What’s the towing capacity of your vehicle? My towing what? Just because your vehicle has a trailer hitch receiver, don’t be fooled into towing a load that exceeds your vehicle’s towing capacity. Staying inside this limit will make towing something much safer and reduce the chances of damaging your vehicle, the expensive boat you may want to move, or that new camping trailer- Yikes! You may ask “How do I find out what my towing capacity is?”
The owners manual
The first place I go for info on any vehicle i’m driving is the owner’s manual. It’s full of good and useful info straight from the folks who made your vehicle. Check out the technical specifications for any listings on towing capacity. Check out the index, too. Usually these manuals are pretty straight forward in their wording and layout, but sometimes valueable information could be located in more than one place. What if your car doesn’t have a manual in the glovebox? Don’t worry- you’ve still got options!
Look in the door jamb
Open your door and check the plate located close to the latch. If you can’t find it, check on the edge of the door itself. Can’t find the plate? Don’t worry- you’ve still got options!
Do a little math (ugh…)
If you know the gross weight rating of your vehicle (see the plate in the door jamb), compare it to the curb weight (your empty vehicle) plus the weight of everything you’re carrying to the listed gross vehicle weight. This includes everything- passengers, cargo, fuel, etc. Sounds complicated, but you can always weigh your loaded vehicle at a truck stop. If your vehicle isn’t designed for towing, it might be a good idea to not to push the limits of your gross weight rating and keep it to about 2/3 of the rating.
Make sure your hitch is up to the job
No matter how much of a load the vehicle can tow, your trailer hitch must be up to the challenge! Also, don’t use the rating of the hitch as the towing capacity of your vehicle.
If all else fails, call the dealer
Your qualified service technician from a reputable service department like Woody’s, has access to technical data for most makes and models. If your vehicle is a bit older, the service tech might want to give the vehicle the once-over before your hit the road. A good parts department will also be able to provide quality parts and accessories that you’ll need to safely tow that load!