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!
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.
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!
Howard and Pam
Please leave a comment before you go! I hope this information was helpful to you!