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No Go for Standardized Tow Ratings

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,046
edited March 2015 in General
imageNo Go for Standardized Tow Ratings

Can you trust the tow ratings on today's pickup trucks? Automakers are pushing back against standards that would make towing capacity more reliable.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • karbuffkarbuff Posts: 34
    Sounds like a job for an independent source to rate all the current generation trucks using the new SAE standards and post them for all to see.

    That's why I read this site.

    Good Morning Dave...
  • rdmartin1rdmartin1 Posts: 4
    Toyota wins again!
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Posts: 606
    Not much surprising here. I already figured manufacturers' tow ratings were best-case calculations that would vary with optional equipment, passenger weight, and operating conditions such as temperature. Like so much else with automobiles, YMMV. If I were picking a truck for towing I would not be much swayed by one that tows 8,400 pounds versus one rated at 8,100. That difference is small compared to things like options, price, and comfort. In addition, I would never count on pulling a trailer equal to 100% of the rating. If I had, say, a 6,000 pound boat+trailer combo, I'd be looking for a truck rated for at least 8,000 to make sure it'd be up for the task even with a few people in the cab, hot weather outside, and a mountain to cross between here and the lake.
  • quadricyclequadricycle Posts: 827
    Pathetic. Honestly, Tundra wouldn't be my first choice if I were shopping for a truck; but I certainly wouldn't give my money to a company that doesn't stand behind their product.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    Failure to implement the standards is not very smart. CU, and Edmunds, and the other sources will simply do the standard testing and the word will get out anyway. Toyota should really be trumpeting the fact that their tow rating is based on the new standards. I'd be filming a commercial today to advertise how deceptive Ford/GM/Dodge's ratings are vs Toyota.
  • Would be nice if a buyer really knew what a truck could tow. Looking at a new Tundra which I know is using the new J2807 standard, but it would be nice if it is printed on the new vehicle somewhere. Would be nice to also know the hitch weight limits.

    My V-8 Toyota 4-Runner has a decal on the hitch that reads. 7200 tow cap. / 750 hitch weight cap or 1100 hitch weight cap with a weight distribution hitch.

    The new 2014 Tundra's I have looked at don't say anywhere on the vehicle what this vehicle will tow as it sits.....
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 451
    I agree, but rated towing capacity could be misleading if it were stamped on a door jamb because actual towing capacity changes with load, which can change from day-to-day. What you really need is the GCWR, the overarching fixed number that is derived from the engine, chassis, brakes, standard/optional axle ratio and any optional tow package present on the truck. GCWR is the real limiting factor that is in fact the chief result of the SAE J2807 testing protocol. But, alas, GCWR isn't printed or stamped on the truck, either. It should be.

    Towing capacity is determined from GCWR by subtracting the weight of the truck, any added aftermarket equipment (camper shell, step bars, roof rack) and all of the people and things you put in the cab and bed of the truck. It's what's left over after any and all things that boost the truck's weight are subtracted out. If you knew your truck's GCWR you could weigh your loaded and peopled truck and figure out how much you had left over for the trailer on a given day.

    So even though SAE J2807 finally makes tow ratings more comparable they are STILL best-case maximums. For sure, that best case is now more reasonable: SAE J2807 defines the maximum tow rating for advertising purposes using two people instead of one, using common options instead of a stripped truck. But the bed remains empty. If your truck is loaded with every available option, or if on a given day you carry more than two people and have stuff in the bed then your actual towing capacity will be lower than the advertised figure. That reality has not changed.

    Also, numbers stamped on a hitch are not always indicative of the truck's tow rating. Such components may be rated higher than the vehicle itself -- and in fact they should be so they are not the weakest link in the chain. In any system, one much look at the vehicle's GCWR and tow rating (with loaded vehicle weight accounted for as described above), the hitch frame rating, the ball mount rating and the ball rating and use the LOWEST of these as the amount that can be towed with that set of equipment. If your truck is rated at 5,000 pounds and you have a 7,500-lb hitch, you can tow 5,000 pounds.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • " Nothing in J2807 says you can't under-rate your SUV or truck on purpose."
    Well this certainly causes a problem then, doesn't it. If the manufacturer wants to sell more high profit pickup trucks they can underrate their SUVs and sedans to force you to "upgrade" to a larger vehicle. What kind of a spec is that? The manufacturers need to follow the SAE spec and test their vehicles to the maximum limits - not just a minimum that allows them to up-sell you into a high-profit-margin truck.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited April 2016
    I think liability concerns come into play too.

    And there's so many idiots towing with too much weight, no chains (or chains incorrectly attached), mismatched ball/hitch combos, non-functional lights, dry rotted tires, you name it -- the states should really require a license endorsement before letting people hook anything up to their car and truck.
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