5 tips to make the most of your truck's towing capacity
Automotive Technology

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Truck’s Towing Capacity

The average pontoon boat weighs about 2,200 pounds. Then the trailer weighs about 1,200. Then you have your gear to think about. You could easily end up needing to tow over 3,500 pounds. 

If you have a boat larger than the average pontoon boat, you could face needing to tow 5,000 pounds or more. If your truck doesn’t have the towing capacity to handle the weight, then you have a problem. 

All hope is not lost yet, try these tips to increase the towing capacity of your truck. 

Word of Caution 

Before we get started, we have a few words of caution for you. Pay attention to the performance of your truck while towing your heavy load. If the truck is struggling or working too hard, then you need to stop. 

Trying to tow a load that is too heavy for your truck can damage your truck and your load. 

Look at the Right Numbers

You need to make sure that you are looking at your truck’s towing capacity and not the payload capacity. The payload capacity is how much weight your truck can carry while the towing capacity is how much weight your truck can pull. 

Take into account the increased weight on your truck if you load the truck up full of weight and then try to tow. Now your truck has to move both the weight of the truck and the weight of the tow load. 

Calculate Your Total Weight 

Make sure you calculate the entire weight of your tow load. This means starting with your boat or other item or equipment. Then add the weight of the trailer. 

You also need to add the weight of whatever other items or equipment that you plan to transport on the trailer. This stuff can start to add up in weight. 

1. Increase Performance 

By improving the performance stats of your truck, you can give it the ability to pull a more massive load. Try adding an improved exhaust system and better air filters. 

These two things work together to improve the air quality that goes through your truck’s engine. The air filter will remove impurities and increase flow. The exhaust can increase the flow of expelled air. 

When a greater amount of cleaner air can enter your engine, you have better and bigger combustion happen in the chamber. This creates more energy that then converts to more power. 

2. Upgrade Your Brakes

Handling an increased amount of weight is about more than power. You need a braking system that can control and stop that weight too. If you don’t have enough stopping power, the load will continue to move forward, which can damage your truck or even push your truck forward into another vehicle. 

Consider upgrading your rotors and pads. This will increase your truck’s stopping power.

You should also think about adding a brake controller to the trailer. This will give you stopping power on the trailer. 

3. Use the Right Hitch 

Just like VRS 4×4 Winches, there are several different types of hitches that are available for use depending on the size of the load you intend to haul. 

  • Receiver hitch 
  • 5th wheel hitch 
  • Gooseneck hitch 
  • Weight Distribution
  • Pintle Hitch 

Within these categories, there are five different levels of receiver hitches. The larger the hitch size, the more weight it can safely tow. If you’re nearing the top end weight limit for the size hitch you’re using, consider moving to the next size up. 

If you want to tow a really heavy-duty load, then you should upgrade your hitch from a receiver hitch to a 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch — these methods of towing change the weight distribution and can increase a truck’s towing capacity. 

Upgrading your hitch will increase your safety level, so it’s worth doing even if your current hitch can technically handle the weight. 

4. Improve the Suspension 

This will be the most costly upgrade to your truck, but also the most important. Having an inadequate suspension will cause a major safety hazard. An inadequate suspension can cause riding up, dragging, or several other issues. 

There are two ways you can improve your suspension, replacing the springs or the entire suspension system. You should also look into adding air suspension as it will give you much better control while you’re towing. 

5.  Increase Your Radiator Size

It may not seem related, but you need to increase the size of your radiator if you want to increase your towing capacity. Since your engine and transmission will work harder, you should also think about upgrading your engine oil and transmission fluids. 

The improved formulas will help your engine components run smooth and stay cool under the increased load. 

Is the Upgrade Worth It?

As you can see, upgrading your truck to handle the increased load will cost you money. So what you need to decide is if the cost is worth it. This is a question that only you can answer. 

If you only need to improve your towing capacity a small amount, then it may be worth it to you. If the gap is large, then it may be better to trade in your truck for one with a larger towing capacity that can handle your large load. 

Increase Your Towing Capacity

With these tips, you should be able to improve the towing capacity of your truck. Keep in mind that you may have to make several adjustments throughout your truck to be able to get the level of improved towing performance that you’re looking for. 

Check out the auto repair section of our blog and download the manual for your truck.