How Much Weight Can Trucks Actually Tow?


How Are Tow Ratings Determined? What Does A Tow Rating Mean?
Watch TFLTruck Run Through Testing -
What is SAE J2807, and how do Ram/Ford/GMC create tow ratings?
In this video we’re going to be demonstrating the testing involved that goes into declaring a vehicle’s tow rating. In other words, how are tow ratings determined? Well that question used to have a very subjective answer based on which truck company you were asking, but the major players in heavy duty trucking put together a standard, SAE J2807, which includes a series of tests that the trucks must pass at their rated load. This demonstration is taking place at FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan, and our demo vehicle is a RAM 3500 4x4 with the optional 6.7L Inline-Six Cummins Turbo diesel. 400 Horsepower and 1000 lb-ft of torque. It will be towing a trailer with ballast added, weighing 30,645 lbs, for a gross combined weight of the truck and trailer just under 40,000 lbs, targeting to max out the combined weight rating for the truck.
Was the the vehicle in this video at capacity? Yes, but it’s rather confusing how we get there. The combined truck + trailer weight in this video is 39,840 lbs (with no people). The combined weight rating is 43,000 lbs - which you’d reasonably assume we’re down 3,000 lbs. However, the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (just the weight of/on the truck) is 14,000 lbs, and we’re at 13,700 pounds (without driver, but with the tongue weight of the trailer) in this vehicle, so we’re hitting max GVW before hitting max GCW. Why? Because this is a Limited truck, not the base truck, which will have a lower curb weight with few features, smaller cab, 2WD, etc. So while the base truck would have a GCWR of 43,000 lbs, you would never achieve that with the Limited version due to the base weight of the vehicle. Meaning? Your truck has a maximum amount it can weigh, your trailer has a maximum amount it can weigh, and your truck + trailer has a maximum amount it can weigh. In this video, the limiting factor was the truck’s 14,000 lb GVW, which allowed for a trailer weight of 30,645.
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  • Engineering Explained
    Engineering ExplainedÅr siden

    Was the the vehicle in this video at capacity? Yes, but it’s rather confusing how we get there. The combined truck + trailer weight in this video is 39,840 lbs (with no people). The combined weight rating is 43,000 lbs - which you’d reasonably assume we’re down 3,000 lbs. However, the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (just the weight on the truck) is 14,000 lbs, and we’re at 13,700 pounds (without driver, but with the tongue weight of the trailer) in this vehicle, so we’re hitting max GVW before hitting max GCW. Why? Because this is a Limited truck, not the base truck, which will have a lower curb weight with few features, smaller cab, 2WD, etc. So while the base truck would have a GCWR of 43,000 lbs, you would never achieve that with the Limited version due to the base weight of the vehicle. Meaning? Your truck has a maximum amount it can weigh, your trailer has a maximum amount it can weigh, and your truck + trailer has a maximum amount it can weigh. In this video, the limiting factor was the truck’s 14,000 lb GVW, which allowed for a trailer weight of 30,645.

  • Amigo Jones

    Amigo Jones

    År siden

    How dare you not even mention the Cummins engine, which is the only reason people buy ram's (3500's) and is the industry leader in both civilian and commercial vehicles (U.S)

  • Dylan Goodwin

    Dylan Goodwin

    År siden

    Lol I was literally typing that we gotta get you to collab with TFL Truck as you were saying TFL Truck. Definitely should get you on there whenever whenever they get the Tesla Cybertruck (particularly the tri-motor with the 14,000lb tow rating) on the Ike Gauntlet. They had some crazy high energy consumption rates with the Model X. Max towing on flat ground tripled consumption and max towing on the Ike Gauntlet double it again. ~300Wh/mi. ➡️ ~900Wh/mi. ➡️ ~1,800Wh/mi.

  • jscott1000


    År siden

    @Stam Fordly because there are about a half dozen different meaning for "ton"...long ton, short ton, metric ton, etc it's an imprecise term. Easier to just say 39,000 pounds. Americans use pounds every day and it has meaning. Most people have no daily experience with a ton so we dont say it often.

  • jscott1000


    År siden

    @Svein Hanssen in the US non-commercial trucks have the same speed limit as all passenger vehicles.

  • James Beaman

    James Beaman

    År siden

    Excellent video, Jason. As an addition to your next to last sentence, each axle also has a maximum weight that can be supported, which NOlocal towing videos seldom account for.

  • Vinícius Pires Torres
    Vinícius Pires Torres2 måneder siden

    stop still

  • Matt W
    Matt W3 måneder siden

    I'm surprised there's no sustained braking requirement

  • BlueDually4x4
    BlueDually4x44 måneder siden

    Also keep in mind under steer tends to be more predictable than over steer.

  • Marcus Wolschon
    Marcus Wolschon4 måneder siden

    I find it interesting that this test is done without having the towing vehicle loaded to it's maximum weight. If the vehicle is not a flat bed truck but has plenty of storage volume itself, that can make quite a difference.

  • Marcus Wolschon
    Marcus Wolschon4 måneder siden

    All these imperial units are confusing. Can't convert them into standard metric quickly enough. But visually quite impressive.

  • Anthony Barthel
    Anthony Barthel4 måneder siden

    This is so ultra cool and I appreciate your sharing it. One thing these ratings never accommodate is frontal area. This sled trailer is easier to tow than a fifth wheel or travel trailer that adds a lot of aerodynamic drag. But, still, this is very, very cool and well explained as always.

  • Steven Rasmussen
    Steven Rasmussen5 måneder siden

    Awesome video!

  • Town's End Living
    Town's End Living5 måneder siden

    So my s10 has a tow capacity of like2k pounds, I'm pretty sure it couldn't pass any of these test empty even when it was brand new

  • Amanda Staves
    Amanda Staves5 måneder siden

    they should do a crash test with these massively overloaded pickups

  • ninemilliondollars
    ninemilliondollars7 måneder siden

    EE, can a 2020 Kia Soul with the new Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) be used for towing?

  • travis meeks
    travis meeks8 måneder siden

    I once pulled a 65 cadillac behind my bagged crew cab half-ton on a 18ft bumper-pull from Arkansas to Texas and back. No trailer brakes, and the load was a good bit heavier than the truck itself... I can assure you that this was the best, most informative video, that I have ever seen. haha.

  • Janne Laitinen
    Janne Laitinen9 måneder siden

    But that's truck (or so americans claim). Do math again with double trailers with total weight at 76 tonnes.

  • Cliff Hartle
    Cliff Hartle10 måneder siden

    Can you or anyone explain why towing specs are higher outside North America. Being a tad hyperbolic but in the US it seems you need a 3/4 truck to pull a mid sized TT that in Europe a 5 passenger touring sedan is just fine. Does physics work differently there? ;) A 4 door Jeep Wrangler has a 3,500 lbs spec here and a 5,060 spec in Australia

  • kickinthebucketofmilk
    kickinthebucketofmilk11 måneder siden

    Ive pulled over 7k with a 4cyl ford ranger. Wasnt freeway speeds or anything, but it did it. The truck blew a head gasket a couple months later. Had over 300k. I also towed a 9k 32ft bumper pull with a full camper on the bed in a f150 with the legendary 300 I6. Didnt even stutter coming off the line. Now stopping those loads with those little trucks? Yeah right. Good thing Im in a more rural area.

  • Mike Hall
    Mike HallÅr siden

    I loved this! Until I noticed your listening to Blink 182 during your tests. smh

  • Huy Vũ Quang
    Huy Vũ QuangÅr siden

    Pounds? Damn...

  • 0MindSwept0
    0MindSwept0År siden

    Now, the real question; how big of a tiny house can a Taco pull 🤔

  • 0MindSwept0
    0MindSwept0År siden

    Doesn't the trailer sway thing have more to do with the trailer itself then the truck towing it? Doesn't seem like the vehicle would make much difference..

  • Bryce Keeney
    Bryce KeeneyÅr siden

    Need to see the point of failure for this to be a cool video. Like put an extra 100 lbs in there and verify the failure.

  • Rexford L
    Rexford LÅr siden

    So, the vehicle blew the tests out of the water. I would assume that the manufacturers would keep loading it up till it failed the test, and make the trailer rating right beneath that.

  • trevor stott
    trevor stottÅr siden

    Is there something similar for 1/2 ton trucks you can provide and explain?

  • ze lol
    ze lolÅr siden

    Cyber truck enters the chat

  • guy_incognito
    guy_incognitoÅr siden

    Going was never the problem. Stopping is.

  • arcticmods
    arcticmodsÅr siden

    Need to see the cybertruck handle this!

  • Hunter Biden's Crackpipe
    Hunter Biden's CrackpipeÅr siden

    Tesla Pickup will destroy this clunker

  • arcticmods


    År siden

    Really want to see the cybertruck try this test. What will battery temp be at the last stress test? WIll be interesting!

  • Simon Tian
    Simon TianÅr siden

    3:03 can you actually compare acceleration time linearly? I mean it's not equally difficult to make a 3s car 2s and a 11s car 10s (0-100kph)?

  • Meatball Wizard
    Meatball WizardÅr siden

    The more you know

  • Lucas Pehkonen
    Lucas PehkonenÅr siden

    So not relaterade to me 🤔 everyting is diffrent in Sweden. Just not having breaks means you can only drive 30km/h

  • Rams495
    Rams495År siden

    Can tow or should tow? I seen a light weight F-150 pulling a 60' mobile home. But an actual home a mobile home. The guy had put on extra rear springs that looked ridiculous when he didn't have a house behind it. But I don't even know that it was a V-8. He would move trailers around on Sunday mornings so the law didn't see him but it was very dangerous. I would hate to see the stopping distance since he obviously didn't have trailer brakes hooked up.

  • Giovanni P.
    Giovanni P.År siden

    How well can an electric vehicle tow- dependent on transmission or construction of chassis?

  • Mitchell Newman
    Mitchell NewmanÅr siden

    Which one of those test factors is the primary reason manual transmission vehicles are able to tow less? Acceleration, because autos produce more torque during take-off?

  • Rasmus Finding Ross
    Rasmus Finding RossÅr siden

    you're so smart, it makes me cry

  • A Mas.0
    A Mas.0År siden

    Why are you talking about HP. Means nothing.

  • arcticmods


    År siden

    That is exactly what he demonstrated comparing it to a car with lots of HP and no torque.. So people understand that torque is king!

  • Zk Hydro
    Zk HydroÅr siden

    These tests were done with a goose necked trailer, how much difference would be made to tests or the requirements if you use a trailer hitch and tongued trailer?

  • Engineering Explained

    Engineering Explained

    År siden

    SAE J2807 will break down all of the different trailering options and what is required.

  • mitzvah golem
    mitzvah golemÅr siden

    U need a CDL A to pull if tow vehicle is over 10k lbs and trailer is over 6k as per Federal DOT. You will get big fine impound ...I did. Also tiny brakes, clutches and transmission in these will not last towing maximum load. Drum Electric brakes crappy on mountains and never hold equally in reverse on brake s will slip in reverse down hill but discs best and hold. Most new class 5 and 7 trucks have ABS air brakes also which are much safer.I have 40 years exp moving cranes heavy equipment and boats. Excellent work Thanks

  • Tony C
    Tony CÅr siden

    This is a rip off of the fast lane truck video which has more footage.

  • arcticmods


    År siden

    This is a colab where Jason can explain the engineering and fastlane can display the test.

  • J PR
    J PRÅr siden

    Dude you are too much - I love the nerdy science and engineering. Many thanks for sharing your genius!

  • Cooper Vazquez
    Cooper VazquezÅr siden

    So would you be able to help me solve Dodge’s week 1 math challenge?

  • Jay Lewis
    Jay LewisÅr siden

    I live nearby the Davis Dam run mentioned towards the end of he video. Can't tell you how many times I've seen vehicles from the nearby FCA proving grounds, all dressed up in prototype camouflage, making that run up the hill

  • ferdaus bhuiyan
    ferdaus bhuiyanÅr siden

    i would say please convert from retr... I mean from pounds but then again no one from Europe care about this video in the first place

  • jazzcat123
    jazzcat123År siden

    Do you need any special licensing to drive a 20 ton combination vehicle like this in the USA? We have a 4.5 ton GVM for normal driving license in Australia. Anything more and you get into heavy vehicle licensing.

  • Pat B
    Pat BÅr siden

    Often your explanations are very detailed in depth and sorry but sometimes engineering is very boring, although I do learn things. Nice explanation, I already knew about this and you did a very good non-boring explanation, YEAH. Nothing personal engineering can be mind numbing boring.. Thank you for the video.

  • Thom Keen
    Thom KeenÅr siden

    I love these videos and I'd love it if you could include metric units in brackets in your maths so I can keep up! Keep making videos :)

  • dorfus71
    dorfus71År siden

    ***WARNING*** Do not attempt this with a Chevy or Ford

  • Eric Metz
    Eric MetzÅr siden

    These SAE derived tests are PERFORMANCE tests. Not strength, nor yield or point of failure. Just keep that in mind. Its actually in the SAE towing spec TITLE which is precisely; Performance Requirements for Determining Tow-Vehicle Gross Combination Weight Rating and Trailer Weight Rating

  • Paublus Americanus AMERICANUS
    Paublus Americanus AMERICANUSÅr siden

    there is no limit with good traction. In mud only about 80,000 lbs. first witnessed. you don't have to worry about slowing down on hills. That is for city people.

  • supertrucky
    supertruckyÅr siden

    this truck could seriously haul a semi trailer!

  • John Barbee
    John BarbeeÅr siden

    what model big tex is that @engineering explained

  • Jeff Abercrombie
    Jeff AbercrombieÅr siden

    Always super informative

  • Crank Case
    Crank CaseÅr siden

    For all the people complaining the units aren't metric, off the top of your head without converting, how man kW is your car's engine? Yeah, that's what I thought.

  • broski
    broskiÅr siden

    this is a dodge commercial.

  • cr.inthewoods66
    cr.inthewoods66År siden

    towing capacity is a suggestion.

  • Brendan Redler
    Brendan RedlerÅr siden

    The "handling" quadrant on the white board at the beginning looks a lot like molecular biology at first glance.

  • Peter Blackmore
    Peter BlackmoreÅr siden

    Why do Americans use pounds for very large weights? 39,840 lbs = 17.78 tons which approximately = say 13 cars. The mental picture is easily painted.

  • Peter Blackmore

    Peter Blackmore

    År siden

    @Matthew Evans Oh, that sort of makes sense - for marketing bigger must be better. I notice that the Jumbo Jet seems to be the limit, so large container ships are quoted in tons rather than billions of pounds.

  • Matthew Evans

    Matthew Evans

    År siden

    Both are used. Generally when you visit scales the output / printout will be in tons, while marketing material is almost always in lbs.

  • AbyssalReClass
    AbyssalReClassÅr siden

    My car would fail the cooling test flat out. It accelerates noticeably slower in the summer, and will over heat on a flat highway if it gets any hotter than around 85 degrees out. Maybe I should have that looked at... And this is before hooking up a trailer (supposedly it can tow up to 1500 lbs.)

  • truthsmiles
    truthsmilesÅr siden

    So what you're saying is swapping out my Ford Bronco's 6,000 lb hitch for a 15,000 lb hitch doesn't triple my towing capacity?

  • JT Thomasson
    JT ThomassonÅr siden

    So you're saying I can tow a lot more than the manufacturer says?

  • MegaMarclar
    MegaMarclarÅr siden

    MOPAR.. ..that is all.

  • B. Domph
    B. DomphÅr siden

    Funny that these trucks are rated above a non commercial rated weight.. at 26,001lbs you become commercial.

  • Alexander Seeley
    Alexander SeeleyÅr siden

    Why are duallys allowed more time to meet acceleration requirements vs traditional single wheels?

  • tim s

    tim s

    År siden

    Probably because of the extra unsprung weight and roll resistance caused by dual wheels.

  • Serjoprot
    SerjoprotÅr siden

    Please at least provide metric conversions in your videos!

  • Ethan Cooper
    Ethan CooperÅr siden

    great video, you should do a video on the towing capabilities of manual vs. automatic transmission.

  • horus909
    horus909År siden

    So 4 different tests, I would assume one of them is the limiting factor when coming up with the tow rating number. What was it in the case of the Ram? It would have been nice if they had show what the weight limit would have been for every test tried, seems like there was a lot of headroom in some of them.

  • Andy Burk
    Andy BurkÅr siden

    The clutch packs/automatic transmission have infinite capacity - any amount of weight u want to tow go ahead, and pedal to the metal always , especially when the lights turn green.

  • vojtik1234
    vojtik1234År siden

    lbs and pounds... Yea. Nice.

  • thomas barlow
    thomas barlowÅr siden

    I dont understand how hoving dual wheels will change how fast the truck will accelerate..... If your spinning with all that weight in the bed you've got bigger problems... And it can't be a rotational mass issue... Please explain.

  • uruiamnot
    uruiamnotÅr siden

    Big Tex FTW!

  • ndeepowder
    ndeepowderÅr siden

    WOW only a minuscule part of the rating is a 20mph-0mph braking test WTF.? Dangerous AF these trucks Need actual Brakes

  • Weltraummagie
    WeltraummagieÅr siden

    Actually tows something.... tow mirrors flipped down

  • 211212112
    211212112År siden

    Isn’t Toyota the only one that follows the SAE rating

  • Brandon Bouchez
    Brandon BouchezÅr siden

    Where is the cooling testing strip of highway in AZ? I see tons of camo cars and trucks where I live but it's not too hot in northern AZ

  • Pavel Filippov
    Pavel FilippovÅr siden

    Doesn't understand anything in shoots per school *Angry European noises*

  • 03 Bodied Stepside
    03 Bodied StepsideÅr siden

    So the new rams come with helper bags from factory?

  • Josh Bushong
    Josh BushongÅr siden

    Why is it that the trailer is setup "nose-diving" in many videos of tests like these? I often find I get better handling and braking if the front of the trailer is slightly higher than the rear. You don't see semi tractor trailers setup like that. I think it would interesting to see them test the difference after adjusting the hitch height.

  • Brandon Caldwell

    Brandon Caldwell

    År siden

    It plays on the weight transfer when braking and accelerating. Theres the inital weight but under accelerarion itll throw the weight back and under braking the weight forwards. Optimal is level. Leaning forward puts more on the truck, back takes it off and onto the trailer. I really dislike these test as it really doesnt comput to all the different trailer types, lengths and weight transfers. Also, cant really compare a 1 ton to a semi. Semitrucks has a 50-50 weight tranfer for their trailer or pretty close. where the cargo in the trailer sits make it to where the tandems slide for proper weight transfer of 12k steers, 34k drives and 34k tandems. Pickups run a 20-25%weight transfer to the truck on goosenecks and 10-15% for bumper pulls.

  • Man Stuff & Other Things
    Man Stuff & Other ThingsÅr siden

    You just sealed the deal for me, I'll buy a new Ram 3500 for my next truck!!

  • Maniac3020
    Maniac3020År siden

    I really think that the sway test is to reduce the risk of an accident caused by oscillation due to repeated driver overcompensation. We see plenty of those on youtube.

  • ADefenestrator
    ADefenestratorÅr siden

    An in-depth look at trailer sway would make for a really interesting (and informative) future video. Not just front-rear balance but also distance from axles (polar moment of inertia), hitch type/design, and speed. Plus an overview of the general concept of sway damping ratio.

  • TH3C001
    TH3C001År siden

    My 22 year old Silverado broke out in a cold sweat watching this video.

  • Robin Marquardt
    Robin MarquardtÅr siden

    Why more wheels=less required performance?

  • Shawn Riddle
    Shawn RiddleÅr siden

    Gas H.D. has more payload than Diesel H.D. Towing is a % of payload. So how does Diesel tow more than gas?

  • FulCon11542


    År siden

    Diesel has higher torque, i know people here like them because it is almost impossible to stall them

  • Maverick005
    Maverick005År siden

    Stuff towing anything heavier than the tow vehicle

  • Roger Skagerström
    Roger SkagerströmÅr siden

    Good for the average owner of one of these then :P Having a 39990 pound oeverhead from what they actually tow when they'er rollin' coal is great! Having Jimbo on the bed won't make it overheat ;-)

  • Mark Rogers
    Mark RogersÅr siden

    @Engineering Explained Can you do a follow up video that explains how the axle weight ratings are determined?

  • Dan H
    Dan HÅr siden

    Can you do a video on why many vehicles have a listed towing capacity in Europe and elsewhere but the manufacturer will say "towing is not recommended" for the same model un the US or Canada?

  • TheCarLovingSwede
    TheCarLovingSwedeÅr siden

    I would like metric units as well. At least written as notes

  • Matt & Amy - The Earthwinders
    Matt & Amy - The EarthwindersÅr siden

    Can you address a video about Elon's claim that the Tesla Truck will have a 300,000lb tow rating? I'm curious to see what the numbers look like when working backwards from that tow rating as far as torque/HP/forces on the brakes/cooling required, etc

  • TheRedbikemaster™
    TheRedbikemaster™År siden

    I can tow 43,000 with mine. But it's a semi truck, so at that point I'm grossing around 78,000 pounds.

  • XDSDDLord
    XDSDDLordÅr siden

    Does the distribution of the load on the trailer have an effect on anything? The load on that truck seems to be distributed in a very purposeful way. If it does effect something, what are the implications of that distribution? Is that done for accuracy and fairness? Is that changed depending on the test? Or is that just there to make the truck perform as best as it can for marketing wankers instead of actually testing its capabilities under the assumption that most people wouldn't hit the real worst-case scenario cap unless they really blow past it which means they are putting it past the best it can do, and therefore, it is okay to fudge the numbers, no liability to impact the bottom line here!

  • Tonny
    TonnyÅr siden

    It would be great if you could even in baked-in subtitles convert the units to kilometers, liters and kg :)

  • Marco Gruebler
    Marco GrueblerÅr siden

    those freedom units... exhausting to convert numbers on the fly all the time :/

  • Joshua Bollman
    Joshua BollmanÅr siden

    I swear my son is going to be just like you when he's older. He lives and breathes this stuff at 3 years old. This is amazing. I can't wait to show him! I've learned a lot myself!

  • uruiamnot


    År siden

    Your son likes drawing things on whiteboards and showing his engineering calculations?

  • Jack Kanov Ysac
    Jack Kanov YsacÅr siden

    Just read your interview in Car and Driver, way to go man

  • Russel Miera
    Russel MieraÅr siden

    Random question, how old is he?

  • Troll
    TrollÅr siden

    That face when your car doesn't pass the towing acceleration tests with no load.

  • Jeff in TD
    Jeff in TDÅr siden

    I gotta say, that is amazing capacity and astounding performance for a pickup. Matches the astounding price of a loaded diesel these days.

  • GasGearsGames
    GasGearsGamesÅr siden

    kinda scary seeing the numbers that people who are not even trained to operate this equipment or have much understanding of it are allowed to roam the roads with the rest of us.

  • N C
    N CÅr siden

    Nice but, now we need a post on EVs including hybrids...To explain why the current hybrids are rated so low?....And what is needed to for EVs to have higher towing ratings?

  • Tom K
    Tom KÅr siden

    I'd love to see a comparison between a fully deleted diesel vs a choked down epa version.

  • TheRedbikemaster™


    År siden

    Yes, and I want to see that for semi trucks as well. My 2019 cascadia is practically neutered, but I've seen some pushing 150hp more than mine by just deleting and retuning.

  • William Penley

    William Penley

    År siden

    Tom K lmao probably like 14 whp

  • Lawrence Chiasson
    Lawrence ChiassonÅr siden

    Hi, I heard on the internet that modern day USA compliant passenger diesel vehicles have cleaner emissions than GDI passenger vehicles. Is that true?