2021 Ford Ranger Owners Manual - Towing


WARNING: Do not tow a er fitted with electric trailer

brakes unless your vehicle is fitted with a compatible aftermarket electronic trailer brake controller. Failure to follow this instruction could result in the loss of control of your vehicle, personal injury or death. For additional information and assistance, we recommend that you contact an authorized dealer.

Note: Your vehicle includes trailer stability control if it has an electronic stability program (ESP).

When towing a trailer:

Obey country specific regulations for towing a trailer.
Do not exceed 62 mph

(100 km/h) even if a country allows higher speeds under certain conditions.

Place loads as low as possible and central to the axle of your trailer. For best stability of the trailer in an unladen vehicle, place the load in the trailer towards the nose within the maximum nose load as this gives the best stability. See Recommended Towing Weights (page 222).
Reduce the stipulated permitted gross combination mass by 3% for every additional 1,000 ft (300 m) in high altitude regions above 1,000 ft (300 m).
Use a low gear when descending a steep downhill slope.

The stability of your vehicle to trailer combination is dependent on the quality of the trailer.


WARNING: Turning off trailer sway control increases the risk of loss of vehicle control, serious injury or death. Ford does not recommend disabling this feature except in situations where speed reduction may be detrimental (such as hill climbing), the driver has significant trailer towing experience, and can control trailer sway and maintain safe operation.

Note: This feature does not prevent trailer sway, but reduces it once it begins.

Note: This feature cannot stop all trailers from swaying.

Note: In some cases, if vehicle speed is too high, the system may activate multiple times, gradually reducing vehicle speed.

This feature applies your vehicle brakes at individual wheels and, if necessary, reduces engine power. If the trailer begins to sway, the stability control light flashes and the message TRAILER SWAY REDUCE

SPEED appears in the information display. The first thing to do is slow your vehicle down, then pull safely to the side of the road and check for proper tongue load and trailer load distribution. See Load Carrying (page 215).

bey WARNING: Towing trailers ond the maximum

recommended gross trailer weight exceeds the limit of your vehicle and could result in engine damage, transmission damage, structural damage, loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover and personal injury.

Note: Certain states require electric trailer brakes for trailers over a specified weight. Be sure to check state regulations for this specified weight. The maximum trailer weights listed may be limited to this specified weight, as your vehicle's electrical system may not include the wiring connector needed to use electric trailer brakes.

Towing Capacities

If your vehicle has a light duty trailer hitch, the maximum towing capacity is 3,500 lb (1,588 kg).

If your vehicle has a heavy duty trailer hitch, use the chart that follows to find your towing capacity.

Light Duty Trailer Hitch.
Heavy Duty Trailer Hitch.


Body Style



C Gross ombina-

tion Mass

Max Tow Without Trailer Brake

Max Tow With Trailer Brake

SuperCab Chassis



12,500 lb

(5,670 kg)

1,650 lb

(750 kg)

7,500 lb

(3,400 kg)




12,150 lb

(5,510 kg)

1,650 lb

(750 kg)

7,500 lb

(3,400 kg)




12,400 lb

(5,620 kg)

1,650 lb

(750 kg)

7,500 lb

(3,400 kg)

SuperCrew Cab



12,250 lb

(5,555 kg)

1,650 lb

(750 kg)

7,500 lb

(3,400 kg)




12,500 lb

(5,670 kg)

1,650 lb

(750 kg)

7,500 lb

(3,400 kg)


Minimum Nose Weight

Maximum Nose Weight

Light Duty Trailer Hitch

10% of the towed weight

350 lb (159 kg)

Heavy Duty Trailer Hitch

10% of the towed weight

750 lb (340 kg)


Follow these guidelines for safe towing:

• Do not tow a trailer until you drive your vehicle at least 1,000 mi (1,600 km).

• Consult your local motor vehicle laws for towing a trailer.

• See the instructions included with towing accessories for the proper installation and adjustment specifications.

• Service your vehicle more frequently if you tow a trailer. See your scheduled maintenance information. See Scheduled Maintenance (page 416).

• If you use a rental trailer, follow the instructions the rental agency gives you.


See Load limits in the Load Carrying chapter for load specification terms found on the tire label and Safety Compliance label and instructions on calculating your vehicle's load. See Load Limit (page 215).

Remember to account for the trailer tongue weight as part of your vehicle load when calculating the total vehicle weight.

When attaching the trailer wiring connector to your vehicle, only use a proper fitting connector that works with the vehicle and trailer functions. Some seven-position connectors may have the SAE J2863 logo, which confirms that it is the proper wiring connector and works correctly with your vehicle.




Left turn signal and stop lamp


Ground (-)


Electric brakes


Right turn signal and stop lamp


Battery (+)1


Running lights


Reverse lights

1 Your vehicle must recognize the trailer before the trailer can receive power.

Note: Do not attach safety chains to the bumper. Always connect the safety chains to the frame or hook retainers of your trailer hitch.

Install trailer safety chains to the trailer hitch as recommended by the manufacturer. Cross the chains under the trailer tongue and allow enough slack for turning tight corners. Do not allow the chains to drag on the ground.


If the trailer safety chain hook has a latch, make sure the latch is fully closed.


WARNING: Do not connect a trailer's hydraulic brake system directly to your vehicle's brake system. Your vehicle may not have enough braking power and your chances of having a collision greatly increase.

Electric brakes and manual, automatic or surge-type trailer brakes are safe if you install them properly and adjust them to the manufacturer's specifications. The trailer brakes must meet local and federal regulations.

Separate functioning brake systems are required for safe control of towed vehicles and trailers weighing more than 1500 lb (680 kg) when loaded.

Trailer Lamps

WARNING: Never connect any trailer lamp wiring to the vehicle's tail lamp wiring; this may damage the electrical system resulting in fire. Contact your authorized dealer as soon as possible for assistance in proper trailer tow wiring installation. Additional electrical equipment may be required.

Trailer lamps are required on most towed vehicles. Make sure all running lights, brake lights, turn signals and hazard lights are working.

Practice turning, stopping and backing up to get the feel of your vehicle-trailer combination before starting on a trip.

When turning, make wider turns so the trailer wheels clear curbs and other obstacles.

• Do not drive faster than 70 mph (113 km/h) during the first 500 mi (800 km).

• Do not make full-throttle starts.

• Check your hitch, electrical connections and trailer wheel lug nuts thoroughly after you have traveled 50 mi (80 km).

• When stopped in congested or heavy traffic during hot weather, place the transmission in park (P) to aid engine and transmission cooling and to help A/C performance.

• Turn off the speed control with heavy loads or in hilly terrain. The speed control may turn off automatically when you are towing on long, steep grades.

• Shift to a lower gear when driving down a long or steep hill. Do not apply the brakes continuously, as they may overheat and become less effective.

• If your transmission is equipped with a Grade Assist or Tow/Haul feature, use this feature when towing. This provides engine braking and helps eliminate excessive transmission shifting for optimum fuel economy and transmission cooling.

• If your vehicle is equipped with AdvanceTrac with RSC, this system may turn on during typical cornering maneuvers with a heavily loaded trailer. This is normal. Turning the corner at a slower speed while towing may reduce this tendency.


If you are towing a trailer frequently in hot weather, hilly conditions, at the gross combined weight rating, or any combination of these factors, consider refilling your rear axle with synthetic gear lubricant if the axle is not already filled with it. See Capacities and Specifications (page 324).
Allow more distance for stopping with a trailer attached. Anticipate stops and brake gradually.
Avoid parking on a grade. However, if you must park on a grade:
Turn the steering wheel to point your vehicle tires away from traffic flow.
Set your vehicle parking brake.
Place the automatic transmission in park (P).
Place wheel chocks in front and back of the trailer wheels. Chocks are not included with your vehicle.

Your vehicle may be equipped with a temporary or conventional spare tire. A temporary spare tire is different in diameter or width, tread-type, or is from a different manufacturer than the road tires on your vehicle. Consult information on the tire label or Safety Compliance label for limitations when using.

Note: Disconnect the wiring to the trailer

before backing the trailer into the water.

Note: Reconnect the wiring to the trailer

after removing the trailer from the water.

When backing down a ramp during boat launching or retrieval:

Do not allow the static water level to rise above the bottom edge of the rear bumper.
Do not allow waves to break higher than 6 in (15 cm) above the bottom edge of the rear bumper.

Exceeding these limits may allow water to enter vehicle components:

Causing internal damage to the components.
Affecting driveability, emissions, and reliability.

Replace the rear axle lubricant anytime the rear axle has been submerged in water. Water may have contaminated the rear axle lubricant, which is not normally checked or changed unless a leak is suspected or other axle repair is required.

WARNING: If your vehicle has a steering wheel lock make sure the ignition is in the accessory or on position when being towed.


If your vehicle becomes inoperable without access to wheel dollies, a car-hauling trailer or a flatbed transport vehicle, you can flat-tow with all wheels on the ground, regardless of the powertrain and transmission configuration, under the following conditions:

• Your vehicle is facing forward for towing in a forward direction.

• Place the transmission in neutral (N). If you cannot move the transmission into neutral (N), you may need to override the gear shifter. See Automatic Transmission (page 160).

• Maximum speed is 35 mph (56 km/h).

• Maximum distance is 50 mi (80 km).

Note: Put your climate control system in recirculated air mode to prevent exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle. See Climate Control (page 117).

Follow these guidelines if you have a need for recreational towing, such as towing your vehicle behind a motorhome. These guidelines are designed to prevent damage to your transmission.

You can put your vehicle in neutral tow for recreational towing by placing the transfer case in its neutral position and engaging the four-wheel-down towing feature.

Perform the steps in the following section after positioning your vehicle behind the tow vehicle and properly securing them together.

Note: Make sure you properly secure your vehicle to the tow vehicle.

Put the ignition in the on position, but do not start the engine. If your vehicle has an ignition key, turn the key to the on position. If your vehicle has intelligent access, press the engine START/STOP button once without pressing the brake pedal.
Press and hold the brake pedal.
Rotate the four-wheel drive switch to


Shift the transmission to neutral (N).
Enable Neutral Tow by selecting Settings in the information display menu.
Then select Vehicle.
Then select Neutral Tow and follow the instructions on screen.

Note: If successfully completed, the information display shows NEUTRAL TOW LEAVE IN N or Neutral Tow Enabled Leave Transmission in Neutral. This indicates that your vehicle is safe to tow with all wheels on the ground.

Note: If you do not see the message in the display, you must switch the ignition off and perform the procedure again from the beginning.

Note: You may hear an audible noise as the transfer case shifts into its neutral position. This is normal.

Leave the transmission in neutral (N) and turn the ignition key as far as it can go towards the off position. It does not turn fully off when the transmission is in neutral (N). If your vehicle has an ignition key, you must leave the key in the ignition when towing. To lock and unlock your vehicle, use the keyless entry keypad or an extra set of keys. If


your vehicle has intelligent access, press the engine START/STOP button once without pressing the brake pedal. You do not need to leave your keys in the vehicle. You can lock and unlock your vehicle as you normally do.

9. Release the brake pedal.

WARNING: Do not disconnect the battery during recreational towing. It prevents the transfer case from shifting properly and may cause the vehicle to roll, even if the transmission is in park (P).

WARNING: Shifting the transfer case to its neutral position for recreational towing may cause the vehicle to roll, even if the transmission is in park (P). It may injure the driver and others. Make sure you press the foot brake and the vehicle is in a secure, safe position when you shift to neutral (N).

Note: Failing to put the transfer case in its neutral position may damage vehicle components.

Note: You can check the four-wheel-down towing status at any time by opening the driver door or by switching the ignition to the accessory or on position and verifying the confirmation message appears in the cluster.

To exit four-wheel-down towing and return the transfer case to the 2H position:

With your vehicle still properly secured to the tow vehicle, switch the ignition to the on position but do not start the engine. If your vehicle has an ignition key, turn the key to the on position. If your vehicle has intelligent access, press the engine START/STOP button once without pressing the brake pedal.
Press and hold the brake pedal.
Shift the transmission out of neutral

(N) and into park (P).

Observe the messages on the information display screen.

Note: If completed successfully, the instrument cluster displays 4X2, and Neutral Tow Disabled.

Note: If the indicator light and message do not display, you must perform the procedure again from the beginning.

Note: You may hear an audible noise as the transfer case shifts out of its neutral position. This is normal.

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