Toyota Tundra Towing Basics – What To Know Before You Tow
Special thanks to TundraNetwork.com member Kenne for allowing us to use this picture of his truck and trailer!
Ever since first production in 1999, the Toyota Tundra has been a popular choice amongst truck buyers based on its dependability on the road and its impressive performance. In addition to the numerous safety awards and accolades the Tundra has received, one reason this truck continues to grow in popularity is its formidable towing capabilities. Trucks are being used more often than ever for recreational and utility purposes, and the Tundra is rapidly becoming a fan favorite. Before you go out and tow your boat to the lake or deliver a shipment of lumber to a construction site, however, there are a few things you need to know about preparing your Tundra for towing.
Before you attach the trailer to the truck, you must understand your vehicle’s towing limits. The first thing you need to consider when preparing to haul is your Tundra’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This figure represents the curb weight of the vehicle along with the total weight that can be put on your truck, including passengers, fuel, aftermarket add-ons, in-bed cargo, and the tongue weight (the downward force that the trailer puts on the truck’s hitch). Depending on the exact model of your truck, this can range from roughly 6200 to 7200 lbs. For an exact number, consult your vehicles’ instruction manual or check the sticker inside the driver’s door.
The next figure you need to be aware of is your Gross Trailer Weight (GTW). This includes the weight of the actual trailer, along with all of the contents within the trailer. This could be your boat, camper, or even another car. Once you have both your GVWR and your GTW, you must make sure that the combined weight of both is below your Tundra’s Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). This figure represents the total weight of your loaded truck and trailer. This is extremely important to your vehicle’s performance and safety. An overloaded GCWR could damage your axle, engine, transmission and suspension along with affecting how your Tundra drives on the road. [Not to mention exposing you to substantial civil liability if you cause an accident – Admin]
Once you have made sure that your GCWR is below your model’s recommendations, you can determine if your hitch is strong enough to support your load and how to properly distribute the weight across your trailer. Below is a chart that represents the maximum towable weight for each classification of hitch. NOTE: The Tundra’s tow package options are varied. Most 5.7 Tundras come with a class IV/V hitch, but there are some reports of these trucks only having a class III. There are also reports of dealers adding class III hitches after market. Before you tow, take a moment to inspect your hitch..
|Class I||2,000 lbs|
|Class II||3,500 lbs|
|Class III||5,000 lbs|
|Class IV||10,000 lbs|
|Class V||10,000+ lbs|
The most popular class of hitch, the Class IV, will accommodate most people’s hauling needs. In the event you have a load larger than 10,000 lbs, or if your hitch is not rated for your load’s weight, it is extremely important that you either adjust your trailer’s weight or upgrade hitches to avoid damaging your truck or losing your trailer on the road.
The last thing you need to do before you can haul away is to make sure the weight distribution on your trailer won’t affect your truck. It’s important to know that the tongue weight is 10%-15% of any trailer load (meaning the weight being put on your hitch ball by the trailer stays in between 10%-15% of your trailer weight). Any more or less can cause the trailer to pull up or push down on the truck’s back axle, which can reduce handling, stability, and braking and makes your truck very susceptible to an accident. A good rule to follow is to try to put 60% of your load’s weight in front of the trailer’s axle with 40% sitting behind the trailer. This generally puts enough weight on the ball of your hitch to stay within the 10%-15% range.
Once all these requirements have been met, you’re ready to attach your trailer and start towing! People tend to believe that once you attach your trailer, you can just pile on your load and drive away. But as you can see, it is extremely important that you plan ahead and understand the capabilities of your truck so that you can avoid any potential damage to your Tundra and to yourself. As long as these guidelines are followed, you and your Tundra will be able to safely tow all sorts of loads for a long time!
For a more in-depth explanation, as well as a great glossary of terms, read Toyota’s Towing Guide (pdf, 4mb).
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Filed Under: Tundra Towing