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Towing With a 2015 and Newer Ford F-150

Towing With a 2015 and Newer Ford F-150

Since 1981, the Ford F Series has been the best-selling vehicle platform in the United States. A large part of this is due to the light-duty F-150, which caters to utilitarian needs while providing serious performance and comfort. The more recent generations of Ford F-150s continue to cater to those needs—and record-breaking sales back this sentiment.

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The Ford F-150 caters to utilitarian needs while providing serious performance and comfort. Get the most out your truck by upgrading your hitch with the proper protection to extend the lifetime of your trucks productivity.

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Towing Factors to Consider

From the factory, many different options are available for 2015 and newer F-150s—no matter how you plan to use it, there’s an F-150 sure to perform exactly as you need.
With that said, towing is a common task for the F-150. But some education on towing can go a long way and save you much money in case something were to go wrong. If you plan on towing with your 2015 and newer F-150, here are some essential things to consider:

How Much Can I Tow with My Ford F-150?

As mentioned, the F-150 is now available with multiple trim packages. But what you should consider first is the engine.  With three different V6 powerplants available, and a V8, you really ought to pay attention to what you’re working with. It’s no surprise that two of these V6 options have lighter towing capacities. 

The entry-level 3.5 liter is rated up to a 5100 lbs. towing capacity, and the 2.7 liter EcoBoost can haul up to 7600 lbs. The real surprise comes when you find that the 5.0 V8 that is rated for 8300 lbs. of towing capacity is topped by the smaller 3.5 EcoBoost, which has a 10,700 lbs towing capacity.

To simplify:

  • Ford F-150 3.5 Liter V6 Towing Capacity: 5100 lbs.
  • Ford F-150 2.7 Liter V6 Towing Capacity: 7600 lbs
  • Ford F-150 5.0 Liter V8 Towing Capacity: 8300 lbs.
  • Ford F-150 3.7 Liter v6 EcoBoost Towing Capacity: 10,700 lbs.

Depending on a few factors and even OEM options, these numbers are subject to vary. Legally speaking, you cannot increase this number. However, there are things you can do that will help you tackle that payload with confidence.

What Kind of F-150 Trailer Hitch Should You buy?

If you’re planning on towing with your 2015 F-150, chances are you’re not pulling anything with a gooseneck or a fifth wheel. Instead you’re probably going to be looking into hooking into the 2-inch receiver at the rear of the vehicle. Picking this type of hitch is simple. Be sure to pick a reputable name as this is what’s connecting a couple tons to the vehicle. Generally speaking, if you pick the properly rated hitch for your job you should be in the clear.

What can be tricky is picking the proper weight distribution devices you hook into the hitch to keep the load steady. There are a lot of different options, and many different theories on what works. The idea is to overcome swaying while traveling down the highway. It might not sound like that much of an issue, but if that trailer loses control, it’s like having a wrecking ball attached to the rear of our truck.

One more thing: pay attention the weight ratings. Obviously if you go too light, the device will be hindered from doing its job correctly as the weight of the payload can overcome the device capabilities during a sway situation. Conversely it’s really easy to think that picking a device that’s rated for a higher weight than your payload is a good idea; this is certainly untrue.

Trailer hitches are designed to work with some amount of tongue weight to ensure you have proper control of everything. If your weight distribution device is too strong, it won't’ be able to properly do the job it’s intended to do. It cannot be stressed enough that lack of control is the enemy when towing—make sure to take your time and pick out the proper equipment. 


F150 8 inch Drop Hitch
8" Drop Hitch

More on the Sway Factor

As mentioned above, a swaying trailer can quickly become a wrecking ball attached to your Ford F-150. To keep your trailer secured behind, sway control is the best offense. Sway situations occur when crosswinds or passing vehicles cause the trailer to become unstable. The worse the wind, the worse the sway. But thankfully there’s a solution.

Sway control bars help keep this from happening. There are many different shapes and sizes that use different methods to correct swaying. Some act in a reactive matter; when the load becomes unsteady, the F-150 sway bars reduce trailer sway.  Other devices act proactively to keep the trailer from swaying in the first place. Budget and comfort ultimate become the main choosing factor, but a proper sway bar should be considered for safe towing.

What Suspension Upgrades are Necessary?

If you’re hauling a load in your truck, two of the most important things to keep in mind are your front tires. When you have any sort of weight at the back of your vehicle it naturally creates lift at the front of the vehicle. As the weight increases, the front lifts more and this effect makes for less and less control. If you plan on hauling anything heavy with any truck it’s a great idea to make an investment in some suspension upgrades.

A big upgrade to consider is a helper spring-type device for the rear of your Ford F-150. There are a ton of different options ranging from leaf spring-type devices to hand controlled air bag systems. The idea generally stays the same though. The purpose is to stiffen up the rear suspension to keep it from sagging too far and keeping you in control at the wheel. Budget truly is a major factor here on what device you choose to use, but ultimately safety drives the point. This is another area where you should really do your homework and choose what’s best for you.

In combination with the proper equipment at the rear you should also consider helping get the front tires all the way to the ground. Many manufacturers are out there that design shock absorbers to perform in towing applications for the front and rear of these vehicles.  The proper set of shock absorbers will undoubtedly make for better traction and more control.

F150 6 inch Lift Kit
6" Lift Kit

Ford F-150 Lower Gearing?

From the factory, these pick-ups arrive with a few different differential gear options. Depending on what your particular truck is equipped with, and the size of the payloads you intend to haul, you probably want to consider in investing in some lower gearing. Swapping out your differential gear will directly affect your truck's ability to get up to speed. More weight means the truck will have to work hard in order to get up to speed.  A lower gear ratio is sure to help you overcome that. Just be sure to read into exactly how low you want to go as this will impact the truck drivability--especially at quicker highway speeds.

The first thing to do is check your stock gear ratio, which is found on your Ford’s vehicle information sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door.

The following codes are listed under “AXLE” at the bottom of the sticker:

  • 15: 3.15 ratio
  • 27: 3.31 ratio
  • 19: 3.55 ratio
  • 26: 3.73 ratio
  • H9: 3.55 ratio
  • B6: 3.73 ratio
  • L5: 3.15 ratio
  • L3: 3.31 ratio
  • L9: 3.55 ratio
  • L6: 3.73 ratio
  • L4: 4.10 ratio

Also, remember that tire size changes the power band—the larger the tire, the quicker you’ll blow through the rpm range.

F150 Low Differential Gear
Differential Gear
Fitment includes: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XTL, Lariat, KingRanch, STX, FX2, FX4, Limited, Platinum