If you plan to attach a trailer to any vehicle, being fully aware of the towing capacity is a must. The manufacturer's guidelines on towing should always be strictly adhered to so that your vehicle remains safe while in motion. There isn't a uniform number for towing capacity, as this amount varies from model to model and can even be different within a model's trim levels. Supposing you own a Jeep Patriot, what would the maximum amount be that it could safely tow? We researched this popular SUV to provide all the answers you need in this post.
The Jeep Patriot's latest year model, 2017, has a towing capacity of 1,000 pounds. However, with the addition of the towing package, the 2017 Jeep Patriot is capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds.
Now that we know the maximum towing capacity of a Jeep Patriot, you might have some other questions about this SUV. How is towing capacity determined? Is there any way to safely increase a vehicle's towing capacity? What happens if I tow beyond the capacity that the manufacturer recommends? To see what we've discovered, read ahead in this post.
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The Jeep Patriot Towing Package
If you need to tow more than the 1,000-lb towing capacity the manufacturer recommends for the Jeep Patriot, you have an option. The Jeep Patriot Tow Package is a great way to increase your towing capacity to 2,000-lbs. But what does it include? Let's have a closer look.
Engine oil cooler
The engine oil cooler is the single add-on that allows the Jeep Patriot to increase its towing power substantially. This cooler acts as an additional radiator for the engine and its oil, keeping it from exceeding certain temperatures when the engine works extra hard.
When you are towing more weight behind your vehicle, the engine has to work a lot harder than normal. This extra amount of work will heat up the oil and other engine fluids to dangerous levels. If the engine gets hotter than it's supposed to, damage can occur to parts of the drive train, like the transmission. And if it gets hot enough, you can crack the engine block itself, warp the pistons, and do irreversible damage to many other engine components.
Before you tow beyond the 1,000-lb capacity, be absolutely certain that the Jeep Patriot you're towing with has this engine cooler installed. To be on the safe side, have a trusted mechanic check it over to see that it performs correctly.
While this won't increase your towing capacity, the full-sized spare serves as a great bonus for those who got the Jeep Patriot Tow Package. Having a full-sized spare takes some of the worries out of having a tire blowout. Traditional spares aren't meant to go over 50 miles per hour and have severely limited mileage that you can drive on them.
Trailer tow wiring harness
Like the full-sized spare, trailer tow wiring harnesses won't increase your towing capacity. Having this add-on allows you to wire your trailer's lights to your Jeep Patriot's electrical system. This enables the rear brake lights and turning signals on the trailer to work simultaneously with those on the Jeep Patriot.
What Determines Towing Capacity Of A Vehicle?
In the simplest terms, towing capacity is how much weight your vehicle can safely tow when pulling a trailer. To get this number, the manufacturer looks at several figures and formulas.
Gross vehicle weight rating
This number is the maximum weight of the vehicle, its passengers, and onboard cargo. This does not include any weight from an attached trailer or its cargo.
Gross combined weight rating
The gross combined weight rating is the maximum amount of the vehicle, its passengers, onboard cargo, AND the attached trailer's combined weight and cargo.
Gross axle weight rating
This is the amount of weight each axle can safely carry.
Tongue weight refers to the amount of downward pressure on the trailer tongue. The amount put on the tongue will shift based upon how the cargo you are hauling in the trailer is positioned. Generally, if you have the heaviest objects near the trailer's front, you will exert more tongue weight.
The curb weight of a vehicle is how much the vehicle weighs when it is totally empty of cargo and passengers.
Dry weight the total weight of the vehicle without cargo, passengers, or any fluids.
A vehicle's payload capacity is the maximum weight it can carry onboard. This includes the combined weight of passengers and cargo.
When towing, you need to consider the weight of the cargo you are loading onto a trailer and the weight of the trailer itself. As a general rule, if the trailer's weight exceeds the gross vehicle weight rating, you shouldn't tow the trailer with that vehicle.
To figure your towing capacity, look at the gross combined weight rating (GCWR). Then subtract the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and onboard cargo. The resulting number will be the amount you can safely tow. As you can see, the only way to tow up to the manufacturer's recommended towing capacity is to have a smaller payload onboard your vehicle.
How Do You Increase Towing Capacity?
Should you need to tow an object that would put you above the manufacturer's recommended towing capacity, there are a few modifications you can make to your vehicle to increase this number safely.
Equipping your Jeep Patriot with more durable shocks will help. Even more important than the shocks are the axles. Axles have weight limits also, and if they are tested beyond the maximum, they can warp or snap. Installing more heavy-duty, weight-rated axles will prevent this from happening.
As we noted earlier in this post, keeping the engine cool when it's working extra hard is the key to avoiding long-term damage to your drive train. While the engine oil cooler will help with this, it will only do so much. Some model vehicles will allow you also to upgrade your radiator to a bigger size. The bigger the radiator, the more it will cool your engine.
Having these upgrades installed will increase the towing capacity by up to 25 percent. However, you should always have this work double-checked by a trusted licensed mechanic before loading your trailer. It's also very important to note; these upgrades will not increase the payload of your trailer.
Is It Safe To Tow At Max Weight?
Towing at maximum weight is safe, so long as you adhere to all of the manufacturer's recommendations. As we mentioned earlier, paying attention to the gross combined weight rating is critical when towing. If you have a full cab of passengers and a bunch of cargo in the rear of your Jeep Patriot, this means that you will be able to tow less than the towing capacity. Be aware of the weight on board your vehicle, which will affect the safe amount of weight you can tow.
What Happens If You Tow Over Capacity?
We've pointed out that following the towing capacity is critical for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Exceeding the towing capacity makes turning much more difficult and can result in dumping your trailer or having it snap free of its hitch. Your vehicle's brakes can only handle so much, also. If you are pulling too much weight, the braking system can potentially fail.
Earlier, we outlined a few things that can happen to the vehicle itself if you overload your trailer. Aside from damage to the engine and transmission that we mentioned, your vehicle's tires, suspension system, and axles can be damaged or destroyed by too much weight.
Never take any chances when it comes to towing or hauling with a vehicle. Always be fully aware of the weight on board, the weight of the trailer you have attached, and your trailer cargo weight.
Always being aware of the towing capacity of your vehicle before attaching a trailer is essential. Towing weight above the recommended amount can result in great damage to your vehicle, as well as pose a danger to you and those you share the road with. Before you attach anything to your Jeep Patriot's trailer hitch, you should always consult the owner's manual and follow their guidelines to the letter.
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