How to Determine a Vehicle's Towing Capacity

by Emma Green

The towing capacity of your vehicle is the manufacturer's rating for the safe towing amount. Checking or determining the vehicle's peak towing capacity prior to towing a heavy load is always a good idea. This prevents potentially serious problems while you are on the street, such as an inability to climb a particular hill that can put you and other drivers at risk.

Read your vehicle's owner's manual to obtain the stated towing capacity for your vehicle.

Look on the certification information listed on the inside of the driver's door to obtain another readout of the towing information.

Compare the two figures to look for discrepancies. If the numbers are different, always adhere to the lowest figure just to be safe, protecting everyone on the road against threats.


  • close If the engine of your vehicle is particularly old and has well over 100,000 miles, or hasn't been well-maintained, it could be down on power which may adversely affect the towing capacity. In this case, use caution and stick to loads that are less than 80 percent of your vehicle's original towing capacity. For example, a capacity of 8,000 pounds or less would be recommended for a vehicle with an original towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.

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About the Author

Emma Green holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and was the editor of her college's literary journal. During graduate school, she helped establish a student organization that focused on philosophy and literary theory, and she has written for both eHow and Answerbag.

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