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Publish Date - October 25, 2021

Author: Arthur Brown

Categories:   Useful Automotive Information   

How To Check Your Vehicle's Towing Capacities

If you are a travel enthusiast and frequently embark on road trips or visit camping sites, you probably own or are planning to purchase a vehicle and a trailer. When buying a vehicle for this purpose, you must consider several factors like mileage, longevity, and most importantly, towing capacity.

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If you are a travel enthusiast and frequently embark on road trips or visit camping sites, you probably own or are planning to purchase a vehicle and a trailer. When buying a vehicle for this purpose, you must consider several factors like mileage, longevity, and most importantly, towing capacity. By learning the basics of towing and towing capacity, you can pull your trailer on-site without worrying about damages or accidents. Failing to learn about towing capacity may put unnecessary pressure on your car and likely damage the engine. If you are just getting started, follow this guide to know the basics of checking your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Important Acronyms to Know

Before we get to the main part, we must first give an overview of some basic terms and acronyms to help calculate your vehicle’s towing capacity with ease.

  • GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight): This includes the weight of the entire vehicle including passengers, transmission, gas, etc. It is calculated on the basis of full capacity. However, the number can vary according to the type of trailer or cargo you are using along with the number of passengers in the vehicle.
  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): This determines the weight handling capacity of the vehicle without attaching a trailer to it. Since the trailer is excluded, the final number comes from the cargo weight, the number of passengers, and the vehicle’s weight.
  • GAWR (Gross Axle Weight): A single axle’s weight lifting capacity is portrayed by GAWR.
  • GCWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating): This number shows your vehicle’s maximum load-carrying capacity. It includes passengers, fuel, cargo, the vehicle’s weight, and a loaded trailer. If you pull more than the GCWR number of your vehicle, it may cause permanent damage.

Analyze the Tongue Weight and Terrain

Once you learn these terms and determine your vehicle’s GCWR, you must analyze the tongue weight. Basically, this is the weight carried by the connecting link or device between your towing vehicle and your car or trailer. The hitch ball experiences additional pressure as it faces excessive downward force. Ideally, the tongue load is calculated on the basis of the trailer’s weight, which is 10 to 15%. Let’s say the vehicle to be hauled weighs around 8,000 pounds. So, the tongue capacity is around 800 to 1200 pounds. Additionally, pay attention to the problems you may face due to uneven terrain. Weather, elevation changes, and the terrain and road quality can affect your vehicle’s performance and towing capacity as well. Check the elevation ranges and levels of the road you will be driving on and calculate the capacity accordingly. For every 1000 feet, the GCWR should be reduced by 2%.

Calculate the Towing Capacity

Simply put, in order to calculate the capacity, your trailer’s weight should not be more than your car’s GVWR. If there is a major difference between both numbers, it is good to go. However, if it seems close, you must consider the combined weight (with all the commodities in the trailer). Consider the type and brand of car you are driving as the hauling capacity also depends on the vehicle’s assembly. In general, SUVs have a higher hauling ability than other cars. Among all SUVs, the Chevy Equinox towing capacity is quite impressive as it is a small and compact car; comparing different models and engine capacities of this brand can give you a better idea of why Equinox fares so well. Dig deeper into the calculations to dodge any kind of risks.

Extra Safety Measures

Knowing your vehicle’s towing capacity is important, but you should also pay attention to some extra measures to drive around safely and make the most of your camping trips. According to the folks at myAutoloan.com, it’s important that you understand everything there is to know about your car, whether it be it’s vehicle history report or it’s coverage. This makes a world of difference in situations such as this.

Start by cross-checking your state’s or region’s towing rules and laws. If you fail to adhere to the rules, you may end up with a fine. Even though most states and regions are not that strict with towing regulations, you must still be careful as some parts have special laws related to towing.

When you are preparing to set out on the road, double-check your trailer and the tongue to which you have connected your vehicle. Make sure that it is properly fastened as a loose connection can cause accidents and trailer damage. Follow the towing capacity of your vehicle and do not exceed it even by the slightest margin. Failing to adhere to the numbers can be dangerous for you as well as your passengers. It can also damage your trailer’s tires, transmission, engine, and axle.

It is necessary to do your homework before leaving for a hassle-free experience. When you know your vehicle’s towing capacity, you can also choose a model to fulfill your hauling needs. As mentioned, focus on the terminology and ask the manufacturer in case any questions arise.