Towing capacity is the amount of weight your vehicle can safely tow, while hitch capacity is how much weight the hitch attached to your vehicle can support. Both figures are important to determine how much weight your vehicle can safely tow. Towing capacity of your vehicle can impact the appropriate hitch attachment and the class of hitch utilized.
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What is Towing Capacity?
Towing capacity or tow rating is how much weight your vehicle can safely tow. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating can usually be located on the inside of the driver’s door frame. This number indicates the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can tow, including cargo and trailer.
While the amount of weight your truck can tow is important, there are other factors to consider as well. Important figures to consider:
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR): The maximum weight your vehicle’s rear or front axles can support. Each axle has its own rating.
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW): The total weight of the trailer and all its cargo as you intend to tow it.
The Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR): Maximum weight limit a vehicle can carry including trailer and cargo, and passengers as well as luggage or anything else inside of the vehicle, and even fuel.
Tongue Weight (TW): The maximum weight your vehicle can support when extended down on the hitch. This information should be included in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Tongue weight should not exceed 10% of gross trailer weight.
How to Determine Gross Trailer Weight
The best way to identify how much a trailer weighs when loaded with cargo is to put it on a truck scale. If a truck scale is not accessible, it’s important to know the exact weight of the trailer, and then add up the weight of cargo, fuel, and so forth. Always round up if in doubt.
What is Hitch Capacity?
The hitch installed on your vehicle has a maximum weight rating and receiver opening size. There are 5 different classes of hitches and each hitch has unique guidelines and applications. Check your owner’s manual or the label attached to the hitch for details.
Class 1 hitches: Rated to carry up to 2,000-pound gross trailer weight with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 200 lbs.
Class II: Rated to carry up to 3,500-pound gross trailer weight with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 300 lbs.
Class III: Rated up to 6,000-pound gross trailer weight + maximum trailer tongue weight of 600 lbs. This class can be weight carrying and weight distributing based upon vehicle and hitch provisions.
Class IV: Rated to haul up to 10,000 lbs. gross trailer weight + maximum trailer tongue weight of 1,000 lbs. This class of hitch is weight carrying and weight distributing depending on vehicle and hitch specifications.
Class V: The highest class rating can tow up to 12,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 1,700 lbs. Class V hitches can be weight carrying and weight distributing based on vehicle and hitch specifications.
The Most Durable Shackle Hitch Receiver
Tow up to 10,000 pounds with the hardcore Shackle Hitch Receiver by Vault Cargo. Like all of Vault Cargo’s gear, the Shackle Hitch Receiver was made by adventurers for adventurers. That means no details are overlooked and durability and reliability are at the forefront of production. Flexibility is important too; shackles can attach vertically or horizontally thanks to dual hitch pin holes. Made from drop forged steel, this shackle is strong and durable. Plus, it’s rust resistant thanks to rugged powder coating.
Towing Capacity: 2WD Vs. 4WD
4WD vehicles may cost more money due to the fact they offer greater stability on icy or wet roads. This added stability increases the weight of 4WD vehicles by a few hundred pounds due to the presence of a transfer case, as well as an extra drive shaft and axle. Since 2WD vehicles don’t weigh as much, they generally offer higher towing capacity than 4WD vehicles.
How You Load Your Trailer Matters
The general rule of thumb is to load the trailer 60% in front and 40% in back. The way you load your trailer impacts tongue weight. Too much tongue weight can result in a less responsive tow rig, while too little tongue weight can result in the trailer swaying—which is never a good feeling when you’re behind the wheel.
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