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You need a stronger truck for the job when you want to pull a heavier load. Or do you? If you’ve reached the maximum towing capacity offered in the current setup for your pickup truck, there could be a few things you can do to increase the amount you can haul aside from upgrading to a larger truck.

The starting point for truck towing capacity is all about the hitch

Chevy Silverado Towing a Trailer
Chevy Silverado Towing a Trailer | Chevrolet

We see it all the time. Automakers list the maximum towing capacity of a truck, but that usually requires a 5th-wheel gooseneck hitch to pull a heavy load. If you’re currently working with a bumper hitch, investigate the 5th-wheel option for your truck. This might be enough to increase your towing capacity to the figure you need.

If adding a gooseneck setup doesn’t do the trick, or your trailer isn’t equipped to attach to your truck this way, there’s another hitch alternative. RV Share tells us a weight distribution system allows the trailer’s weight to be towed using the truck’s frame instead of the hitch receiver area. This should increase your tow rating.

Is your truck limited by its programming?

The array of computers in the vehicles we drive today, work to ensure we receive the best performance while driving. Many vehicles are programmed for efficiency, but that can limit your power to pull a heavy load. Using a vehicle programmer, the settings for your truck’s computer could be adjusted, giving you the power you need. Keep in mind, that this will seriously reduce the truck’s efficiency.

Replacing your truck’s axles could increase the towing capacity

A 2022 Nissan Titan full-size pickup truck towing a trailer on a highway
2022 Nissan Titan | Nissan Motor Corporation

The added power from the new computer settings doesn’t instantly translate to a truck that can handle the increased trailer weight you need. If you want to pull heavier loads, you’ll need to upgrade your truck’s equipment. This means replacing the standard axles with heavy-duty models or RV-rated axles.

Now your truck can pull the load; how will you stop the truck and trailer effectively?

When you increase the tow rating of your truck, it’s important to also increase the braking power. Choose a set of heavy-duty brakes rated to handle the heavier load. You’ll have to replace the brake pads and rotors to receive the increased stopping power required.

Can you improve your truck’s efficiency while increasing the towing capacity?

A red 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck is towing an RV.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning | Ford

Usually, when you increase the power and tow rating of a truck, you lose fuel mileage. You can do a few things to regain some of that efficiency, but don’t expect to reach the same fuel economy numbers. You’ve added heavier equipment and a heavier trailer, which increases the load on your truck and lowers the fuel mileage. That said, here are three things you can upgrade to improve fuel mileage in your truck:

  • Install a larger radiator
  • Upgrade the suspension system
  • Enhance the exhaust and air intake systems

Of course, if you want to increase the towing capacity of your truck without all of the work mentioned, all you’ve got to do is buy a bigger, stronger truck.

Next, check out this Toyota Tacoma turned full-time camper, or learn more about towing with your truck in the video below:


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