Can a Toyota 4Runner Pull a Camper? – All You Need To Know


If you enjoy spending time with your family in the great outdoors, then buying a Toyota 4Runner makes perfect sense. With it, you can pull just about anything, including a camper. You can also drive your entire family around town because this vehicle is so roomy.

It’s great for going through tough terrain and enjoying a camping and hiking trip in the wilderness. Before purchasing this SUV, you’ll want to know about its towing capacity and the items it can tow.

Can a Toyota 4Runner pull a Camper? Yes, a Toyota 4Runner can pull a camper with ease. Because the towing capacity of this SUV is up to 5,000 lbs, this vehicle can also tow many other items, including:

  • Boats
  • ATVs
  • Horse trailers
  • Travel trailers
  • Anything under 5,000 lbs.

Since there isn’t too much information available on the Internet today covering what types of campers and other items that a Toyota 4runner can pull, we created this article to help you.

Below, we’ll cover how much a Toyota 4runner can tow, what a Toyota 4runner can tow, and how the Toyota 4runner measures up against its competition.

What Can a Toyota 4Runner Tow?

You’ll tow a variety of things if you own a Toyota 4Runner because this particular vehicle can tow up to 5,000 lbs. of weight.

The Toyota 4Runer’s many impressive features allow the vehicle the capability to tow such large loads, including:

  • The Toyota 4Runner’s 4.0L V6 engine (an upgraded V8 engine is also available)
  • The Toyota 4Runner has 270 horsepower
  • The Toyota 4Runner has 278 lb-ft of torque
  • The Toyota 4Runner has a maximum tongue weight of 500 pounds

These beneficial features mean that the Toyota 4Runner can tow several different items, like a boat or a couple of ATVs, depending on what you plan to do on your next outdoor vacation with your family.

Plus, because the Toyota 4Runner has a maximum tongue weight of 500 pounds, it’s an ideal vehicle to use to tow a camper trailer.

To help you better understand some of the amazing towing features offered by the Toyota 4Runner, we’ll cover those advantages in more detail below.

Is a Toyota 4Runner Able to Tow a Camper?

The type of camper your Toyota 4Runner can tow will depend on the size of your Toyota 4Runner’s engine. A Toyota 4Runner with a V6 engine can easily tow smaller campers.

The types of campers you will be able to tow with your Toyota 4Runner include trailers like Airstreams.

If your Toyota 4Runner has a V8 engine in it, it will be able to easily tow fifth wheel trailers and other similar campers that are much larger.

Before you hitch up any campers to your Toyota 4Runner, you should assess your camper’s “dry weight,” which means how much your camper weighs when you haven’t packed anything onto it.

If you are hauling a camper that has items inside of it already, then you’ll need to add on an extra 1500 lbs. or so to the camper’s dry weight.

Once you know the weight of the camper plus that 1500 lbs., you should be able to assess whether your Toyota 4Runner can tow the camper or not.

4runner Pulling out RV >> Check out the video below:

Is a Toyota 4Runner Able to Tow a Boat?

Yes, a Toyota 4Runner is quite capable of towing a boat. Boats typically weigh far less than the average trailer, especially when that trailer is packed down with other items.

A 4Runner can tow just about any standard type of boat, even uphill, including boats like:

  • Motorboats
  • Pontoon boats

Is a Toyota 4Runner Able to Tow Another Vehicle Out of a Tight Spot?

Let’s say one of your friends calls you, and his or her vehicle has gotten stuck in a ditch.

Or imagine that you are driving down the road one day and you see some poor person stranded because his or her car got stuck. Luckily, if you want to play the good Samaritan with your Toyota 4Runnner, you can.

If you purchase a Toyota 4Runner, then your SUV will be equipped with the items necessary to rescue other drivers when they get stuck by obstacles like:

  • Snow
  • Lakes
  • Ditches

One Toyota 4Runner owner rescued a UPS driver whose UPS got stuck in the snow.

That man’s 1996 Toyota 4Runner successfully towed the large UPS truck away from the snow and pulled the truck down the icy roadway. Now that’s reliability.

Toyota 4 Runner Towing UPS Truck Up Icy Street >> Check out the video below:

What Towing Features Does the Toyota 4Runner Offer?

Every Toyota 4Runner trims offer the following features:

1. An integrated towing hitch receiver that’s highly functional, and like all other Toyota SUVs, you’ll be able to tow anything you need to immediately after purchasing the vehicle. All Toyota 4Runners come standard with a durable and effective hitch receiver.

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

2. A wiring harness that features 4- and 7-pin connectors, which is a feature that will allow you to hook up your trailer lights quickly because the connectors are so easy to use. These connectors will help keep you safe while you are towing on the highway or streets.

3. A 4.OL V6 Engine that’s rugged and built to give the Toyota 4Runner the power it needs to pull heavy loads while still keeping a steady speed.

Every Toyota 4Runner trim comes with a standard integrated tow hitch receiver that features an effective wiring harness.

These two towing features are made to make things convenient for you since you’ll be able to connect and secure several items quickly like easily:

  • Campers
  • Boats
  • Trailers
  • ATVs
  • Any other cargo carrier

Whenever you want to tow something, all you need to do is attach the item you want to tow and secure it. After you’ve done that, you can hit the road with ease.

Another wonderful thing about the towing capabilities of the Toyota 4Runner is its SAE J2807 towing rating, which ensures that this vehicle will fulfill all the manufacturer’s promises.

We’ll cover more about the SAE J2807 Towing Rating below.

Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity By Year

In the table below you can find the Toyota 4Runner towing capacity by year which include:

YearTrimEngineMax Towing Capacity (lbs.)
20214WD4.0L V-65,000
20204WD4.0L V-65,000
20194WD4.0L V-65,000
20184WD4.0L V-65,000
20114WD4.0L V-65,000
20112WD2.7L I-42,000
20122WD2.7L I-42,000
20104WD4.0L V-65,000
20102WD2.7L I-42,000
Toyota 4Runner towing capacity by year – Chart

V8 4Runner Towing Capacity

The V8 4Runner has a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.

Maximum towing capacity7,000 Lbs.
Base engine size4.7 Liters
Base engine typeV-8
Horsepower260 Hp
Horsepower rpm5,400
Torque306 Lb-Ft.
Torque rpm3,400
Payload1,450 Lbs.
Drive typeFour-Wheel
Turning radius18.7 
V8 4Runner Towing Capacity – Chart

The Toyota 4Runner’s SAE J2807 Towing Rating

This towing rating was created by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). For a vehicle to qualify for this rating, it must undergo several tests and meet certain requirements to ensure that the vehicle can tow appropriately.

The SAE J2807 towing rating created the requirements for particular parts of trucks and SUVs, including:

  • Chassis
  • Structure
  • Ballast
  • Tires

The SAE J2807 towing ratings consider a lot more about the vehicle than just how powerful its engine is, as you can see from the list above.

These ratings also review the vehicle’s dynamics and hitch structure to assess the vehicle’s success. By considering these factors, the SAE is more capable of measuring the real towing power of any truck or SUV.

When trucks and SUVs fail to be measured according to the SAE J2807 standards, then its overall towing numbers may not be accurate.

That would mean you’d need to read up on that vehicle to discover the truth about it. Luckily, with the Toyota 4Runner, that’s not the case.

Comparing the Toyota 4Runner Against its Competitors

To better understand why the Toyota 4Runner is such a great vehicle, we’ll compare it to its competition.

One of the best things about purchasing a Toyota 4Runner is that you’ll be able to tow things once you drive the Toyota 4Runner off the lot with no additional assistance required.

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds no matter which trim level you choose.

Here is how the Toyota 4Runner compares against its competition when it comes to towing:

  • Toyota 4Runner—tows up to 5,000 pounds
  • Honda Pilot LX—tows up to 3,500 pounds
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo—tows up to 3,500 pounds
  • Jeep Wrangler 4-Door Sport—tows up to 3,500 pounds

So, you can see that the Toyota 4Runner can tow about 1,500 pounds more than most of its competition, which is an impressive feat overall.

Can a 4Runner Tow an Airstream?

Can a Toyota 4Runner tow an airstream? Yes, according to Toyota Parts Center, both models (V6 and V8) can tow small camper trailers such as Airstreams while the V8 model can tow most 5th wheel and similar trailers.

However, this carrying capacity is limited to the V6 models, which can tow up to 5000lbs (2267,86kgs). The V8 models, which can tow up to 7,300lbs (3311,22kgs.)

It is essential to find out the dry weight of your trailer first before you haul, which is the weight without your holiday carry-ons inside the trailer.

As a rule of thumb, you should add on an extra 1,500lbs for a packed trailer to be on the safe side. 

Always check for your GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating), which is the combined total of your vehicle weight, occupant weight and the weight of the trailer attached.

This will ensure that your tow-bearing capacity is balanced enough to safely tow your trailer.

Your TWR (Trailer Weight Rating) is the maximum combined weight of your trailer and interior weight of your cargo.

This ratio is calculated as having the base vehicle with a driver, a passenger, towing package and hitch systems.

The maximum allowable gross trailer weight exceeds 3000lbs, Toyota recommends that you use a trailer with two or more axles.

What Happens if You Tow Over Capacity?

What happens if you tow over capacity? Towing over your manufacturer’s tow weight specifications can damage your vehicle, trailer, and even other vehicles. Overloading is the leading cause of towing accidents due mainly to the stress it puts on the towing vehicle. This stress can cause:

  • Erratic steering
  • Hampered acceleration
  • Impaired braking
  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Lessening of vehicle durability

Not adhering to tow weight specifications can cause dangerous trailer swaying action that can run across your lane divisions.

This swaying could affect other vehicles or even cause you to run off the road. You should practice towing before undertaking a road trip.

You should always check your trailer lights, tires, and hitch connections before you tow a trailer and make sure that you practice reversing with your trailer before setting off on your journey.

Toyota also recommends that your vehicle/trailer speed limit is 65mph (104km/h) on flat dry road surfaces. 

How Do You Increase The Towing Capacity of Your Vehicle?

How do you increase the towing capacity of your vehicle? If you would like to enhance your towing capacity within your specified trailer weight specifications you might try:

  • A dedicated transmission cooler
  • Improve your vehicle’s suspension
  • GVM improvement
  • Improved braking system
  • Improved engine cooling
  • Improved weight and hitch distribution
  • 5th wheel hitch or gooseneck hitch upgrade

Warranty notice: No matter what engine upgrades or hitch, suspension, or brake changes you implement, you 4Runner’s towing and load-carrying capacity cannot change once it has left the manufacturer.

Toyota’s warranties do not apply to damage caused by towing a trailer over the weight limit.

If you get into an accident and your trailer is over your manufacturer’s limit, you will be legally liable for damages even if it was not your fault.

However, you may improve your towing capacity by making sure that your trailer is evenly balanced and that you have the correct height-adjustable hitch to keep your trail load level

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

A trailer brake system can reduce the weight that your vehicle has to endure and can not only stop the trailer weight but assist your vehicle to come to a stop.

Improving your exhaust system in combination with improved air filters can increase your torque and horsepower.  Always remember that your vehicle’s frame is taken into consideration when your manufacturer limits your load weight.

If you exceed this limit you may even twist or buckle your frame. If you need a larger engine for your load, it is best to find another vehicle.

Best Travel Trailer for Toyota 4Runner

Best travel trailer for Toyota 4Runner >> Check out the video below:

5th Gen 4Runner Towing a 24′ Travel trailer >> Check out the video below:

Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity FAQs

Let’s close out this page about towing with a 4Runner with answers to some of your most frequently-asked questions about them!

What Does a Tow Package Mean?

What does a tow package mean? A tow package is when your car make, and model is factory designed to ensure that your engine, brakes, transmission, frame, cooling system, and electrical system can sustain a specified weight load.

If you have a trailer and are in the market for a tow vehicle, it is handy to enquire your dealer for a tow package. If you have already purchased a 2020 Toyota 4runner, you are in luck because these models come ready to tow a trailer.

Does a 4runner Have a Tow Package?

Does a 4Runner have a tow package? Yes, Each Toyota 4Runner 2020 models have A J2807 tow rating of up to 5,000lbs (2267,86kgs) with an integrated towing hitch receiver, wiring harness with 4- and 7- pin connectors, and a 4-liter V6 engine for safe towing.

If you adhere to the manufacturer’s towing weight specifications you may happily travel with your trailer without worry.

Can You Get a 4runner With a V8?

Due to increasing emission control standards and some problems with the 4.7L V8 manifold, Toyota will not bring out a 4Runner V8 soon. 2020 models are only available in the V6.

The good news is that the 2003-2009 4th-gen 4runners are still out there if you are willing to purchase your vehicle secondhand.

Does 4runner Have a Transmission Cooler?

Does 4Runner have a transmission cooler? Yes, with extensive searches on 4Runner forums, it seems some 4th-gen 4runners came equipped with a dedicated transmission cooler, and some models do not.

If you wish to install your own dedicated transmission cooler you may find a customized fit for your 4Runner on sites such as Etrailer.
Bare in mind you will forfeit your warranty if you install your own cooler.

First, I would suggest that you refer to your owner’s manual for specs if you cannot see a visible cooler in your engine.

Does 4runner Have Trailer Brakes?

Does 4Runner have trailer brakes? The 4runner does not come equipped with trailer brakes, however you may use the pin connectors that come standard with the 4runner to install your own.

Brake controllers are a great safety feature for towing heavy loads on you 4Runner. Adapters are available for all makes and models of 4Runner allowing for simple plug and use installation.

You may find your customer fit brake controller by selecting your make, model, and year you can find custom-fit plug in adapter of your 4Runner on sites such as Etrailer

Read also: Toyota 4Runner Brake Controller: 7 Helpful Tips (Explained)


If you are looking for an effective vehicle that’s durable enough to pull just about anything, then consider purchasing a Toyota 4Runner. With a Toyota 4Runner, you’ll be able to tow up to 5,000 pounds, which means you can pull just about any trailer along with you.

So, if you enjoy camping in the great outdoors, and you want to bring both your adventure toys and family with you, purchasing a Toyota 4Runner would be a wonderful idea.

For more helpful articles about Towing please check out our articles below:

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

Can A 4 Cylinder Car Pull A Camper? Facts and Numbers

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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