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Pickup Towing Limits Explained Be Safe

The 3.5t towing capacity is rapidly becoming the industry standard for pickup trucks, with the current or soon-to-be-updated Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and VW Amarok all boasting about their impressive 3.5t pulling capabilities.

But how do they achieve this capacity and will you be legal towing the full amount with a few pals on board? Not always…

How are towing capacities calculated?

Towing limits, like gross vehicle weights, have been devised to make sure each vehicle is safely operating within its capabilities. Various aspects of the vehicle are taken into consideration by the authorities when rating the maximum towing capacity like engine performance, braking force and suspension.

Vehicles that tow more the legal limits will take longer to stop in the case of an accident, they can become unstable and therefore are more likely to lose control and it causes excessive wear and tear on components such as the suspension, brakes and tyres

Golden Rules of towing

Another reason why towing a 3.5t load with pickup is that it breaks the ‘Golden Rule’ of towing which is that the trailer should never weigh more than the towing vehicle. This is especially true with pickups, which have a much longer overhang (usually over one metre) than SUVs.

Although this is only a guideline, a fully laden 3.5t trailer can have a huge impact on handling, particularly during braking, even with modern technology like trailer sway control and weight distribution hitches.