Can you tow a light trailer with the Toyota
The Quick Answer
is: YES you can definitely pull a
trailer with a Prius.!
But the more complete answer is a bit more complicated.
Experience: Over-the-Road, Commercial Truck Driver 10
yrs. Three years of which was as a Team
Driver on a Round-Trip Los Angeles – Boston weekly, 6000 miles round trip, 5 ½ days.
I have driven in Rain, Snow, Ice, Sleet, Blizzard, Tornado, Hail, Lightening.
I have had a boat since I was 17 years old. Have been towing a boat, utility or car hauler
trailers for 45 years. Yes, I am 67
Advice: If you DO NOT HAVE TOO
drive in bad weather DON’T. Wait for clear weather to pull anything.
Learn EVERYTHING about pulling the Trailer you are going to
pull. Practice: Starting, Stopping, Turning, BACKING,
Parking, Pulling IN-OUT of Gas Stations.
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Find out if you can pull thru McDonalds Drive-Thru with the Trailer on
behind. ( Been there, Done That )
I have a 2010 Prius.
Love the Car! (Its name is
This car is just like my Prius.
I get 55-60 MPG, because I drive 64 MPH. I use the Cruise control at 36 MPH
in ECO mode in town and get 100 MPG as often
as I can. Haven’t had any problems with
the car. Currently at 39,000 miles.
Last year I bought a house in Las Vegas,
NV which is 325 miles from my home in Southern
California. After checking
prices to move my household goods, I decided to purchase a Cargo Trailer and
move everything myself.
I recommend that when buying a hitch; get a good solid steel
hitch that is welded to the ‘frame’ of the towing vehicle. I would NEVER buy a
bolt-on hitch today. (OK, so I bought a bolt-on for my 71 Bronco, that bolted between
both rear frame members and was just as solid as if it was welded-on.) Cars
(especially Prius) today don’t have solid steel frames. I found a shop that builds and welds-on steel
Some U-Haul Stores can install hitches also.
You can also get Hitched on-line:
Make sure you get the right size ball for the hitch that
fits the trailer you will be towing.
Also MAKE SURE the top height of the ball is the correct height for the
trailer being towed. If the ball is too
high, YOU will have to lift the
tongue of the trailer, when loaded, up and onto the Ball. That will be 200-250 pounds. Hope you have muscles.
Here is where you really lucked out. You can purchase a pre-made trailer wiring
harness especially made for the Prius:
I bought this one, and it was really easy to install. Just READ and FOLLOW the instructions.
Buy a Cargo Trailer
This is the Cargo Trailer I purchased:
The Trailer is 5’ x 8’ and has a single axle. The empty weight of the trailer is 751
lbs. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rated
is 2760 lbs. That means I can load the trailer with about
2000 lbs of goods per trip. It is VERY
important to load the trailer with the weight evenly over the axle (front and
back). I try to keep the tongue weight (
the weight of the trailer on the ball of the hitch) to 200-250 lbs. This is VERY IMPORTANT!!!
If you have too much weight on the hitch, the back of the
car will weigh down, lifting the front of the car, and the front tires will
rapidly wear on the sides of the tire.
You can ruin a new set of tires within 500 miles with TOO
MUCH WEIGHT on the hitch. (Been There,
Expensive Trailer Tongue Weight scales can be purchased:
I chose a less
expensive method to weigh the tongue weight.
I purchased a scale from Harbor Freight Tools:
I purchased a piece of ½” plywood
12” x 12” pre-cut from Home Depot.
I cut a notch in the plywood to allow reading of the weight.
I then place the Trailer Jack Foot Pad on the plywood that
is placed on top of the scale and read the (close enough) tongue weight.
After I weigh the tongue of the trailer, I adjust the load
as needed, to be within the 200-250 lbs tongue weight limit.
I had driven back and forth between SoCal and Vegas many
times, and knew 55+ MPG was normal.
I purchased a load of new Floor Tile in SoCal for the House
in Vegas and thought the tile would fit into the rear of the Prius with the
rear seats folded down. So I bought 44
boxes of Tile and decided to deliver them to the new House. I was right, the Floor Tile did ‘just’ fit in
the back of the Prius. After lifting a
box of tile I guessed it weighed 25-30 lbs.
44 * 30 = 1320 lbs. That should
be fine for the Prius. Loaded up the
back of the Prius with the 44 boxes of 18”x18” Floor Tile and after
re-adjusting the air pressure in the tires, off to Vegas. The Prius seemed REALLY weighted down in the
rear, but slow careful driving was in order (50-55 MPH). There are a couple of mountains that had to
be traversed, but ‘Stealth’ made it up the mountains with NO TROUBLE with
cruise control ON. Even got 50 MPH
on the trip.
After unloading the Floor Tile, I noticed that each box
weighted 28Kg. OK, let’s see how much
each box weighs. Using Kg to Lbs
Converter on the internet, 28 Kg = 61 lbs. 44 *
61 = 2684 lbs. That’s Right…
44 boxes weighing 61 pounds each is 2684 pounds in the back of the
Prius. I DO NOT RECOMMEND PUTTING THIS
MUCH WEIGHT IN THE BACK OF THE PRIUS. I now have great respect for Toyota and the
Prius. And still got 50 MPG on the trip… HAHAHAHA!
I now call ‘Stealth” my ‘Prius Pickup’.
First Trailer Trip
OK, got the hitch installed.
Bought the wiring harness. Bought
the Trailer. Now time for the first Real
Trip. Drove with the trailer empty from
Vegas to SoCal. Got 35 MPG. YIKES.
I have NEVER seen 35 MPG with ‘Stealth’ before. Let’s think about this. Whats different? Well the Big Slug of a Trailer that is NOT
aerodynamic could be the difference. That certainly a BIG DROP in gas mileage. Oh well, 35 MPG is a whole lot better than
the 5 MPG the Big-Rig got. Loaded the
Trailer and made my way back to Vegas.
With the Trailer loaded, go 29 MPG.
This was the trip that I DID NOT check the tongue weight and wore the
tires. NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!
Make Note to Self:
Get the Trailer and Car tires Balanced for a Much Better Ride.
I have made more than 10 trips between Vegas and Socal and
have NOT had any problems. I have used
the trailer to pick-up Carpet, Building Supplies, Furniture and make trips to
And, at 35 MPG, ‘Stealth’ still gets better mileage than
that 15-16 MPG SUV that some people think is a better way to go. HAHAHAHAHAA!