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Now is the time to hit the road with those toys! Maybe you need to do some hauling for work. You might be wondering if your Tacoma can really handle towing a trailer.
The quick answer is: Yes! Your Tacoma can handle towing a trailer. We have taken all the basic information and put it all in one place.
The long answer is a bit more in-depth. The ability to tow a trailer really comes down to your truck. There are several factors that you need to consider before hooking a trailer up and rolling down the road. Read on to see what we suggest about towing a trailer with your truck. We have taken the guesswork out of it for you and tried to make things easier to understand.
How Does the Tacoma Really Stack up to Other Trucks?
The Tacoma falls into a class of trucks known as light duty. That means that it weighs a half-ton or less. There is very little weight difference in the Tacoma. The trucks in this line only fall into this class. They do not come any larger even with different trim packages. We will cover more on this later.
Other truck brands in this class include:
Despite not making a larger Tacoma, they actually handle towing well. If you know how to tow a trailer then you will not be disappointed. You will find that the Tacoma can really hold its own when compared to its competition.
Considerations Before Towing
As previously mentioned there are several considerations to have before towing. The following information will help you determine if your particular Tacoma can tow the trailer that you want. This is very important and can help you from making a dangerous or expensive mistake.
One of the first and most important things to consider is tongue weight. For those who are not familiar with the principles of towing. Tongue weight is the amount of pressure that the hitch is putting on your truck.
In basic terms: The more weight there is and the more weight that is in the front of the trailer the more tongue weight you have. This is great because it really helps with the overall stability of the truck and trailer.
Let’s talk about payload. The average payload is 2,000 pounds. This breaks down like this. If you factor in 1,000 pounds for passengers and gear, that leaves you with 1,000 pounds of tongue weight. This number will vary slightly with each truck. It is very important to pay attention to both payload and tongue weight.
This is just a guide. You can find the specific tongue weights and towing capacities of your truck in the owner's manual or often times it is stamped on a plate inside the door. If all of this seems confusing here is a link to a great article on towing capacity. Check it out for some great information.
When figuring out how much you can tow here is a good suggestion. Most experienced trail towers suggest that a safe tongue weight is 12%-15% of your trailer weight. This works no matter what you are towing.
This is never a good idea. In all actuality, it is also illegal. Not to mention irresponsible and unsafe. Here are some other reasons. You may not be able to brake normally. The excess strain can cause damage to your transmission. If you manage to get rolling you may cause the trailer to sway. If your weight and balance are not correct this can cause a lack of control.
Towing a Light Trailer
If you are towing a light trailer you need to be careful. If you are towing a trailer that is too light you may also develop trailer sway. When you are towing a trailer it is very important important that the load put a decent amount of force on your hitch. So, in other words, you don’t want to pull too much weight or too little. Both scenarios can be dangerous.
Tacoma Engine Size
Engine size can affect your ability to tow. Before hitching up make sure that your truck has a big enough engine to do the job. Just because you can pull something does not mean that you should. Paying attention to this can help avoid damage to the engine or other components.
The Tacoma line currently comes in three engine sizes. They are:
- 2.7L 4 Cylinder
- 3.5L V6
- 4.0L V6
2.7L 4 Cylinder
The four-cylinder model is a true light truck. It is a great truck for driving around and hauling small loads in the bed. The payload and tongue weight is not designed to handle the rigors of towing.
The 3.5L V6 is a good all-around engine for towing. If you pay attention to the weight limits for your truck and trailer then you should have very few issues towing. This configuration is not suggested for really heavy loads. The extra strain on the transmission will cause it to run hotter.
The 4.0L V6 is the largest available engine for the Tacoma line. This configuration will handle just about any trailer towing. It provides solid torque to get moving from a dead stop. It also has the best weight distribution of the line.
What If I Have a Different Trim Package?
This is a really good question. In some brands of trucks, a trim package can mean a major difference in towing ability. While there is some difference in Tacoma trims, they do not have much of an effect on towing capacity.
Here are the towing capacities for your Toyota Tacoma broke down by trim package. You will notice that there is a very little variance between trims. This applies to all Tacomas.
- SR 4×2 6-speed Automatic models: 3,500 lbs.
- SR5 4×4 Access Cab 4-cyl 6-speed Automatic: 3,500 lbs.
- SR 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic: 6,400 lbs.
- TRD Sport 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-speed Manual: 6,400 lbs.
- TRD Sport 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic: 6,400 lbs.
- SR5 4×4 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic: 6,400 lbs.
- TRD Sport 4×4 Access Cab V6 6-speed Automatic & Manual: 6,500 lbs.
- TRD Sport 4×2 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic Long Bed: 6,500 lbs.
- SR5 4×4 Access Cab V6 6-speed Automatic: 6,500 lbs.
- SR5 4×2 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic Long Bed: 6,600 lbs.
- SR5 4×2 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic Short Bed: 6,700 lbs.
- TRD Sport 4×2 Double Cab V6 6-speed Automatic Short Bed: 6,700 lbs.
- SR5 4×2 V6 6-speed Automatic: 6,800 lbs.
- TRD Sport 4×2 Access Cab V6 6-speed Automatic: 6,800 lbs.
Get the Tow Package
If you are going to tow a trailer with a Tacoma it is suggested to get the tow package. This will provide your truck with some added benefits while towing. This is the best way to ensure a great experience towing with your Tacoma. Here is what comes standard in the Toyota towing package.
Class IV Hitch
Class IV hitches used for weight distributing A Class IV hitch usually has a 2" square receiver opening that can often accommodate interchangeable hitches for various towing needs. A bigger hitch does not mean that it can handle more weight. This applies mostly to safety and stability.
Electrical Towing Connectors
This is a standard electrical connector. It allows you to plug your trailer into power the lights and turn signals. This is needed to correctly tow a trailer
A transmission cooler helps keep your transmission cooler than normal. This is suggested for towing because of the added stress and heat placed on the transmission. This will help avoid excessive wear. The unit acts as a radiator for the transmission by removing heat from the fluid.
An oil cooler allows the truck to cool the engine temperature down quickly and efficiently. This is excellent for towing because the engine and other systems are placed under much more strain. It operates similar to a transmission cooler but is not the same thing.
130 Amp Alternator
You may find yourself wondering why you would need a stronger alternator for towing. The answer is simple really. Your Tacoma will need to keep up with electrical demands. Your trailer will be drawing power from the truck. The truck will still need to recharge the battery and maintain all electronic functionality.
While we are discussing different trims and the tow package. The tow package can help you have a more pleasant towing experience but it does not mean that your truck can handle more weight unless specified. Having an extended cab truck or a longer bed can really help with stability. There is no denying that. It does not increase towing capacity.
There are options to have aftermarket modifications made to your Tacoma. It is best to seek guidance from your Toyota dealership. Any modifications to the frame or structure to the truck can have both positive and negative side effects. They can make recommendations based on your needs and the design of the truck.
Having this option is great for stability and traction. It does not increase the towing capacity of the truck. This applies only to the truck and its ability to traverse different terrain. The torque may be stronger but that does not make the trailer four-wheel drive. It is important to remember this.
What Kind of Trailers Can I Tow With a Tacoma?
This is a great question. Now that we have covered the safety and scientific side of towing trailers lets get down to brass tacks. Your Tacoma can tow any trailer that fits into its capacity depending on the configuration of your truck. This meaning that you won't be pulling a 5th wheel with a bumper hitch and so on.
Can a Tacoma Pull a 5th Wheel?
A Tacoma can indeed tow a 5th wheel. This is an extremely versatile method of towing a trailer with any truck. Given that the Tacoma is a half-ton truck there are considerations about 5th wheel size and weight. You will need to take into account the towing and payload capacity of your truck. The 5th wheel mount and the weight of the trailer. Here is a link to a superb article on towing 5th wheel trailers with half-ton trucks.
This article is chock full of excellent information. This may help you dig a little deeper into what you will need to tow a 5th wheel. It even lists some great 5th wheel trailers that are compatible with half-ton pickup trucks.
Will a Tacoma Pull a Boat?
Yes, a Tacoma will pull a boat on a trailer. This, of course, depends entirely on the weight of the boat and the trailer. As with any other towing, you will need to make sure that you understand the towing capacity of your truck and the weight of the trailer that you are towing. Tacoma’s are great for hauling bass boats to and from the lake.
Can a Tacoma Tow a Horse Trailer?
This is a great question to ask! Yes, a Tacoma can tow a horse trailer. This is going to depend on several factors. What type of hitch does the trailer have? Is the trailer empty? What is the weight of the trailer when loaded? You may even want to think about how many axles it has.
When you are towing livestock make sure that you know the weight of the animal or animals that you will be hauling. This will need to be factored into your weight and making sure that you stay within capacity. On a side note, be sure to secure your livestock since movement can cause a shift in weight changing the balance of the truck and trailer. A trailer with a more stable hitching method is recommended.
More about the Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma is a fantastic truck, popular for all the right reasons. Did you know you can also plow snow with your Tacoma? You can read here more about how much horsepower and torque it has here. If you want to upgrade your Tacoma to make it even better check out these articles as well -