How to calculate tow capacity
When it comes to towing vehicles, it’s crucial to know the maximum weight that your vehicle can tow safely. Calculating tow capacity is necessary for both safety and the prevention of any potential damage to your vehicle. In this article, we’ll explain how to calculate tow capacity step by step.
1. Determine the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The first step in calculating tow capacity is determining the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your vehicle. The GVWR is the maximum weight allowed for a vehicle when fully loaded, including passengers, cargo, fuel, and the weight of the vehicle itself. You can typically find this information in your owner’s manual or on a label located on the driver’s side door jamb or inside the glove box.
2. Find the Curb Weight
Next, you’ll need to find the curb weight of your vehicle. The curb weight is how much your vehicle weighs without any passengers or cargo inside. This information should also be available in your owner’s manual or on a label attached to your car.
3. Locate the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
The Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is another essential piece of information when calculating tow capacity. This rating indicates the maximum combined weight of your tow vehicle and its loaded trailer. You should be able to find this information within your owner’s manual or from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
4. Calculate Payload Capacity
Now that you have gathered all necessary data, you can begin calculating important measures such as payload capacity. Subtract your vehicle’s curb weight from its GVWR to determine its payload capacity.
Payload Capacity = GVWR – Curb Weight
Payload capacity represents how much additional weight (passengers, cargo, hitch equipment) can be carried within your vehicle without exceeding the GVWR’s limit.
5. Unraveling Tow Capacity
With all relevant measures in place, discovering your vehicle’s tow capacity hinges upon the
GCWR and curb weight. Subtract your vehicle’s curb weight from its GCWR.
Tow Capacity = GCWR – Curb Weight
Take note of this value as it indicates the maximum weight you can safely tow with your specific vehicle.
6. Consider Trailer Tongue Weight
When calculating tow capacity, be aware of the trailer tongue weight, which is the downward force exerted on the hitch by the trailer. A general rule is to ensure that the tongue weight rests at 10-15% of your total loaded trailer weight. The combined weight of your trailer and its contents must not surpass your calculated tow capacity.
In conclusion, understanding how to calculate tow capacity helps keep you safe when venturing out on the road with a load in tow. Remember to always abide by your vehicle’s manufacturer guidelines for towing limits and consult your owner’s manual or a professional for accurate towing information. Safe travels!