Think of all the numbers you have to compare when shopping for a truck. You’ve got engine displacement, horsepower, torque, transmission speeds, fuel economy, gear ratios, cargo capacity, and, of course, towing capacity.
Not all of those numbers are relevant to all truck shoppers. Some guys just need to handle an occasional Home Depot run, while others need to routinely max out their rig’s tow capacity.
The guys and gals who buy trucks based on how much they can tow put a lot of trust into the fact that the ratings are accurate. Tow ratings are based on the amount of torque it takes to launch from a stop, keep a trailer going at speed, and slow it to a stop within an acceptable distance.
Obviously some dangerous situations can arise if a truck tows more weight than intended. But what happens if an automaker advertises a high tow rating, sells trucks based on that rating, and then revises it downward later?