My tow rig 1995 pontiac grand am 2.3l quad 4 motor with 3 speed auto?

 my 1995 pontiac grand am 2.3l 4cycl 3 speed auto was towing a 2006 chrysler pacifica with a car dolly. What the point buying a truck is a family sedan tows fine?

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6 Answers

  • 5 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I used to tow up to 4,000 lbs with a 2002 Chevy Impala.  I still have the car, but as my trailer got heavier, I finally got a truck.  At any rate, you'll likely get comments saying that you may not legally tow more than what the manufacturer (GM) rated your vehicle for.  That's not true.  If anyone reading that believes that is true, please leave a comment below referencing the law that makes it illegal.  Those ratings from the manufacturer are maximum RECOMMENDED towing capacities.  Exceeding the manufacturer recommendations will void the manufacturer's warranty, but considering how this Pontiac is a 1995, I'm going to assume that the factory warranty has expired.

    Having said that, trucks tend to be better equipped for towing when compared to a family sedan.  This sedan has a transmission cooler that is nothing more than a steel plate integrated with the radiator.  Even with constant air flow from highway speeds, the transmission will likely operate at elevated temperatures.  Trucks usually have liquid-to-air coolers, which have greater cooling capacities.  Radiators for sedans tend to be smaller and lighter than those of a truck, so a sedan's engine cooling capacity is likely be less than that of a truck.

    There's also the suspension of the sedan when compared to a truck.  A sedan's suspension tends to be more "soggy" compared to a truck, so the rear will bottom out sooner than that of a truck.  This is bad because as the rear of the towing vehicle squats, the front wheels of the towing vehicle lifts, as it becomes lighter.  This is really bad because the front wheels tend to provide the most braking and are also totally responsible for steering.  The less weight on these wheels, the less traction that the steering wheels will have.

    There are some who try to mitigate the loss of traction on the front by making the trailer's tongue weight as close to zero as possible.  This is horrible because trailer tongue weight is what maintains the trailer's stability.  Trailer tongue weight should be at least 10% of the weight of the trailer (once again, this is a recommendation, there is no law, but I have enough towed enough to say that my personal experience validates this "rule of thumb" as being true)  So if the trailer weighs 4,000 lbs, the tongue should weigh at least 400.  If the trailer becomes unstable, you will experience trailer sway.  At low speeds, this may not be a big deal.  But at highway speeds, the trailer sway can be so great that the trailer will whip violently from side to side, much like a dog wagging it's tail.  Except that in this case the tail will be wagging the dog.  There are youtube videos online that demonstrate the need for trailer tongue weight.  Once again, trucks tend to handle tongue weight better than sedans.

    With good tongue weight, I've towed at 90MPH with no sway.

    Another issue are brakes.  Sedans tend to have smaller/lighter brakes than trucks.  While a sedan will likely have enough braking capacity to do an emergency stop, on a decent from a hill, the brakes could potentially overheat.  Overheated brakes do not stop a car, or even a truck for that matter.  Truck's have heavy brakes that can handle a lot of heat, but even they have their limits.  Case in point, Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos was criminally charged for his involvement in a crash in Colorado that ended with the deaths of 4 people.  Aguilera-Mederos was going downhill on I-70 and his brakes eventually failed, causing his truck to become a runaway (there are other factors in the accident, such as him not taking emergency runaway ramps, but one of the factors were that his brakes failed on a portion of a road that is notorious for overheating brakes and causing runaway trucks.  The portion of road he was on called for down gearing, and a speed limit of 45 MPH).

    Just remember physics.  Energy is not created nor destroyed.  The kinetic energy (momentum) of the vehicle must be converted to thermal energy.  That's why brake components get hot when braking.  If the brake components, such as the drum, rotors, pads and shoes are hotter than what the braking action can produce, no kinetic energy can be converted into thermal energy, which means, no brakes.

    Trucks, having heavier braking components, and more material, tend to have greater braking reserve compared to a sedan.

    In summary, for occasion towing, I believe that towing a trailer with a sedan is acceptable, even if the weight exceeds the maximum recommended towing by the manufacturer.  If you plan on towing frequently, especially with heavier trailers or loads, I would recommend a truck, or a sturdy SUV or a sturdy van.

    • ...Show all comments
    • John Davis
      Lv 4
      5 months agoReport

      A Hunch, yet it's perfectly legal to tow greater than max recommended capacity.  My brother does hotshot towing, with an old 3500 truck.  Max towing is 20k lbs, but he registered it for 52,000.  He drive thru DOT station, never had a problem for weight.  Just pays his registration + tax for weight.

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  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Wow.  .We have a '98 Sunfire and '02 Pacifica. No Way would I Try to  tow it Far even if it Didn't exceed max recc. safety towage.

    we have often gone other Way-towed Pontiac , with the Chrysler. Chrysler didn't even  Feel the Pontiac.

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  • Bort
    Lv 6
    5 months ago

    A truck has more power and is designed to haul and tow things. A grand am is not designed to haul and tow things. The grand am isn't going to last long if you keep towing things with it because that's not what it's designed for. When you use something for things it's not designed for it breaks.

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  • 5 months ago

    The safe towing capacity of your 1995 pontiac grand am is 1000lbs

    The weight of your 2006 chrysler pacifica is about 4500lbs plus the weight of the dolly


    You put everyone around you in danger ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT APPEARS TO BE WET WEATHER.

    Let's all cheer that  Dennis didn't kill any innocent people today when he was ILLEGALLY towing this vehicle.  You are VERY FORTUNATE that your car was able the stop the dolly/vehicle.  

    - hope you don't attempt this again and your luck runs out.

    Dumb Sh1t Dennis, towing capacity is not just about the ability for your car to "tow" the other vehicle without ruining your motor and transmission. 

    • Dennis D5 months agoReport

      i do agree with you it was little to much i don't tow that heavy anymore i have the Chrysler pacifica for that now.

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  • Ron
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Awesome. Can you haul a yard of gravel with that thing?

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  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    There is something called gross trailer weight rating.  Read about it. In short, try towing a big camper with your car.

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