October 6, 2020

What Is Towing Capacity and Why Is It Important

Towing capacity is essentially the amount of weight a vehicle can pull. It also includes a combination of everything inside your car, such as occupants, cargo and fuel, along with your trailer’s combined weight and whatever is in/on it.

How is Towing Capacity Calculated?

Now that you have a fundamental idea of what does towing capacity mean, let’s consider how it is calculated. Usually, engineers take into account five main areas of a vehicle as a towing capacity calculator.

  1. FRAME
  2. The first major ingredient in a towing capacity calculator is the vehicle’s frame. The latter handles all kinds of stress involved with the pulling and stopping of the trailer behind you. Naturally, tough and body-on-frame-designed vehicles are better at handling towing abuse when compared with their unibody counterparts.

  3. NOSE WEIGHT
  4. It is vital to consider the maximum permissible trailer nose weight your tow bar can take during a towing company hiring. Ideally, the said weight should be around seven percent of the trailer’s overall laden weight. Here’s why:

    • If the nose weight is too less, the outfit will become unstable. The result could be lifting of the rear of the tow car.
    • If the nose weight is too heavy, the tow ball’s load may cause the front of the vehicle to lift, which can affect the steering.

    In either circumstance, the vehicle is likely to get unstable and face an increased risk of a severe accident.

  5. TRANSMISSION
  6. The kind of transmission you have plays a pivotal role in determining your towing capacity. While manual transmissions are often considered as the best choice for hauling big loads, modern automatics can be equally capable. It depends on:

    1. The type of gearing inside.
    2. How stout are the internal gears.
    3. A transmission cooler.
    4. Temperature gauge.
  7. AXLES
  8. Irrespective of what you are towing, each part of your drivetrain is under added stress, including your axles. And the tougher your rear differential and the stouter your axles, the more you’ll be able to tow.

  9. ENGINE
  10. The engine is a vehicle’s beating heart! Hence, the amount of horsepower and torque it produces is one of the biggest factors in how much you can tow.

Types of Towing Capacity

Here is some additional terminology for understanding towing capacity better:

  • Braked TC: When you see brake capacity listed, it refers to the heaviest weight that a vehicle will be able to tow at the time the trailer being towed is furnished with its own braking system. In such a situation, the trailer’s braking system will connect through a cable to your vehicle.
  • Unbraked TC: Unbraked towing describes your car’s capacity to tow a trailer that does not have its independent braking system. The said capacity is usually less than braked towing capacity.

What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)?

GVWR is the maximum weight your tow vehicle can bear without wrecking your car, truck, or SUV. It is a significant number to know as it forms the foundation for safe towing. When seeking towing services, you can ask the professionals more about GVWR which can be found under the car’s hood, the vehicle’s manual, etc. The number also helps in accurately predicting the type of tow vehicles that are apt for different situations.

How Important is Towing Capacity?

Towing capacity is very important for truck owners for several reasons.

  1. Attaching too much weight to a truck’s hitch can lead to your suspension struts and springs’ premature failure. It can also cause buckled points on your frame and make the paneling or driveline components to rip. Moreover, the sheer weight that needs to be pulled down the road can cause driveturn failure.
  2. Towing capacity is also crucial because ignoring it and putting extra weight can lift the truck’s front end, causing a dangerous imbalance.
  3. Ignoring the vehicle’s towing limit can have serious repercussions. There could be all sorts of sudden mechanical damages, safety hazards,etc.

It is essential to have a clear idea about towing capacity. The latter is helpful when you have to  conclude the type of towing vehicle that needs to be used.

Not every vehicle is capable of bearing heavy weight. And the ones that do come with limits. Awareness about these limits is what ensures safe towing, accident prevention and keeping any kind of damages at bay. Keeping within such capacity is also crucial for the health of all the vehicles involved.

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