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Can You Tow A Trailer With A Hyundai Elantra?

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Are you planning to go on a fishing trip near a lake, and wondering if your Hyundai Elantra can tow your gear? Wonder no more because we have researched this topic and we have the best answer for you.

Your Hyundai Elantra may not be a truck, but it can definitely tow a trailer for you. Depending on the model year, the Elantra has the following maximum towing capacity:

  • 2000 - 2007: 1,870 lbs
  • 2008 - 2011: 2,640 lbs
  • 2012 - Present: 2,860 lbs

Always refer to your owner's manual to determine your Elantra's capability before hitching a trailer.

However, it is important to know the maximum weight your Hyundai Elantra can pull under different circumstances. Additionally, you’d need to prepare your Elantra for towing before you can safely give it a trailer to pull. Fortunately, we have all of this information for you in the succeeding sections below. Read on!

2020 Hyundai Elantra at a dealership, Can You Tow A Trailer With A Hyundai Elantra?

Can you tow a trailer with a Hyundai Elantra?

The rising popularity of compact cars and EVs have prompted manufacturers to design lightweight trailers. This made it possible for passenger cars like Hyundai Elantra to tow camper trailers or even boat trailers.

Safety first

Never ignore the maximum towing capacity of your Hyundai Elantra.

Towing trailers exert direct pressure on your Elantra’s frame. Thus, exceeding the towing capacity can damage the frame of your Hyundai Elantra. Pulling trailers beyond their capacity can also damage the engine, the transmission, and the tires.

Additionally, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the instability of cargo and trailers from 2011 to 2014 was a factor in the estimated average of crashes per year in the US.

Mind local towing laws

Familiarize yourself with the local towing laws before planning a trip. Some states have a different set of regulations for passenger vehicles, like the Hyundai Elantra.

While some towing laws impose measurement restrictions on the towing equipment or on the trailer, some state laws specify lanes to travel on while towing a trailer.

Being familiar with local state towing laws (as well as the towing laws of your destination if it is not the same as your origin) can help you in planning. The type of equipment that you use will also be influenced by the state towing laws.

Pop up camper trailer parked in campsite in changing yellow Aspen tree forest on sunny fall morning

The towing capacity of Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra—from the model year 2000 to the model year 2007—has a braked towing capacity of 1,870 lbs.

Hyundai Elantra year model 2008 to 2011 has a braked towing capacity of 2,640 lbs., an improvement over the previous models.

Finally, the Hyundai Elantra models from 2012 up to the present have a braked towing capacity of 2,860 lbs.—an improvement of more than 8% over the models from 2008 to 2011.

Another note on safety

If you expect to drive through rough terrain or if you expect to drive through uneven roads, then make sure that you are only loading around 80% to 85% of the maximum towing capacity of your Hyundai Elantra.

This is to give your Elantra room to pull your trailer over an inclined road. Additionally, this will also give your Elantra enough stopping power when you’re driving down an incline and needs to make a sudden stop.

Loading your Hyundai Elantra while keeping in mind the terrain that you will likely encounter on your trip is important. Planning ahead can help you avoid accidents from not being able to make a sudden stop.

We have a great article with 15 travel trailer towing tips that every driver should know.

Does Hyundai Elantra need special equipment before it can tow a trailer?

A stock Hyundai Elantra does not come with any towing-related equipment. Fortunately, there are aftermarket towing accessories available that are manufactured specifically for Hyundai Elantra models.

Here’s a list of what you need on your Elantra before you can make it pull a trailer.

Tow hitch

Car's hook for trailer designs

A tow hitch or a trailer hitch is a structural accessory that can be bolted on your Hyundai Elantra’s chassis or frame. It is shaped like a bow with angled support on both ends.

It is important to buy a tow hitch that is made for the year and model of your Hyundai Elantra. The location of the bolt holes can be different between different models of Elantra. And buying a tow hitch that is made for your model year and trim is easier than drilling new holes on the tow hitch to make it fit under your Elantra.

The best tow hitch to buy is the one with safety chain loops. This is important so that you don’t have to connect the safety chain in awkward places on the tow hitch. This eliminates its purpose of adding an emergency safety connection.

Safety chain

Towing equipment hook strong cable metal chain safety assistance

As we’ve mentioned earlier, a safety chain is an emergency secondary connection between your trailer and your car. If the main connection breaks, gets disconnected, or becomes damaged, the safety chain will take over handling the connection.

The safety chain is connected to your trailer, and the other end is connected to the safety chain loop on the tow hitch. Some state towing laws require trailers to always have a safety chain installed.

Camco's heavy-duty steel safety chain with spring hooks might interest you. See it on Amazon, click here.

Tow Bar

Trailer coupling with trailer on a car

The tow bar is used as the main connection between your trailer and the tow hitch. The tow bar must match the measurements on your tow hitch receiver. It is then fastened to your tow bar with a bolt or a pin.

The other end of the tow bar is connected to the trailer. Make sure to purchase a tow bar that will match your trailer and the measurements on your tow hitch.

Curt's Universal Tow Bar is for flat or dinghy towing. Check it out on Amazon, click here.

Brake controller

A brake controller allows your Hyundai Elantra to control the electronic braking system of your trailer. This system will synchronize the braking of your trailer and your Elantra.

It is important to note, however, that the electronic brakes of most trailers are not powerful enough to allow them to make sudden stops. This is why it is important not to go above the towing capacity of your Hyundai Elantra.

If you plan to bring along boats or jet skis, most of the trailers for these gears do not have a braking system of their own. In this case, you will not need a brake controller.

However, if you are going to connect a small boat trailer to your Hyundai Elantra, you will need to take into account that your Elantra will be doing all the braking for both.

The maximum towing capacity of the Elantra is much lower when it is towing a trailer without its own brakes.

Brakes

Which brings us to this component—brakes.

If you’re using an older Elantra model, you might want to update your braking system. This is to help ensure that you have the stopping power under the extra load of a trailer.

Your braking system might be more than enough to stop your Hyundai Elantra under normal circumstances; stopping a trailer and your Elantra is a totally different story.

Rear wheels and suspension

Most trailers have only one pair of wheels near the rear to support the weight that the trailer will carry. This means that some of the weight will have to be supported by the rear wheels of your Hyundai Elantra.

The extra weight will add extra strain to your rear wheels and rear suspension. If the weight of the trailer is too great at the tow hitch, the rear suspension might not be able to support it. When this happens, your Hyundai Elantra can tip towards the rear, and that could make it difficult to control.

One of the things that you should do to prepare for towing a trailer is to reinforce or augment your rear suspension so that it will be ready for the added weight. You can add a suspension or install a new one that can handle the additional weight.

This can help give you a smoother ride while towing a trailer, even when you drive through adverse terrain.

Trailer lights

Not all trailers come with their own lights. According to USA Today, the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has specific requirements for trailer lights.

Rear lights

Trailers are required to have the following on their rear:

  • A pair of red taillights that provides an estimate of the trailer’s width
  • A pair of red brake lights
  • Yellow or red turn signals
  • A single white light for the license plate

The license plate light must be directly above or to the side of the license plate. No other lights can be present near the license plate.

Additional requirements

All trailer lights must be permanently installed on the trailer. The rear lights must be perpendicular to the centerline of the trailer.

Moreover, trailers that are wider than 80 inches are required by the NHTSA to have rear and side reflectors to indicate their size and presence.

Learn how to mount a TV in a camper in our article here.

Conclusion

The Hyundai Elantra can tow a trailer as long as the weight of the trailer does not exceed its towing capacity.

It is also important to prepare the Elantra for towing a trailer by installing towing equipment, some of which are required by law.