What Affects the Towing Capacity of Your Car? : Automotive Addicts



It is no secret that you do it for a good reason when buying an SUV or a truck. And that reason is the car’s towing capacity. Even though it is unlikely you would ever reach the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity, it is always good to know if it is possible to increase it. After all, you never know when you might need to tow something bigger or heavier like a boat or a new trailer.

Before answering this question, we should delve into what exactly may affect how much you can tow with your vehicle. There are quite a few technical factors at play.

Engine: there is more to it than horsepower alone. Usually, the most potent cars, meant to tow campers, run on large diesel engines, and unfortunately, smaller ones rarely generate enough torque.

Configuration: the size of the vehicle itself, its weight, and how it is distributed determine the towing capacity.

Transmission: automatic transmission allows you to tow more weight, and this is simply because manual transmission tends to get damaged when you are towing during the shifting process.

Suspension: it doesn’t make your car tow heavier loads, but a good air suspension allows you to drive comfortably while towing. However, adding airbag suspensions would not increase the number of pounds.

Tire size: the bigger, the better rule does not apply here. Best towing cars are usually supplied with narrow and short tires to increase torque.

These are only the major factors you should bear in mind. Now that you know what parts of your vehicle are crucial for pulling weights, you should closely look at your car specifications. They can be found either in your car’s manual or browse online for vehicle-specific towing capacity ratings with all figures and details.

How to increase your truck towing capacity

As you could already have guessed, towing is no simple deal, and exceeding it is harmful to your vehicle’s integrity and potentially dangerous to you. 

Another thing to remember is that makers determined the pulling power based on other systems like braking and steering. So be sure to stay on the safe side while trying to boost towing capacity.

All tinkering with the vehicle related to improving towing capacity requires careful research, math, and a lot of money. The reason is simple – capacity strongly depends on your technical characteristics. So, to squeeze more out of your truck, you must apply some profound engineering augmentations. That said, let us see what tricks can help your car pull heavier things.

To upgrade the truck’s towing capacity, you need to improve its overall performance. And one way of doing so is to replace your exhaust system with a more efficient one. Consider throwing in new air filters and a bigger radiator for an even more significant boost. 

And if this is insufficient, try installing a new programmer to improve your engine’s torque and horsepower. This will add power to your truck and refine your control over the vehicle, which is excellent for towing heavier loads.

How to increase your SUV towing capacity

There is some advice for enhancing your SUV load-hauling capacity too. But before that, take note of the fact that your towing weight limit depends on another measurement – GVWR or gross vehicle weight rating. 

It represents the maximum weight capacity of a vehicle without a trailer attached. To put it simply and not get into too much detail, by knowing your GVWR you can determine the maximum load you can ever hope to tow safely. This is how it works: your load’s (trailer, camper, boat, etc.) weight rating should be below your GVWR.

Without further ado, let’s move on to practical tips on your upgrades. If your concern is not in the number of pounds your vehicle can tow, but in poor control, there is a quick fix while pulling. It would help if you switched to an appropriate hitch built to withstand your trailer’s weight or other payloads. 

An ideal option for improving driving quality would be to opt for a weight-distribution hitch. It will effectively spread the burden throughout the frame, preventing your load from weighing the rear part of your SUV to the ground.

A great addition to that augmentation would be a brake system upgrade. Stopping with a giant load can be tricky, and it is one of the significant problems of increasing towing capacity. So, it will be better to inspect your brakes and maybe replace them with a more practical option for safety reasons.

And now back to engineering hacks to increase towing capacity. Aside from the already mentioned options, you could replace your axels with better, more durable alternatives. This is practically a must if you have upgraded your engine’s horsepower and torque before that, and your car needs heavy-duty axels to keep up with that.

Can you tow at your max capacity safely?

Since it is hard to make your car pull extra pounds of load, you might as well be wondering whether it is okay to go with what you’ve got and use your maximum load-hauling capacity instead. 

You can effectively tow any load as long as your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity and tongue weight rating allow it. Please bear in mind that exceeding those limits may damage your car and significantly decrease your control of the braking and steering, which can potentially cause road incidents.

If you’re towing a lot, make sure to consider the extra strain being put on your car. It would also be a great idea to run regular check-ups, so take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic from time to time. 

Towing at your limit will take a toll on critical systems such as brakes, wheels, and steering. Not to mention the frame. You want them to work correctly to keep you safe while driving.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to increase towing capacity or want to make sure that you can tow safely at your current limit, remember that safety is your top priority. By following our advice, you can make some practical upgrades to your car to improve its overall towing performance and help it handle a heavier load with grace. So, stay within reasonable limits to avoid putting too much strain on your car, add a few boosts here and there, and it should be fine.


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