Towing Capacity Conspiracy

by Yvonne Johnson

Regarding towing capacities of various vehicles, it has been known for decades that auto manufacturers under quote the towing capacities of their products to the U.S. public. They all do it. So, one wonders, is this some kind of conspiracy? And what is the motive for deceiving the public?

Who Blew the Whistle?

Did some employee of a major auto manufacturer find a hidden memo that blew the lid off this deception? The answer is no. The American public can easily find out the true towing capacity of a vehicle on the Web without the help of a whistleblower.


To get the actual towing capacity of a vehicle, you must go to a European (United Kingdom sites are good) or to an Australian website that gives towing capacity ratings. There you will find just how far off the American towing capacities are. Here are just a few examples:

Towing Capacity

Now, just so you understand, the cars in Europe or Australia don’t have anything built into them that allows the cars to tow more weight than the American models. In a very few cases, there can be differences in an American and non-American model, but the differences don’t affect towing. If horsepower and foot-pounds of torque are roughly equivalent, the towing capacity listed for the non-American model is the number you can trust.

Why the Deception?

So, what gives? Since no one found an internal memo explaining the strategy of this deception, we must draw our own conclusions. Our conclusion is that the manufacturers might be using this as one way to avoid frivolous lawsuits by ambulance-chasing attorneys. After all, the United States is the most lawsuit crazy country in the world. We spend roughly $310 billion a year (an average of $1,000 per person) in the country on tort litigation.

In almost all cases, when there is an accident involving towing, the person driving the vehicle is at fault. Not the tow vehicle. Not the boat trailer. Not the camper. But the driver. The driver made a driving error, or didn’t balance the load properly, or made a bad decision about towing when weather conditions made the roads too dangerous. 

The auto manufacturers know this from experience, but they still have to defend themselves against frivolous lawsuits, and that costs money. If this is, in fact, their motivation, we can sort of understand. 

Everyone who tows anything—a utility trailer, a boat, a camper, a horse trailer, etc.—needs to learn how to tow safely. That is a responsibility that lies squarely with the driver. BUT, even though we might see their point just a little, the deception by the auto manufacturers is not acceptable because it:

How Much Do PeeWee Campers Weigh?

We put every camper’s specifications online. These include measurements, tire sizes, ball height etc. But we do not include the weights, specifically because we want you to call us to discuss this. As you can see from this blog, it’s a little more complicated than most people realize. If you are going by the U.S. stated towing capacity of your vehicle and then searching for a camper that is under that weight, you will be ruling out many campers that you could really tow comfortably and safely.

To see the specifications for each of our models, click the appropriate link below:

Specifications for the Small Fry

Specifications for the Half Pint

Specifications for the Li’l Tripper