Probably one of the most common questions that is asked repeatedly is for opinions on whether a certain car or SUV is suitable for a tow vehicle. Right here I will step in with my very strong feelings on this topic, it does not matter that someone has pulled a trailer with a certain car, or that your car can pull it, that does not make it safe or right. Only the manufacturer and the information in the owner’s manual for your specific make and model can be used so simple answer is LOOK IN THE OWNERS MANUAL.
The second opinion which should not be listened to is the trailer weight. a 13′ Boler DOES NOT WEIGH 900-1000 lbs. In reality they weigh 1400-1600 lbs loaded for camping, if in double please weigh the trailer at a truck weigh scale or your local dump, they have scales so you will have accurate information.
In short your tow vehicle should have a MINIMUM tow capacity of 2200 lbs and a hitch weight capacity of 220 lbs. Don’t believe salesmen, friends or internet forums on tow specifications, confirm the specifications yourself. The only accurate information will be in your vehicle owner manual and by actually taking the trailer to a scale to weigh it.
Each vehicle has a specific tow rating which identifies both the maximum trailer weight and the tongue weight. These specifications are based on many factors which include the design and construction of the body and the hitch mounted, axle & axle bearing capacity, transmission strength and cooling, engine power and cooling, brake size and cooling, engine, tire rating and capacity, etc. The tow capacity of your vehicle is contained in the Owner Manual
What if you do go ahead and tow over capacity? First and foremost is safety, your safety, the safety of your family and the safety of those on the road, overloading is one of the primary causes of accidents on the road. Insurance on you vehicle and trailer can be void. Vehicle warranty void, It is illegal so fines can be imposed and your vehicle impounded in some jurisdictions. Personal liability may result in lawsuits even if you are not at fault because it could be considered a contributing factor.
A final note is that aftermarket tow hitches often have a tow capacity listed for them, this tow capacity is for the hitch NOT for the vehicle it is being attached to, changing the tow hitch will not increase the tow capacity of your vehicle.
Tow capacity of vehicles in Canada and USA is determined and tested by SAE J2807, this is a comprehensive series of specifications and tests that determine the ability and consequences of towing a trailer for combined vehicles up to 13,000lbs. The document can be reviewed here: SAE J2807
Thank you for this great advice!
We use a WD system recommended in original manual, electric brakes for us is a legal requirement; trailer is over the 50% rule, ST c rated tires b would work, pull dry as less weight, and meet all the Ontario towing requirements for towing with a car; insurance company is happy.
Tongue weight for our boler is mostly 2 propane tanks 38lbs. plus battery 61lbs. remove them and on flat ground Carole can lift tongue and move our boler could check loaded weight to better meet the 8° to 9° tongue weight recommendation as we maybe are lite; not shure with all the renovations. Never old understand some of the heavy tongue weights.
Tongue weight is important for stability, Too light of a tongue weight and you can experience sway or fishtailing. A good friend of mine with a 17′ Boler had light hitch weight due to a storage box and bikes loaded on the back of the trailer. She experienced severe sway and ended up off the road in a farmers field, luckily no one was hurt and there was no damage other than the bikes being torn off in the incident. The limit on maximum tongue weight is determined by your tow vehicle, how much can you have and the more you have the more stable the tow will be. Too light and the “tail starts wagging the dog”, you loose control, sway is a dangerous condition
I agree completely about the weight of a Boler. I see ads all the time stating the camper only weighs 800 or 1000 pounds. No way. I had my weighed today. With only cushions and pillows, empty water tanks, stove, sink, two propane tanks, empty cabinets. It weighed 1360 pounds. I imagine we will add another 2-300 with “Stuff”. Luckily we have a Ram Dakota with factory tow package and a huge V8 engine. Plus bed cap and a steel “truck vault” in the bed. I feel for people who have a 4 cylinder little SUV and think they will be able to safely tow.