Not Every 2015 Toyota Tundra Tows 10,500 lbs

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Quite often, we come across information/photos on forums or Facebook showing dangerously overloaded Toyota Tundra trucks with mis-informed comments like: “it can tow 10,500 lbs., you should be fine with the 30-foot trailer loaded with concrete blocks, a backhoe and an ATV in the bed to boot.” While we try to offer accurate information, towing remains one of the least understood topics in full-size trucks. Here is some basic information.

Not Every 2015 Toyota Tundra Tows 10,500 lbs

Before you go hooking up a load, here are some things you need to know.

Tow Ratings

One of the first things people don’t understand is exactly what their truck will tow. Many see the commercials saying Toyota Tundra trucks can tow 10,500 lbs. and they think this applies to all Toyota trucks. Newsflash, it doesn’t. The 10,500 lbs. you see and hear only applies to a specific truck setup. This chart explains more:

EngineAxle RatioGVWRPayloadMax. Trailer Weight Rating
4.6L V8 Double Cab, Standard Bed 2WD3.91670016056800
5.7L V8 Regular Cab, Standard Bed 2WD4.307000208010500
5.7L V8 Double Cab, Standard Bed 2WD4.306900168010200

Before you start throwing Toyota under the bus for misleading consumers, realize all trucks manufactures do this. For example, Ram says they own the towing title with a maximum towing of 30,000 lbs. in a 3500. However, this is a regular cab truck with a 4.10 rear ratio, 2WD and a dual rear wheel. Once you switch any of these items, the tow rating drops, often quite substantially. A Ram 3500 with  a 6.7L Cummins diesel, 3.42 rear ratio, 4WD and single-rear wheel has a maximum tow rating of 17,050 lbs. This is quite a difference. If you bought a Ram 3500 because you saw a commercial stating it can tow 30,000 only to discover the truck you chose was 13,000 lbs. short, you would be pretty upset. Or, and likely more accurate, you wouldn’t take the time to research your specific truck’s towing capacity.

Don’t believe us, click here to see how many different tow and payload ratings there are for the Ram 3500.

Towing Math

Another little understood concept with towing is figuring out the math. There are numbers out their like GVWR, Payload, Towing and GCWR. Can you accurately state what each acronym stands for and what it means? The astute truck guys can, the average guy can’t. Instead, they look at the truck and make statements like, “it is a half-ton, so it should be able to do it.” “That is a big truck, it should tow it easily.” Do those statements lead you to believe they took the time to figure out their payload including cargo and passengers subtracted by their maximum towing? We don’t think so.

The reality is whenever you are towing, you need to take the time to look up what your truck can tow and then subtract the payload (including passengers) to determine if you are within the guidelines. But, that isn’t all. You also need to determine what percentage of your trailer in on the tongue weight and how your load is balanced.

No Truck Can Tow Over 5,000 lbs. Except …

This may seem shocking, but no full-size half-ton, 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck can tow more than 5,000 pounds. What?!? Unless you have a weight distributing hitch.

A weight distributing hitch helps to properly balance the trailer load. All owners manuals and online towing guides from manufactures state that you must have one. Period. If you don’t know what that is, chances are you haven’t been towing properly and if involved in an accident, you can face a civil lawsuit for negligence. That sounds like fun!

We could go on and on about towing and all the different factors involved like using scales, proper use of chains, class ball limits, etc…  Check out this towing basics article for more information.

In the end, towing is quite complex and shouldn’t be a “throw on a ball and go” operation. If you don’t take the time to do it right, you are putting yourself and others around you in jeopardy.

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  1. Tonyspin says:

    A weight distributing hitch does not balance the trailer load. What it does is transfer some of the load from the rear axle of the tow vehicle to the front axle.

  2. Randy says:

    A lot of people tow safely and a lot do not. It is scary what you on the road now-a-days.

    What is scarier still is that many truck owners will go to the dealer to get accurate information for towing with their “own” rig….and often the information is wrong. So wrong it is dangerous. This applies virtually to all brands.

    For me, as a general rule (and I mean very general); if the tongue load is over 500 lbs. for a half ton and the truck frame and trailer frame are not level, then it is at the point to look seriously at both a weight distribution hitch and correct tow bar height. I would venture to say that over 60% have the tow ball too high or too low and that creates a whole series of towing problems.

    Tim, thanks for the post. Maybe someone that is new to towing will read it and become a safer driver.

    I am so old I still call them “equalizers”….but maybe that was actually a brand name? LOL Tomatoes or Green Peppers?

    BTW if you put a 30′ Airstream on a 67 Buick Wildcat with an “equalizer” it will actually bend the frame. Yes I am that old. Also because it is a “hard top”, the windows will never roll up and down correctly either. Put that engine could pull.

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