Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Towing: weight-compatible trailer
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not yet purchased

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Joined: 09/13/2021

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Posted: 09/13/21 03:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hi there,
we are searching for our 1st trailer.
The 1st step is to find out the max weight that a candidate trailer could have.
Our car is a: Hyundai Sante Fe
The specs say: 3500 lbs abs. max (if the trailer has brakes, and there's a trailer package: not sure what that means exactly ...)
I've heard that a good rule of thumb is to not pull more than 80% of the max. That would get it down to 2800.
Trailers often list a dry weight. To rule out heavy trailers, I would need a trailer's "wet" weight, or I would need to know how much to add to the dry weight. Is the hitch (and its associates) part of the wet weight ?

thx, chris.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/13/21 03:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Small popup or small teardrop camper. Look at those.

Every camper spec I’ve looked at includes dry weight and gross weight or CCC.

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Posted: 09/13/21 05:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To expand on what Grit dog said...

Gross weight is the number you should be looking at (fully loaded allowable weight). This should equal dry weight + CCC.
Hitch weight is not included in this.

Also, pay attention to the payload spec on your car, to make sure it can handle the tongue weight (~12% of the trailer weight) and the weight of the hitch, plus passengers & whatever you cram in the trunk. Many times you'll run out of payload before towing capacity.

But also as Grit Dog said, teardrop or popup is probably where you'll end up with a Santa Fe. Or maybe something like a Casita.

Have fun with your shopping!


... It just occurred to me that Hitch Weight could be the same as Tongue Weight... I was reading it as the weight of the hitch itself - that's what I was referring to above.


Near Bishop, California

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Posted: 09/13/21 05:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is the Santa Fe’s payload max? Other than you, who will ride and what will you carry in the SUV? (Pounds) You’ll run out of payload first.

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Posted: 09/13/21 09:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First is to check your actual vehicle for tow capacity and payload (possibly called CCC for your vehicle).

The calculations would be:

Tow capacity of Hyundai => GVWR of trailer (looking to stay at 80 percent or less of the tow capacity is a good idea).

Payload or CCC of Hyundai => weight of all passengers plus weight of driver over 150lbs plus weight of all gear put in or on the Hyundai plus 10-15 percent of the trailer GVWR (aka tongue weight).

If your trailer has a factory installed hitch, then the hitch weight should already be calculated into the weights. If you have a hitch installed, you need to subtract that weight from the available payload/CCC.

In addition, you have to determine what class receiver hitch you have/get. If you have a class 1 hitch, your trailer's tongue weight cannot exceed 200lbs. With a class 2 hitch, that is increased to 350lbs. It is highly unlikely you have a class 3 or greater hitch.

As mentioned, between those three factors, you are most likely looking at a teardrop or a folding trailer.

If you have kids and are looking to camp, I would recommend a softsided folding trailer (also known as a popup or tent trailer). If there is just one or two of you, you could look at a hardsided folding trailer like an a-liner. The a-liner is less work to set up and take down, but the interior space is more limiting than with a softsided.

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Posted: 09/14/21 04:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can go to 100% of the ratings. The engineers aren't going to allow more than it can handle. The problem is the "tow rating" is typically NOT the limiting factor.

I pulled up the current version of your car and it has a max hitch weight of 350lb. Ideally, you would like around 15% of the trailer resting on the hitch. That gives you 2300lb for the trailer (12% would be 2900lb).

Also, on the door should have a yellow sticker that lists the payload. Payload includes people, gear, any bolt on items and the hitch weight. The current model has around 1200lb payload. A family of 4 can easily eat up 500-600lb. If you pack the back with gear, it's easy to get overloaded.

As far as trailers, look at GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), there will be a sticker, usually near the front driver side. Start with this as your assumed wet weight and assume 15% of the GVWR is on the hitch.

As mentioned a pop-up trailer is probably your best bet.

While they have marketed it as an SUV, it's really station wagon. If you want to tow something more substantial, move up to a body on frame truck, which is much better suited.

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Posted: 09/14/21 05:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"Trailer package" or more likely "TOWING package" is an option package your vehicle may come equipped with from the factory. It usually includes a hitch receiver (the square socket on the back of your vehicle), an electrical plug to control the lights on the trailer (might be hidden behind a panel in the rear compartment), an auxiliary transmission cooler, and possibly suspension upgrades.

This is something you can ask your Hyundai dealer. They can look at the option sticker on the inside of your glove compartment door and tell you if you have the towing package. You can also look up the package codes yourself, find out which one is the towing package code for your vehicle, and see if it is listed on the sticker.

Please, resist the urge to glaze your eyes over when you are reading things. It is important that you at least ingest the verbiage correctly so you have the right words in your mind as you learn what they mean.

* This post was edited 09/14/21 06:24am by mkirsch *

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Posted: 09/14/21 07:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One more thing to concern yourself about. Many small vehicles such as yours, also have front face square footage limits.


The far side

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Posted: 09/14/21 10:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your best bet is to learn all about weights (and everything else you need to know about RV's) by starting here --> Clicky

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