Make us your home page
Instagram
Auto | Towing capacity

New standard for towing capacity on the horizon

It's a victory for truth, justice and anybody who ever towed a trailer up a steep hill.

The leading makers of big pickups have agreed to a standard test to determine their towing capacity. By the end of the 2013 model year, most truck buyers should know — for the first time — how their vehicle performs against the competition.

"We wanted our customers to know that 10,000 pounds of towing capacity means the same things for all trucks," said Robert Krouse, the General Motors engineer who chaired the Society of Automotive Engineers committee that created the new standard.

This is a really big deal for millions of drivers. Towing capacity measures how heavy a trailer a vehicle can safely haul.

The rating is as important to many pickup and sport utility vehicle buyers as fuel economy or horsepower are to minivan or sports-car shoppers.

The big difference, and the reason the SAE standard is a breakthrough, is that, until now, automakers could pretty much make up the numbers they claimed for towing capacity. Each company designed its own test, and their trucks always aced the tests. Imagine the Environmental Protection Agency didn't exist, and car companies could make up fuel-economy figures to boost sales.

The new standard solves that problem. Created with input from leading truck, trailer and hitch makers, it assures that every truck tested fulfills the same performance requirements.

"Before, you couldn't say who had the best towing capacity, because you didn't know how it was tested," says Mike Levine, editor of Pickuptrucks.com.

"This is the first time a customer can do an actual apples-to-apples comparison."

The test includes real-world tasks like acceleration, braking, towing up a steep grade in 100-degree temperatures, understeer and stability.

In addition to validating a truck's working credentials, it assures a basic level of safety for the driver and for others on the road.

Toyota is the first to use the standard. It already applied it to the Tundra. The Tundra's claimed towing capacity decreased, but its credibility grew.

Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and GMC full-size pickups are expected to adopt the test during the 2013 model year, which begins Jan. 1, 2012. Nissan will use the standard someday, but won't say when or on which vehicles.

New standard for towing capacity on the horizon 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]