5 Easy Steps to Increase a Truck’s Towing Capacity

How goes it fellow horsepower junkies? I see you’ve been saving up for that big ass 5th Wheel Trailer for your upcoming tour around our beautiful country. Or maybe you already got yourself a brand new, shiny, 25 footer fishing boat and named her the Black Pearl or something.

Whatever the case may be, it’s damn sure that you’re going to be hauling some serious weight. And like any smart driver, you know that you need a vehicle built for the job. A ruthless, well-oiled powerhouse that will not only haul ass like the hulk on steroids, but also get to the destination with the engine still inside the blasted chassis.

Now, I can tell there’s no talking you down from whatever payload you’re planning to haul with your trustworthy truck or family SUV. But whether you’re moving a boat, a car, a trailer or two trailers, it pays to understand what your truck can actually do as well as all the risks involved with pushing things too far.

Yeah yeah, I hear yah! I know I promised you some insider info and the top trade secrets of permanently increasing your trucks towing capacity; but what kind of person would I be if I didn’t point out the dangers of pulling an extremely heavy load with a half-cocked truck? So hold your horses (pun intended) ye lovers of motor vehicles; unless you want to blow your load prematurely (I’m on fire tonight) here’s a quickee (just call me the pun king) on all you need to know about your Truck’s Towing Capacity.

Towing Capacity?

As they say, the devil’s in the details – allow me to get into the technicalities for a bit. Car manufacturers build all
vehicles to meet a particular Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This rating defines the exact maximum amount of cargo weight that your truck can haul using the stock configuration. This means that the wheel axles, braking system, steering capabilities, suspension and other internal controls are assembled as per that GVWR. If you’re going to be carrying a load with your truck, ensure that you do not exceed the manufacturer specifications. This guarantees enough horsepower in the engine to move the weight and at the same time enough juice in the brakes to actually stop the right way.

The trouble starts brewing when you decide to confuse manufacturer specifications for opinionated suggestions. If you overload your truck, here’s what’s going to happen – Sure, the truck might be able to physically move the cargo down the road, but you’ll probably end up killing your engine and ripping apart the transmission. Not to mention spending a small fortune on gas and oil. Long story short, how wise is it to increase your truck’s hauling capacity? I mean, aren’t the parts and components of your car rated to keep you safe? It’s impossible to safely increase the towing capacity of your car IS EXACTLY what a two-timing, good for nothing, backstabbing, necromancing salesman would say just to make you buy a bigger, stronger truck. Here, we want you to save your money and keep your favorite family vehicle. So without further ado, here are the insider secrets and 5 Easy steps to increase a truck’s towing capacity:


5 Easy Steps to Increase a Truck’s Towing Capacity

Before we get to step numero uno, here’s the first truck towing capacity pro tip. You should evaluate the weight of your desired load, trailer or boat in relation to your truck’s maximum towing capacity before shelling out a single buck. If the cargo load exceeds your vehicle’s tow rating by more than 2500 pounds; you may want to talk to our necromancing car salesman for a bigger, stronger truck after all. However, any smaller and reasonable differences in weight warrant going to the first modification which is:

Step 1: Install a Power programmer

A power programmer works by creating additional horsepower and torque to give your truck more huff and puff. Just like Popeye and his magic spinach, you’ll need an aftermarket power programmer to pump up the horses with enough juice to pull much heavier loads. The programmer works in conjunction with your car’s electronic control module to modify the transmission for even better shifting and handling. Typically, power programmers are application specific and based on the model and make of your truck. After the programmer is all ready and installed, it’s time to move on to the next stage.

Step 2: Upgrade Braking Systems

If you hadn’t realized this already, your truck should be in a professional garage by now. Work with your mechanic to upgrade and reinforce the braking systems in your vehicle. This is the second step because stopping is obviously more important than anything else when hauling tonnage. Upgrading the friction pads and brake rotors will ensure that your truck is able to come to a safe and relatively immediate stop even with a heavier load attached. While you’re there, you might also want to get your truck equipped with an electronic trailer brake control. This allows you to quickly adjust the stopping power right from the load while driving.

Step 3: Upgrade the Axles

This is without a single doubt one of the most expensive updates you will have to carry out. Now, since you won’t be touching any of the tools or even getting your hands dirty, I’ll leave the technicalities to the mechanics. But upgrading your truck’s axles and differentials with heavier duty components will allow for much-improved handling. Simultaneously, you should experience an enhanced gear ratio that will enable heavier loads to be towed without any undue stress on your car’s drive train.

Step 4: Amp Up the Suspension

Here’s another costly upgrade that you will need to make, but it’s worth every penny when you consider all the benefits you get. By installing heavy duty springs on your truck, you significantly ease the already strained GVWR. As opposed to the other methods that directly increase the towing capacity of your truck, this one is more of a mandatory supplement. Upgraded suspensions not only dramatically improve the car’s handling, but it also stabilizes your load by reducing side to side swaying in potholes and rough roads. Better shocks also help keep the back of your truck level while towing.

Step 5: Install a Worthy Hitch

Many drivers make the common mistake of thinking that any old tow ball hitch can haul pretty much anything and everything. However, not all hitches are created equal. You will need to install a hitch that is capable of handling the exact increase in weight. If your vehicle already came with a hitch, it’s probably the standard Class III rated for 5000 pounds. That’s cute, but what do you do if you’re hauling 10,000 pounds of cargo? Why, install a Class IV hitch for safer and more secure transportation of course.

Finish Line

There you have it, a guide to souping up the performance of your tow truck. One word of caution, however; Whatever weight distribution modifications or load bearing upgrades you make, don’t stray too far from your trucks GVWR. Overshooting your towing capacity by too many tons is very dangerous since it reduces both your braking and steering controls. Push it too far, and you’ll have to call a tow truck for your banged up tow truck. But once you get it right, your humble truck will be hauling those pounds like a freight train.