Safe Towing Capacity & limits.

As i was out towing in Santa Rosa the other day, one of the calls i was on was for a Dodge BR3500 dually truck that had a utility bed on it. As i was talking to the company driver of that truck while i was hooking up to it with my Medium Duty Tow Truck, the driver stated that he was "glad you guys could do this tow cuz the road club said it was too big". Apparently, a major road club had sent a truck out to it earlier in the day, and that motor club driver properly advised this customer that his truck was too big for the licensing of that driver and possibly over the Safe Towing Capacity for his tow truck. Not many people are aware that in California, if you have a class C drivers license, you can legally only tow up to a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rated limit) of 10,000lbs. Well, a factory produced, 2002-2011 F350 can have a GVWR of 11,500 lbs which would deem it illegal to tow for a light duty tow truck driver with a class C license. Not to mention exceeding the Safe Towing Capacity of the Tow Truck. The Formula for the Safe Towing Capacity of any tow vehicle is as follows; STC = 1/2 the Front axle weight of the tow truck multiplied by the wheel base of the tow truck divided by the overhang of the tow truck (overhang is from the center bogie or rear axle hub measured to the front axle of towed vehicle). A good example would be a Tow truck (Ford F550) with a front axle rating of 6000lbs, a wheel base of 165 inches and an overhang of 85 inches would give it a STC of 5284 lbs only. And that weight is actually unladen. Most light duty tow trucks on the market fit this description or less (some have a shorter wheel base by 24 inches). Most repo trucks and private property trucks only have a 5000 lb or less safe towing capacity. Well, all this is sorta confusing however, if you just remember that in California, a driver with a normal Class C license CANNOT tow any vehicle with a GVWR over 10,000lbs legally you will know what to expect.

So this truck that i was about to tow had a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 11,500 lbs, had all of its tools in the Utility bed and was only missing the 3 passengers in the truck (less 600lbs), that would give it closer to an actual curb weight of 10,900lbs. That would have been more than double the safe towing capacity of the motor club tow truck that first responded to this fellow. Ouch, i would not want to be following that guy in tow.

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