New Tow Ratings from Society of Automotvive Engineers(SAE) from Matt Scott @ Toyota of the Black Hills


SAE Standard Affects Tow Ratings Despite the attention being focused on smaller cars, trucks and SUVs continue to be a significant percentage of sales. One of the reasons why is their towing ability. Many shoppers look for a high tow rating, and the manufacturers know that a big rating can be a competitive advantage. Up to now there’s been no single way to test and rate towing ability, but that will likely be changing because of a draft SAE standard. This describes the proposed standard, how it will affect Toyota vehicles, and what comparison shoppers need to know. Tow Ratings Today Before Toyota sets a tow rating, it considers factors such as durability, drivability, and safety. Some other manufacturers may take as much care, but others may not. There’s no way for a shopper to know because there has never been an industry-wide standard on the methods to test and rate a vehicle’s towing ability. Because each manufacturer has its own methods, there’s no consistency across brands. And because those methods aren’t made public —that is, there are no open standards— it’s hard for shoppers to compare ratings in a meaningful way. Enter the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), an international organization. Among the things SAE does is act as a standards-setting body. For example,the SAE defined how to measure horsepower. Since all auto manufacturers measure horsepower to the SAE standards, it means shoppers can make fair comparisons knowing that a Toyota vehicle and a competitor’s vehicle horsepower are measured the same way.The SAE noticed the need for a similar standardization of tow ratings, and that brings us to J2807.

Tow Ratings Beginning 2011–2012 J2807 is the SAE proposed standard that sets the measurements and methods for determining tow rating. It hasn’t yet been formally adopted and may still see some amount of revision. Nevertheless, many manufacturers are voluntarily abiding by the draft, which calls for implementation to start with MY2011-2012 vehicles. For Toyota, the new 4Runner was the first vehicle rated to the SAE standard, and more will follow.

What Shoppers May Notice Vehicles rated to the SAE standard may have different tow ratings than before. For some vehicles the ratings will go up, for others they’ll go down, but a change in the rating doesn’t by itself mean the vehicle has changed. The important thing to know is that an SAE rated vehicle cannot be compared to one that is not, because the tow ratings were calculated using two different methods. Benefits of the New Ratings Shoppers gain a whole new layer of consistency and transparency when comparing tow ratings among J2807-rated vehicles. It will be possible to compare apples-to-apples across makes and models. Consumers also benefit from knowing that specific usage testing was behind the rating, adding more confidence to the final number.

Understanding J2807 RequirementsThe actual J2807 standard is quite technical. The specific requirements vary based on the class of vehicle, type of hitchand other factors, but here is a quick overview of some of the requirements for light-duty vehicles.

0–30, 0–60 and 40–60 mph level-road acceleration runs must be completedwithin specific time limits. On a 12% grade, five launches each in forward and reverse must meet specific time and distance requirements. The vehicle must tow on a 4–6% grade for 12 miles in 100-degree heat with air conditioning at full. The vehicle and trailer must stop from 20–0 mph within specific distances while staying within the lane. The parking brake must hold on a 12%grade, upward and downward. The tow vehicle includes 150 lbs. each for driver and front passenger, plus all option shaving an installation or take-rate above 33%. The trailer is weighted to meet thevehicle’s gross combined weight rating.

All new Toyota Truck meet the new standards earlier than recommended by SAE. Thanks for having a look, please remember to ask for Matt Scott when you are ready to get your next vehicle.

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