How to Tow With a Ford Focus


The Focus is Ford's entry-level economy sedan. It was introduced in 2000 as a replacement for the Ford Escort. While the Focus originally was available in hatchback, sedan and station wagon models, the 2010 Focus is available only as a sedan. Although the Focus comes equipped with a four-cylinder engine, the 2000-2007 models are capable of towing a trailer of up to 1,230 pounds if the car is equipped properly. Ford does not recommend towing with the 2008 and newer models.

Things You'll Need

  • Trailer hitch
  • Trailer wiring pigtail
  • Bathroom scale
  • Have a weight-carrying hitch installed on your Focus at a reputable trailer dealer. Do not use a hitch that clamps onto the axle or rear bumper.

  • Have a trailer wiring pigtail installed on your Focus at a rental center or trailer dealer. Make sure the connector on the wiring pigtail and the trailer electrical connector are compatible as there are different types of connectors.

  • Hitch the trailer to your Focus and connect the trailer safety chains to the hooks on the trailer hitch. Make sure the chains are crossed under the trailer tongue to support it in case of a hitch failure.

  • Connect the trailer electrical connector to the wiring pigtail on your Focus. Test the turn signals, brake lights and parking lights on your trailer.

  • Make sure you do not overload the trailer. Remember, the trailer towing capacities listed in your owner’s manual are a combined weight for the trailer and the cargo. Evenly distribute the weight in the trailer. Make sure the trailer tongue weight is 10 to 15 percent of the total weight of the trailer. Use a bathroom scale to weigh the tongue before hitching the trailer to the car. Tow the trailer to a commercial scale (check your Yellow Pages) and have it weighed if you are not sure of the loaded weight of the trailer.

  • Practice towing your trailer on a non-busy street or parking lot. Brake well in advance and make turns wide to avoid hitting curbs. Go slower than normal to avoid damaging your Focus or the trailer. Shift to a lower gear to keep the transmission from overheating.

  • Stop and check your hitch and electrical connections every 50 miles while towing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult your owner’s manual to determine how much your car can tow. The number of passengers and cargo you carry in your Focus directly affects how much weight you can tow.
  • If you are renting a cargo trailer, have the rental agent show you how to connect the trailer if there is something you are not sure of. The rental trailer should come with detailed instructions on connecting the trailer, towing, and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Overloading your trailer or going over the maximum towing weights listed in your owner's manual can adversely affect your Focus engine, transmission and brakes. Overloading can also cause your car and trailer to go out of control, potentially causing property damage, injury or death.

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  • Photo Credit Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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