2014/2015 Towing Capacity | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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2014/2015 Towing Capacity


I currently have a 2009 Ford Explorer 4WD XLT with a Class III hitch and have towed a trailer that weighs around 3,600 lbs without an issue. I purchased it used years ago when it only had 10K miles on it and it came with the hitch. I am approaching 175K miles on it so I am looking for a second one.

I am looking for a used 2014 or 2015 with either FWD or 4WD. I am confused about the towing capacity. The vehicles I am looking at have the 3.5L engines and one of them even has a tow hitch but I noticed the door decal has a GVWR of only 6,120 lbs. which seems to indicate the towing capacity of that model is only 2,000 lbs. When I look at the towing specs on the Ford website for 2016 models, it shows that all of the Explorers with a 3.5L engine can tow 5,000 pounds.

Any explanation would be helpful.


Explorer Addict
February 11, 2009
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City, State
Canton, Michigan
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 Mercury Mountaineer
The Ford website you are referring to is most likely the site where you build the vehicle. That site will only give you maximum tow ratings. There is probably a footnote on that site that says something like "***when properly equipped", which means with the factory Class 3 towing package. Indeed, the V6 and V6-turbo motors both get 5000 lbs tow ratings with the class 3 package. But not all Explorers come with that package.

So, if looking in the used market, you need to be sure that the vehicle has the Class 3 package. On the gen 3 (2002-2005) and gen 4 (2006-2010) that was easy. If it had the larger 2" receiver, you knew it had the HD towing package. But for the gen 5, I'm not sure if there is a quick visual way to tell.

I recommend you check this section, or the gen 5 section, to answer that question. Also, I hope you understand that your 2009 gen 4 was on a truck frame, while the gen 5's are crossovers. That not to say they are not capable. If your 2009 was V6, and you were happy with it's performance, then a gen 5 V6 with Class 3 package should serve you well.


New Member
January 23, 2016
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Ford Explorer
Look if there's a tow button on the left of the steering wheel, and then make sure it has the hitch behind the cover on the bumper. I think if it's got those 2 then it's a factory towing option.

That's based on my 2013 XLT's factory towing package. I added a Tekonsha P3 brake controller and couldn't be more pleased with how well this tows.