Real-world towing capacity


Old 08-16-09, 06:37 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: South Florida
Posts: 1,164
Real-world towing capacity

Every few months I tow a 2000 lb utility trailer about 30 miles of flat road to get a cubic yard of gravel, topsoil, etc. Gravel weighs about 2800/yard, so the load is roughly 5000 lb.

I've been doing this for years in my 4-cylinder 2.4L Nissan pickup with a bumper-mounted hitch ball. Not sure what the towing capacity of the truck is, but altho there's not much acceleration, it's no problem. My understanding of towing capacity is that it assumes extended travel, possibly with hills.

I may replace the vehicle and am looking at new smallish SUVs. I'm wondering if a 2000-lb towing capacity (e.g. on a 2.7L V6) with a frame mounted hitch is enough for my needs (big rebates on some of these vehicles) or do I need to spring for 3500-lb capacity (3.3-3.5 L V6) or go even bigger?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 08-16-09, 09:41 AM
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You are overloading the trailer by more than twice what the frame can handle. You should know the towing capacity of your truck. Look inside the driver's door frame or google it to see what it is. Another thing, even more important to your vehicle, what tongue weight are you forcing it to handle. Most are 200 lbs. More and the hitch assembly can fail, especially if it is attached only to the bumper and not to the frame.
I think you are looking in the correct direction, and would not go any lower than a 3.0 V6. Frame mounted hitch is a must.
Just some opinions.
Old 08-28-09, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
Actually I believe the towing capacities have a lot to do with the vehicles ability to stop the loaded trailer as well as control it while driving. The guidelines are set for the purpose of keeping yourself as well as others safe while sharing the road. If your on your own property then do whatever suits your need by all means but I don't want to get your trailer in my grille because you lost control of it in a curve.

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