View Full Version : Towing Capacity 1989 Buick Electra Park Avenue 3.8 6CYL FWD

04-23-2005, 06:51 AM
I want to tow a boat weighing 3300# with this vehicle which is equipped with a Class II hitch rated for 3500#. The vehicle has only 70,000 miles on it. It has a transmission cooler. I am not concerned if there is a bit of extra wear on the engine.

The vehicle is rated to tow only 2000# but I have read that manufacturers typically underrate tow capacity because of liability concerns.

The tow will be 1200 miles with no mountains and on major highways. I would plan to tow off hours and avoid any heavy traffic, etc.

I will mention that I have looked at UHAUL for this and apparently from what I can gather they do not insure at all a boat towed behind one of their trucks. It seems they turn a bit of a blind eye to this sort of usage. My problem there is that I need insurance to get a temporary (aka trip permit) permit to tow the boat. (Calls to Ryder, Penske, all the major rental firms: they do not allow boat towing!)

I would appreciate any thoughts on this subject as the way it looks I may have to buy a truck specifically just for this tow. There will be a substantial cost just buying and then reselling that truck.

I do plan to use the Buick to launch and retrieve on a ramp that does not have a very steep grade.



04-23-2005, 07:40 AM
Good morning Peter and welcome to the board.

There is another thread about the pulling ability of a similar vehicle, Grand Prix. http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=1681&highlight=buick

I would ask your insurance agent on that has primary insurance to add protection for the tow or it may be already covered. Transmissions tend to get killed doing this type of pulling. More important is the rating of braking power and control should you have the unthinkable problem. That is a long trip also. I would think U-haul (make sure they have the right connector) and additional insurance would be best.

Remember the boat weigh 3300 plus trailer, 1500 plus stuff in boat, fuel, etc can be another 500 pounds easily and you are easily over 5000 pounds.

04-23-2005, 07:58 AM

I personally donít think that car is going to make it Ĺ way so the expense of buying a truck and re-selling may be well worth it given that you may be buying a truck while on the road some ware unfamiliar AND having the car repaired.

Hey Iím going to get in trouble for making that all one sentenceÖ:o

04-23-2005, 08:19 AM
I wouldn't recommend it.
Does the boat trailer have brakes? If not.... NO!!!!!

04-23-2005, 08:53 AM
Hey Denny

Tell us how you really feel, why donít cha..:wavey:

04-23-2005, 02:17 PM
Total all up weight of my tow, boat + trailer + gear is about 3300#.

I will explore this subject a bit further for anyone who is looking for similar info later.

I have researched this problem (towing a boat when you do not own a suitable vehicle) quite a bit through the Internet and various calls to rental companies. I will give what I have come up.

In Canada, where I am, the only company I could come up with that will KNOWINGLY rent you a truck to tow a boat is UHAUL. And even there, they may just be ignoring the fact you are towing a boat By that I mean, they will not insure the trailer you are towing. I was told this be three different persons at their telcenter and by a local dealer who I talked to personally.

So, UHAUL will rent you the truck but the trailer, etc. is not insured unless you get insurance in some other fashion. I called my insurance broker and he told me they would not separately insure a trailer I would tow behind a UHAUL. He said it should go through UHAUL and if they would not offer it, then draw your own conclusions. He suggested there were liability issues.

All the above is UHAUL's version of DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL.

In addition, in the province I am towing from I would need a temporary trip permit and for that I must show proof of insurance.

In short, a bureaucratic snafu, Catch-22. I see no way to rent an UHAUL and tow the boat 1200 miles legally and be insured for liability. In addition, it is my suspicion that if you put the boat trailer uninsured on a UHAUL truck, their liability insurance for the truck will be nullified and the tower will be responsible for all damage in an accident.

So, as far as I can see, you cannot legally tow a boat behind a rental truck in Canada. Nor are you insured. UHAUL in particular is just turning a blind eye to this action but it is neither legal or insured.

This may all be different in the States, I don't know.
In addition, in my research I called all the major rental companies and was told they do not rent equipment to tow boats one way. Some might rent for local hauling in a city. (In our great free market system, why can't you rent a truck to tow a boat?)

So, my conclusion: to be legal and insured you must have your own vehicle to tow the rated load and through that vehicle you will be insured. It sure looks like I have to buy a truck.

Thanks for the previous comments.


04-23-2005, 02:24 PM
Couldn't you rent a vehicle from a place similar to Enterprise?

04-23-2005, 02:53 PM
I would try to get some kind of rental SUV. Last summer, before we had the truck, i rented an Envoy which had the class 3 hitch. From there i picked up the apropriate ball and the thing the ball bolts to and goes into the rectangular hitch deal, and i was golden. Just make sure to specify that you need a hitch.

T Scott
04-23-2005, 03:56 PM
I would try to get some kind of rental SUV. Last summer, before we had the truck, i rented an Envoy which had the class 3 hitch. From there i picked up the apropriate ball and the thing the ball bolts to and goes into the rectangular hitch deal, and i was golden. Just make sure to specify that you need a hitch.

I don't know of any car rental company that will KNOWINGLY let you tow something behind one of their cars. (KNowingly is the key word here) However, if they let you request certain cars, such as Hertz, you can request a Ford Explorer or Chevy trailbalzaer of GMC Envoy as mentioned above. I believe all these cars come with a factory hitch as standard equipment.

04-24-2005, 02:59 PM
I think that would be the best solution. I know enterprise allows you to tow things, and I have seen it on there commercials before.

east tx skier
04-25-2005, 11:39 AM
I'll tell a quick story that always makes me smile. My father in law once set out to tow his old I/O 600 miles with a Lincoln Town Car with a V8. After about 7 miles, he turned around. The suspension just wasn't made for towing something that big. It was bouncing that car all over the road. I wouldn't tow a boat with a car for that great a distance.

04-25-2005, 11:58 AM
I had a rental suburban once about 2 yrs ago, in which they had a zip tie or something similar in the hitch. I think this was to see if you used it for towing, as the zip tie would need removed to install the receiver. I'm not sure if you got a slap on the wrist or not if this was removed...

2 other options:

1. "Ship" the boat with a company that will pull it for you (their insurance), or throw it on a trailer and transport it out for you. I know you can ship a car across the US for $500-700, a boat shouldn't be much different, and would save the hassle & expense of buying / selling a vehicle.

2. Does U-haul rent flatbed trailers? If so, could you put your trailer on top of that and pull it. Maybe then, your "cargo" would be covered, since it is on their trailer. THis would be a last resort, I'm sure people will comment on the CG being too high for the trailer, but I'm also sure worse things have been done.

Either way, I don't think the Buick would fare too well.