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Top Safety Considerations for Trailer Towing: GVWR and GCWR

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towing capacity gvwr and gcwr explained

Towing Capacity – GVWR and GCWR Explained

The acronyms GVWR and GCWR are used as capacity ratings for how much your vehicle can haul and tow in a safe manner. It is not the maximum possible weight your vehicle can move, but how much it can move safely.

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is how much your vehicle, plus occupants, cargo, fuel, etc. is capable of safely carrying. This is for the vehicle only. The GCWR is the Gross Combined Weight Rating, the combined weight of your loaded vehicle plus your loaded trailer. The capacity rating takes into consideration factors such as the powertrain of the vehicle, the ratio of vehicle weight to trailer weight, your vehicle’s braking capability and other safety considerations.

For example, a 2018 Dodge Ram 1500, with a factory supplied Class IV hitch, has a GVWR ranging from 6,025 lbs (2,733 kg) to 6,900 lbs (3,130 kg) and a GCWR ranging from 9,850 lbs (4,468 kg) to 15,975 lbs (7,246 kg)*. As shown, the hauling capacity of a vehicle has a wide range depending on the options such as the vehicle powertrain.

Use the GCWR to determine if your vehicle’s towing capacity is enough for your trailer and the trailer’s load. Also check that your trailer hitch can handle the trailer’s loaded weight. Most modern hitches are labelled with the capacity information they can safely support. Trailer hitches are rated from Class I to Class V. It is also important, once you have selected the proper class of hitch, that the trailer ball is rated at minimum as high of a class as the hitch.


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