How to Increase Towing Capacity: 7 Tips You Need To Know
Imagine that you have just purchased a new truck and you want to find a camper that your vehicle can easily tow before camping season starts again. Unfortunately, you have not been able to find the camper that you want without exceeding your vehicle's towing capacity.
There are several that are just outside of the range, but that would mean that you would need to learn how to increase towing capacity of your truck.
This may seem like an impossibility, but if you are only looking to tow a few pounds over the recommended capacity, there may be a way to get your truck up to par.
I understand that finding the right camper can be frustrating, so let's see if we can make the camper that you want work for your truck's towing capacity.
What You'll Need to Upgrade:
- The Performance of the Vehicle
- The Braking System
- The Hitch
- The Suspension
- The Axles
- The Power Programmer
- The Radiator
#1 Modify Your Truck For Performance
Sometimes, you can make small upgrades to your vehicle that can increase the horsepower and the torque, which will inadvertently improve the performance of your truck when you are towing a camper behind you. This means that you will have an easier time traveling through mountainous regions on the way to your campsite.
One of the most common upgrades that you can do to your truck that will modify its performance is to upgrade the exhaust system. A great upgrade option that you should consider for your truck is the Cat Back Exhaust System. It is most likely going to be a larger exhaust than what you currently have on your truck.
Many of the exhaust systems that come with your vehicles focus on maximizing space, so the horsepower is actually much lower than it could potentially be with an exhaust that is designed to maximize horsepower.
When a new exhaust is combined with new fresh air filters, you will notice a world of difference when it comes to towing capacity. In fact, with the additional air reaching the engine, you should see an improvement in your vehicle's horsepower of about 10 percent.
If you have an older vehicle that you use for towing, then there are other options that you can consider as well. For example, a motorhome is designed to haul a lot of weight, so it only makes sense that the parts in these vehicles would be designed for a larger towing capacity.
If you can find parts that are in good condition, you can swap them out of the RV and into your vehicle to give it more power.
#2 Optimize Your Braking Power
Towing a camper behind your vehicle means that your braking system is going to need to be able to stop with the added weight, especially if you are trying to tow more than the recommended towing capacity for your vehicle.
That being said, you typically will not need to replace the entire braking system. You should simply consider the rotors and the brake pads to ensure that they are optimized for towing.
If you do not have a trailer brake controller, then adding one to your vehicle will make it easy to make adjustments to the braking system as you drive.
There are even feature on a trailer brake controller that kick in for your safety if there is an issue with the hitch when you are driving, which makes it a very valuable item to have, especially if you are towing more than the recommended capacity.
#3 Hitch For Heavy Loads
Some vehicles already have a hitch when you purchase them, but if you are attempting to improve your towing capacity, then you are going to want to install a hitch that is able to tow more.
Simply upgrading from a class three to a class four hitch is going to nearly double the towing capacity, and making it a lot safer to transport loads that are over the towing capacity that is recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.
In addition, if you have a larger truck, you can consider a fifth wheel hitch instead of a standard ball hitch. In most cases, you can even get an attachment so that you can use a gooseneck hitch if you need.
#4 Proper Suspension Is Critical
If your towing vehicle does not have the optimal suspension, then it can cause your vehicle to travel lower to the ground. Not only can this be an unsafe towing practice, if your hitch is not suspended properly, it can drag or even unhitch completely.
In fact, if you find that your hitch is dragging even just the support chains can cause a spark to form while you are driving that can be extremely dangerous.
In addition, having a bad suspension in your towing vehicle will put more weight on the back of the vehicle where the camper is connected. This can cause the front end to ride up a little bit, which can make braking and steering far less predictable.
If you do not wish to replace the entire suspension system, the springs are usually sufficient. Many RVer like to add air suspension to their towing vehicle to help maintain control.
#5 Update Your Axles
When you tow a camper or a travel trailer behind you, the majority of the weight that your vehicle is hefting is going to be on the axles of the vehicle.
This means that you need to have strong axles in order to safely get to your destination because a broken axle can be very dangerous, especially if you are towing something at the time.
That being said, most trucks come with an axle that can bear about ¾ of a ton, but if you are attempting to haul more than the recommended towing capacity, then you will want to think about getting axles on your vehicle that are a bit more heavy duty. I'd go with axles that are designed to accommodate a full ton.
#6 Find A Programmer To Unlock Your Vehicle's Power
As I have already explained, many vehicles do not have the components to run at their maximum potential directly from the manufacturer, which is why you may want to consider purchasing a programmer to add to your vehicle when you want to improve the towing capacity.
Adjusting the engine control unit in your vehicle allows more air into the engine, which increases the power and the torque of your vehicle. This means that you won't lose power as you are towing, even when you are traveling through a mountainous region.
In fact, you can even use a programmer to help control when an automatic transmission shifts so that you can have more control over the engine.
#7 Upgrade Your Radiator
Upgrading your radiator does not directly increase the towing capacity of your vehicle, but it does help make it possible to tow more because you are able to cool off the engine with ease when you have a larger radiator.
Towing a camper puts a lot of stress on your vehicle, which makes the engine run hot. If you can make your vehicle run at a cooler temp, you will be able to tow a camper with a higher weight capacity camper without the engine struggling.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways that you can increase the towing capacity of your vehicle, but make sure that you don't attempt to tow something that is too large for your vehicle.
Doing so could be very dangerous, so if you are unsure if your truck can tow the camper that you'd like to purchase, talk to a professional to get their opinion.
You may not have to follow all of the steps above to increase your towing capacity, but if one of the components on your vehicle is not up to par with the rest, you may need to upgrade it to ensure that you arrive at your destination safely.
What do you think of my list? Is there anything that you do to increase towing capacity in your vehicle that I missed in this guide? I love camping, so I created this guide to makes sure that others who are just getting into camping with an RV have an idea of what to do if they need a slightly larger towing capacity.
Help me get this information out by sharing it on your social media feed. I'm sure that RV enthusiasts will be glad that you did.