before you buy
five questions that help you find the right truck
how much truck do you need?+
Capability is the key. Whether you're towing 5 tons or 15, there's a Ram truck that meets your needs and then some. So before you head out to the dealership, it's important to know how much capability is right for you.
Don't let the term "light duty" fool you. A Ram 1500 can handle quite a bit. It offers the perfect combination of power and efficiency. If you'll be towing boats, ATVs or trailers, this is the truck for you.
Generally speaking, a heavy-duty truck is best suited for towing construction equipment and other heavy commercial loads. But if your recreational towing needs include a horse trailer or an RV, you too may need the extra capability of a Ram 2500 or 3500.
- 1,900lbs max
- 10,650lbs max
- 7,390lbs max
- 31,210lbs max
what does everything weigh?
Knowing your Gross Combined Vehicle Weight (GCVW) will give you an idea of how much capability you'll need. You've got to account for each piece of the puzzle – passengers, cargo and everything in tow. Add up those weights to find your GCVW.
gross vehicle weight
The total weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including passengers and payload – but excluding all towing.
gross trailer weight
The total weight of the trailer plus all the cargo in it.
gross combined vehicle weight
The total combined weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including passengers, payload and everything in tow.
max payload or max towing?
One thing that often surprises first-time truck buyers is that towing and payload weights affect each other. If you're carrying a heavy payload, make sure to lighten your trailer weight and vice versa.
which features affect towing?
The way your truck is built affects what it can do. Features like cab size, box length, wheel drive and transmission all influence how much your truck can tow and haul.
Seats up to three passengers, for maximum towing and payload capability. By limiting the number of passengers, more of your vehicle's GCVW can be devoted to towing/payload.
Seats up to six. A good balance of passenger comfort and greater towing/payload capacity. Only available on Ram 1500.
Seats up to six, with plenty of legroom. The Crew Cab focuses more on passengers which may increase your vehicle's curb weight.
Seats up to six, with maximum legroom. The Mega Cab® increases your vehicle's curb weight and plays a role in your overall GCVW. Only available on Heavy Duty pickups.
Seats up to five (Wagon models; cargo van models seat up to two). Covered cargo storage and responsive steering ensure efficient transportation of goods and passengers in city environments.
Seats up to three (cargo van and chassis cab models; window van and cutaway models seat up to two). Customizable to your business needs with several available lengths, heights, capacities and potential upfits, with ample room for cargo. Towing and payload varies based on length, height and series (1500, 2500, etc.) selected.
- regular cab
- pro tow tip
know what matters to you
Box length is about more than just how much cargo you can fit. It also affects how much your truck can tow and haul. Knowing how you're going to use your truck is key when choosing a box length.
5-foot 7-inch box+
A truck with a shorter box length generally has a lower curb weight, which translates to slightly higher towing capability.
6-foot 4-inch box
The 6-foot 4-inch box is the perfect compromise between maximum towing and maximum payload capability.
The bigger the box, the bigger the cargo. With an 8-foot box, you'll be able to handle payload with greater volume and greater mass.
- pro tow tip know what matters to you
With an automatic transmission, the vehicle automatically shifts gears as needed. However, all Ram pickups and pickup-based chassis cabs include Electronic Range Select (ERS) with all automatic transmissions. ERS allows the driver to select the highest gear the vehicle will upshift to.
Driving with an available manual transmission may be preferred by certain drivers when on uneven terrain or when towing heavy cargo. By letting the driver select the appropriate gear, manual transmissions offer direct control.
- automatic transmission
A two-wheel-drive vehicle sends power to only two of the four wheels. The curb weight of a 4x2 vehicle is generally lighter than a comparable 4x4, which translates to slightly higher towing/payload capability.
A four-wheel-drive vehicle sends power to all four wheels. 4x4 vehicles are generally slightly heavier than 4x2 vehicles, but they offer greater control while driving on slick or uneven surfaces.
- two-wheel drive
how do you choose
an axle ratio?+
Finding your ideal axle ratio will be a compromise. In general, a higher axle ratio offers more towing power and quicker acceleration, while a lower axle ratio offers better engine efficiency and quieter vehicle operation. Ram trucks come in a variety of axle ratios. Find the balance of power and efficiency that works best for you.
recap: find the truck you need
cab and box size+
A smaller cab means your truck has a lighter curb weight, so you can tow and haul a little bit extra. On the other hand, a larger cab or box will allow you to carry more passengers or larger loads.
If you're going to be towing and hauling at the same time, don't rely on the max payload and max towing numbers alone. It's important to look at the truck's GCVW to determine the total weight your truck can handle.
engine and transmission
After you've picked the features you want in a truck, it's time to think about your powertrain. The engine and transmission are the backbone of your truck's towing and payload capacity. Visit the Ram towing guide to find the truck you need.
Look for an axle ratio that will give you good towing power without compromising your non-towing performance too severely. By determining how much weight you'll be towing and how often you'll be towing it, you'll be able to find a ratio that will maximize both power and engine efficiency.
The curb weight of a 4x2 vehicle is generally lighter than a comparable 4x4, which translates to slightly higher towing and payload capability. However, 4x4 vehicles offer greater control while driving on slick or uneven surfaces.
- let's find a truck