Horsepower or Torque – What Counts in Towing?

There has been a debate in the towing industry as to what counts between horsepower and torque when it comes to towing. Simply defined, horsepower is the measurement of work done. This means force applied to an object which then moves a certain distance in the direction of the force. In terms of figures, one horsepower measures up to the energy required to move a 149 kg object over a distance of 30.5 meters in a single minute.

Torque on the other hand refers to the twisting force that spins an object such as a wheel. As opposed to horsepower, torque can be exerted even if the object does not move. The measurement of torque is in pounds-feet.

Measurement of Horsepower

For you to be able to measure horsepower, you must first measure torque. To put it in layman’s terms, torque measures the magnitude of work done while horsepower measures the speed with which the speed is done.

Torque moves a vehicle from a stop position and helps it to climb even the steepest of hills. For this reason, more torque is needed if you are to start a heavier vehicle compared to a lighter one. In summary, torque is what allows you to drag heavy loads when towing.

When watching car advertisements, horsepower is often mentioned when discussing racing cars performance. However, in truck commercials, you will most likely hear torque being discussed.

The Towing Capacity of a Truck

When assessing towing capacity of a truck, you need to look at the amount of wait the truck can pull. Most modern trucks can pull up to 7257.5 kg which in certain cases amounts to more than double their weight.

There is a relationship between the torque of a truck engine and its towing capacity. The tow truck’s engine normally creates torque which it then uses to turn the crank shaft that ultimately connects the transmission. Using gears, the transmission converts the torque to enable the truck tow your vehicle safely.

If you are observant enough, you will realize that most tow trucks operate on lower gears. This is because these gears have more torque available.

The role of horsepower is to help your truck accelerate and get the job done faster. The ability to pull (torque) is not enough on its own because you need to get to a destination and horsepower will enable you to do so.

It’s therefore important to tell the difference between the two so that when choosing a tow truck in Rockford, you won’t be misled into concentrating only on horsepower at the expense of torque.


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