What is tow package meaning?

Most people want to upgrade their vehicle in many ways for better usage, and one of the options preferred is a towing package. A tow package means a whole set of everything the vehicle has a tow bar/hitch, and also an extra radiator particularly used to cool the transmission fluid needed to tow your load of choice reliably and safely. However, in this article, you will have a complete idea about the towing package and its benefits.

The tow packages can be of two different types one is the company-provided option and the other the aftermarket companies with complete modification of the vehicle. A car manufacturer tow package, where the vehicle is designed, built, and tested to be a towing setup with factory parts and accessories. Most aftermarket tow packages, are designed so that you will have everything you need to boost your tow vehicle.

What does it mean when a vehicle comes with a tow package?

A tow package is more than the sum of its parts and every component, which is included to maximize the towing capabilities of the vehicle. A factory tow package gets you a vehicle that is designed from the ground up for heavy-duty towing. The most lightweight loads, such as carrying a bike rack or towing a jet ski around can be done with a basic tow package even if it’s just a receiver hitch set.

The car manufacturers, in the case of a tow package vehicle, have considered every component and made sure that they are more than adequate for the extra load that a trailer imposes on them. Once the factory tow package is equipped in your vehicle, every piece of gear is perfectly matched to the rest of the set. With a factory tow package, vehicle owners can be assured that every part of the engine, frame, transmission, suspension, and cooling system is up to the mark for heavy-duty towing.

For the heavy-duty towing, you may begin to look into a better full aftermarket kit one with huge receivers and weight distribution qualities. The whole towing setup in your vehicle can get an aftermarket tow package with the Class V hitch hardware. However, you can practically get out of the absolute thing as per only rated for the maximum towing capacity of the vehicle.

The type of tow package you are going to need relies on the tow vehicle you already have (or intend to purchase) as well as the type of cargo you plan to tow. Most people think of it as nothing more than a trailer hitch, there are considerable things that go with this addition to your vehicle. 
Whenever your vehicle is equipped with a hitch that might be manufacturer fitted, it doesn't mean that it comes with a tow package. Even factory-installed hitches may not be perfectly suited for the vehicle you have, or it may not have all the components you need to have a complete towing solution.

What Upgrades Are Included In Factory Towing Packages?

Tow packages, even aftermarket gears, will usually include a few upgrades that are meant to be installed to the tow vehicle itself. These components are made to boost the performance of the tow vehicle itself in order to enhance its towing capacity, preventing the further wear and tear that towing obtains. Many heavy-duty tow package applications will include upgrades to the major vehicle components which are given below briefly.

Electrical Connections

A tow package includes the wires through which the trailer is connected to the vehicle’s lighting system. This wiring has a connector available close to the hitch and provides electricity to the brake lights, turn signals, and license plate light. Occasionally, this connector can contain circuits powering the trailer’s braking system, and this can take the stress off the vehicle when towing. Moreover, this prospect is helpful for heavy-duty applications.

Tow Hitch

This is the heart of a towing package and is available in the form of a receiver hitch or a simple ball, either of which will be bolted straight to frame components. When we talk about the receiver hitch, it is a square tube accepting the ball, which is then placed with the help of a hitch pin. The kind of loads that you will carry determines the size of the receiver and the ball.

Suspension & Brakes

One standard upgrade you will find in a tow package is a set of suspension advancements for your tow vehicle. Since the tow vehicle carries a significant part of the trailer weight upgrades can include heavier springs and more robust shocks that are meant to replace your factory set.

A better suspension, especially near the rear end of the tow vehicle, also helps to keep the whole towing setup horizontally level as well. Especially with the gooseneck and fifth-wheel hitch setups, you can have good handling even when towing a heavy trailer.

A typical brake upgrade includes larger drums or discs, or upgraded materials that give the tow vehicle better stopping power for increasing safety. A tow vehicle with a trailer load is a lot heavier than a regular vehicle, so having a way to shrink the stopping distance of a tow setup will make it much safer to drive around when towing heavy loads.


The heavy-duty tow packages, both factory and aftermarket, will often include a drivetrain upgrade. A tow vehicle with a heavy trailer load will often need a different gear setup to make the most out of the engine power. The transmission gearing transformations will turn up as a higher gear ratio in the differential or rear end. This higher gear ratio will result in increased torque to the drive wheels and decreased wear and tear on the engine and transmission.


When towing the transmission also takes all the load of the drive train component as compared to the engine or the brakes. More heat gets generated by the transmissions during the tow, which is why they require additional cooling to offset the extra heat generated when towing a trailer. It may also result in a small decrease in fuel economy as well.

Both automatic and manual transmissions with towing packages will often include additional radiator components, to better cool down transmission. Many of these upgrades are designed in a way to decrease wear and tear on the transmission and engine which should not be ignored when just installing a hitch.

Explore more about towing related questions in clicking the below links for more details:
How to increase the towing capacity of a vehicle?
How do I find my car tow capacity by VIN number? 

Can you put a tow package on any car?

Yes, a tow package can be equipped in any car but with a bit of research and some investment, you can still have one installed on your car. The towing package adds a few extras, usually a better hitch and possibly better suspension. It will help your vehicle hold value making it more desirable, which signifies you can sell it for more additional valuation.

It is important to check the components for your custom tow package, better to get a quote first and have a list of your components for the tow package you plan to install. Mostly the tow package for a specific vehicle can be found readily in the sales brochures or you can contact your dealership for more info.

For a vehicle to have a tow package it usually implies that it will have certain features and additional parts to allow it to tow a trailer or a heavier trailer than a stock vehicle without a tow package. The tow package on cars is amazing for easy maximum towing the load a long way. The Tow package makes it straightforward to decide which truck is best for towing. It usually has the best engine, transmission, and differential combination for performing heavy tasks.


Lastly, if you don’t tow or work with irregular-sized loads by your car then installing a tow package will just increase your extra money for your vehicle. Sometimes people get the tow package even if they don’t even intend to tow anything to upgrade their vehicles.

Evaluate your needs and the kind of loads you expect to be pulling. You may not require a heavy-duty tow package but only a trailer hitch, which will also include the all-important electrical wiring. However, if the loads to be carried are heavy, such as boats, cars, or building materials, and towing will occur often, a tow package will result in a comprehensive drive life and more satisfactory performance.

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Aaron Bennett is an accomplished author and a true aficionado when it comes to pickup trucks. With an unwavering passion for all things automotive, Aaron has dedicated his life to exploring the world of pickups and sharing his expertise with others. As the proud owner of several powerful machines, he has spent countless hours behind the wheel, navigating rugged terrains and conquering highways with unrivaled enthusiasm.

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