03-16-18

The Meaning Behind Common Towing Acronyms

What Is the Difference Between GVW and GCW When Towing? 

If you just purchased a vehicle that has towing capabilities or are looking to tow for the first time, you’re probably beginning to realize that there is a lot more to towing than you may have ever realized. Towing doesn’t have to be complicated, but when you start seeing things about tow ratings and capacities, with this acronym or that acronym thrown around, it’s understandable that things can begin to feel a little unclear. One common question that comes up is in regards to drivers wondering what the difference is between GVW and GCW when it comes to determining exactly how much a vehicle can tow. 

Thankfully, the answer is simple. GVW stands for “gross vehicle weight” and refers to the weight of a fully loaded vehicle or trailer once all passengers, cargo, etc. are loaded up, and you should not exceed the “gross vehicle weight rating” (GVWR) of your vehicle or trailer. GCW stands for the “gross combined weight” and refers to the combined weight of the vehicle with passengers/cargo/fuel and the trailer with all of its cargo. 

Helpful Tips for Towing With Your Vehicle 

Now, if you’re not experienced with towing, there may be a few safety tips worth keeping in mind. The best way to learn is by doing, but to help prepare you, we’ve put together a few things worth keeping in mind as you get used to towing with your vehicle. 

  1. Brake earlier than you normally would. 
  2. Take caution when going down hills, as overall stability could be reduced. 
  3. Avoid using the Intelligent Cruise Control system or similar system that automatically maintains a set distance from vehicles ahead. You’ll want to be in control of your vehicle at all times with a trailer. 
  4. Avoid parking on a slope whenever possible. If you must do so, you should block the wheels. Better yet, have someone else block the wheels for you while engaging the brake, then apply the parking brake and then shift into park, in that order. 

[Read more: How does Nissan’s Intelligent Rear View Mirror work?] 

Now that you know the difference between GVW and GCW when it comes to towing, and have some towing tips to keep in mind, be sure to return to the Charlie Clark Nissan El Paso blog for more automotive tips and tricks

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