How To Tow A Light Truck – Tips And Tricks For Beginners

Jun 29, 2023

The need to tow a light truck can arise unexpectedly. Whether you’re planning a move, embarking on a road trip, or helping out a friend, knowing the ins and outs of how to tow a light truck can prove beneficial. We will examine that in this blog post. Read on!

Understanding What a Light Truck Is

When we say “light truck,” we’re talking about vehicles that fall within a specific gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) — typically ranging from 0 to 14,000 pounds. These are your everyday pickups, SUVs, and vans. Unlike their heavier counterparts used for commercial purposes, they’re designed for personal use or light-duty tasks.

Why is this important when you tow a light truck? Because each class of truck has a unique set of specifications, including towing capacity and compatibility with different hitch types. Understanding your light truck’s category ensures you employ the correct towing methods, contributing to safety and efficiency.

Getting to Know Your Light Truck’s Towing Capacity

Understanding how to tow a light truck safely starts with knowing its towing capacity. This crucial number represents the maximum weight your vehicle can handle without causing damage or affecting performance. Usually, this information is in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Remember, your truck’s towing capacity isn’t just about the trailer’s weight alone. It includes everything you’re towing – the trailer, cargo, passengers, and fuel in your tank. Never exceed this limit, as it can strain the engine, transmission, and brakes, affecting safety and causing potential damage.

In some cases, you might find different types of towing capacities mentioned, such as:

  • Gross Trailer Weight (GTW): The trailer’s weight plus all cargo, gear, and fluids.
  • Tongue Weight (TW): The weight that the fully loaded trailer exerts downward on the tow vehicle’s hitch ball.

Both weights should be within the specified capacity to ensure safety and vehicle integrity. If you find these calculations complex or need further guidance, consider consulting professionals or using online towing capacity calculators available. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when you tow a light truck.

The Basics: How to Tow a Light Truck

When you first tow a light truck, it can seem challenging but don’t worry. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Hitch and Trailer Connection: Begin by connecting the hitch to your trailer. Ensure this connection is secure; the hitch is the crucial link between your truck and trailer.
  2. Electrical Connections: Next, connect the trailer’s wiring to your truck. This ensures that your brake lights and turn signals operate correctly, a key factor for safe and legal towing.
  3. Loading the Trailer: Now, it’s time to load your trailer. Distribute the weight evenly across the trailer, with slightly more weight towards the front. An uneven load can lead to trailer sway or difficulty steering.
  4. Tire Pressure Check: Checking the tire pressure on both your truck and trailer is crucial. Incorrect tire pressure can affect handling, fuel efficiency, and tire wear.
  5. Final Safety Check: Before you start your journey, perform a final safety check. Confirm that your mirrors offer good visibility, brake lights and turn signals work, and the hitch is secure.

Essential Towing Equipment for Your Light Truck

When you tow a light truck, having the right equipment is essential. You’ll need a hitch rated for the weight you intend to tow, safety chains as a backup connection, trailer lights for visibility, and a brake controller for larger trailers.

Safety Precautions When You Tow a Light Truck

Safety must be addressed when you tow a light truck. Here are vital safety tips to follow:

  • Pre-Trip Inspection: Thoroughly check your trailer connections to ensure they are secure. Remember the hitch and safety chains; these are crucial.
  • Mirror Adjustments: Make sure you adjust your mirrors for a broader view to keep track of your trailer and other road users.
  • Tire Check: Monitor the tire pressure on your truck and trailer. Inadequate tire pressure can lead to dangerous blowouts.
  • Brake Function: Test your brakes before hitting the road. If you have a trailer brake controller, ensure it’s functioning correctly.
  • Rest: On longer trips, take frequent breaks. It reduces fatigue and allows you to check the truck and trailer.

Taking these precautions makes you more likely to ensure a safe journey when you tow a light truck. Remember, safety comes first!

Driving Tips While Towing a Light Truck

When you tow a light truck, you must adjust your driving habits accordingly.

  • Allow for Longer Braking Distances: The increased weight of the towed vehicle requires more time to come to a complete stop. Leave a larger gap between your truck and the vehicle ahead for extended braking distances.
  • Take Wider Turns: Towing a light truck affects your turning radius. Take wider turns to prevent your trailer from cutting corners or clipping obstacles.
  • Avoid Sudden Maneuvers: Abrupt lane changes or sudden maneuvers can lead to loss of control or trailer sway. Maintain a steady pace and plan your movements.
  • Stay Patient and Keep Speed Down: Patience is vital when towing. Avoid rushing and maintain a safe, steady speed. Adhering to speed limits and road conditions is crucial for your safety and others.

Avoiding Common Towing Mistakes

Even seasoned drivers can make mistakes when they tow a light truck. To ensure a good towing experience, avoid the following common pitfalls:

  • Not checking equipment properly: Always double-check your towing equipment before hitting the road. Ensure the hitch is securely attached, safety chains are in place, and trailer lights are functioning correctly.
  • Loading the trailer unevenly: Proper weight distribution is crucial for safe towing. Distribute the load evenly across the trailer, placing heavier items low and towards the front. This helps prevent sway and maintain stability.
  • Ignoring the effects of wind and weather on towing: Wind and adverse weather conditions can significantly impact towing stability. Be aware of crosswinds and adjust your driving accordingly. If conditions are severe, consider postponing your towing trip for safety reasons.

By being mindful of these common towing mistakes, you can have a safer and more enjoyable towing experience.


Knowing how to tow a light truck is a valuable skill. You can tow confidently and safely with the right equipment, safety precautions, and driving habits.

If you ever need professional assistance or are searching for a “cheap tow truck near me,” don’t hesitate to contact Five Star Towing at (469) 812-7897. Our services include light truck towing, flat bed towing, emergency roadside assistance, and more.


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