There are a number of terms in towing that can be confused, so we’ve compiled a quick reference to what they mean:
- Towing on the ball.
This is your conventional towing with the towed vehicle tethered to a tow ball or similar arrangement.
- Carrying (vs. towing)
Instead of pulling the weight behind the tow vehicle, the cargo weight is borne on the towing vehicle itself, either on the cargo bed or the cabin.
- Tare (weight or mass)
The weight of an empty vehicle with all its fluids (coolant, etc.) but just 10 litres of fuel in the tank.
- Curb weight
Similar to tare weight, but with a full tank of fuel, and without any accessories (bull bar, roof rack, etc.).
- Gross Vehicle Weight (or Mass)
This is specified by the manufacturer as the maximum weight of the vehicle, with full accessories and payload.
The payload refers to how much the vehicle can carry combing the cab area and the truck bed. So that would be including passengers, cargo, and the “tongue weight” – that is, the weight impinging on the tow vehicle from the towed mass weighing on the trailer hitch.
- Tow Capacity
Basically, how much the vehicle can tow using a “tow on the ball” arrangement without compromising safety.
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