Matching a pickup with a trailer can be simple, but you have to take a number of factors into account.
Safe trailering requires a properly equipped pickup, so it is important to ensure that the truck you want is built to handle your specific trailering needs. There are regional legal requirements pertaining to proper vehicle and trailer loading guidelines and safety - be sure to verify regional road rules.
Caution: If you don't use the correct equipment and/or drive properly, you can lose control of your vehicle. You could also jack-knife your truck and trailer, or overload your vehicle brakes. All of this puts you and your passengers at risk of serious injury.
Attaching a trailer to your truck will also change the handling, fuel efficiency and performance.
You've already calculated the Payload Weight you need to carry, and you've chosen the body type, drive type and series of pickup you want. Now there are two more things you need to decide:
Can the pickup handle the trailer load?
Visit Trailering Specs to find out.
Can the rear axle handle the trailer load?
Just because a pickup truck's GVWR can handle the trailering load, keep in mind one very important thing - GVWR assumes your truck is sharing the load between two axles. When you're trailering, weight is almost never distributed equally between both axles. Usually, the rear axle takes the majority of the load. It's important not to exceed your rear axle's capacity. This is why you need to calculate how much weight will be on the back axle ( Rear Gross Axle Weight ). To calculate the Rear Gross Axle Weight you must add the cargo with half of the people load (the half being carried by the rear axle), the Rear Curb Weight of the truck and the Tongue Weight. Also, because of a "teeter-totter" effect when you tow a trailer, approximately 40% of the tongue load will come off of the front axle and be carried on the rear axle. This is called the Weight Distribution Factor.
Rear Gross Axle Weight =
Cargo (to be carried in the tow vehicle)
+ People Load (approximately 50% of total passenger weight)
+ Rear Curb Weight (of the tow vehicle)*
+ Tongue Weight (approximately 10% of the trailer's GVWR)
+ Weight Distribution Factor*
Take Note: Your sales consultant will need to confirm the Rear Gross Axle Weight, and Weight Distribution Factor to verify that the chosen truck's Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR) won't be exceeded. Caution: It's important to make these calculations to avoid an overload situation. Overloading may cause premature brake failure, which can jeopardize the safety of both you and your passengers.
*Ask your Sales Consultant for weights.
GAWRs are shown on a certification plate on the driver's door frame.