If you find yourself wanting to tow more, whether it be for recreation or work, then you might need to get yourself a tow package.
Tow packages are a set of equipment and/or upgrades that make it possible to tow things with your vehicle that you may have not been able to before.
Adding a tow package is possible for many vehicles. However, it will require research, parts, and labor to make it possible.
The main factor that influences what you can do in regards to a tow package is whether you are buying a new vehicle that has a factory tow package upgrade or you just want to add a tow package to your existing vehicle.
Now let’s talk about the details of installing a tow package to your vehicle.
What Kind Of Tow Package Can I Get?
With a tow package, nearly any vehicle can tow at least a small trailer.
But before we talk about more details on how to do that, we have to go over the two different kinds of tow packages: aftermarket tow packages and factory tow packages.
What’s an Aftermarket Tow Package?
Trailer/tow hitches and their accessories are also called aftermarket tow packages. This is the most basic kind of tow package.
As long as your vehicle’s frame is not damaged or not too old, you can install a tow hitch onto any vehicle.
So, if you think you need to purchase a whole new vehicle for a few simple towing or trailering needs, think again.
Most small cars can surprisingly tow 1,000-2,000 pounds, enough for a small camper or boat!
Most newer vehicles these days make it fairly simple to install a tow hitch, allowing you to bolt the hitch right on the rear part of the frame.
Usually, the wiring is all there on the vehicle for easy access, but if it’s not, you can reroute the wiring from one of the taillights to attach to the trailer.
Aftermarket tow packages are great, but they are a little limited when it comes to increasing towing capacity.
That’s where factory tow packages come in.
What’s a Factory Tow Package?
A factory tow package is an upgrade the dealership installs onto a new vehicle to increase the towing capacity.
For example, a new Ford F150 without a tow package can haul about 5,000 pounds, while one with a factory tow package increases that towing capacity up to 13,000 pounds!
If you try to tow something beyond your vehicle’s intended towing capacity, you can do some serious damage to the internal elements of your vehicle, such as the engine and transmission.
Factory tow packages make it possible for a vehicle that otherwise not be able to tow a lot to tow something large like an RV, large trailer, or a boat.
They are more complex and need specialized mechanics to install them for you.
Improperly installing tow package upgrades is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to an accident.
Factory Tow Package Upgrades
- Front and/or rear suspension upgrade
- Added engine cooling
- Engine upgrade
- Better brakes and larger brake drums
- Transmission modifications
- Improved electric components
- Drivetrain upgrade
Factory vs Aftermarket Tow Package Considerations
Now that you know you can add a tow package to any vehicle, it’s time to decide whether you want to add a factory tow package or an aftermarket package.
Each option has its pros and cons that you need to weigh out before making a decision.
I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to help you out!
Factory Tow Package Pros
- They increase the towing capacity of your vehicle. Factory tow packages are the only way to do this. That’s because they upgrade many inside components of your vehicle to be able to handle hauling large loads.
- They are custom-made for your specific make and model. Aftermarket tow packages usually fit a variety of vehicles, while factory tow packages are specific to your vehicle
- A professional installs the package for you. If you’re worried about messing up installation, a factory tow package might be best for you.
- It could increase resale value. You may be able to sell the vehicle for more money if you add a factory tow package.
Factory Tow Package Cons
- They are expensive. Factory tow packages are sometimes thousands of dollars.
- They increase your gas mileage. The engine upgrades and towing large loads will add to what you pay at the pump.
Aftermarket Tow Package Pros
- They are more affordable than factory tow packages. Aftermarket options can be purchased for around $100 on average.
- You can assemble them yourself. If you know your way around a few tools, you can assemble an aftermarket tow package yourself.
- They can be installed quickly. Most packages can be installed in under an hour.
Aftermarket Tow Package Cons
- They could affect the resale value of your vehicle. When trying to resell a vehicle that has a tow hitch, potential buyers might be turned off by this. That’s because it could mean extra wear and tear on a vehicle.
- Improper installation can have unpleasant results. Tow packages must be installed correctly, otherwise, you may cause damage to your own vehicle, your cargo, and even other vehicles if something goes wrong while driving.
- They do not increase towing capacity. Aftermarket tow packages do not add towing capacity to your vehicle in any way.
Can I Increase My Vehicle’s Towing Capacity?
The only way to legitimately add towing capacity to your vehicle is with a factory tow package.
The upgrades needed to your vehicle are technical and specific to each vehicle.
To stay within proper towing laws, you will have to leave the complex factory towing package up to the experts at the dealership.
Aftermarket tow packages typically do not add to the towing capacity.
The towing capacity of an aftermarket tow package is dependent on your vehicle’s towing capacity.
So, even if you add an aftermarket package with 3,000-pound towing capacity, but your vehicle can only tow 2,000 pounds, you can only load that hitch with 2,000 pounds.
How Much Does it Cost to Add a Towing Package?
Installing an aftermarket towing package can be very inexpensive.
The cheapest tow hitch kits start at around $50 and if you install it yourself, you don’t have to pay any more than that.
Factory towing package prices are completely dependent on your vehicle’s make and model.
If you want to find out if your vehicle can have a factory towing package added to it, call your dealership to get a quote.
Prices for these packages can start at around $1,000 and just go up from there.
Keep in mind that they will quote you a price for materials, as well as their labor time installing the package.
Adding A Tow Package
Adding a towing package to your vehicle is completely possible, but you have to think through which option is best for your situation.
Hopefully, by now you have a clearer idea of what you need in a tow package.
If you still have questions about tow packages and your vehicle, call your local car dealership.
They will be able to give you the specifications you need according to your vehicle’s make and model.