Towing Capacity Explained

Ever looked at towing capacity specs & thought "What the H?" We break down exactly what towing capacity is & how to figure out how much your car can tow.

Have you ever wondered: how much weight can my car tow? Well read on for an explanation on what exactly car towing capacity is and how it works

Unless you’re a regular Russell Coight, all the figures and specifications surrounding towing capacity and weights can be a little overwhelming at times.

The towing capacity of Australian vehicles differs greatly by make and model so there really isn’t a universal figure to follow.

To help wrap your head around it, we explore what all these weights mean and how you can easily find out the towing capacity of your vehicle. 


What is tare weight?

Tare weight or tare mass are terms used to recognise the weight of a completely empty vehicle (think nothing in the boot) with all of its fluids (oils, coolants) and only 10L of fuel in the tank.

Tare weight is used to help determine the weight of your payload, or everything you’re currently carrying/towing.


What is GVM weight?

GVM stands for Gross Vehicle Mass and it is the total amount of weight a vehicle can support at any one time. Essentially, it is a vehicle’s tare weight plus the weight of all additions to the car including people, a full tank of fuel and whatever load being carried.

It’s important to note that whenever you are towing anything, the towball down load of the trailer needs to be added to the GVM.


GVM weight vs tare weight

We often find ourselves getting confused about the differences between tare weight and GVM weight. 

An easy way of looking at it is 

GVM weight - the FULL weight of the load = tare weight.

GVM weight is usually considered the more important weight as it can vary and it directly affects your towing capacity.


What is ATM weight & GTM weight?

ATM weight stands for Aggregate Trailer Mass and it is used to measure the combined weight of the trailer that you intend on using and the full load that will be carried when it is not attached to the towing vehicle.

GTM weight stands for Gross Trailer Mass and it is the weight of the trailer combined with the full load when it is attached to the towing vehicle. The GTM weight will always be lower than the ATM weight because the towing vehicle absorbs a portion of the trailer weight. 


How much weight can my car tow?

There is a large number of factors that go into determining the towing capacity of a vehicle. Make, model, transmission and engine type all come into play when determining this figure. 

Unfortunately, there’s no universal guide for determining a vehicle's towing capacity. Your best bet is to check your owner’s manual.

The best way to determine a vehicle's GVM is to take it to the closest weighbridge to get weighed. The GVM capacity can be found in your owner’s manual.

Towing capacity is also dependent on whether the trailer has brakes or not.


Towing with the CR-V

If you’re looking for a car that can do it all from trips to the city to family adventures, check out the Honda CR-V which has a braked towing capacity of 1500kg. Be sure to take advantage of the Honda Genuine Towbar which has been designed for easy handling and complete integration with the CR-V. Contact your local Honda dealer for pricing information.   


If you’re ready to explore what Honda has to offer, find a dealer today to learn more. 


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