How to Figure Out Towing Capacity


A vehicle's towing capacity is the maximum weight of trailer it can safely tow. The additional mass of the trailer reduces the braking and handling characteristics of the vehicle. If you exceed the vehicle's towing capacity, you create an unsafe situation that may lead to an accident. Accidents while towing tend to amplify the consequences. Towing capacities are determined by the manufacture of each vehicle.

Owner's Manual

  • Locate the the owner's manual for your vehicle. It is typically stored inside the glove box or in the door panel pocket.

  • Open the owner's manual and use the index to locate the towing capacity.

  • Turn to that page and record the towing capacity that matches the engine size for your vehicle.

Hitch Rating

  • Locate the vehicle's trailer hitch. It is installed at the rear/bottom of your vehicle and is fastened to its frame.

  • Look closely on the hitch for its rated class. Typical class sizes are: I, II, III, IV and V.

  • Compare its class size to the list of class capacities: Class I (up to 2000 lbs.), Class II (up to 3500 lbs.), Class III (up to 5000 lbs.) and Class IV (up to 10,000 lbs.).

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are missing your owner's manual contact your manufacturer for the exact towing capacity.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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