Can a Minivan Pull a Travel Trailer? [Must-Read]


When towing anything, it is important to understand your vehicle’s ability to tow, pull, or haul. It is important that your vehicle is inspected and is up to safety guidelines before taking to the road. In the event that your vehicle or travel trailer is not up to safety guidelines, not only do you risk getting tickets or impoundment, but you also risk your life along with the lives of the individuals who are sharing the road with you.

Can a minivan tow a travel trailer? Yes, in general a minivan can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Basically, you will need to add a towing hitch and wiring harness if not already installed.

In the matter of numbers, you can tow a travel trailer with a minivan. However, many suggest that it is wiser to find a small truck to do so. The handling on most minivans cannot stably handle those types of loads. It is very easy for wind and road to cause both the trailer and van to be pushed back and forth on the road causing safety concerns.

Keep your travel trailer small. The smaller your travel trailer is, the better off you are. Minivans are lighter than trucks and do not grip the road as well. It is important to make sure everything is where it needs to be before hitting the highway. Otherwise, you could put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is of utmost importance that you speak to a professional at your vehicle dealership or travel trailer dealer and find out if your minivan can pull a travel trailer to make sure you have the knowledge you need for your safety and others around you.

Which minivan is best for towing?

Which minivan is best for towing? Many minivans can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Below you can find a list of minivans which are best for towing:

  • 2019 Kia Sedona
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey
  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica
  • 2018 Ford Transit Connect
  • 2019 Toyota Sienna
2019 Honda Odyssey

How much does it cost to put a hitch on a minivan?

How much does it cost to put a hitch on a minivan? On average the cost of installing a hitch will be around $250-$700 depending on the model and the vehicle brand.

I recently wrote an article on this site about the cost of installing a trailer hitch. Of course for a minivan, the cost will vary depending on the model and the brand of the vehicle.

However, simply stating that something is variable is not terribly helpful, so let’s go into some detail regarding what all goes into installing a trailer hitch, as well as 12 examples.

Towing Capacity

Towing capacity is the absolute load weight that a vehicle can safely handle its tow.  In most cases, current minivans can tow anywhere between three thousand to three thousand and six hundred pounds. You can find your towing capacity in the owner’s manual or you can look it up. One other way of getting this capacity is subtracting your vehicle’s weight from the GCVWR (Gross Combined vehicle weight rating).

Load Weight

Be aware of the weight that is put in or on your vehicle as it can cause your vehicle to be overloaded. This includes things such as food, supplies, and blankets. Anything that you add to your travel trailer or your vehicle ads to the towing capacity of your minivan.

Travel Trailer

Depending on the type of travel trailer depends on the weight that the travel trailer has. Teardrop trailers can weight around one thousand to one thousand and fifteen pounds. Sometimes these weights vary depending on what has been added to the trailer itself. Most pop-up travel trailers can weigh up to around two thousand pounds, again depending on what is included with the camper. Remember, the amount of people you are trying to provide also takes into account the size of your travel trailer.

Related reading: How Much Does It Cost to Install a Trailer Hitch? (with 9 examples)

Weight Comparison: Trucks vs. Minivan

The average minivan weighs a little over four thousand pounds. With this in mind, remember that the travel trailers are only slightly smaller than a minivan, leaving this a situation that can be lightweight on both ends. Pickup trucks weight approximately five to seven thousand pounds, which adds a little more stability in movement.

Tow Package

To ensure that you can in fact to anything, you have to make sure that your minivan has a towing package that consists of the trailer hitch and brace, along with the light set up as well. Your lights connect to your trailer and run the lights on your trailer while traveling.

Trailer Hitches

One thing to make sure of, make sure that your hitch can fit your camper. In some cases, there are certain sizes of hitches for certain trailers. If you have a hitch for a boat trailer, you might want to look into a better hitch that will work for a camper trailer. While it is rare and most go on a standard size it is still possible. 

Tongue Weight

Tongue weight (TW) is also important that tongue weight is taken into consideration as well. It should be about ten to fifteen percent of what your gross trailer weight is and should never exceed more or less than that. Tongue weight can cause your trailer to sway back and forth with little control or bear down so much weight that it is nearly impossible for your vehicle to tow due to the drag in the rear of the vehicle. It can also cause your trailer and vehicle to become separated.

Inspection and Practice

It is important that when you are hooked up to your camper, you can begin an inspection of how your travel trailer will work and also how your minivan will work as well. Make sure that everything from tires, brakes, fluids, and lights are all of the working order. Practice while you are there if you have not had any experience or practice, it is necessary to do this now at this point. You need to know how your minivan is going to handle it and if it is worth risking.


Another thing to take into consideration is the number of people that will be riding along with you. The weight of each individual also adds to the towing capacity of your vehicle. You are still hauling that weight around. If your trailer is a little over three thousand pounds, chances are you are already pushing the capacity before anyone even gets in the vehicle or loads up the vehicle. Be sure to pack light if you do decide to do so anyway. Even your luggage will count along with it.

A Consequence of Improper Towing

Unfortunately, people try and exceed their towing capacity, and they do not realize the dangers that can take place. Again, not only do you put your vehicle at risk, but you also put at risk your travel trailer, yourself, and any members that may be traveling with you. That is not including those who you are sharing the road with.

Safety Pin and Chains

To make sure that you are properly hauling your travel trailer or a camper, be sure that you are safely covered with safety pins and two chains that cradle the tongue if your trailer comes off of your vehicle. This can save you, your riders, and others on the road if ever an accident happens.

Vehicle Damage

Improper towing can overload a vehicle and cause stress on the vehicle’s transmission, tires, brakes, and steering. This can


Even if you are going short distances and do not think that you will damage your transmission, you are wrong. Every tiny thing that you do in towing and running your vehicle makes a mark in transmissions. It does not matter if it is manual or automatic. You can tear up the gears or mess up the bands or worse. You do not want to overload the transmission as this is a costly repair that you would have to take on.


Overworking an engine can cause some very severe and costly problems if precaution is not taken. When an engine overheats and it goes beyond what the radiator can cool down, your vehicle starts blowing back. Things such as blown or warped head gaskets, heads, and blown radiators can happen. When the head gaskets start popping, depending on how bad it depends on whether or not you have to replace the entire engine.

Immediate Repair

If you are out of town and this happens, you can expect to be waiting a few days if you have the extra money to be able to start repair immediately. Even at that rate, it takes a few days sometimes a week or two to be able to get a job like that fixed. At this rate, you will be looking at a tow bill, a repair bill, a labor bill, then any costs that you encounter while you are there such as food, hotel, or any entertainment you decide on.

Pick Your Price

In the matter of deciding whether or not you want to chance to pull your travel trailer, check your bank account. An average transmission repair and replacement can cost approximately two thousand dollars. The average engine repair can cost you around three thousand dollars. The average tow bill is approximately one hundred and fifty dollars. While this is all in mind, ask yourself if you are willing to spend this amount of money to repair internal damages that may arise.

Accident Awareness

Many accidents happen from travel trailers and their drivers. If you are overloaded or in some way unstable, you are targeting you and everyone around you for an accident. In these cases, if something happens some insurance companies will not cover the damage done in an accident. No matter if it is overloaded, uneven, or simply not properly attached, you can cause severe damage. Is your life worth it?

Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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