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Cindy Bonish 04/07
Camper To A Tow Vehicle
Find The Maximum Towing
Capacity of the Vehicle
Consult your car or truck dealer for the maximum towing capacity your
vehicle is able to handle. Most automotive manufacturers provide their
dealers with a Recreational Vehicle and Trailer Towing Guide. For
example, the towing guides provided by both Ford and Chevrolet have
informative sections like, "Things to Know Before You Tow, Trailer
Towing Selector and Required Trailer Towing Equipment for your Vehicle".
Other publicatons, like Trailer Life Magazine's annual
Towing Guide, may also be used as a guideline for towing weight
Determine The Loaded
Weight of the Camper to be Towed
There is a difference between the Unloaded Vehicle Weight, listed with
each unit and the fully loaded "Camping Weight" of a particular unit.
"Camping Weight" should consist of the
Unloaded Vehicle Weight, plus the weight of the following items:
Options Added to the Unit (ie: air conditioner, larger refrigerator,
Solar Panels, Deep-Cycle Batteries..etc.)
Fresh Water Tank
L.P. Gas Bottles
Battery or Batteries of multiple will be added
Personal Camping Supplies (estimated)
Where to Find The
Unloaded Vehicle Weight
If the unit is present, the approximate weight of the unit, as it was
built at the factory and including options, can be found in the Owner's
booklet or should be listed inside one of the
You can also consult
your manufacturers brochure specifications
which list the Unloaded Vehicle Weight for each unit.
If none of these can be found, it would be best to contact your local
dealer or the manufacturer
Choosing The Right
Vehicle to Tow Your RV
Choosing the right tow
vehicle, or finding out if your existing car or truck has the ability to
tow the Camper model you desire can be
confusing. It is important to ask yourself this key question when making
a tow vehicle selection.
Do you have a tow
vehicle you want to keep for the next 5 years?
If Yes - what is it rated in pounds to pull? When you know the
rating, find your starting selection point by looking at
campers base unit weights on the
campers spec sheet. Then, pick one that is
about 1,000 lbs. less than your vehicle is rated to pull.
Make sure that once you find the weight, you'll have to think about the
added weight you'll be adding with all your camping equipment.
If No - but you
intend to buy one, determine which camper size
and floorplan meets your needs first. Then,
look for a tow vehicle that has the capacity to pull the size model you
Remember these tips when
selecting a tow vehicle:
sure to refer to what components make a good tow vehicle like engine
size, axle ratio, transmission coolers, radiator size, etc. by
consulting your car/truck trailer towing guide or dealer for complete
extensive travel is planned, especially across the Rockies, an
additional 1,000 lbs. of towing capacity should be calculated for this
reason: every thousand feet you travel above sea level, your vehicle
will lose 2-3% horsepower efficiency and it will be necessary to have
extra performance to climb steep mountains. This
is one area you don't want to skimp!
you plan on using the vehicle to travel back and forth to work you
will not want to overkill the towing capacity. The higher the pulling
capacity (larger engines and higher rear axle ratios) the lower the
sure to consult and use a qualified RV dealer or service center that
is knowledgeable in the proper selection and
assembly of hitch, brake and sway controls for the proper and safe
link between the tow vehicle and trailer.
alot of folks make is that they base the towing capacity of their
vehicle on the numbers stamped on the hitch that has been installed.
Hitches are rated in classes with weight ranges and do not indicate the
actually towing capability of the vehicle. Basically
the hitch and vehicle are two independent entities.
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