Most truck manufacturers today recommend an automatic transmission over a manual to obtain better towing results on a pickup. Rear axle ratio, engine size and cargo box size also play a part in towing capacities.
Today's automatics are "smarter" than manuals because the automatic relies on technology to gauge actual towing weight while the manual relies on the driver, according to boatus.com.
Manufacturers more likely will equip their pickups with automatics because inattentive drivers are prone to abuse a transmission during towing.
If towing with a five- or six-speed automatic or manual, drivers are recommended to use fourth gear for appropriate pulling power and third gear with four-speed autos or manuals.
Lower gears, whether manual or auto, decrease the stress on the engine while hauling a load at the same time increasing torque.
Automatic transmissions automatically upshift or downshift depending on load weight and whether on flat or hilly surfaces, while the manual relies on the driver's judgment for shifting.
The compact 4-liter V-6 Ford Ranger 4X4 equipped with an automatic can tow 5,580 lbs. and the manual version of the same truck can haul 3,100 lbs.
- Photo Credit "Tailgating for electronics guys" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: oskay (Windell Oskay) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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