Whether you are planning to hook up a camper to your truck, tow a personal watercraft to the lake, or dinghy tow another car across the state, the most important factor to review first is the tow capacity of the vehicle you plan on doing the towing. Continue below to learn more about car and truck towing capacities, including why they are so important and how to calculate yours.
The Basic Rules of Towing Capacity
Towing capacity is the weight limit your towing vehicle can pull. These capacities vary from vehicle to vehicle, depending on make, model, year, features, and more. Towing capacity is formulated by comprehending five principal components of a towing vehicle. These include the transmission, brakes, axles, motor, and edge. Additionally, incorporating the towing vehicle’s weight, trailer weight, cargo weight, and the total combined weight of its occupants will provide a general understanding of how much weight your towing vehicle will have to pull.
From there, you must then check with the vehicle’s owners’ manual to see how much weight your make and model vehicle can tow, and compare that with the total combined weight you need to tow. If the total combined weight exceeds the recommended towing capacity, you cannot safely tow with that vehicle. You must either reduce the weight of the cargo and vessel, or get a towing vehicle with a higher towing capacity.
The Purpose of a Tow Capacity Rating
There is a reason why towing capacity exists. There are several consequences to ignoring a vehicle’s towing limit. This includes safety hazards, mechanical damages, and more. The most dangerous, and common, consequence to exceeding a vehicle’s towing capacity is losing the ability to brake. You never want this to happen to you, especially when accompanied by other passengers or carrying flammable cargoes.
When the towing limit is met or exceeded, they can easily achieve regular speeds on the road, but when it comes time to stop, problems arise. The vehicle is basically too heavy to come to a stop at the regular amount of time you expect. It takes much longer, especially at higher speeds, to come to a complete stop. In some cases, the load is so heavy, the vehicle cannot stop at all, or in time, to avoid a dangerous or fatal collision.
In less extreme cases, surpassing the towing limit can prohibit a vehicle from driving uphill, even at the slightest incline. Since the load is too heavy, the vehicle already has trouble getting up to speed, so when it comes time to drive up an incline, it could simply give out or burn rubber right in its place. Not only does this bring the towing task to a fast halt, but it can also cause major damage to the towing vehicle and tires.
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