By James Raia
Getting work done more efficiently in a 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck or making certain you’re towing properly will be easier and less stressful this summer.
The manufacturer has announced the new F-150 will debut with available Onboard Scales and Smart Hitch. The new features will estimate cargo weight in real-time and indicate capacity. With continuously controlled damping, the features are engineered to help customers who tow and haul loads with their trucks. The new features will also add to their on-road confidence.
Customers can now gauge how much they’re hauling. New available Onboard Scales measure and display the approximate weight and payload in the truck. Load information is displayed in the center touch screen with a graphic representation of the truck, on a mobile phone through the FordPass app, or in graphics within the truck’s smart taillamps.
Smart taillamps operate like the battery charge indicator on a mobile phone. It displays the percentage of payload capacity by illuminating LEDs arranged in a built-in vertical bar.
2021 Ford F-150: Weighing payload no problem
As the truck is loaded, all four lights illuminate, showing it’s fully loaded. If the truck is overloaded, the top lights blink. The maximum payload is based on the pickup’s configuration and is programmed into the system. Additionally, the truck can be set on scale mode. This zeroes out the current load and allows for the approximate weighing of additional items loaded into the bed.
Class-exclusive Smart Hitch is designed to help customers easily load trailers and better practice safe towing. Smart Hitch measures the tongue weight of a trailer being connected, to help the customer distribute trailer weight correctly.
After the trailer is set up in the center touch screen, Smart Hitch calculates its tongue weight and guides weight distribution or hitch overloading. This is done on the screen, on the FordPass app or within the smart taillamps.
The truck also will indicate if the hitch weight is too high or low. It can even guide owners through properly tensioning of a weight redistributing hitch.
The 2021 Ford F-150 offers available continuously controlled damping for enhanced ride and handling characteristics, especially when towing or hauling heavy loads.
A computer within the F-150 analyzes multiple signals collected from high-resolution sensors. It will then adjust vehicle response to each situation by controlling valves in the shocks.
The damping force in the F-150 controls unwanted motions
Damping force helps control unwanted motions such as bounce, pitch and roll. It reduces the severity the truck – and its passengers – will feel from traveling through a pothole. The dampers firm up when the edge of a pothole is detected. That prevents the tires from dropping as deep into the hole. You can adjust the tuning by selecting any drive mode.
In Tow/Haul mode, continuously controlled damping is specifically tuned to provide a smooth and confident driving experience. The mode eases truck and trailer responses to road conditions. It provides connected, precise and linear steering despite a heavy trailer or load. It helps reduce driver’s stress while towing.
Available Onboard Scales, Smart Hitch and Continuously Controlled Damping can be ordered in early June. Deliveries will begin later in the summer.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: email@example.com.