REALSOURCE || HOW-TO
For a light-duty, half-ton pickup, Ford’s new 2023 F-150 puts on an impressive showing. In specific configurations, the F-150 can tow up to an impressive 14,000 lbs. and haul up to 3,325 lbs. in the bed, outperforming most medium-duty pickups from the previous decade!
While maintaining an impressive weight rating, Ford’s entry-level full-size pickup comes with soft springs and comfort-tuned suspension that make for a less than confidence-inspiring experience while towing.
RealTruck carries everything you’ll need to bolster your F-150’s towing performance, making for a controlled, stable, and predictable ride no matter what you’re towing.
From hitches and air springs to various towing accessories, RealTruck has you covered. In the following article, our knowledgeable staff dives into various tips, products, and accessories to make towing in your F-150 a breeze.
Note: While aftermarket modifications can’t physically increase your pickup’s towing capacity, our experts can provide the knowledge and products necessary to instill maximum confidence while towing and hauling.
Before we get into modifications and accessories, let’s first take a look at arguably the most important factor of towing—the driver. All of the aftermarket components in the world can’t replace an experienced, knowledgeable, and vigilant driver. This section will cover five of the most crucial tips and tricks to follow while towing a trailer.
Before hooking up the trailer, it’s important to know your limits—both as a driver and mechanically. Have you ever towed a trailer this large or heavy? If not, seriously consider whether you’re experienced or equipped enough to safely hit the road.
Alternatively, make sure that your F-150 is rated for the trailer you’re towing. Consider the additional weight of gear, people, water, extra fuel, and other cargo when calculating your total.
For more information, check out our RealSource article about how to calculate your individual F-150’s towing capacity.
Tires have an operating range, from low to high PSI. While your tires may be rated for the weight you’re towing, be aware that the manufacturer-specified weight rating only applies to tires filled to their maximum PSI. Before hooking up to a heavy trailer, it’s best to double-check your tire’s PSI and likely add a touch more air.
Before setting off on your travels, check to ensure your trailer’s lighting is properly working. From markers and running lights to turn signals and brake lights, your trailer's lighting is essential to the safety of you and your passengers, and other drivers on the road.
When towing heavy, especially without trailer brakes, be aware that your F-150 will take significantly longer to stop. For this reason, it’s important to begin depressing the brakes far earlier than normal, ensuring that you’ve given yourself enough room to come to a complete stop safely.
As some may say, keep your head on a swivel! It’s essential to stay hyper-vigilant when towing; keep an eye on your trailer’s lighting, safety chains, and tie-downs to catch an issue before it becomes a massive and expensive problem.
To begin our equipment list, let's start at the basics—hitches. Towing hitches come in various shapes, sizes, and class ratings, determining the type of trailer and the amount of weight you should tow with each. Styles of hitch include 5th wheel, gooseneck, tow-behind/trailer, and front, while ratings range from class I through V. For reference, take a look at the class rating chart below:
Gross Trailer Weight
Up to 2,000
Up to 200
Up to 3,500
Up to 350
Up to 8,000
Up to 800
Up to 10,000
Up to 1,000
16,000 to 17,000
2,400 to 2,550
Air springs and air bags—whichever you install, they both work using the same principle. Both products are forms of towing suspension that utilizes captured air to pneumatically dampen your F-150’s suspension, preventing excess sagging and bottoming out over bumps and dips.
Air springs also help to stiffen the rear suspension, making for a far more controlled driving experience while towing a trailer.
Aftermarket bump stops help to dampen the contact between your F-150’s rear axle and frame under heavy compression—ie: when your truck is hauling a heavy load or towing a heavy trailer.
Rather than allowing metal-on-metal contact, bump stops are a heavy-duty rubber or polyurethane “bumper” that absorbs the impact, providing a far smoother ride.
For the avid hauler, heavy-duty bump stops are available. These towing-centric bump stops feature a long, wide form factor to engage far earlier during compression, providing additional support. Similar to airbags, towing bump stops prevent extreme sagging and stiffen the rear suspension.
Besides suspension modifications, RealTruck also carries several accessories that can inspire confidence while towing a trailer in your F-150.
Nothing aids visibility while towing like a set of premium towing mirrors. Traditionally, towing mirrors feature several benefits over your f-150’s factory paddle-style mirrors, such as oversized glass, integrated blind spot mirrors, extendable mirror heads, and signal lights.
Most towing mirrors feature a simple bolt-on design and plug-and-play wiring, making installation a snap!
Your visibility isn’t the only thing that matters while towing; with a trailer on the hitch, it’s crucial to ensure that every driver on the road has clear visibility of your truck and trailer. Towing lights are an effective means of bolstering light output, positionable nearly anywhere using magnetic bases and providing marker, brake, and turn signal functionality.
From adapting a gooseneck hitch to a 5th wheel trailer to converting your F-150’s hitch receiver to another diameter, hitch adapters are a worthy investment for your pickup. No matter the size or style of your hitch, hitch adapters ensure that you’ll be able to tow any type of trailer—as long as it falls under your F-150’s weight rating, of course!
The brake controller is second in importance only to your F-150’s trailer hitch. This product allows your pickup’s braking system to communicate with your trailer’s integrated brakes, providing additional stopping power while towing a heavy load.
Most trailer brake controllers can be installed in under an hour as long as your F-150 is equipped with the proper wiring under the dash. Additionally, brake controllers feature adjustment for your trailer's brakes, allowing you to adjust the sensitivity to your liking.
Whether loading cargo into our F-150’s bed or onto a flat deck trailer, loading ramps are a valuable tool in any pickup truck driver’s arsenal. Loading ramps help save your back and body, allowing you to roll or slide cargo effortlessly rather than lifting.
With several different styles available, ranging from wide van ramps for loading toolboxes and appliances to dual straight ramps for ATVs and UTVs, RealTruck has you covered.
For all of your F-150’s various towing needs, check out our extensive inventory at RealTruck.
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