If you plan on hauling a pop-up camper, horse trailer, boat, or car trailer, there is no doubt about it — you need a truck. But there are hundreds of models of trucks on the market, and not all of them are suitable for towing. What features in a truck indicate that it will make a good towing vehicle? Here's a look.
1. A High Towing Capacity
If you know what trailer you will be towing, take a minute to calculate how much it will weigh when fully loaded. For example, if you have a horse trailer that weighs 3,000 pounds, you can assume that it will weigh about 5,500 pounds when loaded with two 1,000-pound horses and all of your equipment. You need a truck with a towing capacity that's at least 1,000 pounds higher than the maximum weight to give yourself some wiggle room. In this example, you'd be looking for a truck with a towing capacity of 6,500 pounds or more.
2. A High Curb Weight
These days, fuel efficiency is important to many drivers, and lighter vehicles get better mileage. Some trucks are made to be really lightweight. These may be perfect for daily driving and picking up the occasional appliance from Home Depot, but they are not good for towing. You need a heavy vehicle that won't get pushed about by your trailer. A curb weight of a half ton is acceptable for smaller trailers. You'll want at least one ton for loads approaching 10,000 pounds.
3. Four Wheel Drive
What if you happen to pull into a muddy field? You need your truck to get not only itself out but also the trailer. Four-wheel drive makes this possible, so never buy a truck meant for towing without it.
4. Trailer Brake Line
The trailer brake line is a setup that allows you to connect your truck to the brake system in the trailer, which will separately apply the trailer's brakes. You can get away with hauling really light loads without a trailer brake, but it's something you should not do often. Look for a truck with a trailer brake line for better and safer towing.
Many Ford trucks and vehicles offered by other domestic companies are either set up for towing or can be customized for towing. Talk to your local auto shop to further explore your options and to see trucks with these features.