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F-250 Tow Ratings & How to Tow Safely with Your Truck

The F-250 is a work truck. No matter how many bells and whistles, gadgets or gizmos you or Ford stuffed it with, at heart it’s designed to work. Many owners are in the market for an F-250 because that’s exactly what they need. Towing is a natural calling for this rig but it’s a far cry from a job you just tackle. You will need to take a lot into consideration and will even need to make some modifications in order to tow what you want properly and safely.2011-2019-f250-with-aftermarket-bumper-and-hitch-receiver.JPG

Table of Contents
  1. F-250 Tow and Payload Ratings
  2. Ford F-250 Factory Towing Features
  3. Best Practices for Towing
  4. Mods for Towing Safely
Shop F250 Hitches

F250's are known for their hauling prowess, but it never hurts to reinforce your truck. Sturdier aftermarket bumpers with integrated hitch receivers will certainly stand up to more punishment than the stock variety. Heavier duty hitches in and of themselves are also a good choice if you think you're going to be straining the stock unit.

F250 Hitches

F-250 Tow and Payload Ratings

The safest thing one can do when it comes to loading the bed of their F-250 up or towing is understanding the truck’s limits. Trailers and equipment can add up to a lot of weight and pushing the truck beyond its limits can not only be harmful to the vehicle itself but can also be downright dangerous.

To make life easier for you, we’ve put a chart together which lists the maximum payload capacity and the maximum capacity of the F-250 from 2011 up to present date.

Year Payload Tow Rating
2011 3,060 lbs - 3,945 lbs 12,000 lbs - 12,500 lbs
2012 3,086 lbs - 4,114 lbs 12,000 lbs - 12,500 lbs
2013-2014 3,059 lbs - 4,064 lbs 12,200 lbs - 12,500 lbs
2015-2016 3,058 lbs - 4,059 lbs 12,200 lbs - 12,500 lbs
2017 3,305 lbs - 4,267 lbs 12,300 lbs - 13,300 lbs
2018 3,288 lbs - 4,315 lbs 12,300 lbs - 13,300 lbs
2019 2,474 lbs - 4,332 lbs 12,300 lbs - 13,300 lbs

Ford F-250 Factory Towing Features

From the factory Ford offers a tow package for the F-250. This package features a few mods which make towing much easier for the owner and save them the expenses of having to set their truck up in the future. A class IV receiver hitch is equipped to the vehicle, a wiring connector and a trailer brake controller. This alone is enough to tow small trailers but for large trailers an aftermarket fifth wheel will need to be installed and Ford does sell these as an aftermarket option.

Best Practices for Towing

Before you even get moving, there are a few things you will need to make sure are in order. You will need to make sure the tires are in optimal shape. This means making sure all of the tires are in good shape on both the F-250 and the trailer. Double check all of your connections and make sure all of the lighting is in working order to ensure a safe trip.

When loading the trailer you will need to make sure the weight is evenly distributed both from side to side and front to back. An evenly balanced trailer is the only safe trailer which also makes it worth ensuring all the cargo loaded into the trailer is properly secured.

Driving: Towing is more than simply hooking a trailer up to the rear of the vehicle and driving. You’ll need to be aware the truck is hauling a considerable amount of weight, which will impact the way the truck steers, brakes, and handles.

You will want to use momentum in your favor when it comes to climbing hills and take wider turns to accommodate for the trailer. Braking will require more room and you will want to come to a gradual but steady stop. Being aware there are other motorists all around you, and ensure you practice even more courtesy than normal while hauling a trailer. If the weather becomes too poor to safely travel, you are better off parking the vehicle as soon as possible and waiting for the bad weather to pass or road conditions to improve.

Mods for Towing Safely

Ford may offer a factory tow package, but this does not mean everything you will want to fit your vehicle with is included. Some F-250 owners may not even have been able to purchase their truck with the factory tow package and this will lead them to need to make upgrades in order to tow safely.

Towing Mirrors: Factory mirrors can be limiting in the range of view they offer once a trailer is attached to the vehicle. Tow mirrors can be fitted to the truck to help prevent this limited range of view and are an absolute must for anyone doing any sort of towing. If you don’t like the look of fixed towing mirrors, extendable towing mirrors are an option.

Brakes: The factory brakes on the vehicle are enough to handle towing with an F-250 but for better control, you’ll want to consider fitting aftermarket brakes to aid with controlling the additional weight. A big brake kit will offer a great amount of additional stopping power but aftermarket pads and rotors will help in most cases.

Trailer Brake Control: Trailer brake controllers are a must for any towing vehicle with brake systems. These systems are put in place to control the brakes on the trailer. Without them, the only brakes used to slow both the vehicle and the trailer would be the F-250’s.

Transmission Oil Cooler: The transmission of an F-250 is under a lot of stress when towing and this can lead to the transmission overheating. If a transmission overheats, shifting and general performance become compromised. When you are towing a considerable amount of weight this can be dangerous. Because of this, you will want to consider installing a transmission oil cooler if one isn’t already in place.

Engine Tuner: A sharp knife is a safe knife; the same is true for engines and power. When hauling the weight of a trailer the engine will be bogged down. This can make passing or avoiding dangerous situations very difficult. It’s not always necessary and will seldom pose an issue, but for peace of mind, it’s worth considering beefing the engine’s performance up with the use of a proper tuner.

Fitment includes: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited