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How Much Can I Tow?

Close-up of vehicle load bearing capacity

Towing capacities vary from one vehicle to another. It’s important to keep the manufacturer’s recommended towing capacity in mind so you don’t cause any road accidents. If you tow loads that exceed the maximum towing capacity, you will also void the manufacturer’s warranty.

It’s always best to buy a vehicle that has a towing capacity that’s higher than the weight of the load you intend to tow. There are different factors you need to consider when you’re calculating a vehicle’s towing capacity. Let us take a look at them.

Calculating Vehicle Towing Capacity

Manufacturer’s Recommendation

Refer to your owner’s manual to find out if your vehicle is not ideal for towing certain types of trailers. If you look at the sticker next to the driver’s door, you’ll find the Gross Vehicle Weight, the Gross Combination Weight, and the Gross Axle Weight. You’ll find similar information for the trailer on its VIN plate. Add the weight of the fully loaded vehicle to the weight of the laden trailer to reach the Gross Combination Weight. Don’t exceed the maximum limit.

Towbar Load Limit

The weight of the load also depends on the towbar load limit. Standard towbars are ideal for towing small 6 x 4 trailers. They have a limit of 1250kg. Heavy duty towbars are ideal for towing heavier loads like boats, caravans, and horse floats. They’re generally equipped with a 50mm x 50mm hitch box. Towbars come with a plate that specifies the maximum towing capacity. If you’re using an older towbar and don’t know what the specifications are, talk to a towbar specialist.


Trailers that have a Gross Trailer Mass of more than 750kgs must have brakes. If you fail to follow legal requirements, you will damage your vehicle and nullify insurance. There has to be a braking system on at least one axle for trailers with a GTM of 751-2000kgs. Trailers with a GTM higher than 2000 must have a braking system on all axles.

Car Type

Towing capacity also depends on the type of tow vehicle you’re using. 2WD vehicles have a higher towing capacity than 4WDs of the same class. If you’re buying a tow vehicle, consider how often you’re going to use it to tow trailers. Diesel may be a better option if you’re visiting remote places in Australia. Look for larger capacity diesel engines because they offer better power and torque characteristics. Although front wheel drive 6 cylinder vehicles are popular these days, large 4WDs offer better towing capacity for towing horse floats in particular.

After taking all these factors into consideration, you must also choose a right sized hitch. A general rule of thumb is to buy a trailer hitch that has a higher towing capacity than your actual requirements. If your towing needs change in the future, you won’t have to buy a new hitch.

Tow Hitch Installation in Melbourne

If you’d like to professionally install a tow hitch in Melbourne, get in touch with Advanced Towbars. We have the tools and experience to complete your installation without any hassle.

We carry a wide range of towing accessories and car towbars for sale. Since we network with suppliers all over the nation, we can offer you the lowest prices.

We also install LED lights, reversing cameras and nudge bars in Melbourne. Call us on 1300 238 869 if you’d like to book a towbar fitting. Also, visit us online to view our products and services.

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