Best Truck for Towing an RV: The Ultimate Guide

Best Truck for Towing an RV: The Ultimate Guide


I know this will open a can of worms, but here we go!

Everyone has their favorite truck brand, whether it is Ford, Dodge, Chevy, or GMC. They seem to live and breathe their favorite brands and even talking about another one is blasphemy. In reality, they all have their pluses and minuses. They all have setups and packages that make them capable to handle whatever you can throw at them. But, what is the best truck for towing an RV?

If you are searching for the best truck for towing an RV, you may be thinking about buying a large travel trailer or a fifth wheel. If this is the case another great article of ours is – Must see Bunkhouse RV’s

Why does, how much your vehicle can tow matter?

Safety is the main reason so much consideration is taken into account when looking for the perfect towing vehicle. if you ignore the towing capacity on your vehicle, you can quickly damage your engine, tires, transmission, or frame, often resulting in extensive damage. Failing to follow your towing capacity can also lead to your ability to safely maneuver your RV down the road.

What to look for in a truck that will tow your RV

Tow Capacity

Your vehicle’s towing capacity is the maximum amount of weight it can safely pull, which changes based on how it’s configured, how much weight it’s already carrying, and how you distribute and control the load you need to tow.

Don’t trust the dealer’s manufacturer number they provide. There are other factors to take into account.

The best truck for towing an RV will always be debatable and more of an opinion.

We will discuss how to accurately calculate your vehicles tow capacity next.

How to Calculate Towing Capacity

To calculate your vehicle’s towing capacity, you’ll need to know the full GCVWR — Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating — of the vehicle you plan to tow with and the trailer you plan to tow, together with all the cargo each will carry, from people to wiper fluid.

Then you’ll need to know your tow vehicle’s curb weight – the weight of the tow vehicle itself when filled with gas and all the other fluids it consumes while driving.

Subtracting the curb weight from the GCVWR gives you the vehicle’s towing capacity. Manufacturers will stress that you should never exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity. We would add that, for safety reasons, it’s best to never come within 10% of that total.

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What do all those acronyms mean?

GTW

Gross Trailer Weight is the total weight of your trailer and its cargo. If you were to place the fully loaded trailer on a scale, the resulting measurement would be the GTW. If your GTW exceeds your vehicle’s towing capacity, you will not be able to move it safely. It is crucial that you never even attempt to tow a GTW higher than your towing capacity. 

GVWR

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can hold while sitting still. It takes into account the strength of the frame, suspension, axles, and wheels.

Your tow vehicle and the trailer you are using it to tow will each have their own GVWR. It’s possible to overload each one separately.

GCVWR

Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum weight of your tow vehicle and trailer combined, both loaded with all cargo. The tow vehicle and trailer each have their own separate GVWR numbers, which, combined, make up the GCVWR. This is a main factor when choosing the best truck for towing an RV.

GAWR

Gross Axle Weight Rating is the maximum amount of weight one axle can support. This number will almost always show differences between the front and rear axles. The two can be different materials or diameters, and few cars have a perfect 50-50 weight balance between the two axles.

Tongue Weight

Sometimes referred to as TW — is the force pushing down on the trailer hitch by the load being hauled. Tongue weight can change based on how the load gets distributed within the trailer.

Curb Weight

Curb Weight is the total weight of a vehicle and all the fluids it requires to function (including a full tank of gas), but with no people or cargo inside it. This weight differs from GVWR, which is a measurement of how much a vehicle can carry. (VIN sticker) – This is also another main factor when choosing the best truck for towing an RV.

Dry Weight

Dry weight is a measurement of how much a vehicle weighs with no cargo and none of the fluids it requires to function. Your tow vehicle’s dry weight is its weight when empty, without gasoline, oil, wiper fluid, or any other consumable. You don’t need to know your vehicle’s dry weight in most towing calculations.

Payload

Payload capacity is the maximum amount of weight a tow vehicle can carry in its cabin and bed. This capacity is the weight limit for a truck’s bed and cabin. In contrast, towing capacity is the weight limit for any trailer it can pull.

Braked vs. Unbraked Towing Capacity

Some trailers come equipped with their own brakes, connected electrically to the tow vehicle so that stepping on the vehicle’s brake pedal activates the tow vehicle’s brakes and the trailer’s brakes at the same time. A vehicle can tow a much heavier load under control if the trailer operates with its own brakes.

Thus, braked towing capacity, or the amount your tow vehicle can tow if the trailer has its own brakes, is higher than unbraked towing capacity, or the amount your tow vehicle can tow if the trailer does not have brakes.

How Do I Know What I Can Tow?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find the towing capacity of some vehicles. The amount of weight a vehicle can pull can be affected by its engine, transmission, and suspension. Most vehicles powerful enough to be used for towing heavy loads get offered with a selection of each of those components. Truck manufacturers also offer towing packages that can change axle ratios, tire types and include factory-installed hitches.

Thankfully, many truck and SUV manufacturers today post a sticker on the driver’s door jamb that includes much of the necessary towing information, such as GVWR and GAWR.

Disclaimer – Auto advertising can be misleading, do you own due diligence and know for sure, to keep you safely on the road. There are many factors in your vehicle that can change your ability to tow more weight. Know what package you have and figure your own tow capacity.

Factors that can affect a pickup truck towing capability include:

  • Engine Type
  • Axle Ratios
  • Transmissions
  • Chassis
  • Suspension
  • Tires and load ratings
  • Hitch type and class
  • Trailer type

Find out your trucks towing capacity by VIN Number

Click the link and put in your VIN Number to find out your specific trucks towing capacity or GCWR so you can work it out. Link provided by Fremont Motors

Remember the below numbers are max setups, showing max weights and more for bragging rights than anything.

Best truck for towing an RV

GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD

Sierra HD Denali was built strong so you can tow strong — with its large drive shaft and real axle, the power of the available Allison® 10-speed automatic transmission, the first in a heavy-duty truck in its class, and available Duramax® 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 engine are maximized so you can tow with command and control.

Best truck for Towing an RV - Ford, Chevy, Dodge or GMC - They all bring power and tow capability to the table. Best is really an opinion.

  • Maximum Trailer Weight Rating: 35,500 lbs.
  • Max Trailer Capacity: up to 20,000 lbs.
  • Max fifth-wheel/gooseneck rating: up to 30,990 lbs.
  • Payload: up to 6,374 lbs.
  • GVWR: up to 13,025
  • Turbo Diesel: 445 hp. / 910 lbs. torque

Dodge Ram 3500 Limited Longhorn

Boasting Best-in-Class available diesel towing of up to 37,090 pounds when equipped with the available 6.7L High-Output Cummins® Turbo Diesel engine, the 2022 Ram 3500 has the power required to get the job done.

Best truck for Towing an RV - Ford, Chevy, Dodge or GMC - They all bring power and tow capability to the table. Best is really an opinion.
  • Maximum Trailer Weight Rating: 37,090 lbs.
  • Max Trailer Capacity: up to 15,500 lbs.
  • Max fifth-wheel/gooseneck rating: up to 12,750 lbs.
  • Payload: up to 7,680 lbs.
  • GVWR: up to 12,300
  • Turbo Diesel: 420 hp. / 1,075 lbs. torque

Ford F-350 Super Duty

Super Duty means that the truck is designed to put in the work. It’s the name Ford gives its lineup of heavy-duty trucks. Super Duty trucks are designed for towing, hauling, plowing, and off-road driving. They are more rugged than other truck models and can be considered more of a work truck.

Best truck for Towing an RV - Ford, Chevy, Dodge or GMC - They all bring power and tow capability to the table. Best is really an opinion.

  • Maximum Trailer Weight Rating: up to 37,000 lbs.
  • Max Trailer Capacity: up to 20,000 lbs.
  • Max fifth-wheel/gooseneck rating: 32,500 lbs.
  • Payload: up to 7,630
  • GVWR: up to 14,000
  • Turbo Diesel: 475 hp. / 1,050 lbs. torque

Chevy Silverado 3500HD

Silverado 3500 towing capacity up to 14,200 pounds with the standard engine. Silverado 3500 towing capacity up to 23,100 pounds with available Duramax engine. Tow/Haul Model adjusts transmission to help you haul or tow heavy loads even on uneven terrain.

Best truck for Towing an RV - Ford, Chevy, Dodge or GMC - They all bring power and tow capability to the table. Best is really an opinion.

  • Maximum Trailer Weight Rating: 35,500 lbs.
  • Max Trailer Capacity: 14,500 lbs.
  • Max fifth-wheel/gooseneck rating: 29,700 lbs.
  • Payload: 7,442 lbs.
  • GVWR: 11,500 lbs.
  • Turbo Diesel: 445 hp. / 910 lbs. torque

Truck Towing Guides for Download

Obviously, you should check out the towing guide for your vehicle.  Here they are for your convenience!

FAQ

How much weight can an SUV tow?

The average SUV can tow between 8,000 and 9,000 lbs. Ford Expedition topping the list at around 9,300 lbs.

What is the most a half ton can tow?

A half ton truck can tow upwards of 8,000 lbs. safely with the proper tow package setup.

How much can you tow with a 3/4 ton truck?

Ford is currently the king of the jungle for 3/4 ton trucks with a 21,000 tow rating

How much does the average RV weight?

The average RV weighs in at around 10,000 lbs. but larger ones can weigh much more.

To learn more about travel trailer/RV weights check us this article @2 Boomers and a Baby RV

Conclusion

As you can clearly see, they are capable of handling to job of towing your RV. It really comes down to having a good tow package set up for your individual vehicle. Each one with the right set up has plenty of power and can handle a large amount of weight.

Having a dually rear end is another option to keep in mind, because the more rubber you have on the road, the more control you will have over what you are towing. The dually also makes you have the ability to tow more weight for those extra large trailers and fifth wheels.

In the end it is all about safety. making sure you, and your loved ones arrive at the destination in one piece.

Hopefully, this article was helpful and answered a few questions that you had about “What’s the Best truck to pull my RV?”

Now go get that truck of your dreams and hope to see you out on the road. But. only if your truck is not overloaded Lol!

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