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Best Trailer Towing Vehicles

What trailers can your car pull?

What Size Truck Do I Need To Pull A Travel Trailer? A Guide To Safe Towing

Are you the adventurous type who likes pulling around an RV camper? Or are you a contractor looking for a trailer to carry your work tools and materials from one site to another? You have undoubtedly searched for the best trucks that pull a trailer for regular camping or contracting activities. At the same time, you need a vehicle you can drive around to run errands. Different trucks are designed to pull trailers of varying sizes. Manufacturers fine-tune each design aspect to ensure maximum towing capacity. It is impressive how several brands have mastered truck design based on client feedback. In return, the companies have built a strong reputation among customers.

Although most car enthusiasts are loyal to certain car brands, the reality is that there are multiple midsize trucks with far superior towing capacities and highway performances.

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What cars can pull a trailer

Top Vehicles for Towing

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Car Model

Towing Capacity

Dodge Ram 3500

16 350 lbs

Ford F-250

15 000 lbs

Toyota Tundra

12 000 lbs

Ford F-150

11 300 lbs

BMW X3

10 000 lbs

Desirable features of a tow truck

The driver does not have to settle for less on the pretext that they are pulling a trailer. No. They need to enjoy the optimal performances of the SUV or pickup trucks. Nothing should compromise the comfort and the performance of the vehicle. The first thing that salespeople use to attract customers is the towing capacities of the truck. As a driver, you must look beyond these figures. Compare the technical aspects of several options in the market. Some essential components to look for include:


Type of suspension system

We are aware that pulling a trailer exerts more weight on the vehicle. The additional load impacts how the vehicle behaves on the road. Remember, the vehicle is capable of driving on the highway and offroad. The truck or SUV should be fitted with an appropriate leaf spring on the rear. Some trucks contain leaf springs, while others feature heavy-duty shock absorbers that enable the vehicle to maintain stability even when pulling a heavy trailer.

Type of receiver hitch

Increasing the effective load on the vehicle increases demand for the transmission system. When this happens, the flow of transmission fluids increases. As a result, the transmission oils become hot. Drivers should check if the transmission system has an oil cooler. It reduces the impact of excess heat on the vehicle's performance. The oil cooler extends the life of the transmission system and prepares the vehicles for extreme driving conditions.

Oil coolers for transmission system

captures the maximum weight limit determined by the manufacturer which the car can safely tow.

Brake controls for trailers

Pulling a trailer has several risks. We have described how extra loads affect braking efficiencies. Trailers have their braking systems. When considering a truck for towing trailers, verify if its braking system allows connection with the electric brake assist system of the trailer. The feature activates the trailer's brakes once the driver engages the brakes of the towing truck.
The auxiliary brake controls for the trailer ensure that the stress exerted on the truck is minimal.

How to Find the Weight of Different Trailers

Once you know the weight and towing capacity for your vehicle, you'll want to look at your trailer weight. The GTW, GVWR and GAWR should be listed on the VIN plate. Some common trailer weight estimates are as follows:

Aluminum boat trailer

  • Aluminum boat trailer, 12-15 feet: 200 pounds
  • Aluminum boat trailer, 16-20 feet: 300 pounds

Fiberglass boat trailer

  • Fiberglass boat trailer up to 17 feet: 200 pounds
  • Fiberglass boat trailer, 18-20 feet: 300 pounds
  • Fiberglass boat trailer, 21-22 feet: 570 pounds

Utility trailer

  • 8-foot single-axle utility trailer: 320 pounds
  • 10-foot single-axle utility trailer: 360 pounds
  • 12-foot tandem axle utility trailer: 1,200 pounds
  • 16-foot tandem axle utility trailer: 1,300 pounds
  • 20-foot tandem axle utility trailer: 1,500 pounds

Bumper pull horse trailer

  • Bumper pull horse trailer containing one horse: 1,800 pounds
  • Bumper pull horse trailer containing two horses: 3,100 pounds
  • Bumper pull horse trailer containing four horses: 4,500 pounds

Gooseneck

  • Gooseneck pull 16-foot livestock trailer: 3,500 pounds
  • Gooseneck pull 20-foot livestock trailer: 4,000 pounds
  • Gooseneck pull 28-foot livestock trailer: 5,000 pounds

5th wheel

  • 26-foot 5th wheel: 5,900 pounds
  • 31-foot 5th wheel: 7,800 pounds
  • 35-foot 5th wheel: 10,200 pounds

Camper

  • 17-foot camper: 2,300 pounds
  • 23-foot camper: 4,200 pounds
  • 30-foot camper: 4,800 pounds

Recreational vehicle trailer

  • Recreational vehicle trailer: 8 feet 350 pounds
  • Recreational vehicle trailer: 14 feet 980 pounds

Toy hauler

  • Toy hauler 20 feet: 4,100 pounds
  • Toy hauler 28 feet: 6,600 pounds
  • Toy hauler 37 feet: 12,000 pounds

Safely pulling a trailer

Selecting the perfect car to pull the trailer does not mark the end of the road. Drivers must exercise caution even if the trailer is loaded within capacity. Balance the load on the trailer for better weight distribution around the hitch and rear truck frame. Use additional safety utilities like safety chains to secure the trailer on the rear hitch and ensure the brake controls for the trailer are in good working conditions before embarking on the journey.

Which towing vehicle should one purchase?

Every driver anticipates pushing their vehicles to the limits. It is not just about speed and handling. A few drivers experiment with trailers. They subject small sedans and hatchbacks to a few trips towing small trailers. It is almost impossible to authoritatively dictate which car size is appropriate to pull a trailer. A few tips for an amateur driver to select a truck or vehicle for towing:

  • Small-size SUVs can tow up to 1500 pounds of load
  • Light-duty pickup trucks have a towing capacity that does not exceed 3000 pounds
  • Midsize SUVs can pull a trailer loaded up to 3000 pounds
  • Half-ton pickup trucks and full-size SUVs can tow 8000 pounds of load or more

Several factors determine the maximum towing capacities of vehicles. It is vital that the driver refers to the owner's manual or consults the manufacturer before towing the trailer to ascertain the allowable towing capacities.

Why you must adhere to towing limits

The driver needs to understand that the axle designs, configurations of the suspension systems and the functionality of transmission systems affect the maximum towing capacities of vehicles. Exceeding these limits has direct ramifications. Towing heavier loads than recommended means the driver should be ready to part with extra cash to fix broken axles, damaged transmission systems or replace the vehicle's suspension.

The effects of overloading manifest immediately and in the short and long terms. When the towing capacity is exceeded, the driver experiences difficulty handling the vehicle. The additional weight due to the trailer load is exerted on the trailer coupling hitch and causes a slight imbalance to the car. Drivers struggle to keep the vehicle driving on a straight path.

When the load acting on the axles and the wheels increases, drivers are likely to have difficulty braking the vehicles. It implies that the driver forgoes some safety measures to pull heavier trailers. The braking distances increase significantly.

The long-term effects will manifest as frequent transmission system failures, rapid wear and tear of brakes and shorter lifespan of suspension systems. The worst that can happen is regular overheating of the engine due to continuous internal strain.

The best solution to these problems is investing in a vehicle that is up to the task. Understand the desired load capacities of the trailer. If the maximum load you will tow is above 3000 pounds, then a mid-sized SUV or light pickup truck is out of the question. Choose a car with a higher towing capacity.