If you are interested in buying a travel trailer to go camping with, then it is important to know the size limits of your chosen truck. Specifically, what is the largest travel trailer your Ford F-150 can pull?
Generally speaking, the average Ford F-150 can tow up to 6,000 lbs of weight, so a trailer should ideally be at or below that level. At the same time, depending on the cab size and engine type of your specific Ford, this number can increase or decrease as larger cars with larger engines can tow more weight.
There is more about pulling a travel trailer than just knowing your truck’s weight capacity, and these factors impact your towing power.
What is the Towing Capacity of a Ford F-150?
The exact towing capacity of the Ford F-150 depends on a number of factors that can either increase or decrease the truck’s overall weight rating.
Factors that Effect Towing Capacity
While there are many factors that go into determining the towing capacity of a vehicle, the two most important are the strength and size of the vehicle, as well as the amount of cargo the vehicle is carrying. Both of these contribute to how much weight your vehicle can safely tow so you need to keep both in mind.
Vehicle Strength. This refers to both the power of the truck’s engine as well as how durable the frame is, since towing puts a strain on both. Specifically, these values refer to how strong the shocks and struts are, as well as the amount of torque the engine can create since these two values impact the amount of weight your truck can safely pull.
Current Cargo. The more weight you put into your truck and your trailer, the more strain you put on your vehicle’s frame and engine. There is only a limited amount of weight your vehicle can haul, both on its own and with a trailer, so you need to be careful of how much weight your vehicle is carrying.
Overall Towing Capacity
There are two components to a vehicle’s towing capacity, the towing payload and the gross combined weight rating, or GCWR. While the payload capacity is part of the GCWR rating, both numbers have different factors that contribute to them and both need to be taken into account when picking out a trailer to pull.
Towing Payload. The towing payload of a vehicle is the amount of weight it can safely pull, not including the weight of any trailer that cargo is sitting on, with the Ford F-150’s rating being around 6,000 lbs. This is the weight rating most commonly used to determine the amount of weight a vehicle can tow and most applies to travel trailers.
GCWR. A vehicle’s gross combined weight rating refers to the total amount of weight the vehicle can tow, including the weight of the cargo trailer itself, the Ford F-150 having a GCWR around 10,000 lbs. While this does not generally apply to travel trailers, this value can give you a rough ceiling for how much total weight your vehicle can take.
While traveling on the road it is important to not only take your travel trailer’s weight into account, but how much weight your vehicle can hold on its own. Just like with towing capacity, this number breaks down into two values, the cargo payload and the gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR.
Cargo Payload. A vehicle’s cargo payload reflects how much unnecessary cargo it can carry, with the Ford F-150 being rated for around 2,000 lbs. An item is considered unnecessary cargo if it is not required for the vehicle to move and does not come with a new vehicle off the lot, so fuel and spare tires are not included in a payload rating.
GVWR. The gross vehicle weight rating of a truck is the combined weight of the vehicle itself and all cargo both necessary and unnecessary, the Ford F-150 in particular having a GVWR of over 6,000 lbs. GVWR is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can carry including passengers, but part of this rating is always taken up by the weight of the vehicle itself.
Gross Vehicle Weight
In addition to the amount of weight a vehicle can hold, the vehicle itself has a specific amount of weight independent of any cargo or towing capacity. These numbers often have a bearing on how much total weight the vehicle can support and how much it can safely tow before something breaks.
Curb Weight. This value calculates the base weight of the vehicle independent of any unnecessary cargo such as passengers, with the Ford F-150 having a curb weight of around 5,000 lbs. Curb weight does include necessary items like fuel, however, so fuel capacity of a vehicle needs to be taken into account when discussing the curb weight.
Axel Weight Rating. While this does not reflect the weight of the vehicle itself, the individual axels of a car have certain weight limits and particularly with trucks these values are often different for the front and rear axles. The front axel of a Ford F-150 has a weight rating of 3650 lbs while the rear axel under the truck bed can hold 3,800 lbs.
The towing capacity and weight rating of the Ford F-150 are measured in a variety of ways and depend on numerous factors, all of which determine the vehicle’s towing power.
How to Increase Your F-150’s Towing Capacity
There are a number of ways to get more towing power out of your vehicle if you need to haul a heavier load. In general these techniques rely on increasing either the durability of your vehicle or increasing the power of the engine to generate more torque, the value that determines towing ability.
Strengthen the towing hitch and frame. Towing hitches, shocks, struts, and axels all have weight ratings for how much they can tow before warping or breaking under the strain. By reinforcing these areas or replacing them with stronger components you can safely pull larger loads without damaging your truck.
Increase your engine’s power with mods. In addition to the limits of your vehicle’s structure, towing power is also based on how much torque your engine can generate. You can do this by adding mods like air intakes and expanded exhaust systems to help your engine run more efficiently to generate more power and more torque.
Use a lighter trailer. While using a lighter trailer won’t increase the overall towing weight capacity of your vehicle, a lighter trailer can let you tow more cargo. In order for this to work the trailer has to be both lighter than your current trailer while having a greater weight and cargo capacity than your original trailer.
Tips to Tow Trailers Safely with F150
The extra weight and size of a trailer can be a danger both to you and other motorists on the road so it is important to know how to safely tow a trailer. The not only includes tips for driving around but also for stopping and hitching your trailer, since your trailer can be dangerous even when stationary.
Brake down and accelerate slowly. If you brake down or accelerate too quickly while towing a trailer, the trailer itself won’t have time to adjust for the change in speed. This can lead you to either damage your trailer hitch if you speed up too fast or it can cause your trailer to collide with the back of your truck if you brake down too fast.
Install safety mods. There are a variety of useful safety modifications such as towing mirrors and hitch chains that can prevent trailer damage and help you spot hazards. Installing one or more of these mods is a great way to protect your trailer from damage and to protect your car from being damaged by your trailer.
Watch out for the weather. A large, flat surface like a travel trailer is more vulnerable to high winds, flying debris, and other dangerous types of weather. Try to avoid driving during storms, especially those with high winds, lightning, or hail, and if you must drive in these conditions move slowly and carefully, trying to avoid open terrain.
A travel trailer can be a great way to camp on the go, but it is important to know if your vehicle can handle towing that much weight. A Ford F-150 can tow up to 6,000 lbs of weight depending on the size of the cab and the power of the engine. If you have any questions about the Ford F-150’s towing capacity, comment with them below.
Hi, I am Brad. Car Independent is your source for independent views on cars and car accessories. Whether you looking to buy a new car or something cool for your car, you have many options. My aim to help you make the best-informed choices.