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Pickup Trucks


Bruce Smith April 1, 2012

Know what you can tow; SAE changes in trailering capacity testing procedures reflected in manufacturer’s max load numbers

With company owners’ growing concerns of costly liability exposure, contractors, DOT, utilities, municipalities and other trades that use pickups for towing trailers are paying much closer attention to the vehicle manufacturer’s tow ratings.

Multi-million-dollar liability lawsuits stemming from pickups not being “properly equipped” for the weight of trailer being pulled (per the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines) are a real threat to any corporate entity.

Lawyers facing your company on the other side of the litigation table don’t care what the driver’s excuse was for towing a trailer behind a pickup that wasn’t setup correctly for the trailered weight.

In a court of law, towing beyond a vehicle’s maximum trailered weight, as set by the manufacturer, is still driver negligence.

The reason is simple: The vehicle’s owner’s manual and the vehicle manufacturer’s trailering guides spell out, in detail, how a truck has to be equipped to tow loads safely.

Accordingly, both driver and the company the driver is employed by will take the blame and financial fall should someone be hurt or killed in a towing-related accident.

It’s important to understand hitches and tow ratings if you want your company to remain protected from such liability exposure.


There are two types of towing capacities listed in the owner’s manual and trailering guides: “Conventional” and 5th wheel/gooseneck.

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