vehicle’s towing capacity. If it did, it would be unsafe to drive, and could add unnecessary wear and tear to your vehicle. Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) The Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating is the greatest weight of your tow vehicle and trailer combined, fully loaded with cargo. This number is the result of adding both GVWRs of your trailer and vehicle together. If you can’t find your towing capacity by VIN, these figures will help. Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) Your Gross Axle Weight Rating is a number that indicates how much weight one axle can support. This is important when it comes to balancing out the load, as front and rear axles often have different limits. Tongue Weight (TW) Tongue weight (TW) is the force that weighs down the trailer hitch by the cargo being carried. This number can change depending on how much weight is distributed in the trailer. Curb Weight Curb Weight is the total weight of a vehicle including all necessary fluids, such as gas, brake fluid, coolant, and more. This number does not include weight from passengers and cargo. Dry Weight Your vehicle’s dry weight is a measurement of how much it weighs with no cargo, no passengers, and no required fluids. It is unlikely that you will need to input this number into a towing capacity calculator or formula. However, it could come in handy to be familiar with the terminology. Payload Payload is the maximum amount of weight that a towing vehicle’s cabin and bed can hold.

To make sense of all of these figures, subtract your curb weight from your Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating. This ensures that all cargo, passengers, and essential vehicle fluids are accounted for in the final weight. Be sure to count your truck’s tongue weight as part of the load. This will result in the most accurate measurement of how much can your truck tow.

If you’re having trouble locating certain figures or getting accurate calculations, you can always do research online on the specific make and model of your vehicle. Finding your towing capacity by VIN is certainly a sound option for many vehicles. Additionally, you can use a free towing capacity calculator to give you a solid estimate of your vehicle’s towing capacity or to double-check your calculations.

Now that you’ve done the work to find out how to calculate the towing capacity of your vehicle, you know how much you can load up your trailer for the next big adventure. If your vehicle’s towing capacity is not enough to accommodate your gear, you may be questioning if you can alter your vehicle’s towing capacity. Believe it or not, it’s possible to increase a trailer’s towing capacity, without any kind of sorcery. As long as you don’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended weight, you can make modifications to increase what your vehicle can hold.

Make upgrades to improve towing and overall performance. By replacing old or average vehicle components with enhanced, high-performance versions, your vehicle will carry loads more efficiently. There are countless ways to modify your vehicle for the better, especially by replacing exhaust filters, incorporating cold air intake, improving engine capacity, and more. Plus, you’ll enjoy optimized performance throughout your travels as an included perk! Brakes: Another area that would significantly improve towing capacity if altered is your vehicle’s braking system. A great deal of added strain is put on a vehicle’s brake system when accompanied by a bulky load. By enhancing your brake system, you can help alleviate some of this added burden and improve hydraulics to slow down and stop more safely and efficiently. Axles: A vehicle’s axles are where the bulk of the vehicle’s weight is distributed. To help them carry the load better, upgrade to heavy-duty performance-enhancing axles. Optimize your axles, and the next time you ask ‘what is my towing capacity?’ you will be delighted with the results! Hitch: The hitch is what makes towing all possible, serving as the connecting link between the vehicle’s chassis and the trailer. Every hitch has a designated weight amount, so a high-quality, higher-capacity hitch is key to increasing your vehicle’s tow weight. Radiator: A vehicle’s radiator exists to regulate the temperature of its engine and to prevent overheating. With a heavy load to tow, the engine generates more heat and becomes more prone to overheating. When it comes to the matter of how to increase towing capacity, a bigger, high-performing radiator is a must-have!