What Is My Truck's Hauling And Towing Capacity


In this article, we will talk about trucks’ towing as well as hauling capabilities. There is a big difference between the two, however. And that is the first thing we will go over.


What Is Hauling And What Is Towing?

Let’s face it, however good a truck may appear its primary role is to get the job done whatever that may be. And that's why it’s important to know the capabilities of your truck before buying it or before overloading it.

But let’s get back to the main question. What’s the difference between the two? Well to tow something means to pull it. So, the towing capabilities of a truck means how much it can pull, for example on the trailer that is attached to the said truck.

Whereas the hauling capability of a certain vehicle means how much you can put on it and be able to move. For example, you can load your truck bed and move the cargo that way. You can also load up your truck bed rack and load up even more things but keep in mind that that bed rack puts additional weight on your truck.

But knowing how much your truck can haul and how much it can tow is pretty important. Now truck towing capacity exceeds truck hauling capacity. Why? Because the majority of the weight is resting on the trailer axes and not on your truck’s.


How Much Can My Truck Safely Haul And Tow?

Now there is a simple way to calculate the payload capacity of your truck. The first thing you would have to know is the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) as well as the curb rating of that said vehicle. Let’s get over those things quickly though.


Truck Hauling Capacity

There is a different way to calculate your truck hauling capacity and truck towing capacity. Let’s look at the hauling capacity first. The easiest way to know how much you can load up your vehicle is by subtracting the curb weight from the GVWR.

Another thing that is crucial to know is that you can also increase your truck payload capacity by upgrading the suspension system and its axes.


What Is A Curb Weight?

Now if you don’t know what a curb weight is, it is the weight of the vehicle with a full gas tank and all standard equipment loaded onto it. Curb weight does not include the weight of any passengers or any additional weight of the cargo.


What Is GVWR?

GVWR or the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum safe weight of your vehicle including the curb weight plus the additional weight of your passengers and any cargo that you may put inside or on the vehicle.

So with that said let’s say your vehicle has a GVWR of 9000 lbs. And the curb weight of that said vehicle is 6000 lbs. That means that you can only load up to 3000 lbs. of cargo onto your truck so you can safely drive it.

Truck Payload Capacity = GVWR - Curb Weight


Truck Towing Capacity

As you’ve seen it is not difficult to figure out what your truck hauling capacity is. And it is also not hard to figure out its towing capacity. However here we will use the GCVWR. What is it? It is the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating.

That is the maximum weight of your loaded truck and the trailer that is attached to it. Let’s say that your vehicle has a GCVWR of 16000 lbs. Let’s also say that when empty it weighs 6000 lbs. but you already loaded it with 4000 lbs. of cargo.

Truck Towing Capacity = GCVWR - Curb Weight

That means that those extra 6000 lbs. Is the maximum safe weight that you can tow. Now you can tow more than that, however, it is not recommended if you want to take care of your vehicle. Why? Well because your vehicle may break down and nobody wants that.

Vehicle manufacturers usually put a sticker where you will see the truck’s towing and hauling capabilities, so you do not have to think much about it. It is always a good thing to know how to calculate it yourself if you ever find yourself in a situation where you cannot find that information on your truck.


Let's Wrap It Up

It’s easy to just load up your truck and/or trailer as much as you can because you don’t want to make two or three trips but is it a smart thing to do? While you can get lucky and nothing bad happens that one time, it is certainly not a safe thing to do.

Ignoring your truck’s hauling and towing capabilities can easily damage its frame, transmission, engine, and even tires. And while you can go to your local auto care shop and repair your truck it’s better to know how much you can and can’t haul and tow and just avoid those unnecessary costs.

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