If towing or trailering is a big part of your business operations, it pays to go into the finer details and determine which truck is right for you. Going over various truck rental options can be daunting with so many factors coming into play. Here’s what to look out for to help you find the best vehicle to suit your needs.
What is the capacity?
It used to be difficult to compare ratings between truck brands. In response, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed the J2807 set of recommended practices. Now, automakers are adopting uniform methods for testing and rating pickups. The new standard called SAE J2807 is already in use by Toyota, GM, Ford and RAM.
Through a series of tests, the SAE J2807 determines the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of a vehicle and trailer. It is then used to calculate a maximum trailer weight rating. This provides consumers a much better idea of the true towing capabilities of modern trucks. As more and more manufacturers switch to the SAE standards, you will now be able to compare trucks from different brands with more confidence.
How light or heavy is the tongue or pin weight?
Tongue or pin weight is the downward force applied by the tongue of the trailer to the hitch of the truck. The weight of the trailer can be measured by the load and the Max Gross Tow Weight. Experts agree that in most cases, tongue or pin weight should be approximately 9% to 15% of the total trailer weight. Proper Weight Distribution is required for towing stability. A light tongue weight or heavy weights placed at the rear end of the trailer can cause instability. Too much weight on the tongue can overload the tow vehicle and cause poor braking and difficulty cornering.
Should you go for gas or diesel?
Generally speaking, gasoline engines usually have the edge in horsepower, while diesels typically offer higher torque. In terms of towing, the torque from diesel engines achieve good efficiency at higher speeds.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, diesel engines offer 30- to 35-percent greater fuel economy than comparable gasoline engines. Diesel engines can last longer but can also add thousands to the purchase price.
One should also note that over time, regular maintenance on a diesel usually will cost more than a gasoline engine as diesel engine has components require servicing more often. The oil reservoir is bigger and the water separator and fuel filters will require constant replacement.
Would you choose torque over horsepower?
Most drivers know that torque translates into low-end power, or the ability to accelerate the vehicle at low rpm levels. Torque moves the vehicle from a stop and helps it get up steep hills. As such, more torque is required to start a heavier vehicle than a lighter one. Horsepower is what you depend on at higher rpm. It’s what allows you to pass another car on the highway.
Towing capacity is related to the truck engine’s torque. Your vehicle’s engine creates torque and uses it to turn the crankshaft, which is connected to the transmission. The transmission gears convert this torque so that the vehicle can move and tow cargo safely. When you accelerate and pull past the other vehicles, you’re putting your horsepower to work. In other words, if your engine doesn’t have a ton of horsepower, don’t expect to have an easy time of accelerating and passing when you’re towing something behind you.
As a rule of thumb: torque lets you do the work; horsepower lets you do the work quickly. Horsepower lets you accelerate when you’re already moving and pulling something heavy.
Know the difference among Two-Wheel, Four-Wheel or All-Wheel Drive trucks
Two-wheel drive includes both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and front-wheel drive (FWD) systems. Front-wheel-drive vehicles generally have better performance in slippery or rough conditions than rear-wheel drive for two reasons: First, the engine and transmission are positioned directly over the front wheels, adding weight over the tires for better traction. Second, the wheels are pulling the vehicle along rather than pushing it, providing a better mechanical advantage.
In a 4WD drivetrain, the output shaft from the transmission goes into a transfer case where the engine power splits between front and rear driveshafts. 4WD has to be manually engaged, so it’s called a part-time 4WD system. 4WD systems have a dedicated transfer case with a separate low-range gear that multiplies the transmission gearing to provide for a much lower gear ratio, this results in more power for each tire on wet or rough surfaces.
All-wheel drive is on-demand traction control that intermittently sends power to the non-primary-powered wheels. Most vehicles use a FWD system with an added differential inside the transmission or in a separate housing. AWD sends power through a shaft to a rear differential; power is then directed to each of the rear wheels. It does provide significantly better traction than FWD in slippery conditions because the AWD’s computer system detects and compensates for wheel slip between front and rear wheels. It’s a common perception that AWD is not as hard-core as 4WD and should only be used for “all weather” driving, while 4WD can be used for “all condition” driving.
Thomas Solutions has a wide array of work trucks for lease to choose from. With a fleet of over 800 vehicles and growing, we are driven to become a trusted supplier for your work truck rental and no-term fleet leasing needs. Contact us and our sales reps can help you determine the right truck for your business.