↑ Return to RV Resources

How Much Can My Truck Tow?

Before buying any towable RV, the most important thing you can consider is “how much can my truck tow?”  If you already have your truck, the calculations are easy.  If you have yet to buy your truck, then you can decide on the towable you really want, and match the truck based on that need.

 

If you are going out to buy a truck, and ask the salesman, “how much can my truck tow?”, they will tell you whatever you want to hear!  Don’t believe them!  Check with the manufacturer’s materials to verify towing specs. When you trust someone else to give you the correct information, you could make a costly, and possibly a dangerous mistake!

 

Be sure to check vehicle data plates to verify the information that is published about a truck!

how much can my truck tow

Okay, lets talk about some vehicle weight specification terms that will help you to calculate “how much can my truck tow?”

 

Lets look at the towable RV first!

 

You need to know the GTW, the gross trailer weight.  This is the weight of the trailer with all the items loaded aboard, including all the trailers options, the cargo, food, clothes, water, LP, and personal belongings.

 

Now how about the tow vehicle!

 

The first important number for figuring how much can my truck tow is the maximum trailer weight that the vehicle can pull.   This value must not exceed your truck manufacturer’s stated value!  The second is the GVW, the gross vehicle weight.  This weight is the one that would be established at a weigh station.  It would be measured to include the weight of the passengers, its cargo, fuel, equipment, accessories, and the hitch.

 

The third important number here is the GVWR, the gross vehicle weight rating.  This is the value that the vehicle can carry when fully loaded, like when you have loaded up the truck and are taking off for an extended period of time.  The difference between this and the GVW is that the GVWR value is established by the truck manufacturer.

how much can my truck tow

Now how about the tow vehicle and the towable RV?

 

Again, there are two values to be aware of.  First is the GCWR, the gross combined weight rating.  This is the total of the GVWR of the tow vehicle and the GVWR of the tow-able RV.  When adding the actual measured values of both vehicles, these numbers should never exceed the sum of each Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for both vehicles.

 

What About the Hitch?

 

The Gross Hitch Weight Rating is the maximum weight of the RV trailer’s load pushing down on the hitch ball, or the fifth wheel hitch assembly, and being carried by the vehicle’s rear axle.  The Maximum Tongue Weight is the largest amount of weight that should be pushing down the the hitch of the tow vehicle.  The Maximum King Pin Weight is also the largest amount of weight that the fifth wheel trailer should push down on the fifth wheel hitch attached to the tow vehicle.

 

And Lastly, Lets Look at the Axles

 

The Gross Axle Weight Rating is the maximum weight that a single axle can support as determined by the axle’s manufacturer.  The Rear Gross Axle Weight is the actual weight that is placed on the rear axle.  It is calculated by adding the weight of all wheels on the rear axle without any load of the trailer on that axle.  The Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating is the maximum for the rear gross axle weight.  This is the largest amount of weight that the tow vehicle’s rear axle should ever be loaded to.

 

To be able to safely tow your RV trailer you have to be sure to have enough engine power to pull the intended load.  The weight of your RV trailer should never overload the tow vehicle’s maximum ratings that have been discussed here.  You will know you are overloaded if the vehicle is difficult to steer and there is a lot of trailer sway.  Over loaded RV trailers will result in ruined engines, transmissions, wheel bearings, trailer hitches, etc.  But don’t go by how the vehicle drives!  Have your rig weighed to be sure you are towing within safe parameters!.

 

So, now when you are asked “how much can my truck tow,” you should have the information you need to answer that question!

 

Here’s wishing you safe travels as you enjoy the RVing lifestyle!

 

Blessings,
Howard and Pam

Please leave a comment before you go!  I hope this information was helpful to you!

42 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Mary Locke

    With the new Ford 150 having a higher tow capacity can they tow a 5th wheel with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs safely?

    1. Howard

      Hi, Mary!

      What do the specs say for the towing weight for the F150 and how much weight can you place in the bed of the truck: what is the pin weight of the 5th wheel?

  2. Bob

    Hi I am looking to trade for a nice Artic fox 22h trailer loaded all in weight of 7500 lbs.

    I have a 98 f150 4.2 v-6, 308 rear end 2wd and Firestone air bags . The truck has 78000 miles and is auto transmission.

    Will it survive on a local basis, couple of hundred mile camping trips a few times a year without critical failure.

    I would like to get some use out of the truck other than hauling branches to the recycling center.

    Gas mileage really sucks as well average 12.5 in town.

    Many thanks Bob Gauthreaux

    1. Howard

      Hi, Bob!

      What is the truck rated to pull and is the pin weight of the trailer okay to place on the truck without overloading it? And ultimately, will you feel safe doing so? Research that and go from there.

  3. Sue P Salvesen

    Hi Howard,

    Thanks for providing this valuable info. My husband and I just received a contract for our home in NJ and plan on traveling the country starting in November. We will have approximately $100,000 to spend on a fifth wheel and truck (flexible but want to stay around this amount). My question for you is should we purchase the RV first or the truck? I have been reading up on the necessary weights needed for a truck, but to be honest, it’s overwhelming and I fear a dealer selling a truck could be unscrupulous. I keep getting conflicting info from RV seasoned people on the internet. My husband has a little experience with RV’s but I am a newbie.

    My favorite RV to date is a Pinnacle 36FBTS or something similar (big front bathroom that sleeps 2-4 and possibly a half bath). In NJ we can only have 50 feet max in our truck and trailer (40-trailer and 10-truck). Around the rest of the county, it is less restrictive as you prob. already know.

    Any info you or your readers could provide concerning what to purchase first and the type of truck we should be purchasing to pull 16500 lbs is appreciated.

    Sue

    1. Howard

      Hi, Sue!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      You have valid questions, and most answers are subject to personal opinion.

      Certainly, $100k is not a lot to spend on a full time RV and truck, if buying new. What truck is best for you is the one that is best for you, not for me. I would always recommend buying more truck than needed because if you decide to upgrade the trailer, you will have what you need. For me, as an RV inspector, it is also a safety thing. Dually axle over not, and a truck that weighs more will handle the RV more comfortable driving down the road.

      This is just my opinion from one who has traveled many miles in RV’s.

      Happy hunting and best wishes as you move forward. If you would like more info on how to be an educated RV buyer so you can know more about your RV and how to take care of it, please let me know!

      1. Sue P Salvesen

        Howard,

        Thanks for your reply. We went with a 2015 3500 GMC Denali Dually and a 2015 Redwood 36FB. We ended up going over our budget by 10K but got a 5500 Cumins generator and all necessary gear for full time living included.

        Thanks for your advice and I am sure to be back on asking lots of questions once we get going.

        Regards,
        Sue

        1. Howard

          Hi, Sue!

          So glad to hear you found your full time RV home, and a capable truck to pull it. We have friends who have a Redwood and they enjoy living in it.

          Happy Travels!!

  4. Susan

    I’m confused by this. The GCWR for my tow vehicle is 5300 lbs. My vehicle weighs 3825 (curb) and my trailer weighs 2000 pretty much empty. Those two weights are already over the 5300 GCWR. How can my tow vehicle be rated to tow 5000 lbs then? I thought I was safe with a 2000 lb trailer.

    1. Howard

      Hi, Susan!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!!

      Fist off, are you sure on the 5,300 lbs for the gross combined weight rating? If so, you may need to consider making a change.

  5. Jerry Gault

    Would someone help me out. I’m trying to figure out how much I can tow.

    2016 Ford F 150 4×2 Super Crew 2.7L GTDI V6 Eco-boost
    Axle: 3.73 L6
    GVWR: 6250 lbs
    GCWR: 13,100
    Max weight of occupants and cargo: 1518 lbs

    Passengers: 450lbs
    Stuff: 100 lbs

    Ford site says 8100 lbs

    The tailor I’m looking at is:

    UVW -= 5685
    Hitch Weight: 575
    GVWR -7495

    Any help much appreciated. We are still looking at campers, I used the numbers from the one my wife would like. 🙂

    Thanks
    Jerry

    1. Howard

      Hi, Jerry!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      By the numbers you have listed, it looks like to me you can haul the trailer empty, but as soon as you load it up with your stuff, you may put yourself in an unsafe situation as you would be running at maximum load going by your GCWR of 13,100 lbs. For those concerned about safety this is never really the way to go!

  6. kim white

    I have a dodge ram 1500 Laramie my travel trailer weight 4,600 my truck weighs 6,600 lbs is that safe

    1. Howard

      The best way to answer that is to not exceed the GCWR of the vehicle. If you don’t exceed the tongue weight on the hitch, and the GCWR, and you will be fine.

  7. Roger Simmons

    My ford f150 has the same stats as the vehicle data example you have listed. My engine is a v6 eco boost. I’ve tried to figure this out but I can’t compute it. With the info you have above what would be a good suggestion for a trailer weight. Some one has recommended a 3000 – 5000 trailer is this accurate? This is a 4xd super crew. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Howard

      Hi Roger!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      You did not mention what year vehicle you have, but perhaps this link will help you to determine trailering capacity based on your vehicle: http://www.new-cars.com/2016/ford/specs/f150-trailer-towing.html#towing

  8. Rich Carr

    Hi,
    I have a 2009 GMC Sierra 2500 HD 6.6L diesel with Allison transmission. It has a GVWR of 9200 but does not list a GCWR… how do I find out how much it can pull?

    1. Howard

      Greetings Rich!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      Please check this website: https://www.carsdirect.com/2009/gmc/sierra-2500hd/specs and look at the “dimensions and capacities” tab. You will see a listing of what you can pull with your truck. Also, is your GCWR not listed in your owners manual or on the VIN data label?

    2. Tom Myers

      I have the 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD with the turbo diesel and combined weight is rated at 22000 lbs. If you go to GMC Vin Decoder Forum and enter your Vin # it will give you the tech specs on your truck which will show info on towing capacities.

      1. Howard

        Thanks for checking in on this Tom!

  9. Jeff Wilson

    I’m looking at getting a camp trailer and pulling it with a 2017 F150 XLT, 3.5L v6 eco-boost, 3.31 rear end. Everything I’ve found shows max tow capacity at 10,700. The trailer we found has a GVWR of 9500. Is that to close to the max for my truck? Should I possibly look at a smaller trailer?

    1. Howard

      Hi Jeff!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      The weight of the trailer is close to the max ratings, but within the manufacturer’s recommended tow weight based on what you are telling me. How about the weight of the tongue on the rear end of the truck? What is that rating and what will be the pin weight of your loaded trailer?

      Something to consider. If it is to close for comfort then yes, a different option might be better. We just saw a fifth wheel trailer that ran over a truck that was just too small for the size of the trailer. Best to be safe!!

  10. Patrick Moran

    Hello I have a 2011 Dodge Dakota 4.7L V8
    I am still a bit confused about the axle numbers

    The GVW is 6010lbs
    The GCWR is 11700 lbs

    so, in theory, my truck can handle
    a travel trailer weighing 5690lbs

    however, my axle ratings are 3600lbs front and 3600 rear

    1. Howard

      Hi Patrick!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      So in addition to the trailer weight rating that you know, what is the weight rating on the hitch? I would not exceed that tongue weight rating nor the GCWR.

  11. Karry Trickey

    Hello, I have a gooseneck horse trailer. How would I ever find out the “pin weight ” you are referring too?

    Thank you

    1. Howard

      Hi Karry!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      For RVers, we suggest going to a facility that can weigh the rear axle of the truck with the trailer attached and then removed. The difference between the two is your trailers weight that is being put on the ball of your truck. That should not exceed your rear axle rating or your gross combined vehicle weight rating. Also, the trailer should be loaded as it would be during travel.

  12. Tom Myers

    I just weighed my truck and 5th wheel. Combined weight is 16680. My truck is rated for 22000 GCVW. Rear axle weighed in at 4860, rated for 6084. Steer axle weighed in at 4440, rated for 4800. My truck is GVWR is 9200. So am I right my truck is over the GVWR by 100lbs and do I need to try to lower GVWR?

    1. Howard

      H Tom!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      Are you sure on your GVWR at 9,200 lbs? By the axle ratings should it not be closer to 11,000 lbs? If the numbers you indicated are correct, then just remove some weight from the axle of the truck, that is the weight in the 5th wheel being applied to the rear axle, or the driver and passenger have to lose weight. LOLOL

  13. Tom Myers

    Thanks Howard. I figured as much and I figured how out how to move some things around. Those numbers I stated were max weights on the axle. The 9200 lbs was on the manufacture sticker. I removed my brush guard which in itself was 110 lbs so that helped. Like I said, I was under my axle ratings. My manual said I should be able to tow up to 13000 fifth wheel which the one I bought was 10000 max but I know I loaded made it less than 9000lbs. So the weight thing seems a little confusing to me. I have the turbo diesel engine so the truck should be capable at the load I was towing.

    1. Howard

      Sounds like you are okay Tom!

  14. Dawn Schiffert-Sell

    We have a 2016 GMC Canyon SLT.
    GVWR 6000
    GCWR 12000
    Driver, Passengers and cargo/fuel 1230
    Curb weight 4500

    We are buying a Minnie Winnie
    Dry weight 5320
    GVWR 7000

    Are we going to be able to haul this trailer?

    1. Howard

      Hi Dawn!

      Thank you for stopping by our website!

      Good information! Okay, If I add this up, 4,500 curb weight plus 1,230 in the truck plus the 7,000 trailer at max load you get 12,730 lbs. That’s 730 lbs over the maximum GCWR. Even if you could lessen the 7,000 GVWR of the trailer by 730 lbs, you would still be at maximum weight capacities.

      For safety, I would never want to travel at max load like that. We have seen so many trailers get away from the driver on the highway and create serious accidents.

  15. dominic

    I am looking into getting a new or newer truck, but I am getting conflicting information between the dealers with the same manufacturer.

    if my trailer is 33 ft long and weighs around 8,000lbs will a 150 or 1500 tow this vehicle, or do I need to bump up to a 250 or 2500?

    interested in a 4×4 truck with crew cab,

    The dealers all say yes but the numbers do not add up.

    1. Howard

      Hi Dominic!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      I would go by the specs from the manufacturer in regards to maximum rear axle weight and the gross combined weight rating. The published data is the information to trust.

  16. Burt Silver

    I really like how you talk about how much a truck can tow and figuring that kind of thing out. This is something that I have been looking into lately and am curious about because I want a new trailer for a project I’m working on. Maybe I should look into the trailer weight and find out if it would work well for my truck.

    1. Howard

      Thanks for stopping by Burt!

      Yes, looking at the GVWR of the trailer first, and seeing if the tow vehicle can handle, it is a good way to go.

  17. Joshua

    Howard,

    I have a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Ext Cab 4×2 6” bed. Stats say it can tow 7000lbs with a Z82 Trailering package. I’m having a really hard time finding a specific answer. The truck came with a hitch and the 4pin & 6pin trailer connections. I want to be sure its good to go to tow because I am buying a camper. I also want to make sure I buy a camper with the right dey weight and tongue weight so I dont tear up my tuck. Any advice?

    Thank you

    1. Howard

      Hi Joshua!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      According to the Chevy specs:
      Engine Maximum Towing With Ball & Hitch (lb / kg)
      Extended Cab 6’2” box 2WD
      3.6L gas with Z82 trailering package: 7000 / 3175

      So, don’t exceed those specs and you will be fine. My recommendation is to have way more truck than you need for safety’s sake. Everything can be fine until someone pulls in front of you and you need to stop the vehicle quickly. If you are running at maximum load an accident could occur. We see it more often than not!

  18. Domenic

    I have a 2018 cedar creek champagne addition fifth wheel GVWR of 18,000 pounds And I think a tongue weight of 2400 pounds what size truck would you recommend Can I get away with a single axle or do I need a duly

    1. Howard

      Hi Domenic!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      Are you sure about the pin weight of 2,400 lbs? Is that the dry weight without any stored items in the RV?

  19. Jimmy

    I have a 2012 Kia Sorento says it can tow 3500 what is the safest camper wt I can tow? Thanks jimmy

    1. Howard

      Hi Jimmy!

      That figure sounds like a lot of weight for what I am assuming is a 4 cylinder engine. I would guess the max weight that can be towed behind your car is probably less than 2,000 lbs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!