So how do you figure out how much weight you can safely tow?
This information is intended to settle this issue for you.
Different tires, wheels, lift kits and gears will all affect your towing capacity, so make sure you know YOUR truck!
Let's start from the begining...
Trailer Plug Wiring Guides
Hitch Selection Charts
How to Calculate
1st: Take your loaded truck to the scales. Find out what it weighs fully loaded.
Fully loaded means: w/people, gas, firewood, tools, everything you will have in your truck when you are towing.
2nd: Subtract the number you got from the scale from your gross combined weight rating.
The result is the maximum weight your truck can tow. This calculated number is the ONLY number that matters.
3rd: Weigh your trailer fully loaded and make sure it does not exceed the calculated maximum weight your truck can tow.
4th: Weigh your truck and trailer together fully loaded.
This number should not exceed the Gross Combined Weight Rating. If it does, you have a problem. Start over at step one.
Important: Every truck is different! Your buddies 3/4 ton truck my have different gears than your 3/4 ton truck, so the GCWR may not be the same. Make sure to use the label on your truck!
BCW (Base Curb Weight)
Weight of the vehicle including any standard equipment, fluids etc. It does NOT include passengers or aftermarket equipment.
This number would come from the scales if you took your truck there straight from the showroom. Not a huge issue.
Combined maximum allowable weight of cargo, passengers and optional equipment. The payload equals the gross vehicle weight rating minus base curb weight.
This number is a calculation of how much weight you can add to the BCW. Do we need to worry about this? Not just yet, but it could be a factor later on.
GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight)
BCW plus payload weight.
This number would come from the scales. This is what your truck would weigh completely loaded. This will be a factor for sure. Get your loaded truck to the scales and see what you get! It cannot exceed the GVWR.
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)
The maximum total weight of the base vehicle, passengers, optional equipment and cargo. The GVWR is specific to each vehicle and is listed on the safety compliance label on the drivers door pillar.
This is a specification! You cannot exceed this number. The closer you get to it, the less capacity you have for towing!
GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)
Carrying capacity for each axle system. The GAWR is specific to each vehicle and is listed on the Safety Compliance Label on the drivers door pillar.
This is a specification! Not a huge issue for pull trailers, but you 5th wheel guys need to be very aware of this. Have your rear axle weighed with the trailer in place. This is another number you can not exceed!
GCW (Gross Combined Weight)
The combined weight of the towing vehicle (including passengers and cargo) and the trailer.
This number would come from the scales. Not a spec. But this is measurement you need to know!
GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating)
The maximum combined weight of towing vehicle (including passengers and cargo) and the trailer.
This is a specification! This the probably the most important factor. You cannot exceed this number. With your truck fully loaded and gassed up and your trailer fully loaded as well, this is what you need to check for at the scales. Do not go over this rating!!!
Maximum Trailer Weight
Maximum weight of the trailer that the loaded vehicle is permitted to tow. It is determined by subtracting the weight of the loaded vehicle from the GCWR for the the towing vehicle.
This number would come from the scales. This is a balancing act. The more weight you have in your truck, the less capacity you have for towing a trailer. This is something to consider carefully. You cannot exceed this rating.