Home>News>Maximize Your Towing Potential: A Comprehensive Guide to Calculating Your Towing Capacity

Maximize Your Towing Potential: A Comprehensive Guide to Calculating Your Towing Capacity

Towing beyond your capacity can be a costly mistake. It's crucial to determine your towing capacity before hitting the road.

March 09, 2023·11 min read

Are you planning on towing a caravan for your next road trip? Or do you intend to haul your new boat down to the beach?

If so, it's crucial to know your towing limits to avoid mishaps along the way.

Lucky for you, we've got all the information you need to calculate your towing capacity.

Discover the towing capacities of popular models beloved by Australians, ranging from the Ford Ranger to the RAV4. Not only that, but we'll also include details on the towing capabilities of the Subaru Outback and the Jeep Wrangler, just to give you a more comprehensive understanding.

Plus, we'll provide some tips on how to buy cars online in Australia and how to safely and securely purchase used cars online.

But before we delve into how to compute your towing capacity like a true-blue Aussie adventurer, let's first talk about what towing capacity entails.


What is towing capacity? How is it different from payload capacity?

Towing capacity refers to the maximum weight a vehicle can pull behind it safely. It includes anything from a trailer, caravan, or boat. And it's an essential factor to consider when purchasing a vehicle, especially if you plan to tow heavy loads.

In Australia, towing capacity is often expressed in kilograms (kg). For instance, a vehicle may have a towing capacity of 2,500kg. This means it can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 2,500kg when fully loaded. It's important to note that this weight includes not only the weight of the trailer or caravan but also its contents.

When it comes to towing, it's essential to ensure that the towing weight does not exceed the vehicle's towing capacity. Exceeding the towing capacity can strain the vehicle's engine and transmission, leading to potential damage and even accidents.

For example, if you're planning to tow a large caravan weighing 2,000kg, you should look for a vehicle with a towing capacity of at least 2,500kg. It's also essential to factor in the weight of any gear, fuel, or passengers in the towing vehicle when calculating the total weight being towed.

On the other hand, payload capacity refers to the maximum weight that a vehicle can carry inside the car itself. This includes the weight of the driver, passengers, and any cargo carried in the vehicle's cabin or cargo area. Payload capacity is usually expressed in kilograms (kg) or pounds (lbs).

For example, a ute may have a payload capacity of 1,000kg. This means it can carry a maximum weight of 1,000kg in its cabin or cargo area. It's important not to confuse payload capacity with towing capacity since they represent different capabilities.

Always consider a vehicle's towing and payload capacity when choosing a car for your towing or hauling needs.

Now that you understand the concept of towing capacity, let's talk about how you can calculate your vehicle towing capacity:

Check your vehicle's manual

The first and easiest way to find your vehicle's towing capacity is to check your owner's manual. It should have all the information you need about your car, including the maximum weight it can tow.

Also, keep an eye out for any additional requirements like trailer brakes or weight distribution hitches. You don't want to be caught off guard and find out you need more equipment than anticipated.

Let's say you've got a 2022 Toyota Hilux and are keen to tow a boat. According to the owner's manual, the Hilux can tow up to 3,500kg when properly equipped. So if you're eyeing a new boat or a trailer for your next camping trip, read your manual first.


Use an online towing capacity calculator

If you don't have your owner's manual handy, don't worry. You can use an online towing capacity calculator to figure it out.

These calculators are easy to use. They consider important factors like your vehicle's make, model, year, engine size, and transmission. Enter this information into the calculator, and it will tell you the maximum weight that your vehicle can safely tow.

For instance, if you're considering buying a 2015 Ford Ranger, but the owner doesn't have the manual. You can use an online towing capacity calculator to find out that the Ranger has a towing capacity of up to 3,500kg with a 3.2L engine and automatic transmission.


Contact the Manufacturer

Your towing capacity is not something you want to guess at, as it could cause dangers on the road.

If you're still unsure about your vehicle's towing capacity, contact the manufacturer and ask. They should be able to provide you with all the necessary information and even recommend a suitable trailer for your needs.

Say if you've purchased a 2021 Nissan Navara from us at carconnect but you're unsure if it can handle your caravan, you can contact your carconnect representative who can assist you with your vehicles towing capacity and any other information you need.


Look for the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and Gross Combination Mass (GCM)

Another way you can calculate your towing capacity is by knowing more about the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and Gross Combination Mass (GCM).

The GVM is the maximum weight your vehicle can carry. This includes passengers, cargo, and fuel. The car manufacturer sets this weight and you mustn't exceed it as it can be dangerous and even lead to fines. For instance, if you have a 2022 Toyota HiLux with a GVM of 3,200kg, you shouldn't load it with more than 3,200kg.

The GCM is the maximum weight your vehicle can tow, including its weight. This means that if you have a trailer or caravan, the GCM includes the weight of the trailer, caravan, or whatever you're towing plus the weight of the vehicle itself. For example, if you have a 2022 Ford Ranger with a GCM of 6,000kg and the vehicle weighs 2,500kg, you can tow up to 3,500kg.

To determine the maximum weight, you can tow, subtract the GVM from the GCM. It will give you the total weight you're allowed to tow. For instance, if you have a 2022 Mitsubishi Triton with a GVM of 2,900kg and a GCM of 5,885kg, you can tow up to 2,985kg (5,885kg - 2,900kg) safely.

If you need cars with high towing capacities in Australia, there are some popular vehicles you can consider. These include the Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Pajero, and Holden Colorado.


Consult a professional

Are you still uncertain about your vehicle's towing capacity? If you're planning on towing a hefty load, it's best to consult a professional.

Using a professional, such as a mechanic or tow bar installer, offers a range of benefits. They have the knowledge and experience to help you determine your vehicle's towing capacity and what type of load it can handle. They can also advise on the best towing equipment and install it for you if necessary.

In addition to their expertise, consulting a professional can save you time and money. Trying to tow with the wrong equipment or exceeding your vehicle's towing capacity can cause damage to your car or even result in an accident. By seeking professional advice, you can avoid costly repairs and insurance claims.

So, if you're unsure about your vehicle's towing capacity or planning on towing a heavy load, don't hesitate to consult a professional. It's always better to be safe than sorry!


Safety Considerations When Towing

When towing a trailer, it's important to remember that you're not just driving a vehicle but also hauling a significant amount of weight behind you. Here are some safety considerations to keep in mind when towing:

  • Distribute weight evenly - When loading your trailer, distribute the weight evenly so it is not too heavy on one side. It can cause your vehicle to become unstable, particularly when turning or braking.

  • Use the right equipment - Use a hitch that is appropriate for your vehicle and trailer. Make sure it is installed correctly and securely.

  • Adjust your driving - When towing, adjust your driving to accommodate the extra weight and slower response time. Also, avoid sudden movements or sharp turns, and maintain a safe speed.

  • Use your mirrors - Make sure you can see behind you and are aware of what's going on around you. Adjust your mirrors and use them frequently.


Wrapping Up

 Knowing your towing capacity is essential for safe and efficient towing. It involves understanding your vehicle's specifications, including engine power, transmission, and axle ratio.

You can easily calculate your towing capacity by considering the vehicle's gross combination mass (GCM) and gross vehicle mass (GVM). Remember to also factor in the weight of the trailer, cargo, and passengers.

And speaking of finding the perfect car for your needs, have you heard of carconnect? carconnect is the go-to place for anyone buying a new or used car in Australia. We offer many options from best-selling models such as the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota Corolla, Mazda CX-3, and Toyota Hilux.

With guidance and insight from our car experts, you can find the best deal on a new car that suits your needs. Plus, you can compare your options and save money on your next ride.

So why wait? Visit carconnect today and find your perfect ride!

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