A common selling point for trucks is “towing capacity”, but did you know there are different kinds? What are they, and what all goes into the equation? Let’s get a deeper understanding of everything that makes up a truck’s towing capacity and help you find exactly what you need before making your purchase.
Different Types of Towing Capacity
There are two different types of towing capacity, “braked” and “unbraked” towing capacity.
- Braked towing capacity: Refers to the maximum weight a vehicle is able to tow when the trailer being towed is equipped with its own braking system. The trailer’s braking system will connect through a cable to your vehicle in this situation.
- Unbraked towing capacity: The opposite of braked towing capacity, so the capacity of your vehicle to tow a trailer that does not have its own braking system. Unsurprisingly, this typically is the lower number, as compared to “braked”.
These are obviously important to know as they can drastically affect the way you tow whatever you need to tow.
How Do You Determine Maximum Towing Capacity?
Determining your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity is fairly easy. You’ll need to know your vehicles manufacturer’s weight rating and compare that to the weight of whatever you’re trying to tow. You can find this number in the owner’s manual, the door jam on the driver’s side, or even the internet.
We’ll now go over some terms you may have heard relating to towing capacity but might not know exactly what they mean:
- GVWR: Gross vehicle weight rating is the maximum loaded weight of your vehicle that has been determined to be safe. This encompases the weight of the vehicle itself and the weight that passengers and cargo adds. This is different than towing capacity in that this weight will be how much the vehicle weighs before the trailer is attached.
- GCWR: Gross combined weight is the total weight that the vehicle can safely handle, including the passengers, cargo, and any attached trailer.
- GAWR: Gross axle weight rating is the maximum weight that the front and rear axles can handle. This includes the rating for both the front and rear axles.
- GTW: Gross trailer weight takes into account the total weight of the trailer and the cargo that is being transported in the trailer.
- TW: Tongue weight, which is the total weight at the coupling point.
- Curb weight: The weight of your vehicle when there are no passengers, cargo, or trailer loads, and only the necessary fluids to operate it, such as gasoline.
- Dry weight: The same as curb weight, except your vehicle’s weight is measured without the necessary fluids to operate it.
- Payload: The total weight of any passengers and cargo in your vehicle.
Hopefully, this helps give you a better understanding of the factors that go into determining towing capacity, important for your own safety, and ensuring you get the right truck for the job. Feel free to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable staff should you have any further questions.