With the growing popularity of the working side-by-side (aka UTV), the towing ratings for these machines are going through the roof. I’ve recently witnessed one manufacturer produce a model that will haul 1,000 pounds in the steel bed and boasts claims of towing capabilities in the area of 2,000 pounds. This is a great luxury when working the ranch or building food plots and even feeding livestock. But, don’t get so caught up in numbers that you forget to think about precautionary needs to put in before pushing the hauling or towing limits on one of these machines.

If you haul heavy loads in the bed of your UTV, even if it is a simple 250 pounds, you have now changed the handling characteristics of the vehicle. It is now more top heavy and when turning corners on flat ground the machine will be more likely to roll. This is magnified on off-camber slopes or when crossing uneven terrain. You want to make sure the load is secure with straps and cannot shift from side to side or front to rear. A heavier load should get even more attention because it not only affects chassis roll, but it can make the front end lighter and that could affect steering ability.

When towing massive amounts of weight, think seriously about braking ability. Most heavy haulers have great brakes, but prepare in spite of this. Putting a massive load of gear or supplies behind the UTV will instantly create issues with slowing the machine. If the trailer has no brakes itself, then you are counting on your UTV to stop the entire train. Make slow turns and limit speed (no matter how fast you think you need the job done). If you are hauling a loaded trailer across your property and deer suddenly jumps across the path, you will want to be at a controllable speed to manage the rig. Make a runout plan for steep downhill and off-camber terrain incase the unit does not want to stop on command.

Photograph by tractorybynet