Detroit 3 Finally Adopt Common Tow Ratings Standard…Or Do They?

Have you ever wondered if 10,000 pounds of towing capacity means the same for trucks manufactured by GM, Ford, and Dodge? (Source: (Source:

You will soon know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

But, will you?

After a two-year delay, the Detroit 3 say they will use a common standard to rate the towing capacities of their light-duty pickups.

The standard will allow shoppers to compare accurately the towing capability of pickups. It also should reduce confusing claims from automakers, reports

The marketing confusion won’t end, though, because the standard applies only to light-duty pickups. For heavy-duty pickups, automakers will still rate their vehicles with their own standards.

Spokesmen for Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group confirmed last week that they will join Toyota in using a towing standard adopted by the industry in 2009 to rate 2015-model full-sized light-duty pickups. A spokesman for General Motors said it, too, will adopt the standard if its competitors do.

The standard establishes various tests for towing.


To tow safely, do what the pros do: Visit a certified scales to find out what your truck weighs loaded, what your trailer weighs with everything in it, and the two together weigh. With that, you can compare to the manufacturer’s published capacities and plan accordingly. (Credit:

Under the automakers’ 2009 agreement, the standard—which is likely to reduce rated towing capacities by several hundred pounds—was to be in place for the 2013 model year. But Ford decided not to publish lower tow ratings for its 2013 F-150, spurring other automakers to follow suit.

Toyota was the only pickup maker to adopt the standard, called SAE J2807, and it did so two years early for the 2011 model year when it dropped the tow ratings for its full-sized Tundra pickup by 400 pounds.

For an earlier story that details the SAE J2807 standard, SEE Tow Ratings Standardization: Comparing Apples to Apples.

Nissan says it adopts the standard on vehicles when they are redesigned, as it did for the 2013 Pathfinder. A redesigned Titan is due in 2015.

Ford surprised competitors in 2012 when it decided not to adopt the towing standard for the 2013 model year and said it would wait for the 2015 F-150 redesign. This caused GM— which was preparing to roll out its redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duties— to pull back marketing materials and even reprint owners’ manuals.

Mike Levine, a spokesman for Ford, told that the 2015 F-150 will get a new towing rating to go with its new aluminum body.

“As a founding member of the SAE trailer towing committee, we will meet SAE trailer towing standards,” he stated.

Tom Wilkinson, a GM spokesman, said that “when the other two major manufacturers move, we will move at that time.”

Wilkinson said GM already knows how the standard will change the Silverado and Sierra’s stated towing capacities.


The maximum vehicle towing capacity is… (Source:

“We already validate the trucks to [the J2807 standard]. It’s just a matter of adjusting the numbers,” Wilkinson said.

A spokesman for Ram also said that it would list towing capabilities for its 2015-model pickups to comply with the standard.

In a written statement, a Toyota spokesman said the company is glad to have company in complying with the standard.

“This will be most beneficial for customers, as previous methodologies created by individual manufacturers made it difficult for customers to compare tow ratings on an apples-to-apples basis,” the statement said.

“Toyota was always a firm believer in an industry-wide standard, as evidenced by our adopting SAE J2807 back in 2011 and being the only manufacturer to adopt it until now.”

What is the bottom line for RVers in the market for a tow vehicle?

Since the adoption of a common standard to rate towing capacities only applies to light-duty (one-half ton) pickups, benefits will be limited. The majority of RVers towing a fifth-wheel trailer require a three-quarter ton or ton truck since the GVCR of a light-duty pickup is not adequate. However, it is a step in the right direction.

Worth Pondering…
The important thing is not to stop questioning.

—Albert Einstein

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