Jump to content

Towing Question


Recommended Posts

Bike is 2017 RT, car is 2018 Toyota RAV4, 4 cylinder front wheel drive. Wife loves to ride with me but absolutely not on freeway. She also doesn’t like long long rides period. I own a Toyota Tundra but long distance towing with it would cost a small fortune. All that to say this. I would like to tow with the RAV4 and I own an older single bike Kendon trailer. It will mostly be freeway driving etc. 

The RAV is rated at 1500 lbs towing capacity but I wonder if this is a good idea and if the 4-banger will handle it. I was thinking a Class 1 hitch with a 2000lb/200lb tongue weight limit. Has anybody done this and any pros or cons?


Link to comment

Depends on the highway miles (distance, hills, speeds, etc)


Bike = 625 lbs +/-

trailer = 400 lbs +/- 


Given a bigger variance on those numbers it should be fine.  Be sure you read the owner's manual about having it in Overdrive while towing.  It could cause some overheating issues, along with shifting in and out of OD too much.  I own a Scion xB (4 cyl,) which has absolutely no towing capacity, whatsoever.  HA   But, I have towed my C (600 lbs) with a Trailer in a Bag (150 lbs) and did not have any issues.  I have pulled my heavier utility trailer (400 lbs) with close to 1,500 lbs of stuff on it for  about 60 miles or so.  No issues.  I just used Drive and kept the speeds around 60-65 mph.  The hitch has a 2" ball on 1 1/2" bar in a frame mounted receiver.  The trailers I have do not put a lot of tounge weight down, and any cargo (construction/demo waste to the dump) is usually loaded in a way that I can lift it off the htich.  Balance is key.


You could always measure bumper height empty, then again with the trailer loaded and see what you are up against.  Ensure good tire pressure on the rear.  Check door jamb and tire sidewalls for good info.


Link to comment

Great hints my friend!! I knew about the overdrive and of course tire pressure but additional info was spot on. 


The odd thing is I rode the RT to my local Toyota dealer this afternoon and the only part# they could find was a 2” Class II receiver hitch promising a total weight limit of 3500#. I pointed out to the “parts guy” the factory towing limit for the RAV is just 1500# and I thought maybe a Class 1 hitch was in order. Not found. Oh well, I guess a call to U-Haul is up next to check a Class 1-1 1/4” hitch. 

Link to comment

Don't forget gross combined vehicle weight.  You could come in very shy on the trailer weight if the max is 1500 (sure you don't have a higher trim level?), but add the luggage,...too much luggage and you could end up hitting the GCVW.  Either way, it's all lawyer and bean counter numbers, load it down and haul it away  ;)

  • Like 1
Link to comment

For 30 years, no trailer, then decided to get one.

We towed an Aluma, all aluminum, single bike trailer.

Ford F 150. MPG went down maybe .5-1.0 mpg/average, truck had Leer topper on it.

Truck bed was loaded, Very little drag apparently.

I drove at 70-80 mph on many roadways and 65-70 thru much of Texas on country roads w/70 mph limits.

Your Tundra should get better mpg than my F150 ('03).

What size hitch is your Kendon? 1 1/4"?

Mine was 2".

Comparing "co$t$", operating a motorcycle is expensive wrt cost per mile (tires/gas/oil/wear tear).

The Rav 4 may be less overall, unless something happens.

I'd suggest looking at real world costs of using the truck, with a 2" set up.

Depending on lenth of trip (we did 6-7,000 miles in a week) I could easily drive the truck and trailer a 1,000 miles a day. Gives you a lot of options.

Best wishes.

Link to comment

Rav4 vs Tundra, I'd be guessing you'd make up the difference in towing costs getting the hitch installed on the Rav4.  That said, you can tow with the smaller vehicle if you're aware of the limitations.  I knew a guy who went to multiple track days using a Northern Tool trailer attached to a Pontiac Sunfire, and he had no issues.  The single most important thing with towing is to maintain proper tire pressures in the trailer, and to service the trailer bearings frequently.  I've seen too many guys stranded by the highway with a shot bearing in a trailer wheel.  If it's not a boat trailer, usually cleaning them and repacking the bearings once a year is sufficient.  If you tow a lot through rain or you have a fetish for pulling a trailer through puddles, maybe more often. 

Link to comment

Thanks for the replies. I have made an appt. with uhaul to install the 1 1/4” hitch. 

The lionshare of trips will be 8-10 hour trips in cage otherwise I’m riding there without my SO. 😳  Living in Arkansas leaves me with many wonderful places that are scoot friendly. 

Link to comment

I have pulled my RT on a Kendon behind a Subaru Forester which has similar specs to your RAV4. I would think the RAV 4 is capable enough.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Rather than paying for a Uhaul hitch (which will probably hang too low) I’d recommend going to etrailer.com, you’ll find cheaper and better hitches, and videos for install, which is super easy, along with a wiring kit. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

I would be concerned more with the towability than weights.  Keep your speed down in the car, and avoid wind at all costs.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
John Ranalletta

I've towed with a Subaru WRX with no problems.  Your RAV4 will do just fine.  Maybe a tad slow in the mountains, but otherwise good.   I'd be more concerned about tongue weight with too much tending to lift the front.  IMO, Kendon's are heavy up front.  Your hitch and the RAV4 should have a tongue weight rating.


Looks like etrailer's selection of hitches have tongue weights far in excess of your needs.


Hauling Capability 

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 has a spacious interior for your belongings while you drive, but what if you need more space? The 2018 Toyota RAV4 can tow a lot of weight behind it for your convenience. On the LE and XLE trims of the RAV4, you can tow up to 1,5000 pounds. With the RAV4 Hybrid, you can tow up to 1,750 pounds

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
1 hour ago, mickeym3 said:

Rather than paying for a Uhaul hitch (which will probably hang too low) I’d recommend going to etrailer.com, you’ll find cheaper and better hitches, and videos for install, which is super easy, along with a wiring kit. 


I saw a Honda Civic at the grocery store with a uhaul hitch and it did sit way too low. I would think they would bring them up a bit and let you raise or drop it with the hitch/ball combo to fit your particular situation. 

Link to comment

Meh, like I said, load it and yank it.  The below picture is from a 'wheeling trip I attended.  The driver of the Liberty pulled that load over 500 miles.  To get to the spot he's in, he had to climb a fairly steep incline to this camping site.  It was February Frenzy 2004 at GrayRock in Alabama.  Yank it like you stole it.:18:



This is how I towed mine, would have been in the toyhauler but since the family didn't want to endure the chilliness, it was me alone





Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...