If you plan to go camping in some woods or get cozy in a nearby lake, it’s good to know whether your 4WD can tow that camp trailer or heavy boat. It’s to not only ensure that your family and friends will get the best of the weekend, but also to keep your trip safe from possible accidents.
Well, the short answer would be – yes and no.
Towing with a four-wheel drive (4×4/4WD) has its pros and cons. If we’re strictly talking about towing capacity, excluding all other aspects, most would agree that a two-wheel-drive truck (2WD) running on rear-wheel-drive (RWD) would be the frontrunner in the towing league. However, if we were to include facets like weather, climate, security, and terrain, that would be another story.
Let us examine 4WD and its towing capacity.
Of course, before we set out exploring the capabilities of 4WD, let us first get a refresher about towing capacity.
What is it?
Simply put, towing capacity is the allowed amount of weight your vehicle can tow. You can find information about it on a sticker underneath the hitch or in the owner’s manual.
There are terms like GVWR and GCWR, but the point is, you should know your weight ratings. Familiarize yourself with computing your curb and tongue weight. Most of the information you need is plastered in stickers. It is not that difficult.
Why should you?
Towing has legal implications. You could end up apprehended for towing violations. Accidents can happen in the course of towing. Therefore, drivers should take towing seriously.
Two-wheel drive (2WD) vehicles run on either front-wheel-drive (FWD) or rear-wheel-drive (RWD). Both have their varying purpose, but RWD is the staple for towing. They are vehicles that have greater towing capacity and weight. Their gas mileage is better, upkeep and maintenance are cheaper, and you can purchase them at a more affordable price.
If this was strictly for towing, then you may opt for 2WD. But if you are towing with a vacation or something similar in mind, needing to go off-road, then I suggest you think twice.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are more expensive. They are costly to maintain, pricey in gas mileage, and fall behind in towing capacity against 2WD.
But if you live in areas where the climate is harsh, need extra grip when towing a slippery boat, boondocking with a camp trailer – then towing with 4WD is the best choice.
To conclude, 4WD does not directly increase towing capacity, but its capabilities can surely compensate.
Though 2WD is best with normal towing on dry roads, pavements covered with snow or mud need 4WD to make the haul. Putting it into perspective, having a 4WD for towing is not that bad at all. You can set it aside for normal towing when you don’t need it, and then put it to use when an opportunity comes calling.