Many people need a vehicle with towing capabilities for work or play, but there are many factors that go into choosing the appropriate vehicle for your purposes. You'll need a vehicle that is capable of towing, and you'll need to know its tow rating and appropriate hitch types.

Towing also alters the way your vehicle handles and brakes, so it's important to understand how towing affects its performance.

A lot goes into towing, so the team at Fred Beans Ford of Mechanicsburg put together a Ford towing guide to help you determine what you need for safe, capable towing.

Tow Vehicle Specifications

To find the best vehicle for your towing needs, or to find out if your existing vehicle is capable of towing, you'll need to check the tow rating. Tow ratings include individual, combined and full loaded weights for a vehicle to safely haul a trailer.

These are the ratings to watch for:

  • Towing capability: This rating is the weight a vehicle can tow, and it's affected by the engine's power, transmission type, drive wheels, axle ratio, and wheelbase length.

  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): This is the maximum the fully-loaded vehicle can weigh.

  • Gross combination weight rating (GCWR): This is the maximum combined weight of vehicle and its occupants, equipment, trailer, etc.

  • Gross axle weight rating: This is the maximum weight that a single axle can bear.

Trailer Classes

When choosing a vehicle, it's also important to consider both current and future towing needs, so you don't end up outgrowing your vehicle's capabilities.

Trailer classes are categorized by:

  • Gross Trailer Weight: The maximum combined weight of trailer and cargo.

  • Gross Tongue Weight: The maximum weight exerted on the hitch ball, which is around 10% of the Gross Trailer Weight.

  • Hitch type

The four categories of trailers are flatbed and open trailers, enclosed trailers, recreational vehicle trailers and boat trailers.

Class I: Light-Duty

  • 2,000-pound Gross Trailer Weight

  • 200 pounds Gross Tongue Weight

  • Weight-carrying hitch

  • Light-duty towing for small vehicles

Class II: Medium-Duty

  • 2,100-3,500-pound Gross Trailer Weight

  • 350-pound Gross Tongue Weight

  • Single-axle, small- to medium-length trailers for midsize vehicles

  • Weight-distributing hitch may be specified

Class III: Heavy-Duty

  • 3,501-5,000-pound Gross Trailer Weight

  • 500-pound Gross Tongue Weight

  • Dual-axle travel trailers for properly-equipped trucks and SUVs

  • Weight-distributing hitch may be specified

Class IV: Extra-Heavy-Duty

  • 5,001-12,000-pound Gross Trailer Weight

  • 1,200-pound Gross Tongue Weight

  • Fifth-wheel and large trailers for trucks and SUVs

  • Weight-distributing or fifth-wheel hitch

Towing Equipment

Some necessary and optional equipment for towing includes a trailer wiring harness, the proper hitch configuration for your vehicle, trailer brakes, surge brakes, electronically-controlled brakes, trailer lamps and safety chains.

Take a look at our Parts Center at Fred Beans Ford of Mechanicsburg to speak to a team member about any additional towing equipment appropriate for your outfit.

Towing Tips

  • Always stay under your GCWR.

  • Properly distribute the weight in the trailer and secure the load.

  • Keep the tongue load around 10-15% of the total trailer weight.

  • Allow more braking distance and try to lead with the trailer brakes.

  • Avoid parking on grades.

  • Exercise caution and allow clearance when merging or passing other vehicles.

  • Always check tire pressure, inflation and wear on both the vehicle and trailer.

We hope this Ford towing guide helped, but for more information on towing with your Ford vehicle, visit Fred Beans Ford of Mechanicsburg or contact us with our online form today!

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Fred Beans Ford of Mechanicsburg

6320 Carlisle Pike
Directions Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

  • Sales: 8554898869
  • Service: 717-766-4733
  • Parts: 717-766-4733

Showroom Hours

  • Monday 09:00AM - 08:00PM
  • Tuesday 09:00AM - 08:00PM
  • Wednesday 09:00AM - 08:00PM
  • Thursday 09:00AM - 08:00PM
  • Friday 09:00AM - 08:00PM
  • Saturday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sunday Closed