Ways To Improve a Pickup Truck’s Towing Capacity

Posted on September 03 2021

Ways To Improve a Pickup Truck’s Towing Capacity

How to Improve a Truck's Towing Capacity

If you own a pickup truck, the time may come when you need to tow a load that exceeds your gross vehicle weight ratio (GVWR). Your GVWR is the maximum total weight your vehicle can handle, and it is not a number you should ignore. If you drive with a load heavier than your GVWR, it may damage your vehicle or cause accidents in the future.

When you do need to exceed that number, there are a few ways you can increase your GVWR. You should learn the ways to improve a pickup truck’s towing capacity so that if you are ever in this position, you know a few methods to handle the problem. Internalize the advice from this article, and it may help you in the future.

Upgrade the Axles

With upgraded axles, you can manage heavy-duty components with greater ease. Improved axles come with an enhanced gear ratio that allows you to tow heavier loads. However, you should know that this is one of the most expensive upgrades of all the ways to improve a pickup truck’s towing capacity.

It will require the professional service of a mechanic to install properly. Because it’s so expensive, you should put careful thought into whether you need improved axles. While all the upgrades on this list are helpful, some are not as cost-effective, depending on your needs and income.

Increase Suspension

Another expensive but entirely worthwhile change is upgrading your suspension. It will significantly lower the strain on your GVWR. A greater suspension will ease much of the pressure you put on the vehicle. The increased suspension will improve how your car handles and stabilizes the load by reducing the extent to which the pickup sways side to side. Not only will this allow you to carry heavy loads more safely, but it will also feel more comfortable in the long run.

With a heavy-duty suspension, more weight goes to the front of the vehicle, which allows it to better handle bumps on the road. Instead of replacing your current springs with more heavy-duty options, you can also replace the air suspension system. How you decide to change your suspension, if you decide to change it at all, is up to you.

Upgrade the Brakes

When you upgrade your pickup to handle larger loads better, you also must remember how these changes will impact the other parts of your truck. If your loads are heavier, physics tells us that your brakes will have to work harder to slow down the vehicle. When you upgrade your brake pads and rotors, you are preparing your truck to effectively manage the stress and friction heat that comes from the additional weight.

If you are towing a trailer, you may want to consider a trailer brake control system. Brakes on your trailer will help you stop quickly and safely. A trailer brake control system can create a dragging effect, which will relieve pressure from the vehicle’s brakes.


Manufacturers program vehicles to give them greater fuel efficiency. You can adjust these settings to gain some horsepower, though you may lose some efficiency in the process.

The vehicle programmer changes the air-to-fuel ratio, transmission shifting, and other settings, and it works with the vehicle’s electronic control module to make these shifting and handling improvements. There are various power programmers depending on the model and make of the pickup.

Install an up-to Task Hitch

As you prepare your truck for greater towing capacity, make sure you install a hitch that is up to the task. There are several classes of hitches, each with its own weight capacity. A Class III hitch, for instance, can manage up to 5,000 pounds, and a Class IV can handle 10,000 pounds. You must properly attach your hitch receiver to the vehicle’s chassis, which is the part of the truck that can handle the weight. Make sure you do your research on the correct hitch before you spend money on this investment.

Get a Bigger Radiator

The radiator stops your transmission and engine from overheating. By installing a bigger radiator, you are helping to keep those parts cool, even with the stress from the stronger weights. Furthermore, you should add new lubricants to the transmission fluids and engine oil to lower the heat.

Frame and Chassis

You can think of the frame and chassis as the skeleton of the pickup truck. Manufacturers consider their size and weight when deciding the vehicle’s GVWR. If you put too much weight on your vehicle, and your frame will break.

If you have a body-on-frame construction vehicle, you are in a better position to make frame and chassis adjustments for towing than you are with a unibody. A unibody is more comfortable, but body-on-frame trucks give you more opportunities to make changes depending on your towing needs. Body-on-frame trucks allow you to reinforce some of their parts to manage the extra weight.

Replace Your Intake and Exhaust

For the last upgrade you might want to make to improve your truck’s suspension, you should consider replacing your intake and exhaust. These are the parts of the vehicle that allow your truck to “breathe.” Replacing them will give you a better performance overall when you need greater torque and horsepower to tow a heavy load.

Replacing the stock parts with high-end alternatives could make all the difference as you try to improve your pickup’s towing abilities.


Increasing your tow capacity is a worthy challenge for any pickup driver who has a big trip ahead. Although there are many ways to find a solution, some are more costly or necessary than others. It is up to you to make wise decisions about what you think is best for your vehicle.

You should explore Powerstroke diesel parts to see what else you can add to make for a better-adapted, more impressive vehicle. There are ways you can improve your truck after you purchase it, but it takes time, careful planning, and intelligence to know what is worth your money and energy. For now, enjoy the search.

Ways To Improve a Pickup Truck’s Towing Capacity

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