How to Increase My Towing Capacity on My Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Every Vehicles is assigned a maximum towing capacity by the manufacturer. This number indicates, in pounds, the maximum weight of a Vehicles that a specific Vehicles is capable of safely transporting with a stock configuration. The towing capacity is determined by the ability of a Vehicles components to safely and efficiently handle the weight of an increased load. In order to move a Vehicles the engine must produce enough horsepower, while the brakes must have sufficient power to stop the load. Modifications to the various systems of a Vehicles may help increase the towing capacity.

Under The Hood:

 How to Increase My Towing Capacity on My 2003 Ford F-250

Upgrade your tow hitch. Regardless of the F-250's full towing capacity, you can only tow as much weight as your tow hitch can safely support. To fully maximize your towing capacity, you need to make certain that your truck has the highest rated tow hitch available.

Upgrade your braking system. Brakes are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle that affect its towing capabilities, because it does not matter how much weight your truck can pull if it can not stop the same amount of weight when the time comes. Have your truck and trailer set up for trailer brakes and install high quality, high performance components the next time your braking system needs to be serviced.

Upgrade your suspension and change your F-250 from three-quarter ton axles to one-ton axles. The current rear axle weight rating on the truck is 6,084 pounds. Upgrading to a one-ton axle and a high performance suspension can improve your towing capacity significantly. The rear axle for the 2003 F-350 has a gross weight rating nearly 1,000 pounds higher than that of the F-250.

Add power and torque to your engine by installing an aftermarket turbocharger or supercharger. Depending on the exact package and engine your F-250 came with, it may or may not have come with a turbocharger. A turbocharger adds horsepower, improves torque and adds more power to your towing abilities. Installing a performance chip to your Ford's electronic control module will also help increase power and fine-tune performance.

 How to Increase the Towing Capacity of a Jeep Wrangler

Increase the weight of the Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler is often times lighter than the load it wants to tow. This creates a dangerous situation in which the load behind the vehicle can push the Wrangler around during travel. Load the rear of the vehicle just over the axle with sandbags or gym weights.

Increase wheel base by installing wider tires. The load behind the vehicle can become unstable when it is significantly wider than the vehicle towing it.

Install a heavier duty tow bar. Many times Jeeps are limited by the tow bar they employ.

Weld frame reinforcements into the Jeep Wrangler frame. The rigidity of the frame determines just how much load it can tow. The reinforcements are welded into the frame's joints.

Install high performance brakes. A critical part of towing capacity is the ability to stop with the tow load safely in traffic. Stock brakes can fail while towing heavy loads leading to the Jeep being pushed around in traffic.

Have the axles of the Jeep Wrangler geared. The gears inside the differentials can be tuned for optimum towing performance. It is a complex task and should be done by a professional.

Items you will need

  • Tow bar

  • Frame reinforcements

  • New wider tires

  • New high performance brakes

 How to Increase the Towing Capacity of Trucks

Evaluate the weight of the trailers that you would like to tow in relation to the tow vehicle's maximum towing capacity. If the trailer exceeds the tow rating by more than 1,000 to 2,000 pounds it may be best to use a different vehicle for towing. However, if the difference in weights is within a reasonable range, begin planning modifications.

Purchase and install an aftermarket power programmer for the truck. These devices create added horsepower and torque, giving the vehicle additional power to pull heavier loads and work with the vehicle's electronic control module to modify automatic transmission shifting for better handling while towing. Programmers are typically application-specific and based on the make and model of the truck.

Work with a professional mechanic to upgrade the braking systems on the truck. It is imperative that the tow vehicle is able to safely and efficiently stop with a heavier load. Upgraded brake rotors and pads will help create more powerful braking. Simultaneously, work to equip the vehicle with an electronic trailer brake controller that will allow the driver to adjust the stopping power of the trailer's braking system while driving.

Upgrade the axles and differentials of the truck with heavier-duty parts. Although this is an expensive upgrade, an improved gear ratio will allow heavier loads to be towed without causing undue stress to the truck's drive train.

Install a hitch capable of handling the increased weight load that you plan to tow. Many vehicles come standard with a Class III hitch, rated for loads of up to 5,000 pounds. However, the addition of a higher class hitch will allow the safe transport of heavier loads. For example, upgrading to a Class IV hitch can increase the hitch capacity to 10,000 pounds.

Items you will need

  • Power programmer

  • Trailer brake controller

  • Upgraded axles

  • Upgraded hitch