In the market for a new or used travel trailer? In desperate need of a new trailer for your landscaping business? Regardless of what you’re needing to haul, it’s critical to your safety and the maintenance of your towing vehicle to know how much weight your truck can actually tow.
In order for us to fully explain this, it’s time to learn what a few acronyms mean. These all describe the maximum towing capacity, which is just how much your trailer can weigh. They’re listed below with a short description of what they mean.
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – Maximum loaded weight of the vehicle
- GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) – Maximum towing weight of the vehicle
- GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Ratio) – Maximum weight on each vehicle axle
- GTW (Gross Trailer Weight) – Total weight of the trailer
- TW (Tongue Weight) – Total weight that’s resting on the tongue
The max towing capacity should always be considered when towing. Exceeding this capacity is rather dangerous, and can cause harm to you, your truck, trailer, and others around you. Don’t try to push your truck’s limits!
So, to find your vehicle’s towing capacity, you’ll need to find the truck manufacturer’s weight ratings and compare them to the total weight of your trailer. This is often listed in the owner’s manual, but if it’s not there, you can check the door jamb or even find a trailer towing capacity guide on their website. It’s always a best practice to consult the manufacturer for the towing capacity. If the vehicle’s ratings are higher than the weight of the trailer, you’re all set! If the trailer weight is higher than the vehicle’s ratings, it really shouldn’t be hooked up to tow.
The GVWR is the maximum loaded weight of the tow vehicle or trailer, that is determined by the manufacturer. GVWR also includes the weight of any passengers and cargo in addition to the vehicle itself. This number is all about safety. When the manufacturer decides the maximum weight for a truck, they look at the suspension, frame, axles, wheels, and other factors that deal with bearing the load.
The GCWR is the maximum weight of your truck, but with the trailer attached. Your combined weight is the weight of your vehicle and the trailer put together, in addition to any cargo loaded into either vessel.
The rating for this is determined for the vehicle based on its frame, suspension, and axles.
GAWR is the maximum weight that can be put on each axle. Manufacturers give each axle its own rating – “FR” for front axles and “RR” for rear rating. This number does consider the passengers and cargo, and also the possible trailer in tow. Exceeding the suggested GAWR for your vehicle can be catastrophic for your axles!
The GTW is simply the total weight of a trailer and its contents. Some may confuse this with GVWR, GCWR and a few other measurements, but the GTW considers all weight of the trailer, aside from its given rating.
*Keep in mind that the GTW should never exceed the GVWR. That’s simply too much weight!
TW, or tongue weight, is the force exerted onto the tongue that couple the trailer and towing vehicle. A massive impact on this number is how the cargo is positioned in the trailer. Keeping that weight balanced is crucial in having a successful tow. In a properly loaded trailer, the tongue weight should be about 10 percent of the loaded weight of the trailer. The tongue weight adds to the overall Gross Vehicle Weight of your vehicle.
These are the basics in finding out how much your truck, SUV, or tow vehicle can safely carry. It may not seem important, but it’s critical to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when adding up your cargo and passenger weight. It is important to do the math before shopping for a trailer or RV. Trying to tow more than your vehicle can handle might lead to dangerous and expensive problems including brake failure, blown tires, a broken suspension, or overheated transmission.
How Much Can My Truck Tow?
It can take time to figure out how much your truck can tow, but it only has to be done once, or until you choose to purchase another truck. We hope our guide helps!