Know Your Weights
The first step to safe towing is “knowing your weights, “ or how much your truck is capable of towing. Starting with the truck, there usually is a plate/sticker is near the driver’s door and it lists tire pressure, maximum payload, and maximum towing weight.
Next, determine how much your trailer plus its load weighs. The trailer weight is quite often found on the trailer itself on a similar metal plate like on the vehicle. Add to this the weight of the load you are putting in the trailer.
Putting the Numbers Together
Now that you know how much you plan to tow and how much the vehicle you plan to tow with is capable of towing (maximum towing weight), it is simple math, right? Not exactly. There are a few other terms you also should know:
Tongue Weight (TW) is the downward pressure on the ball by the trailer coupler. Put too much weight on the ball, and your truck will raise in the front and down in the rear. Generally, adjusting your tongue weight means balancing the load in your trailer so it sits better across the trailer wheels.
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the total mass of everything truck and trailer – including what you are towing, what you are putting in the cabin and the passenger’s weight. Adding this all together and matching it against the vehicle’s GCWR maximum will tell you whether you are being safe or not.
How much can the Ram 1500 tow?
The towing capacity of the Ram 1500 depends on the engine it has. Although a complete set towing capacities are listed on the Ram Truck website. For the purposes of this article, we got the towing capacities of the Ram 1500 Big Horn Quad Cab directly from Black Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
- 3.6L Pentastar V6 Engine with eTorque – Max towing capability is 7,730 pounds
- 5.7L HEMI V8 Engine – Max towing capability is 11,610 pounds
- 5.7L HEMI Engine with eTorque – Max towing capability is 12,750 pounds
If you have done your math correctly and everything you are towing/hauling is under the GCWR, then it is time to get towing.
Hook up to the ball – when putting a trailer hitch on a ball make sure the hitch falls completely down on the hitch and you can put a pin in the hitch to prevent it from popping free.
Connect the cross chains – after hooking up the hitch, next hook up the chains. These chains are very important. They are the last resort item for the hitch if something goes wrong.
Check lights – plug in the lights for your load and check the brake lights, turn signals and hazards.
Level the load – visually stand back or use a level to inspect the load. If need be, adjust items until the trailer is sitting level.
Tires – finally check the tire pressure and wear/tear of all your tires. The last thing you want to do while towing is to blow a tire – a very serious issue.
On the Road
Finally, when out on the road, there are a variety of items you need to keep in mind.
First of all, when towing, you will want to do everything nice and slow. This means from a dead stop, you will want to slowly gain speed and likewise, when slowing down, you will want to anticipate it and ease into it. Also, when turning, make sure that your turns are as wide as you can make them. Glide through the curves and gradually bring the load along. The sharper you turn, the more unstable the load becomes and more likely it could sway.
While towing doesn’t have to be a difficult exercise, understanding the right way to tow can be the difference between safe towing operation and a disaster. Follow these tips and you’ll keep yourself and others on the road safe.