Best Used Tow Vehicle under 17k

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Well-known member
Mar 16, 2019
Exploring my towing options I have about 17k to work with. I currently own a Ford sport Trac (with almost 200k) and a Chrysler 300.

I need a good tow vehicle. We want to travel the US next year but I don?t have 40k to drop on a vehicle.
Realistically I?d like to spend around 12-14k

My trailer is around 2500 dry 3500 gross weight. We looked at a grand Cherokee Laredo but couldn?t confirm if the tow package was installed by the manufacturer or not and apparently there?s a 3000lb tow limit difference between a grand Cherokee with a tow package vs without

I figured it wasn?t a good call to be at or over the tow limit.

So I?m thinking we need to be in the 5k and up towing capacity.
I own the weight distribution hitch and brake controller just not the vehicle..

Anyone have any suggestions?
I've been happy with my 05 YukonXL, you wouldn't need the xl version, but the Yukon with the 5.3 v8, mine has been very reliable, currently 150k.  I've been looking to trade, owned it 12 years, not feeling like a pick-up, actually considering a new Expedtion.  You can find great reviews on  Many like their Jeeps, personally I owned one for a high school kid, was a money pit of problems, a friend had same luck as me with his.  Maybe a Nissan Pathfinder or a mid size SUV.  If you find something, we can help you understand the payload and towing numbers, they can get confusing, unless you've followed the many threads we have going on with them  ::)  I wouldn't go too small, you want something that pulls well in various conditions. 
We looked at a grand Cherokee Laredo but couldn?t confirm if the tow package was installed by the manufacturer or not

The codes for most all options are usually found in the glove box on many vehicles.
It might be different on different vehicles but it is somewhere in the vehicle.

I'm thinking you could goggle what the factory trailering package code is for a certain model.
Then look for the RPO codes starting in the glove box if the vehicle has one.

I know that I would most likely not buy a vehicle that didn't have a trailering package EVEN if I didn't have plans to
tow anything at the time of purchase.  Having a HD radiator and a transmission cooler (included in many trailer packages)
couldn't be a  bad thing.

Good luck in your search for a tow vehicle.
Thanks for asking first!!!

I suggest a minimum tow rating of 6000# to leave room for all the weight in the vehicle and weight of options.  You need a safety margin.

Another way to view weights is to add the weight of everything you anticipate carrying in the tow vehicle (TV), including passengers, pets, tools, etc.  Add 80# for a WD hitch.  Add 420# (12% of 3500#) for tongue wt.  Make sure the TV payload exceeds this number.  For vehicles manufactured in 2009 or later, they will have the infamous yellow placard with this information.  Earlier models may or may not have the placard.

Do NOT use published payloads from manufacturer web sites.  Those numbers are for the base trim line with no options, no cargo, no passengers, just a full fuel tank.  Get the truck weighed.  Payload = GVWR minus actual wt. of the vehicle.

Note the vehicle must meet both specs.
Jey said:
My trailer is around 2500 dry 3500 gross weight.

If I were you, I also would weigh it after your remodel, get a separate tongue weight too.  You will feel better when you get looking to buy .

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