Truck Towing Capacity
How much weight a pickup truck can pull can vary hugely, even between two pickups that look identical. That’s why finding out your towing capacity by VIN is more accurate. Factors that can affect a pickup truck towing capability include;
- Engine Type
- Axle Ratios
- Tires and load ratings
- Hitch type and class
- Trailer type
Calculating towing capacity
With the so many variables between truck builds and manufacturers, it can take a few minutes to figure out exactly what the max towing capacity of your specific vehicle is. The combined weight of your truck plus trailer and cargo should not exceed the max tow capacity. You’ll need some information from the VIN or door sticker on the truck.
- GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (how much weight your vehicle with passengers, fuel, and cargo can carry).
- GCWR- Gross Combined Weight Rating (the max total weight of everything combined, ie. your truck, passengers, trailer and cargo).
- GAWR- Gross Axle Weight Rating (the amount of weight that can be placed over each axle).
- Curb Weight- This is how much your vehicle weight without anyone in it or any cargo.
- Tongue Weight- How much weight the hitch can handle.
Some owners manuals may have towing capacities in there, however, some of the newer ones don’t due to the variations on each truck build.
Towing capacity formula
- Find out curb weight (on VIN sticker).
- Add the weight of passengers, fuel, and cargo to the curb weight.
- Subtract this number from your vehicle’s GCWR ( you may have to look this up using your VIN if it’s not on the door sticker).
- This is your max towing capacity.
- Check to make sure the hitch can also handle this weight.
Find out your trucks towing capacity by VIN Number
Click the links below for each manufacturer and put in your VIN Number to find out your specific trucks towing capacity or GCWR so you can work it out.
It seems Ford do not yet have this feature on their website. Click this towing guide link and select the year of truck. You’ll then have to scroll to find your specific truck. There is a VIN decoder on a Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forum. Enter your VIN then click on ‘Tech Specs’. This will bring up information you need for towing including GCWR.
Here is the link to Chevy Enthusiasts Forum which includes a VIN Decoder. Click on ‘Tech Specs’ to find out information on your truck. Some Chevrolet trucks may have towing capacities in the owner’s manuals.
Entering your VIN in the Toyota Owners vehicle specification page will bring up lots of information on your truck. This includes GCWR and towing capacity numbers.
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Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: