Your Hauling Capacity Depends on What You’re Driving

With the arrival of spring, many people are getting ready to take out their campers, moving trailers, boats, ATVs, and other toys. Before you hit the road, remember to check your towing capacity or else you could be in for some major damage.

The towing capacity is indicated in the owner’s manual of your vehicle and you can also find it on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. Otherwise, ask a dealer or a trailer hitch specialist. Remember to factor in the weight of any passengers, cargo, bikes, and so forth.

Pick-ups and SUVs now come with a tow feature that calibrates a number of elements, including the suspension and a transmission cooler, if you have one. Campers and trailers must be equipped with a braking system when the weight is over 1,300 kg or when the weight is greater than half the weight of the towing vehicle. Lastly, it’s crucial that your tires are in good condition: spring is prime season for broken-down trailers and run-off road accidents that can put you in the poorhouse!

Trailer hitches

Respect your trailer hitch’s towing capacity (gross weight + tongue weight) and make sure your turn signals are working properly. A rental agency or specialist can provide assistance or do an inspection.

Adjust your driving technique

Before you get on the road, go for a test drive in a parking lot to practise turning, braking, accelerating, and reversing. When you’re driving, always keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, and reduce your cruising speed. Parking at a campsite can be a real challenge! Don’t forget your blind spots are bigger when towing a trailer, and using turn signals is not optional!

As a rule of thumb, front-wheel drive vehicles have less power than rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicles. Here’s an overview along with a few figures to give you an idea of the towing capacity of different vehicles.

Subcompacts (e.g., Nissan Versa): Approx. 300 kg, if towing is permitted.
Compacts (e.g., Honda Civic): Between 450 and 680 kg .
Midsize cars (e.g., Toyota Camry): Similar, except for the Subaru Legacy, which has a towing capacity of up to 1,200 kg!
SUVs: Varies greatly from 450 kg to 3,500 kg. Certain precautions must be taken.
Pick-up trucks (e.g., Ford F-150): 3,500 kg and up.
Hybrid and electric vehicles: Towing is generally not recommended.