Should You Tow at Maximum Capacity

Should You Tow at Maximum Capacity? – Let’s Find The Right Answer!

A hitch trailer or other towing accessories make our life easy. If you know how to maintain a hitch properly, it’ll stay with you for at least a decade. Also, how much weight you’re carrying also decides the lifespan of the trailer.

If you dig deeper, questions like, can I two more than the maximum capacity? or what’s the perfect ratio of trailer weight and load, emerges.

A lack of knowledge, in this case, leads people to do two things. Either they breach the capacity to a great extent that the hitch gets damaged. Or, they don’t use the towing accessory at its potential.

In this article, I’m gonna try to answer all the questions on the topic. In the end, you’ll know whether you should tow at maximum capacity or not. Without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?

The Straightforward Answer and Its Different Layers 

The straight and on-point answer to the question would be “No.” Manufacturers make different calculations before coming up with a number as towing or trailing capacity. Moreover, these products must undergo several tests to get a certification.

Hence, abiding by the rules set by the manufacturing company should be one’s first duty. Breaking these rules would result in serious safety issues. Let’s learn about the dangers of putting more weight on your hitch to tow.

Should You Tow at Maximum Capacity

The Risks You Face While Towing at Maximum Capacity

There’re too many risks of putting more weight on a trailer than the capacity. It works as a chain reaction, and in the end, everything combines to shorten the lifespan of the hitch. If your luck isn’t on and something bad happens during a journey, you’ll get into more trouble.

Hence, you need to be more careful from the start. See, it’s simple your trailer hitch won’t fall or wear out as soon as you put on extra weight. It’ll start to break down little by little without you noticing. Then one day, when you’ve no idea about the damage, you’ll have an accident on your hands.

Think of it as doing extra lifting reps in the gym with additional weight. On the first day, you won’t feel that much. But as time goes on, your muscles will start to react to it. And before you even realize it, your muscles and joints will get damaged. Hence, avoiding it should be your priority.

Towing more than the capacity of your trailer will result in various things. And this can even happen if the weight goes over by the slightest of margins. The brakes fading out, tires wearing out sooner than expected, and overheating of the engine are just some of many outcomes possible.

Every vehicle has a limit. And when you keep the trailer’s weight under it, the four-wheeler will function properly. As soon as you pass the number, you’ll find that steering and controlling it isn’t easy.

This will also result in your brakes not working. It will happen because your car or truck isn’t designed to function while towing excess weight. This also may lead to the last stage, bursting brake lines.

As I’ve already said, an increased level of weight damages the tire. So, disfigured brake lines and tires will force the engine to work overtime. Like everything, the engine has its threshold. Hence, excess pressure on it will cause the engine to overheat.

This is how the various risks of overweighting happen. Everything starts when you put in an excess load for the first time. Everything follows after. These may happen depending on how further you go with the weight. The more you cross the threshold, the faster the damage will occur.

The Probable Solution

Solving a problem like this is more challenging than it looks. Solutions will take considerable time and effort for the vehicle owner. I know all that. Hence, I divided the solution into a few easy-to-follow steps. Let’s recount them, shall we?

Know About the Different Types of Towing Capacities 

Since towing capacity decides how much weight you should put on your ride, you need to know what types of towing capacity you need to deal with. Don’t get me wrong. In plain words, it refers to your vehicle’s maximum weight your vehicle is capable of hauling.

However, there ARE different terminologies that you all need to know.

Braked Towing Capacity – When a vehicle is hauling a trailer, people can pair the trailer’s brakes with the car’s system. Or, they can leave it with the trailer itself.

If you leave the brakes unpaired and need to operate them from the trailer, the trailer will have a “Braked Towing Capacity.”

Unbraked Towing Capacity – This is the opposite of the first term. Here, the trailer’s braking system is usually connected to the car via a cable.

As a result, the driver can control its electric systems. Meaning the system won’t work on its own. Hence, unbraked towing capacity is the maximum number when a trailer has no independent braking system.

When a trailer has its own braking system (not controlled by the car or other vehicles), its towing capacity increases. Hence, when it comes to towing capacity, always go for the unbraked variant.

What Are the Requirements of Towing a Trailer?

Before deciding to tow anything with your car, you must face hardcore facts. Firstly, you need to understand the requirements. For example, you need to know which instruments you need, the precautions, etc.

Users will need different components to pull something along their rides. It can be anything from a hitch-mount ball, a trailer hitch, or a tow truck.

You must know the basics of towing as well. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with installing the towing devices in your vehicle or understand how to connect trailers to a vehicle.

Yes, you can ask for help. But knowing these things are beneficial. These will help you to get a grip on what’s happening.

Lastly, there are some precautions to take. You must find towing devices that go well with your vehicle. Don’t forget to connect the trailer’s braking system to your vehicle for better control. 

What Types of Towing Components Do You Need?

You must understand that having the “Best” towing device or component isn’t always enough to ensure proper hauling. Instead, you must find the one that suits your vehicle the most. Hence, knowledge about different types of tools is a must.

When towing, the first thing that comes to mind is a quality hitch (You can also read our guide on hitches and hitch classes) and several Hitch Accessories. These items are available almost everywhere and are the most effective as well.

Simply put, these are in the market to make the towing job easy and comfortable. Ball Mounts, Hitch Pins, Hitch Couplers, Trailer Hitches, Hitch Jacks, etc., fall into the latter category.

The third thing you need to look into is the Tow Bar. It also hangs behind the vehicle and gets attached to the trailer by a hook. If you know how to deal with it, you won’t need anything extra. A-Frame bars, Car-Mounted bars, etc., are some of its types.

Other than these three, there are different protective components too. Tow locks, tow hooks, breakaway kits, fifth-wheel safety systems, etc., are some of these. Putting extra weight will result in accidents. But these items will help you to buy some time.

How to Find What’s the Maximum Towing Capacity of Your Ride

Okay, we’ve come to the most vital part of the article. When you’re finished with it, you’ll know how to calculate the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle. You must do the calculation using the same units.

The best way to do this is to take your vehicle and the trailer to a truck stop and write down the total weight somewhere. Make sure the trailer is full and you added passengers’ estimated weights. After this, you have two ways to calculate the towing capacity of your vehicle.

The first method involves Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC). Every vehicle has a CCC. Find out yours and then subtract the earlier scaled weight from it. This will be the actual towing capacity of your ride. Hence, Towing Capacity = CCC – Scaled Weight.

Another method works when you have Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) at hand. Just like CCC, every vehicle has a GVWR. This represents the original weight your ride can safely tow while moving to the destination. You’ll find a label on your car with the number.

Again, subtract the Scaled Weight from GVWR, and you’ll get the actual TC. Hence, TC = GVWR – SC.

These are the two different methods that will give you the actual towing capacity of your vehicle. You can use either one to calculate it.

The Bottom Line

When you’re towing or trailing a heavy load, you need to remember many things. One slip-up may cost you a lot more than you can anticipate. But the danger doesn’t really go away after taking all precautions. It’ll still linger on your neck if you keep adding extra weight.

I’ve discussed the risks of towing at maximum capacity. I also discussed a few ways to solve the problem by considering different factors. Hence, you will know everything if you’ve gone through the whole article.

Eddie Burton - Senior Author
Senior Author: Eddie Burton

Eddie Burton is a passionate car enthusiast and a seasoned mechanic with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has worked with a variety of vehicles, from classic muscle cars to modern luxury cars, and has extensive knowledge of all types of auto parts and accessories.

Eddie’s love for cars began at a young age when he would spend hours tinkering with his first car, a 1967 Mustang. Since then, he has pursued his passion for cars by working in various garages and workshops, honing his skills and expertise in everything related to automobiles.

As a contributor to our website, Eddie shares his in-depth knowledge and experience with our readers, providing valuable tips and advice on auto parts, repairs, and maintenance. He’s committed to helping car owners get the most out of their vehicles by providing honest and practical reviews of auto parts, accessories, and tools.

With Eddie’s vast experience and expertise, you can trust his recommendations and insights on everything related to cars. Whether you’re a seasoned car owner or a newbie in the world of automobiles, Eddie’s articles and reviews will help you make informed decisions and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

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