Pickup Tow Ratings Finally Standardized

Updated Feb 27, 2014

F250 Super-Crew-towing_landscaper

Ford Finally Accepts SAE J2807 Towing Standards; Ratings Now Apples-To-Apples

It’s been a long, slow, tedious road, but pickup buyers will finally have a way to compare tow ratings between brands as Ford accepts the SAE J2807 towing standard when the 2015 models hit the market. 

I’ve always looked at tow ratings as somewhat of a joke because none of the auto manufacturers had a universal standard for setting the ratings. 

At best, tow ratings up until now have been “fluid”; when one manufacturer claimed a “best in class” towing capacity, another would suddenly change  their competitive model’s rating so it was “best in class.”  

I liked to say some of the manufacturers put their numbers down using pencils with an eraser close at hand to help drive sales. 

Fortunately that’s now changed. Six years ago a group of automotive towing engineers from the various manufacturers sat down and started hammering out a standard way to evaluate tow ratings. It was a tough haul for the SAE panel of experts, but they came up with a standard.

Toyota was the first to officially adopt J2807 towing standards several years ago. Ford and GM the last.Toyota was the first to officially adopt J2807 towing standards several years ago. Ford and GM the last.

The new tow testing standard was called “SAE J2807” and it contained a very specific and detailed set of guidelines that would put all vehicles on the same page, giving consumers a true apples-to-apples comparison. 

J2807 was supposed to be adopted by all the vehicle manufacturers in 2009 with implementation by 2013. Toyota, Nissan and Ram have done just that.

But GM and Ford came to a stalemate of sorts. GM, a big player in the J2807 structuring, decided to wait until Ford joined in. Ford wasn’t willing to derate any of their ratings as happened to some of the other manufacturers who adopted J2807 test standards. 

J2807Now that Ford has their 2015 pickups ready to roll with the aluminum-bodied F-150s, they have finally made that towing and gross vehicle weight-rating standardization move.

(Obviously, if you shave vehicle weight, towing capacity goes up.)

So next year J2807 will be the new tow standard across all the vehicle manufacturers.

The pencils and erasers will be tossed out and consumers will finally be able to see accurate tow ratings and load capacities when comparing work trucks.  – Bruce W. Smith