Saw a couple of YouTube videos on how much can I tow.
Ah, I lost the other video, but that’s ok.
The two guys who did them; one was a truck/RV expert, the other was a person just doing videos about the various aspects of RVing. They both got it right:
You can tow as much as you are supposed to tow.
Every vehicle has a label on the door that tells you how much weight that can be applied to it. The owners manual tells the same story. You can make mods to beef up the truck, but you cannot reset what the manufacturer says the truck can tow.
Part of the issue is Truck manufacturers like to say how much their best trucks can tow. Unfortunately for us, you have to turn into a researcher to figure out which model and which features are required to make your truck capable of towing a certain amount.
For instance, my truck is a 2015 Ram 2500. The specs for the truck say it can tow (when properly equipped) 17,180 lbs. The manufacturer specs also say it has a 2360 lb payload capacity.
The truck’s tire specs say otherwise.
I originally had photos of the labels in my truck but they contain my VIN.
This tag, which you should ALWAYS go by that says the combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed 2088 lbs.
Cargo means you, your passengers, and whatever you are carrying. In the case of a 5th wheel, that means the weight that’s put on your truck by the hitch. So if you have 500 lbs to carry in people and gear, your hitch cannot put more than 1588 lbs.
If you can find a 5th wheel hitch that puts only 1588 lbs on your truck, let me know, I’ll be in the market for it. Something you should know about about 5th wheels is they need to put weight on that hitch, because their axles can’t support the weight of the vehicle. For instance, a 5th wheel might weigh 14000 lbs but their axles can support only 12000 lbs (combined). To support that 2000 lbs, that’s what your truck does. The numbers manufacturers put on those travel trailers and 5th wheels really matter too.
None of that matters when you’re in the dealership, except possibly to you. The salesman knows every aspect of the RV you are looking at. Despite this, he’s going to tell you of course, your truck can tow this RV. As a matter of fact, other people with this same vehicle have towed the same RV with it! So you buy it, realizing that of course, there’s always a margin within the engineering; that a vehicle manufacturer like Ford, FCA or GM could put a few extra hundred pounds of capability but don’t list it. The problem is, the manufacturer won’t stick up for you if you have an accident or get pulled over.
I mentioned the engineering aspect. There’s some truth to this. The point where vehicle weight (GVWR) start going commercial is 10,001 lbs. So the manufacturer lists their GVWR as 10,000 lbs. For my vehicle, the GVWR is 10,000 lbs. The GAWR is 6,000 lbs and 6,500 lbs respectively. So from a technical standpoint, the vehicle SHOULD be capable of almost 5,000 lbs of cargo. Except for the 10,000 lb GVWR limit, and some suspension and tire issues, that would be the case.
So, this rather lengthy post deals with ensuring what your vehicle is capable of, and being safe when you are towing. Always go by the manufacturer’s number and go by the lower number when those numbers conflict.