How Much Can Your Vehicle Tow? A helpful guide.

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Knowing exactly how much towing capacity your vehicle has is very important, and trying to find the towing ratings of some cars online can be a hassle. I have made a very detailed guide on vehicles across the whole vehicle spectrum with tons of information on how much each one can tow.

Below is a simple table with five different types of vehicles with their average maximum towing capacities:

Vehicle TypeAverage Max Tow Capacity (lbs)
Compact/Mid-Size SUVs3,700-5,000
Full-Size SUVs7,200
Small (Quarter-Ton) Trucks6,500
Half-Ton Trucks8,500
Three-Quarter-Ton Trucks15,000
One-Ton Trucks24,000+

Be careful not to push this average maximum weight limit as these numbers are the maximum amount of weights that the average car in each category can handle. Some vehicles in each category may be able to tow more than the average, while others only are capable of hauling less weight. These averages for each vehicle type give a very strong idea of how much each vehicle type can tow.

In this guide we will go over many examples of specific cars across this spectrum of vehicles to give you an even better idea of how much your car tows.

As part of this guide you will learn more details about each one of these vehicle types, examples of their towing capabilities, and about what cargo each vehicle is generally tows. This guide will also provide my top 5 list of some of the best vehicles for towing in each category.

How Much can your Sedan tow?

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SUV tow a trailer
towing capacity of a small SUV

What Qualifies as a Sedan?

Sedans are typical small cars, generally only designed to fit 5 people at most and without much extra space. They are common for individuals, couples, and small families. Sedans aren’t very high off of the ground and have closed bodies and trunks. These vehicles usually get very good gas mileage, especially compared to the other vehicle types on this list. Due to the design of these cars, they aren’t the best tow vehicle.

Common examples of sedans are the Ford Fusion, Honda Civic, and the Chevy Malibu.

How Much Can Your Sedan Tow?

Out of all the vehicles on this list, A Sedan is the least capable vehicle for towing. They are great vehicles, but towing is just not what they are designed for because few people use them to haul. However, these cars are so commonly used that sometimes the occasion arises that something is needed to be towed, and they can pull enough to where simple and small things are no problem.

Sedans on average have a maximum towing capacity of 1,750 lbs. Many of them can only tow about 1,000 lbs, but there are some that have been made to be stronger and have higher towing ratings above 3,500 lbs while still keeping the features of a Sedan.

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Sedan?

Here is a video of a small sedan towing a trailer.

As mentioned before, Sedans aren’t the best for towing, but here is a list of simple things that your Sedan can tow.

  • Small trailers (Uhaul)
  • Tiny Trailers and Boats
  • Other equipment, trailers, and items under 1,000 lbs

My Top 5 Sedans for Towing

The vehicles below are reliable and well-regarded amongst those who like cars and have great towing capabilities for a Sedan.

  1. Volvo S80/S90 – 3,900 lbs
  2. Volvo S60 – 3,500 lbs
  3. Ford Fusion – 2,000 lbs
  4. Honda Civic – 1,000 lbs
  5. Honda Accord – 1,000 lbs

How Much Can Your Compact/Mid-Size SUVs Tow?

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What Qualifies As a Small/Mid-Size SUV?

Compact SUVs and mid-size SUVs are very popular in today’s world. Cars in this category are common for family use due to extra space and seating. Despite their name these cars aren’t always as small as you’d think they would be, and even have enough power inside them to tow various types of things.

My first car was a Chevy Trailblazer, a mid-size SUV. My parents bought it from my aunt who used it to tow her two personal watercrafts (jet skis) for over a decade on trips to southern Utah. Other examples of these SUVs are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, GMC Terrain.

Compact/Mid-Size SUV: Vehicle’s Towing Capacity?

Compact and Mid-Size SUVs have an average maximum towing capacity of 3,700 lbs. This isn’t a huge amount of weight compared to the vehicles further down on this list, but you’d be surprised what these cars are still able to tow. Some of the stronger vehciles in this category can haul up to 5,000 lbs, while smaller ones only tow 1,500 lbs.

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Compact/Small  SUVs?

Compact and Mid-Size SUVs can’t haul as much as the other vehicles on the list, but don’t underestimate them. People all across the world still use them for towing around big objects such as personal watercrafts (wave runners/jet skis), small boats, snowmobiles, and even small trailers. I’ve seen people use their Chevy Trailblazer to haul a loaded up moving trailer before and take it half way across the nation!

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My Top Small/Compact SUVs for Towing

Below is the a list of my ranking of the top 5 SUVs for towing based on their towing rating and hauling capacities. If your car happens to fall on this list then you know you have a solid compact/mid-size SUV for towing. If you are looking to purchase one in the future and expect to tow on occasion then I would recommend an SUV from the following list:

  1. Kia Sorento – Tows up to 5,000 lbs
  2. Volkswagen Atlas – Tows up to 5,000 lbs
  3. Jeep Cherokee – Tows up to 4,500 lbs
  4. Chrysler Pacifica – Tows up to 3,600 lbs
  5. Toyota Rav4 – Tows up to 3,500 lbs

How Much Can Your Full-Sized SUV Tow?

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What Qualifies As a Full-Size SUV?

Full-size SUVs have grown to become very popular in recent years. They are larger cars that are made with more room that provides the space needed for more seating, accessories, and carrying capacity. These vehicles are perfect for big families. Due to the larger size, full-size SUVs are able to have bigger engines which provide more ability to tow. You would be surprised to see just how strong these vehicles have turned into.

I have many siblings and because of that for years my family owned a very large, cherry-red Chevy Suburban. After a while, my parents sold it and bought an even bigger car, a GMC Yukon XL. This provided tons of extra space for all of the kids and also for anything, or anyone, that we brought along with us for the ride.

Other commonly used full-size SUVs are the Ford Expedition and the Cadillac Escalade.

How Much Can Your Full-Size SUV Tow?

Many of these large cars are equity with V8 engines and come with a very reliable towing capacity. On average, the max towing ability of full-size SUVs is 8,000 lbs. As mentioned before, it is best not to push this because it is the maximum, but this is the number that the grand majority’s towing is rated at.

Some full-size SUVs have been rated to be able to tow up to an insane 9,300 lbs, which is more than some trucks can tow! On the other hand, there are many that only have a maximum towing capacity in the 6,000-7,000 lbs range.

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Full-Size SUVs?

Due to the power and size that these full-size SUVs have, they can tow just about anything that the average family could ever need to be towed. These vehicles are able to tow big boats, campers, and even large trailers filled with equipment.

My family owned a good-sized ski boat and my dad’s Yukon XL towed it without any problems whatsoever across the country for years for thousands of miles.

My Top 5 Full-Size SUVs for Towing

Here is a video that compares some of these top-notch full-size SUVs

Below is my top 5 list of some of the heaviest duty full-size SUVs on the market. If you own one of these you are safe to tow lots of heavy things. If you are looking to purchase a large vehicle to tow, then I would definitely recommend one of the vehicles listed below:

  1. Ford Expedition – Tows up to 9,300 lbs
  2. Lincoln Navigator – Tows up to 8,700 lbs
  3. Dodge Durango – Tows up to 8,700 lbs
  4. Chevrolet Tahoe – Tows up to 8,600 lbs
  5. Nissan Armada – Tows up to 8,500 lbs

How Much Can Your Mid-Size Truck Tow?

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What Qualifies As a Mid-Size Truck?

Mid-size pickup trucks are a vehicles that have an open bed for putting items. These trucks are smaller in size and more compact that full-size trucks. Many people choose to purchase a mid-size truck instead of a larger one to avoid the hassle of having a vehicle that is huge and hard to manage that guzzles fuel. These smaller trucks are nice because they still have the power to haul lots of weight while also having the convenience of a truck bed to store items.

Some examples of mid-size trucks include the Chevy Colorado and Nissan Frontier. Another one is the Toyota Tacoma, which is my dream truck that I plan on buying sometime in the near future.

How Much Can Your Mid-Size Truck Tow?

On average mid-size trucks tow at max about 7,000 lbs. Some of these trucks like the Colorado and GMC Canyon have towing ratings of 7,700 lbs. Others tow anywhere from 5,000-6000 lbs.

Here is a video of some tips to towing with a Toyota Tacoma, some of which can also can be applied to other mid-size trucks.

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Mid-Size Trucks?

Mid-size trucks in this category have the capability to tow boats, campers and pop-ups, and other trailers. Some of the larger trucks can handle even more weight to haul.

My Top 5 Mid-Size Trucks for Towing

Here is my top 5 list of the best mid-size trucks for towing. These trucks are reliable and can have the power to haul lots of weight.

  1. GMC Canyon – Tows up to 7,700 lbs
  2. Chevrolet Colorado – Tows up to 7,700 lbs
  3. Toyota Tacoma – Tows up to 6,800 lbs
  4. Nissan Frontier – Tows up to 6,710 lbs
  5. Honda Ridgeline – Tows up to 5,000 lbs

How much Can Your Full-Size (Half-Ton) Truck Tow?

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towing capacity of vehicles
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towing a travel trailer

What Qualifies As a Full-Size Truck?

Full-size trucks are much heavier, taller, and stronger than mid-size ones. They look are bulky and are designed for intense towing while carrying full loads in their truck beds. Trucks of this size and caliber are commonly used by construction companies to haul all sorts of equiptment around.

My grandpa owns a Chevy Silverado and it has never let him down when something is needed to be pulled or carried. He lives on a ranch and his truck is a very handy tool for him. My dad just recently purchased his Toyota Tundra and it has already proven to be strong and reliable.

Other commonly driven examples of full-size trucks are the Ford F-150 and the Nissan Titan.

How Much Can Your Full-Size Trucks Tow?

The average maximum towing capacity of full-size trucks is 12,000 lbs. This is a ton of weight! Trucks of this caliber can tow with ease just about anything than most individuals, families, and even companies can ever need. Full-size trucks on the smaller end of the spectrum tow around 9,000-10,000 lbs, while the biggest ones can handle up to 13,000 lbs.

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Full-Size Trucks?

These full-size trucks are impressive and are capable of towing larger boats, big campers, and even some fifth wheels! There are very few common;y towed things, especially recreational items, that these full-sized trucks can’t haul.

My Top 5 Full-Size Trucks for Towing

Here is my listed of my top 5 ranked full-size trucks for towing:

  1. Ford F-150 – Tows up to 13,200 lbs
  2. Ram 1500 – Tows up to 12,750 lbs
  3. Chevrolet Silverado – Tows up to 12,500 lbs
  4. GMC Sierra – Tows up to 12,500 lbs
  5. Toyota Tundra – Tows up to 10,500 lbs

How Much Can Your Heavy-Duty Truck Tow?

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towing capacity of vehicles
towing capacity of SUV
how Much can I tow
towing a travel trailer

What Qualifies As a Heavy-Duty Truck?

Heavy-duty trucks live up to their name by being able to tow the heaviest duty items. They are made to be extremely bulky and haul virtually anything and everything you want to throw at them. They may guzzle lots fuel. but that’s what it takes to get the jobs that they have done. Contruction companies often utilize these types of trucks for their heavy projects.

Some examples of these heavy-duty trucks are the Ford F-350 and F-450. The Ram 2500 and 3500 are also tough and highly rated.

How Much Can Your Heavy-Duty Trucks Tow?

Heavy-duty trucks can tow insane amounts of weight, having an average of maximum of 22,000 lbs. A good portion of them have tow ratings of a lower 18,000 lbs, while others are rated at 23,000 lbs.

The biggest and strongest of trucks can even tow a crazy weight of 30,000+ lbs!

What Types of Items Can Be Towed By Your Heavy-Duty Trucks?

The real question to be asking is what can’t these trucks tow! Heavy-duty trucks can haul fifth wheels, heavy machinery, and other large objects with ease. The things that need to be towed that are outside these truck’s towing capacitycan only be towed by other large vehicles like semi-trucks.

My Top 5 Heavy Duty Trucks for Towing

Here is my list of the top 5 biggest and strongest heavy-duty trucks out there:

  1. Ford F-450 Super Duty – Tows up to 32,500 lbs
  2. Ram 3500 – Tows up to 31,200 lbs
  3. Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD – Tows up to 23,300 lbs
  4. GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD – Tows up to 23,100 lbs
  5. GMC Sierra 2500HD – Tows up to 18,100 lbs
This video compares the max towing capacities of both heavy-duty and full-size (half-ton) trucks

What to Keep in Mind When Towing With Your Vehicle

On paper towing with vehicles seems to be simple. It really ins’t that complicated, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you are getting ready to tow with your vehicle in regards to how much your vehicle can handle.

Vehicle’s Listed Max Towing Capacity

When researching your vehicle online, most towing ratings on websites are listed at the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. That means a vehicle shouldn’t attempt to tow more than that number listed. In fact, you should avoid towing loads that fall anywhere close to the vehicle’s maximum abilities because it could end up being more than it can handle, especially if you are driving through the mountains or other rough terrains.

Towing weight that it over or too close to a vehicle’s maximum towing capacity causes problems to the car and also be very dangerous to the driver and other passengers if something did happen to go wrong. It is best to keep it safe and not push the limits.

It is beneficial knowing what your vehicle’s limit is to know how much it can, can’t, or shouldn’t handle, and for that reason the numbers that i have listed above are all the different types of vehicle’s maximum capabilities for towing.

Related Reading: How to Choose the Proper Weight Distribution Hitch

Items to check before towing

  • trailer’s brakes
  • trailer lighting
  • turn signals on trailer
  • sway control
  • hitch

Check out Our RV Models Page for Some Great RV Options!

Other Weights to Keep in Mind When Towing

Trailer Weight

Sometimes people research how much their boat, camper, equipment, etc weigh to see if their vehicle can handle it and forget to add the trailer weight into the equation. Trailers can weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds! This, along with whatever the trailer is carrying, can easily make it so that the load is far heavier than a vehicle’s ability to haul. Keep this weight in mind and equate for it when determining what your vehicle can handle.

Wet Weights of Objects

Many times boat, fifth wheel, and campers manufacturers will only post the dry weights of their products. This means that the weight for fuel, items, people, etc are not accounted for. All of these little extra weights can start to add up and can end up weighing a few hundred to even a thousand pounds. If your vehicle was already pushing it this might push it over the maxmium towing capactiy to where it can’t tow these things anymore.

Do your best to estimate how much these things will end up weighing and double check if your vehicle can handle it.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR

GVWR is different than the vehicle’s towing capacity. GVWR is the the max weight capacity of a vehicle without a trailer attached. The GVWR of your trailer is the max amount of weight your trailer should carry. This includes the total weight of the trailer, per the manufacturer and all the cargo, water tanks, and passengers.

Gross Combined Weight Rating or GCWR

GCWR is the max amount of weight of your vehicle with a trailer attached.

vehicle weight + trailer weight = GCWR

Curb Weight

Curb weight is the weight of your vehicle with a full tank of gas and all of its standard equipment. This does not include passenger or cargo.

Gross Axle Weight Rating or GAWR

GAWR is the max allowed weight placed on the vehicle’s axle when fully equipped (includes payload, gas, water, and occupants).

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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