How seriously do I need to take the “towing Capacity” of an SUV? My 1998 Jeep tows our current boat & trailer OK - about 4500 lbs. But, my husband wants to “upgrade” the boat(probably to 6000 lbs with trailer & we will need a new SUV soon - Can I get away with an SUV that is rated to tow 5000lbs? We only tow it 10-15 miles 2x/season.
What kind of roads and at what speed?
I would suggest that if you are willing to limit your top speed to say 40 mph and stay at least 15% any posted speed limit and drive carefully, you should be OK. Does the trailer (new trailer?) have it's own brakes?
It’s probably OK if the roads are fairly flat…you have trailer brakes, and there’s NOT a lot of traffic.
But also consider that you CAN get a ticket. In some states if you knowingly drive something that’s UNSAFE…it’s no longer a traffic violation…it’s bumped up to a Misdemeanor.
Towing 15 miles twice a season isn’t a big deal. If you have a Cherokee, you might check the tongue weight on that trailer as the Jeep is not going to be happy with a great deal of weight back there.
Just remember that towing the boat down the road is only one part of the equation. You must also be able to stop that weight. Trailer brakes will be a BIG help for those instances where some moron pulls out in front of you or similar unforeseen road hazard with too light a tow vehicle. Most of the lakes/ponds I go to are within 20 miles and I’ve been cut off etc more times than I can count. Towing distance means very little in this regard.
Also, you need to be able to pull that weight out of the water up the ramp. I’ve seen quite a few pictures posted on the boat sites I frequent of people’s tow rigs getting dragged into the water by too heavy a boat for the tow rig. Once the wheels spin on the wet pavement, it slowly loses ground. If you only go to low graded ramps this may not be an issue for you.
Just some other things to consider when making your choice.