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Why Do Trailer Hitches Have Higher Towing Capacities than the Vehicles They Fit

Question:

you website about what hitch i can put on my 2015 subaru forester is WAY wrong although i wish it was accurate. i just talked with subaru and the 2015 forester cant handle a 525lb tongue wt because of the CVT transmission it can only handle a 175 lb tongue wt ! so you should correct this with CURT because you may sell hitches to unsuspecting forester owners, and it would violate the warranty of their forester. sincerely,

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Expert Reply:

You bring up a great point which brings up a great question. There is a good reason that hitches like the Curt # C13144 have a higher capacity than the vehicle it fits.

Hitch capacities are rated separately from the vehicle they are installed on. I know it's somewhat annoying and confusing, but a hitch has it's own weight capacity that was determined by the manufacturer that is independent of the vehicle. Typically it makes sense to make hitches with similar capacities as the vehicle but in reality the hitches are often made to be stronger than the vehicles they are installed on. It's not intended to come off as false advertising but more to make a product that is more robust than needed.

We recommend strongly that every person determine the towing capacity of all components in their towing setup and go by the lowest rated component as the overall capacity since a setup is only as strong as it's weakest link.

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Jameson C

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