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Understanding Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Knowing and understanding GVWR is important to towing because it tells you explicitly the maximum weight of passengers and cargo you can safely carry in your truck or SUV. GVWR is the total combined weight of truck, including all passengers, fuel, fluids and cargo. GVWR is constant and does not change, regardless of what you tow. It’s engineered in when the vehicle is manufactured.

Because tongue weight must be included in the GVWR, you will need to know how much weight capacity you need to have “left over” for when you hook up your trailer.

For example, if you have a 5,000-pound truck with a 6,200 pound GVWR, you can safely carry 1,200 pounds in the vehicle. If you are towing a trailer with a 300-pound tongue weight, the amount of passengers and gear you can carry decreases to 900 pounds. Simple, right?

To be sure you choose the right tow vehicle, you must find the vehicle with a tow rating high enough to meet your needs. It’s usually a good idea to get a bit more capacity than what your currents needs are. But at the very least, be certain the towed load and tongue weight are within your vehicle’s capacity.

If you are curious about other towing terms, you can access our towing glossary here.


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