How to Determine the Towing Capacity of Your Tow Truck

It all comes down to math; determining the towing capacity of your tow truck necessitates a mathematical formula. Once you understand the fundamentals, you can get the job done safely and efficiently every time.

Do I Need to Use a Formula to Calculate My Towing Capacity?

The simple answer is yes, yes you do! One may assume that their owner’s guide will give them all the answers but that isn’t the case necessarily. The way you position your overhang significantly impacts your towing capacity. So if you go off the owner’s manual solely, your actual towing capacity may ring in lower or higher than what’s stated.

Secondly, overloading your tow truck can put you and those around you in an unsafe situation. The last thing you and your insurance company want to deal with is the aftermath of an avoidable accident.

Not only does an improperly loaded tow truck impair your ability to steer, brake, and properly maneuver, but it also reduces your equipment’s longevity. Therefore, your safest bet is to calculate your tow truck’s towing capacity manually with the help of a simple formula.

Step-by-Step Guide to Determine the Towing Capacity of Your Tow Truck

Most people get instant headaches when they think about having to use a formula to solve a problem. However, once you’ve mastered this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to calculate the towing capacity of different types of tow trucks in no time.

Step 1

The first thing you must do is weigh your tow truck’s front steering axle. It’s important to note, you need the static weight of the front of your truck, not the gross weight that’s listed in your owner’s manual.

Step 2

Secondly, you’ll need to measure your wheel base. This can be done by calculating the length between the centers of your steer axle and rear drive axle.

Step 3

Next, you need to gauge how long the overhang is. This can be accomplished by measuring the distance between the lifting point and the driving axle centers. Measurements must be taken for the overhang at its fullest extension, halfway out, and at its retracted position. This is significant since the towing capacity varies depending on the elevation of the overhang.

Step 4

After that, you must divide your front axle’s weight in half.

Step 5

Once step 4 is complete, multiply the outcome by the wheel base measurement you determined in step 2.

Step 6

Divide the result of step 5 by the overhang measurement that was taken in step 3.

Step 7

Verify that the weight of the front axle of the vehicle you wish to tow doesn’t exceed the outcome of the calculations you did in step 6.

The most crucial stage of them all, skipping it could put you in danger and possibly damage your equipment and tow truck. For further details, you can refer to some helpful towing instructions.

Bottom Line

Although the formula to determine your truck’s towing capability is complex, it really isn’t impossible either. For safe towing, accurate results are crucial. Because measuring the overhang is the correct way to accomplish it, you shouldn’t rely on the owner’s manual to give you your tow truck’s precise towing capacity.

For more information on how much does a tow truck cost, refer to our recent blog.




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