The towing capacity of trucks has increased dramatically over the years. In fact, when it comes to purchasing a truck, buyers are very interested in how well it can tow their beloved camp trailer, boat, or horse trailer. American trucks continue to dominate the towing leader board. Dodge, Chevrolet, GMC and Ford are the front runners. Leading the pack this year is the Dodge Ram 3500 at 30,000 pounds. Chevy and GMC's HD series are around 23,000 pounds. Ford's Super Duty is at 21,000 pounds. Manufacturers list this as the towing capacity. This is the maximum allowable weight that a truck can tow. Every year, trucks are becoming even more durable and capable than ever before.
So what do these weight ratings mean? If you check your owner's manual or look inside your driver's door jam you will see the ratings and tire sizes. There will be a rating for GVWR and CGVW. If you are ever going to pull a trailer, you need to know how these numbers affect you.
GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the weight limit for your specific vehicle. This is the total weight of the vehicle plus the weight of anything you put in your vehicle including passengers and cargo. You should never load your vehicle over the GVWR.
GCWR stands for Gross Combination Weight Rating. This number is the maximum weight of its loaded vehicle and its attached loaded trailer. The total weight of the tow vehicle and trailer should never exceed the manufacturer's listed GCWR.
If you overload the tow vehicle and trailer, then you've really got a dangerous problem. For example, the extra weight could damage the engine and transmission causing a mechanical failure. The tires could blowout and that's a scary situation. Your brakes could overheat and fail and possibly not allow you to safely stop.
Towing puts a lot of stress on the truck's engine. Diesels are popular towing vehicles because they produce more torque than gasoline engines. More torque allows the engine to pull with greater ease. Torque is how much work something can do. Diesel engines are designed to handle more weight.
Now that you understand the tow rating of your truck, you can determine how much weight you can safely tow. One issue many of us have is trying to determine how much our cargo weighs. We load up our trucks and trailers with our gear and off we go on our adventure. However, it's a good idea to know what exactly it weighs. So if you are unsure, then load up your vehicle and tow your trailer to the nearest truck stop and you can pay to use their truck scale. Happy and safe towing!