What exactly does Towing Capacity mean?

The vehicles with a powerful engine, and four-wheel drive (4WD) drive type can perform exceptionally well in both off-road and on-road conditions. Towing capacity is one of the features of powerful vehicles that represents the maximum amount of weight they can safely pull.

The towing capacity of your vehicle depends on the vehicle configuration, number of passengers, cargo, and availability of towing accessories. 

Pickup trucks and efficient SUVs are capable of towing trailers, campers, airstreams, RVs, and various other trailer equipment. The towing capacity varies according to the vehicle configuration, cargo, availability of towing accessories, number of passengers, trim levels, and so on. Electric Pickup trucks can also offer impressive towing capacity. 

The towing capacity of a vehicle is determined by the manufacturer. The capacity is mentioned in pounds (lbs). For instance, the maximum towing capacity of the Ford F-150 Lightning is 10,000 lbs which means it can tow 10,000 pounds with the Max Trailer Tow Package.

What does 3,500 lbs towing capacity mean?

As we discussed above, the towing capacity is measured in lbs or pounds. A 3,500 lbs towing capacity means the vehicle is officially certified to offer a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.

How to check Towing Capacity?

The towing capacity of your vehicle is mentioned in the owner’s manual. It is also available freely on the manufacturer’s website. However, it is recommended to carefully read the owner’s manual before using your vehicle for towing purposes.

You can see in this example, that the maximum towing capacity of the Tesla Model X is 5000 lbs (2,300 kgs), and it varies according to the tires used. 

How much towing capacity should you use?

The maximum towing capacity of your vehicle is mentioned in the owner’s manual as we discussed above. The max rated capacity must not be exceeded otherwise it could result in malfunctions.

Sometimes, vehicles are capable of towing more than their rated capacity when equipped with necessary towing accessories such as the Max Trailer Tow Package. The towing capacity of the all-new 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning ranges from 7,700 lbs to 8,600 lbs however, it can tow up to 10,000 lbs with Max Trailer Tow Package, and Extended Range Battery.

Likewise, the towing capacity of Dodge Durango SUVs ranges from 6,200 lbs to 8,700 lbs. But the Durango RT model can also tow up to 8,700 lbs when equipped with the Tow N Go Package.

So, the towing capacity of your vehicle is certified by the manufacturer, and you must not exceed the capacity unless it is rated for maximum towing with available towing packages.

What happens if you exceed towing capacity?

If you exceed the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle, there could be several malfunctions, or unexpected things could happen. 

The following issues could arrive if your vehicle goes beyond the maximum certified towing capacity.

  • Exceeding towing capacity could result in brake issues as it reduces the stopping time.
  • The warranty of your vehicle may be nullified due to violating the warranty.
  • The transportation department could fine you for carrying overload.
  • It could cause harm to your vehicle components.
  • The chances of accidents are high.

What can I tow with a 3,500 lbs capacity?

The towing capacity of your vehicle depends on the powertrain, configuration, towing certification, and other circumstances. There are various trailers such as conventional trailers, utility trailers, gooseneck trailers, and 5th-wheel trailers that can be towed.

The different trailers are classified into 4 classes. The Class II trailers weigh up to 3,500 lbs and can be towed by mid-size cars, Trucks, Vans, and SUVs. Your vehicle with a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs can tow motorboats and lightweight wagon trailers that don’t exceed 3,500 lbs.


As we come to the end of this blog, we discover the meaning of towing capacity and its implications. The towing capacity of your vehicle is determined by the manufacturer, and you must not exceed the maximum capacity. Customers are always recommended to check the owner’s manual carefully before buying or using their vehicle for towing purposes.

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Stellan Carter is an accomplished writer, entrepreneur, and avid Ford Raptor owner. As a co-founder and content contributor for this renowned blog website, Stellan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the automotive industry. When he's not behind the wheel of his beloved Ford Raptor, Stellan can be found exploring new terrains, capturing the essence of his automotive adventures through his camera lens.

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