Towing Tips


1. Selecting the right hitch.

  • Determine the Gross Trailer Weight and Gross Tongue Weight of the trailer that you would like to tow. Check with the trailer manufacturer or if you are not sure, have it towed to a government inspection scale. Remember that the G.T.W. should reflect a fully loaded trailer.
  • Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine if your vehicle is rated to safely tow your trailer.
  • Use the chart to figure out the minimum “Class” of hitch that is required.



Find out more.


2. Selecting the right ball mount and hitch ball.

Selecting the right hitch ball is a must for trouble-free towing.

Always use the properly rated hitch ball for your towing system.

  • Your towing system’s maximum weight rating is always equal to the lowest
    rated item in the system
  • Your hitching system cannot be upgraded to a rating higher than the maximum
    rating of your hitch

For example, a 3,500 lbs. ball on a 2,000 lbs. max trailer weight-rated hitch does not increase your towing capacity to 3,500 lbs. Your hitching system is still rated at 2,000 lbs.

Conversely, a 2,000 lbs. ball on a 3,500 lbs. max trailer weight-rated hitch decreases your maximum towing capacity to 2,000 lbs.

For more detailed information, download this PDF.

To Find out more, click here.

3. Determine the correct weight distributing hitch.

To determine the correct weight distributing hitch:

  1. Determine the tongue weight of your trailer
  2. Estimate the vehicle cargo load
  3. Match the sum of these weights to the proper Reese® hitch.

Hitch Weight = Tongue Weight + Vehicle Cargo Load Behind Rear Axle

Tongue weight includes the trailer tongue weight with full gas, water and waste systems and everything packed inside the trailer. Vehicle cargo includes all materials carried in your tow vehicle, such as boat motors, gas cans, tools, etc.


Tongue Weight 500lbs
Vehicle Cargo Load + 200lbs
Total Hitch Weight = 700lbs

4. Do I need electric brakes?

The law in Manitoba states any trailer with a gross vehicle weight more than 910kg (2,000lbs) must have supplemental braking.

For more information, download the Manitoba Trailer Safety PDF.

Find out more about electric brakes.

5. Proportional verses timer brake controls.

The graphs below depict both Proportional (a) and Timer (b) trailer brake control power output to trailer brakes during a normal stopping situation (Chart 1) as well as an emergency stopping situation (Chart 2). In both a “normal” and “emergency” braking event, a timed brake control will start to apply the trailer brakes when the brake pedal is depressed until the preset braking power is reached (typically 3 seconds) and will continue to hold at that preset power until the brake pedal is released.

In contrast, a proportional brake control will sense the type of braking event, whether “normal” or “emergency”, and then apply power to the trailer brakes in proportion to the deceleration of the tow vehicle. During normal stops, proportional controls sense the slower reduction in reduced forward motion. As the brakes are applied, you get smooth, gradual stopping power. In a sudden, emergency stop, proportional controls take less than one second to deliver 100% of their full stopping power making certain you have all the power you need when you need it.


6. How large of a trailer can I tow?

Each truck has a published Gross Combined Weight Rating GCWR. This is the maximum allowable tow rating in terms of the combined vehicle and trailer weight. When the Gross Vehicle Weight GVW is subtracted, the maximum Gross Trailer Weight is revealed.

In this example, the maximum allowable trailer towing weight is 12,800 lbs. GTW. The rail kit for this vehicle has been tested to meet maximum vehicle tow capacity.

GCWR – GVW = max. GTW
2001 GMC Heavy Duty 2500, 4 Wheel Drive Extended Cab
Engine: Duramax 6600
Horsepower: 300 hp @ 3100 rpm
Torque: 520 lb. ft. @ 1800 rpm
Transmission: Allison 5-speed Automatic
Axle Ratio: 3.73 to 1
GVW: 9,200 lbs.
GCWR: 22,000 lbs.
22,000 lbs. GCWR – 9,200 lbs. GVW = 12,800 lbs. GTW

7. What is a Power Module?

Todays vehicles have light gauge wires and computerized vehicle sensors that monitor current draw. Power modules virtually eliminate additional electrical draw on the vehicles taillight circuits while ensuring maximum trailer light brightness.

8. Wiring Diagrams