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Trailering 101

Traveled Lane Trailers Divider
My Kingdom for a Straight Answer.
What Can My Vehicle Tow? Revisited.

DISCLAIMER:  Always read all operating manuals, for tow vehicle, trailer, hitch and related components for towing suitability and compatibility before operating.

    A few months ago we wrote an article called "What can my vehicle tow", the idea behind the article, among other things, was to give folks ideas on how to find out what their vehicle could tow.  One of our suggestions was to call the "manufacturer" of the vehicle, as opposed to just relying on the "it can tow anything" comment from a salesperson.  Much to our horror and dismay, in some instances folks who have called the manufacturer are getting information just as incorrect and off base. It is rather mind boggling to us that education concerning towing capabilities of products, among manufacturers/dealerships who sell "towing vehicles"  is so poor. 
    So what are "we" the consumer suppose to do.  Obviously someone at the manufacturing plant knows what the vehicle can do, but unfortunately they are usually not the person trying to sell you the vehicle.  The only suggestion we have for you is to see it in writing.  Usually manuals, and sometimes promotional brochures,  will state how much a vehicle can tow.   If it doesn't, make them find something from the manufacturer stating explicitly* the vehicles towing capabilities.  If they give you the run around, keep pushing.   It has to be in writing somewhere, and we don't mean stamped on the hitch. Remember, hitches and their ratings are independent of the ability of the tow vehicle. After all,  its your money that's being spent and you want to do it right the first time.
Now to be fair, we have come across some folks in the auto industry that know their stuff.  And will also give you a straight answer about the capabilities of their vehicles.  We hear alot of times that folks will tell the salesperson that "I need to tow a horse trailer" and the salesperson replies "no problem", but we're betting the salesperson didn't even ask "how much does it weigh?". To help yourself along, be a bit more specific, do your homework into the type of trailer you hope to tow and have a good idea of what kind of towing weights you are expecting.  So instead of  just indicating that you want to tow a horse trailer, you can say " I want to tow a horse trailer that is going to weigh in about XXX lbs", in other words be specific!
*NOTE:  We emphasized explicitly because some manufacturers refer in their manuals to the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight (GCVW), somewhere buried in this number is the recommending towing capacity. The number by itself usually represents the combined weight of the vehicle, occupants, fuel and the trailer.

Happy Trailering... See you Next Month. (Or whenever we feel like something needs to be said.)

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If you have any comments, suggestions or topics for a "Trailering 101" article we'd be happy to take them.  Trailering education is our goal.

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