Towing with your pickup? What you should know first

Truck with ATVs towing a trailer

Flickr photo

Almost one million light trucks were sold in Canada last year — that means there are a lot of people, perhaps you, might be thinking of hitching something up to their pickup at some point in the near future. Before you start loading up the trailer with barbecues and ATVs this summer, here are some things to bear in mind.

The lingo

GVWR — stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the maximum weight a vehicle can carry, fully loaded with people and stuff.

GCWR — Gross Combined Weight Rating. The maximum weight of both the vehicle and the trailer it’s towing.

GTW — the Gross Trailer Weight is that of the trailer and the cargo inside, combined.

TW — Tongue Weight measures the amount of the trailer’s weight that is placed on the vehicle’s hitch ball by the attachment on the trailer.

The hitches

Depending on your application, there are different kinds of hitches you can use for the job.

Receiver-style hitches — One of the most common, they attach under the vehicle and are designed to carry the weight of the trailer through its tongue weight.

Weight-distributing hitch — used with a receiver hitch and some special parts that help distribute the tongue weight among the tow vehicle and trailer axles it is most useful for large loads.

Fifth wheel hitch — Allows for a higher towing capacity than other types, these are often found on commercial vehicles. The install point is in the truck bed.

When using a receiver hitch, you will also need some extra equipment such as a ball mount, hitch ball, safety chains, etc. that can often be purchased as a package through the parts department at a dealership, or at any number of aftermarket suppliers found in your area.

First published on Motorward.com. Read the full article.

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