It’s no secret that for years truck manufacturers have competed for truck sales by boasting to have the “best in class” tow ratings. I have always taken issue with this because the consumer is the loser in the end. Vehicles go through rigorous testing to determine tow ratings, but the problem is there was never a standard manufacturers had to meet or measure the vehicle against to determine a vehicle’s tow rating. Unfortunately this results in biased outcomes.
Let’s start with some background information
My journey into questioning tow vehicle ratings officially began in 2007 after I watched a television commercial advertising a new Ford F-150 with a fully-boxed frame could safely tow an 11,000 pound trailer. That television commercial culminated in my Let’s Talk Half-Ton Trucks article.
A couple years later I wrote a follow-up article after reading a full-size pickup comparison test conducted by Edmunds in 2009. Of the competitors involved in the comparison Ford had the lowest horsepower and torque ratings, but claimed to have the highest tow rating. In the comparison test Ford came in last place, towing a 6,500 pound trailer with a truck supposedly rated to tow 11,200 pounds! I would hate to see what would happen if you added another 4,700 pounds to the trailer’s weight to get to Ford’s advertised 11,200 pound tow rating. This resulted in my second article on the topic, 2010 Update, Let’s Talk ½ Ton Trucks
Now it might sound or seem as though I am picking on Ford, but they brought this on by the claims they made and advertised to the public. In 2012 a Ford truck owner wrote asking for help in determining what his actual tow rating was. He was confused because what he was told the tow rating was, and what was advertised in Ford’s towing guide were two different things. After some research I discovered there were two different published tow ratings for the truck in question. That lead to my Caution-Why Truck Tow Ratings don’t add up article.
During my time spent researching and writing these articles I did get a glimpse of promising light at the end of the tunnel. In 2010 I read information about a new towing standard called SAE J2807. This standard would be developed and used to determine trailer weight ratings for all tow vehicles. I don’t always agree with mandated standards, government or otherwise, but this is one standard I am in favor of. The way it developed, very briefly, was several domestic and foreign truck manufacturers worked with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to establish standardized testing across the board for tow vehicle ratings. The standard was written, revised, agreed on and established with an implementation date of 2013. This gave all of the manufacturers sufficient time to prepare for and implement the new standard. I applauded these manufacturers for voluntarily reaching this milestone, and anxiously awaited 2013 when the new towing standard would be implemented.
Unfortunately 2013 came and went, and one-by-one (with the exception of Toyota) truck manufacturers opted out of complying with the towing standard they all agreed to implement and use three years prior. That led to my SAE J2807 Truck Towing Standard article.