• Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^

Towing Jargon


Staff member
Elite Explorer
March 14, 2005
Reaction score
Mesa AZ
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 EB Explorer 5.0
I saw this post in the Expedition Forum and thought it would be helpful here as well.

Many people have no idea how to determine what they're vehicle can tow. Using your owners manual or manufacturers towing guide is the best way to get an idea. You may even find the info you need on a sticker in the glovebox, on the inside edge of your door, or under the hood.

There are many factors which determine your vehicles towing ability like wheelbase, engine size, rear axle ratio, etc. There are also alot of terms out there that can be very confusing. So I have put together this list to help you understand their meanings.

GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight - the actual weight of a vehicle.

GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: The maximum allowed GVW for a vehicle.

GCW: Gross Combined Weight: The total weight of everything - tow vehicle, trailer, etc.

GCWR: The maximum allowed GCW.

GAW: The Gross Axle Weight (front or rear) - the amount of weight on that particular axle.

GAWR: The Gross Axle Weight Rating (front or rear) - The maximum allowed GAW.

UVW: Unloaded Vehicle Weight - also know as "Dry Weight" or "Curb Weight". This is the weight your vehicle. Check your owners manual to determine what that includes. (may include full tank of gas and driver). UVW is also used for the weight of a trailer with no liquids or options. The GVW of the trailer will usually be 500-2000 pounds more than this number.

CCC: Cargo Carrying Capacity - GVWR minus the UVW. CCC is the weight of all personal belongings, food, fresh water, LP gas, tools, dealer-installed accessories, the battery and any and all camping gear you will carry.

Tow Rating: The rated towing capacity of a tow vehicle - generally based upon curb weight plus one 150-lb driver. This number is NOT designed as an indicator of what you can tow under normal conditions, but it is useful for comparisons. Usually the number given by the manufacturer is "when properly equipped" meaning you have a towing package, weight distribution hitch, and sway control when applicable.

* Actual towing capacity is usually less than the tow rating, or, to be more accurate, it's GCWR-GVW.

Note: The thing to remember is that neither GVWR nor GCWR can be exceeded safely.

Tire Ratings: The maximum load the tires are rated to carry, which like other ratings should not be exceeded. Especially important when buying replacements.


New Member
May 16, 2019
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2018 Explorer Limited 4x4
This is great. Glad to have all this in one spot