What Is the Towing Capacity for Pickup Trucks?


The towing capacity of a pickup truck is influenced by everything from its engine configuration to towing hitch. Small to mid-sized trucks can tow between 3,500 and 5,000 lbs., while full-sized pickups can pull up to 25,000 lbs.

Manufacturing Factors

  • Factors that help increase towing capacity include horsepower, brake size, frame design, torque, engine configuration and the axle ratio.


  • The type of towing hitch a truck is fitted with also influences its towing capacity. With a class III hitch, mid-sized pickups can tow up to 5,000 lbs., while full-sized trucks with a class IV hitch for can tow up to 12,000 lbs. A full-sized pickup with a gooseneck hitch can tow 25,000 pounds.

Expert Insight

  • According to Autotropolism, a low RPM torque -- not horsepower -- determines the towing capacity of pickups. The ease with which a pickup can climb a 7 percent grade -- the highest grade on most U.S. highways -- determines its towing capacity, according to the website.

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  • Photo Credit pickup truck image by Tonda from Fotolia.com
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