How to Increase Towing Capacity? (Safe Ways)

How to Increase Towing Capacity

Whether you’re hauling ATVs for a camping getaway, towing a boat to your favorite fishing spot, or transporting heavy furniture, increasing towing capacity is important for many drivers!

However, it is essential that towing remains a safe method of transporting heavy loads – especially if your vehicle is not built to accommodate the eight you’re looking to move. 

So, in this article, we’ll break down towing capacity and show you safe methods for increasing your own towing capacity. 

Also, we’ll make you aware of important warnings and cautions to know before you drive away!

Finding reliable towing advice can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to put your mind (and suspension) at ease. 

Let’s get into it!

Understanding Towing Capacity

Understanding Towing Capacity

In order to understand towing capacity, there are several key concepts to discuss relating to weight distribution across a vehicle. 

To begin, each vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the maximum allowable weight for a full vehicle. 

This definition includes fuel, passengers, and cargo, or the payload weight that is denoted by a manufacturer. If a driver exceeds the highest weight determined by their rating, they risk destabilizing the vehicle. 

Next, the Gross Combined Weight Rating is similar to GVWR, but this calculation includes cargo in the final number. 

If a driver exceeds their GCWR, they can overload the vehicle’s transmission and potentially damage the vehicle permanently!

Lastly, tongue weight is the downward force exerted by a trailer on the hitch of a towing vehicle. Distributing tongue weight effectively is crucial for trailer stability and control while driving/towing.

Safe and Legal Methods for Increasing Towing Capacity

Now that you’re well acquainted with the aspects of towing, let’s discuss some safe and legal methods for increasing towing capacities such as hitch upgrades, tire upgrades, and suspension upgrades. 

Remember: it’s never too late to ask a professional for their opinion on your desired upgrades or the upgrades you currently possess in your towing vehicle! 

1. Hitch Upgrades

For towing vehicles, there are different hitch classes and weight ratings to consider. These classes range from I to V, with weights ranging from 2,000 lbs to 10,000 lbs Gross Trailer Weight (GTW). 

Before upgrading your hitch, think about your personal towing needs and the type of vehicle that you own. However, upgrading can increase your available towing capacity, allowing your vehicle to handle a heavier load.

2. Suspension Upgrades

Suspension upgrades are important for support of your vehicle, as well as for achieving the correct distribution for towing. There are several options for suspension upgrades including stiffer springs, heavy-duty shocks, and weight distribution hitches. 

Stiffer springs reduce sagging while towing a heavy load, while heavy-duty shocks even out stability for tougher terrains (such as those experienced while driving to a campsite). 

Also, weight distribution hitches distribute tongue weight more evenly and reduce sway. 

3. Brake Upgrades

Having suitable brakes for your vehicle, especially when it comes to braking during towing, is imperative for stopping safely and quickly – even while towing heavy loads!  

You can invest in larger brake pads and rotors to increase the surface area of your brakes, or you can try trailer brake controllers which work independently with trailers to provide double the braking power. 

4. Tire Upgrades

Tire upgrades offer tires with the correct tread depth and weight capacity for towing. Vehicles that tow need a lot of support, but tires that are worn out or not made for towing can present serious safety concerns that need addressing. 

In fact, inadequate tires can lead to loss of control, increase the risk of accidents, and more. 

Therefore, it can be said that the tires on your towing vehicle make a big difference. 

When choosing the right tires, look for those that are made for towing and have a higher load rating. Before towing, make sure that your tires are inflated properly and inspected thoroughly.

5. Other Considerations

There are other considerations to make when choosing to upgrade your vehicle for towing, like a cooling system enhancement

However, it is always a good idea to consult professionals for your complex towing needs, as they’ll be able to provide you with the most tailored, expert advice. 

Important Warnings and Cautions

Even if your vehicle has been fitted with the right tires and brake system, take these warnings and cautions into account before you set out on your next (or first) towing journey. 

1. Never Exceed Vehicle’s Manufacturer-Specified Towing Capacity

This is very important to remember; note down your vehicle’s manufacturer-specified towing capacity, and never surpass that number!

Exceeding towing capacity can produce a range of safety risks, but causing accidents is a big one. 

Weight that is too burdensome for a vehicle can cause it to drag or sway and lose control. 

Additionally, it is illegal to exceed your vehicle’s towing limit, and this can have repercussions if you’re ever caught pulling an exceptionally heavy load. 

2. Consult Professionals for Complex Modifications

Although there are small upgrades that can be made to your vehicle in your garage, it’s always beneficial to bring your vehicle to a qualified mechanic or dealership to give their expert and seasoned opinion on your towing goals versus your vehicle. 

Additionally, if you attempt to modify your vehicle by yourself, you may be held responsible for any failures of your vehicle on the road. The bottom line: trust the experts!

3. Prioritize Safety and Responsible Towing Practices

Safe towing goes beyond simple capacity, involving proper loading, weight distribution, and driving practices. 

In fact, towing-related problems are often the subject of physics tests in college for their many moving parts! 

Before towing, make sure that you feel comfortable and ready to take on the added length and weight of your vehicle to ensure that you, your passengers, and everyone else on the road is safe.