Can You Flat Tow A Toyota 4Runner? [Answered]

Toyota's full-size SUV, the 4Runner, has all the reliability you would expect from a Toyota. Whether for service or a road trip, you might find yourself needing to tow the 4Runner. When the time comes, can the 4Runner be flat towed? We've done the research, and here's the deal:

The 4Runner is not approved for flat towing. Doing so could cause serious damage to the transmission, drivetrain, and other mechanical components. 

Just because you can't flat tow the 4Runner doesn't mean you can't tow it. In this article, we'll cover how to tow your 4Runner and also some great RVs that are up to the job. We'll also look at the Toyota vehicles and model years you can tow. Keep reading to find out more.

What's the best way to tow a 4Runner?

Toyota 4Runner SUV (2016 Trail model) at dusk

While flat towing is off the table for your 4Runner, there are still a few options for how to tow it. Not all methods can be used for all 4Runners. Let's take a look at the best and most common towing methods.

Flatbed Towing

Regardless of your 4Runner's drivetrain, you can tow it with a flatbed car trailer. This is the safest option, as it keeps all four wheels off the ground. Whether you're towing the 4Runner personally or using a towing company, this method should be your go-to.

Wheel-Lift Towing

There are also ways to tow your 4Runner with a wheel-lift truck or tow dolly. If your 4Runner has four-wheel drive, you will still need to make sure that no wheels are in contact with the ground. This can be done by using a separate dolly opposite the lifted wheels.

If you have a two-wheel-drive 4Runner, the need for a separate dolly will depend on which way your vehicle is facing. With the 4Runner facing forward and the front wheels lifted behind the tow vehicle, you will still need a separate dolly to keep the rear wheels off the pavement.

However, if the 4Runner is facing backward and the rear wheels are lifted, the front wheels can be left in contact with the ground. Because the 2WD 4Runner is rear-wheel drive, the front wheels can spin without moving the other mechanical components.

When you are towing a 2WD 4Runner in this way, make sure the steering isn't locked. If your 4Runner has the smart key system, switch it to ACCESSORY mode. If yours doesn't use the smart key system, turn the engine switch to the ACC position.

When you tow with the front wheels on the road, check the ground clearance after lifting the rear wheels. If there is not enough ground clearance by the front bumper, it may become damaged during towing.

Sling Towing

Toyota does not advise using sling-type tow trucks for the 4Runner. They warn that this style of towing may damage the body of your vehicle.

Can you tow a 4Runner behind an RV?

Toyota 4runner SUV (2016 trail edition, stock vehicle without any off road modifications))

It is absolutely possible to tow a 4Runner with an RV. However, it does require the right equipment and know-how. Here, we'll cover what you need and what you need to know to tow your 4Runner with an RV.

Towing Weight

The first thing to consider is the weight of the 4Runner. The 2022 4Runner has a curb weight of 4,400 lbs. for the TRD Sport and 4,675 lbs. for the SR5 and SR5 Premium. You will also need to factor in the weight of any cargo in your 4Runner.

Next, you will need an appropriate car trailer. Look for one with a load capacity that exceeds the weight of your 4Runner. The gross vehicle weight rating, the maximum weight allowance, for the 2022 4Runner is 6,100 lbs. for the TRD Sport and 6,300 lbs. for the SR5 and SR5 Sport.

The 10CH-16 from Big Tex Trailers has a load capacity of 8,020 lbs. This is more than enough to pull a 4Runner full of cargo. The trailer itself weighs 1,970 lbs., which you'll need to add to your total. This makes the weight total a maximum of 8,270 lbs.

A piece of common wisdom in RV circles is to keep your trailer weight under 80% of your maximum towing capacity. Following this rule, you will want an RV with a towing capacity of at least 10,338 lbs.

RVs that can tow the 4Runner

Following the guidelines outlined above, we'll look at some RVs with a towing capacity of at least 10,338 lbs.

Keep in mind that you may be able to go a bit lower if your 4Runner is not fully loaded with cargo or your car trailer is lighter. Likewise, you may need a higher towing capacity if you have a heavier trailer.

For this kind of towing power, your best bets will be Class A and Class C motorhomes. Class B motorhomes can typically tow between 3,000 and 5,000 lbs. While plenty for towing some offroaders or lightweight watercraft, this falls far short of what's needed to tow a 4Runner.

Class A Motorhomes that can tow the 4Runner

Camping at sunset at a Rv resort

Class A Motorhomes use a commercial bus or truck chassis. They are among the largest RVs on the market, and many feature the towing power necessary to haul your 4Runner. Here are just a few of the best.

The Berkshire XLT from Forest River

The Berkshire XLT is available in four different floor plans to suit your liking. Regardless of which floor plan you choose, you'll have an impressive 15,000-lb. towing capacity. With that much power, towing your 4Runner will be a breeze.

The Tuscany 45MX/45BX from Thor Motorhomes

The Tuscany comes in three different floor plans. Two of these floor plans, the 45MX and 45BX, have a towing capacity of 15,000 lbs., so you'll be able to tow your 4Runner confidently.

The Tuscany 40RT has a 10,000-lb. towing capacity. This can be enough for a 4Runner if you don't fill it with cargo while towing or opt for a lighter car trailer.

The American Eagle from American Coach

If 15,000 lbs. of towing power isn't enough for you, then consider the American Eagle. This Class A motorhome offers a whopping 20,000-lb. towing capacity. That's almost enough for towing two 4Runners on two different trailers, though we wouldn't recommend it.

Available in three different floor plans, your towing power stays the same for each. 

Class C Motorhomes that can tow the 4Runner

Motor home and sunset during springtime

Class C motorhomes use a pickup truck chassis. The overhang above the cab gives them their iconic look. Class C motorhomes also feature some of the most potent towing power among RVs.

Be sure to check out this article to learn even more about this topic: How Much Can You Tow with a Class C Motorhome? For now, here are a couple of Class Cs that can handle the 4Runner with ease.

Magnitude Super C from Thor Motorcoach

Another RV from Thor, the Magnitude Super C has a lot of towing power and gives you options for the chassis. The F-550 and F-600 chassis will get you 20,500 or 21,000 lbs. of towing power, respectively. There are two different floor plans available for each chassis, too.

Isata 5 from Dynamax

With a Ram 5500 chassis and a 6.7-liter I6 Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, the Isata 5 is a powerful vehicle. This Class C motorhome features an impressive 18,000-lb. towing capacity.

Can a 4Runner tow another 4Runner?

oyota 4Runner SUV (2016 trail model) with an inflatable touring stand up paddleboard

We've seen RVs that can tow the 4Runner, but can a 4Runner tow another one?

Unfortunately, it can't. The 4Runner is a decent towing vehicle, even including standard 4- and 7-pin towing wiring. However, it has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. This just isn't enough to tow another 4Runner, let alone a 4Runner and a trailer.

If you're looking for an SUV with some heavy-duty towing capabilities, check out this article: What’s The Best SUV for Towing A Travel Trailer? There, you'll learn more about SUVs that offer a bit more towing power than the 4Runner, including another from Toyota.

Can any Toyota vehicles be flat towed?

While flat-towable vehicles used to be in abundance, there are fewer at dealerships each year. Toyota is no exception to this, and the Japanese manufacturer hasn't featured any vehicles rated for flat towing in its lineup for the past several model years.

The most recent offering was the Corolla. You can flat tow model years up to 2019 as long as they have a manual transmission and you follow the proper procedure.

We've put together the models, years, and configurations of Toyota vehicles that can be flat towed. You'll find them listed here in alphabetical order:

  • Camry, manual: 1992-2011
  • Celica (Including GT and GT-S), manual: 2000-2005
  • Celica GT-S, automatic: 2000-2001
  • Corolla, manual: 1993-2019
  • Echo, manual: 2000-2005
  • Highlander, manual: 2001
  • Matrix, manual: 2003-2013
  • MR2 Spyder, manual: 2000-2005
  • Paseo, manual: 1996-1998
  • RAV4, manual: 1996-2001, 2002-2005 with 4WD
  • RAV4, automatic: 2001
  • Solara, manual: 1999-2009
  • Tercel, manual: 1995-1998
  • Yaris, manual: 2007-2018

Note that the procedure, speed, and distance limits for flat towing will vary across models and years. Check your owner's manual to familiarize yourself with the flat towing procedure for your specific vehicle.

You can also learn about the procedure for certain vehicles right here on VEHQ. For example, check out this post to learn the process for that vehicle as well as some tips for flat towing in general: Can You Flat Tow A Toyota Camry? [And how to safely do that]

Final Thoughts

Toyota 4Runner SUV (2016 Trail edition) crossing a mountain stream

Flat towing might be a convenient towing option, but it's not for every vehicle, including the 4Runner and other recent Toyotas.

However, now you know the best way to tow a 4Runner. We've also seen some top-notch Class A and Class C motorhomes that have the power to tow a 4Runner and more. We've even seen which past Toyota models can be flat towed.

All that's left to do is pack up, hitch up, and hit the road. Safe driving and happy hauling!

Overlanding campsite with 4Runner on hilltop on Forest Service Road 54, Can You Flat Tow A Toyota 4Runner?

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One comment

  1. You can actually flat tow a 5th Generation Toyota 4Runner. It just requires replacement of the rear driveshaft with an aftermarket one that allows you to lock it out so it’s not turning when in tow. I have a 2012 4Runner and have looked into this to see if it’s possible. After some research I found some information on the internet. A lot of it comes from this Youtube creator who flat-tows his 4Runner.

    Currently I don’t have my 4Runner setup to flat tow but have been looking into it. One negative tow hauling on a trailer or with a tow dolly is space at a campground and RV park. In some cases in my travels I’ve found that some parks do not allow dollys to be stored. So when the vehicle is offloaded you have less room with the trailer or dolly sitting around.

    Anyways, just thought I’d let you know that it is possible to flat tow a 4Runner or any vehicle for that matter if you do the right things to it to make it possible.


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