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Improving your truck’s towing potential is more than adding power. Despite what most people think, horsepower and torque does make towing a heavy trailer up a hill much easier. But power is not always the answer.
Improved towing capabilities come from the right kind of hitch, your truck’s suspension and having the right tires and pressure.
Which truck hitch is best
The type of hitch you own will ultimately determine the amount of weight your truck is capable of handling. Hitches range from light-duty 200-300 lbs. ratings to heavy duty 800-lbs.+ ratings. The basic hitch and receiver work well, but if you are towing a heavy trailer, the added tongue weight can cause erratic vibrations and movement.
Some savvy truck owners use an air-hitch that cushions the load on your hitch for smoother operation. If your sport truck has a roll pan, you can use a hidden hitch that tucks in behind the pan and is hidden from view until called for.
A spring stabilizer, keeps tension on the leaf spring pack to retain its arc. This keeps the leaf springs from laying flat with a heavy load. If your truck begins to sag under the load weight, you may want to consider beefing-up its suspension. A spring stabilizer keeps tension on the springs which keeps them from deflecting under the weight.
An add-a-leaf is an additional helper spring that supports the rest of the spring pack and increases the suspension’s towing capability.
Anti-sway bars can help
If the heavy tow weight makes maneuvering your truck a little difficult, then you can benefit form an aftermarket anti-sway bar. An anti-sway bar will keep your truck level with the added weight and improve handling and control while towing.
Make sure you have the right shocks and tire pressures
Shocks are key to controlling your trailer and your truck’s handling with a heavy load.
Finally a good pair of shocks are necessary to handle the loads and if your tires aren’t load rated for the amount of weight you are carrying, you are asking for a blowout. Look for the right size and width tires for your truck, but if you plan on towing, make sure they have the appropriate load rating and keep the pressures up to manufacturer’s specifications for the amount of weight the tires will carry.
With all of these options, your towing should be easy and your truck should drive as if there’s nothing behind you but open road.
Hitches and tow hooks and airbags, oh my …
When it comes to towing, the more help you have, the smoother the job will go. There are plenty of products available from simple tow hooks to help you get pulled out of mud pits, to air ride hitch systems to take the stress out off you and your truck.
Hidden hitch systems
Today you can find hidden hitch systems that allow you to maintain that clean unfunky feeling, but tow with the big boys when duty calls.
Maybe you’re not that interested in towing, but occasionally need yourself towed out of a rut. A tow straps and accessories can save you in sticky situations.
Flow through tailgates
For those of you out there that are doing serious towing with a fifth wheel trailer hitch, you could improve your fuel economy with a flow through style tailgate which helps relieve air pressure in the bed.
There are even towing accessories designed to hold your mountain bikes or scooter. It never hurts to look around for some hauling help.