Leading the Weigh

Combining manufacturer-assigned ratings in a single resource, Trailer Life published its first annual tow guide in 1984, helping readers match new tow vehicles and trailers.

Combining manufacturer-assigned ratings in a single resource, Trailer Life published its first annual tow guide in 1984, helping readers match new tow vehicles and trailers.

by Valerie Law
October 28, 2016
Filed under Feature Story

 

Trailer Life has helped readers know their tow limits since 1984

From World War II to the Great Recession, a lot has happened in Trailer Life’s 75-year history, but few events made a more lasting impression on the state of RVing than the energy crises of the 1970s. While the government’s reaction to fuel shortages spurred some healthy weight-reducing innovations in RVs, the new gas-saving standards also decreased the tl-75th-anniversary-logo-reflectiontowing power of passenger vehicles, leaving readers wondering what to drive next. Rising to the occasion, the magazine published its first guide to tow vehicles in 1984.

That initial seven-page resource shared trailer-weight maximums for a wide range of new models and equipment with emphasis on engine size, axle ratio and optional tow packages. Although the manufacturers supplied this information, it was often difficult for RVers to come by and had never been collected in a single reference. Not surprisingly, the 1984 tow guide was a favorite with readers and has been an annual feature ever since.

With the current fleet of cars, trucks, vans and SUVs capable of towing decent-size trailers, the guide has grown to include 800 listings, starting with the 2015 edition.

With the current fleet of cars, trucks, vans and SUVs capable of towing decent-size trailers, the guide has grown to include 800 listings, starting with the 2015 edition.

With new emissions regulations rolling out, the Trailer Life staff wondered if there would be fewer tow vehicles to choose from in the coming years. But the outlook brightened as automotive technology advanced and manufacturers introduced increasingly sophisticated vehicles that were not only lightweight and fuel-efficient but packed a more powerful punch. Truck manufacturers in particular vied for the highest tow ratings in a battle that has gotten more competitive every year (see Chris Hemer’s “Light-Heavyweight Champ” in the October issue for the 2017 title-holder).

Over the years, the tow guide has alternated between a bound-in section and a freestanding supplement, and listed official limits for as many as 800 new models, but the original mission remains the same: to provide readers with a single, reliable source of maximum trailer-weight ratings to help them make informed decisions among a broad array of cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. The 34th-annual guide, now in the works, will continue the tradition of helping readers know what they can safely tow.


 

Print Friendly

Related Content

Last 5 stories in Feature Story

Other stories that might interest you...

Comments

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





Get a FREE issue of Trailer Life Magazine

Sign up for your trial subscription and you'll receive a FREE issue. If you like Trailer Life, pay just $17.97 for 11 more issues (12 in all). Otherwise, write "cancel" on the invoice, return it and owe nothing.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

© 2016 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.