By on February 11, 2014


General Motors, Ford, Chrysler will be joining Toyota in implementing a common standard for rating the towing capacities of their light-duty pickups. That uniform standard will allow shoppers to more accurately compare vehicles’ towing capabilities and reduce some confusion caused by truck makers with differing standards. Bear in mind, though, that for heavy-duty pickups, automakers will still rate their vehicles with their own standards.

Spokesmen for Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group acknowledged last week that starting with 2015 model year full size light duty pickup trucks they will be joining Toyota in using a towing standard originally adopted by the industry in 2009. GM said that it would join the other companies in using the new standard. Some of the delay was because companies were concerned that the new standards would mean rated towing capacities reduced by several hundred pounds. The new voluntary standards were originally going to be implemented for the 2013 model year but Ford decided to not go with the lower ratings until it introduced the all-new 2015 F-150. After Ford delayed using the standard, GM and Chrysler did likewise.

Toyota so far has been the only company to implement the standard, known as SAE J2807, lowering the ratings on its Tundra pickup by 400 lbs for the 2011 model year. Nissan has said that it adopts the new standard as its trucks are redesigned. The next Titan is due in 2015.


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26 Comments on “Pickup Makers Agree On A Common Standard For Rating Light Truck Towing Capacities...”

  • avatar

    I’ll be quite impressed if the RAM 3.6 with the 3.55 can keep its 7300lb rating under this standard.

  • avatar

    What does “rated” mean? I had a compact car that was “rated” to tow 2000lbs in the sUeSA. Exact same car could tow 3000lbs in Canadia. How is that possible? Maybe I could have sprinkled some salt on my car to get the extra 1k?

  • avatar

    Toyota has more to prove over the years of making a full size truck in it’s third attempt. Sure, it shows Toyota listens but also has more to gain to be on equal footing as the other three.

    Interesting to see Honda truck rating drops?

  • avatar

    The article assumes that fords ratings are going to be lowered, with the new chassis, that is unlikely. Any pound you don’t drag around is a pound you can tow.

    • 0 avatar

      That isn’t necessarily how it works.

      It is a factor, but part of that weight reduction is accomplished by physically smaller engines that *could* struggle on the performance side of it.

      Plus, if the ratings would have improved or stayed the same with the SAE versus their internal standard, it is fair to say that the manufacturers would have jumped at the chance to increase their rating or be the only domestic to claim their high ratings while following the standard while their competition did not. The thing is, most of your urban cowboy version trucks (double cab, short bed, fuel efficient gear ratios) have low ratings via the SAE system. Your halftons that meet the high advertised ratings are the trucks that no one buys… regular cab, long bed, base trim package, V8, short gears, auxiliary transmission cooler, etc. On Chrysler’s recent press release about their diesel getting 28mpg, the didn’t mention the gear ratio, cab configuration, trim, 2WD/4WD, etc all while claiming 9800lbs towing capacity. Truck advertising is a mess.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed, I’m assuming that fords will stay the same or improve,2.8 eco boost not included. The transmission used now is extremely stout and has lots of unused capabilities as to horsepower and torque. The coyote and 3.5 eco boost are also leaving a lot on the table, and have a lot of unused hp and tq as well, as shown by the custom tunes and flashes that can be done. Combo that up with an equally stout 10 speed and a weight reduction, I am willing to best they are about to drop another bomb on the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Well the problem with the towing capacity claims for the RAM half-tons, (which, in some cases, exceed 10,000 lbs., the limit anyone can tow without a commercial drivers’ license) is that, according to their on-line “computer” the truck doing the towing must be nearly empty. Throw in, say, 450 lbs. of people and the GCVWR is maxed out.

        The standard appears to be a “performance standard” which is fine, as far as it goes. But what it doesn’t cover, and what is still important is engine and transmission cooling capacity together with the robustness of the rest of the power train (rear axle, differential, bearings, etc.) And then, in case you happen to have the need to stop once in a while . . . the brakes. Trailer brakes, while required in most states for trailers of any size, vary greatly in their effectiveness.

      • 0 avatar

        Truck advertising isn’t a mess; you just have to do a little more thinking when you shop and/or buy. If you want higher fuel economy you are going to want different engine and gearing than you will want if you are looking for towing capacity.

        A “serious” truck shopper knows what the tradeoffs are with different specifications. This stuff is not that hard to figure out; a pickup isn’t a Peterbilt.

  • avatar

    I wonder how this will effect the absolutely massive Ram 3500 towing numbers. No expert, but the most recent truck claims to blow the big Ford and GM trucks out of the water.

    • 0 avatar

      A Lot of those figures appear to be “magic dust” for the HD’s a reason they are left out of this “standard” which is a pretty strange one.

  • avatar

    It’s a damned shame that this website, which published “The Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy” offers an app that only gives towing capacities for trucks and SUVs.

    Despite the Anti-Towing Conspiracy, there are still quite a few cars on offer in the USA that have rated tow capacities. Where’s the app for them??

  • avatar

    A friend of mine owned a 1965 Ford F150 with a I6 and 3 on the tree. You would not believe some of the weights he towed with it. He never towed on the freeway, or for long distances at higher speeds on surface streets, but whatever “rating” it had was honored in the breach, like towing a school bus motorhome conversion about a half mile to a shop, with his brother in the bus using the brakes.

    New truck owners will pay attention to the tow ratings, but second and third owners who need to tow are gonna tow. Those events are going to produce nothing more dramatic than some highly embellished stories told around a back yard beer keg.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I bet tow limits would be less than half of what they are for pickups if the vehicle was made to operate at it’s maximum GCM or gross combined mass for the duration of the pickups warranty ie, 100 000km. This is the vehicle loaded and maximum tow weight.

    So how accurate are tow weights?

  • avatar

    I find the performance tests a little silly. How fast do you need to go when towing a huge trailer? Does it really matter if you can only get up that mammoth grade at 35mph as long as you are not overheating the truck? You will still be passing the 18 wheelers! THEY manage to tow 40 TONs with 400hp and 1000lb-ft of torque. But not very quickly.

    It’s one thing if you are buying a truck to tow with constantly. It is quite another if you are only going to tow occasionally. I’ve towed 5000lbs with a Volvo 745T. Slowly, and carefully. Did great. I wouldn’t do it over the Rocky mountains, or everyday.

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