Can A Prius Pull A Small Trailer? The Legal Scenario




Key takeaways:

  • Towing with a Prius isn’t recommended because it’s not a dedicated tow vehicle.
  • Prius has a maximum towing capacity of around 1,500 to 1,600 pounds, but it’s best for lighter loads like bike racks or small cargo travel trailer.
  • If you experience trailer sway, ease off the gas, use the right hitch, load the  travel trailer correctly, consider sway control, drive at a safe speed, and check your tires.
  • Towing reduces the fuel efficiency of a Prius because the hybrid engine works harder to handle the extra trailer weigh.

The Prius is such a convenient car for my small family. Its storage space and full efficiency are perfect for family travel. But if you want your friends to tag along, then it’s not that ideal. But buying a camper trailer just for the trip isn’t logical either. That’s why the question can a Prius pull a small trailer comes to my mind.

can a prius pull a small trailer

Sadly, there isn’t a clear answer for it. But it’s not because of legal issues it’s kind of illegal to pull a trailer behind a camper in some States.. 

But Because the Prius actually isn’t a tow vehicle, its towing capacity isn’t that great. However, Prius can still manage to pull 1000 lbs. But it still has some risks. So, it’s best to avoid using the Prius as a tow vehicle.

So, can a prius tow a small uhaul trailer? How can you increase the maximum towing capacity of Prius? Or what safety protocol do you have to follow while pulling? Read on to get all the answers.

So, Can A Prius Pull A Small Trailer?

So, can a Prius pull a small trailer? Well, the Prius is a customer favorite for its fuel efficiency and storage space. But when it’s about a prius tow a small trailer, you need to think twice. So, like, officially, the Toyota Prius isn’t really meant for towing stuff, you know? In the USA, Toyota doesn’t really want you to go towing things with your Prius.

But, around 2015, they started listing a towing capacity for the Prius, around 1,500 to 1,600 pounds, give or take.

Now, different Prius models might have a bit of a wiggle in their towing package numbers. But you won’t be pulling much more than 1,600 pounds with even the Prius V. It’s kinda like the Corolla in that department. But, if you’re into heavy-duty towing, then Prius c can’t be a good buddy for you.

What Is The Towing Capacity Of A Prius?

Can a Toyota Prius tow a small trailer? Well, since 2015, they’ve been saying the Prius can handle anywhere from 1,500 to 1,600 pounds in the towing department. So, if you’re thinking about light towing, as in pulling on a bike or a cargo rack, you’re probably good to go as long as you stay within that towing limit. But if you’re planning to move a U-Haul cargo travel trailer, the smallest one you can find is this 4×8 deal, packing up to 1,600 pounds.

So, your options for towing anything substantial are kinda limited. Even though the Prius has this nifty little electric engine, it’s not meant to carry a heavy load. It’s safer for both you and your ride if you stick to loads lighter than what your Prius can handle. So, before you hit the road, make sure you’ve got a grip on both the trailer weigh of your stuff and the trailer it’s rolling in.

What Are The Benefits And Limitations Of Towing A Trailer With A Prius?

Towing trailers with Prius is not recommended for some reason. There are some benefits for sure, but there are some limitations, too. That’s why it is better to avoid it. For a better understanding, see this table:

Benefits And Limitations Of Towing A Trailer With A Prius
Benefits                     Limitations
1. Fuel Efficiency: Prius is known for its excellent gas mileage, so you’ll save on fuel costs when towing lighter loads.1. Limited Towing Capacity: Prius can only handle small trailers, with a capacity of around 1,500 to 1,600 pounds.
2. Eco-Friendly: Towing with a Prius is a more environmentally conscious choice compared to larger, gas-guzzling vehicles.2. Safety Concerns: Towing heavy loads can affect the car’s stability and braking, posing safety risks.
3. Versatility: You can use a Prius for everyday commuting and occasional towing, providing a balance between efficiency and utility.3. Overloading Risks: Exceeding the Prius’ towing capacity can strain the engine and reduce overall performance.
4. Cost-Effective: Prius is relatively affordable compared to larger tow vehicles, making it an economical choice for occasional towing needs4. Aftermarket Limitations: While you can add a hitch, there are limited aftermarket modifications available to enhance towing capabilities.
5. Easy Maneuverability: Prius’ compact size and good handling make it easier to navigate tight spaces and urban areas when towing.5. Limited Trailer Options: You’re restricted to small, lightweight trailers, limiting the types of loads you can tow.

What Type Of Trailer Can A Prius Tow?

Do you know the answer to this question ‘can a prius pull a trailer’ now? If you really want to tow a Prius, then buy a specific trailer for it. Although there aren’t that many small camper trailers that are suitable for Prius tow. But if you search correctly, then you can find some. Here are some trailers which are perfect for pulling with Prius.

Type Of Trailer Can A Prius Tow

The Taco

If you’re kinda tight on cash and not looking to drain your wallet on a fancy camper trailer, check out The Tuco model by Vintage Overland. This baby goes for around 18 grand and can snugly sleep two just like you can sleep inside an enclosed trailer.

All the stuff they used to put this thing together comes from the good of the USA, most of it straight outta Colorado. The whole deal’s got a max vehicle weight rating of 1,300 pounds. It’s got a tough welded steel frame, insides made of Baltic Birchwood, and an exterior of anodized aluminum to keep the rust at bay.

Tiger Moth

Are you looking for a rig that’ll stick with you for years and let you pop a rooftop tent for a crew of three? Well, check out the Taxa Outdoor Tigermoth. It might pinch your wallet a bit at roughly 22 grand, but it’s got some slick perks that make it worth the moolah. But be aware of the color because black horse trailers can be hotter than others. So, buy a white trailer to enjoy the trip.

The Tigermoth measures in at 12 feet and 10 inches, tipping the scales at 1,300 pounds when it’s dry. But, if you want to pile on some extras, it can handle up to 2,200 pounds. Plus, it’s got this wide-open design, so you’ll soak in the views and catch that sweet breeze no matter where your outdoor adventures lead you.

Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro

This camper’s got some cool stuff goin’ on. It’s not gonna break the bank, sittin’ somewhere around 18 grand. Not too shabby, huh?

Now, size-wise, it’s not a giant. It measures in at about 12 feet and 10 inches, and when it’s dry, it weighs around 1,133 pounds. If you pile on some extra gear, it can handle it with a max vehicle weight rating of 1,600 pounds. You can also make a tropical roof for your camper trailer.

There’s this big side hatch, making loading and unloading a breeze. Plus, it’s got an electrical system, pre-wired for solar power, and an external water setup, which is perfect for electric vehicles. You can go off-grid with your Prius for a good few days without any worries.

Intech RV Flyer

This little rig’s got some cool stuff to offer, and it’s not gonna empty your pockets, hovering around 16 grand. Size-wise, it’s not massive, measuring in at about 12 feet and 2 inches, and when it’s dry, it tips the scales at around 1,200 pounds.

If you want to toss in some extra gear, it can handle it with a max vehicle weight rating of 2,200 pounds. If you don’t put much weight, then it’s perfect to pull with your Prius.

The Pike

This little guy is pretty compact and lightweight, but don’t let that fool ya. It’s packing some cool features, and it won’t break the bank, clocking in at around 13 grand for the basic version.

What’s neat is you can soup up the Pika to be an all-road champ. Slap on some electric brakes, bump up the tire size and upgrade the suspension, and you’re good to go on highways, easy dirt roads, and even some rough back roads.

This little fella has a dry weight rating of 1,025 pounds and a max weight of 2,000 pounds. Its size? About 4 feet and 5 inches by 8 feet. Just like its bigger siblings, it’s got a rock-solid welded steel frame with a signature skylight and some enamel-baked aluminum sides.

Those are some of the best types of trailers to pull with your Prius. But if you do some research, then you can find more. So, choose according to your needs.

What Are The Safety Precautions To Take When Towing A Trailer With A Prius?

As you know, pulling a trailer with Pirus isn’t recommended. So, when you want to pull a trailer with a Prius, you need to take some precautions. Such as:

The Safety Precautions To Take When Towing A Trailer With A Prius
  1. Stay Within Your Limits: Don’t push the limits. Your Prius has a set maximum towing capacity. Don’t exceed it, or you’ll be asking for trouble.
  1. Balance the Load: Make sure your load is evenly distributed in the trailer. Keep the heaviest stuff low and towards the front.
  1. Secure the Load: Double-check everything is tied down tight. You don’t want stuff flying around when you hit the trailer brakes.
  1. Brake Smart: Give yourself extra space for braking. Towing adds weight, so it takes more time to stop.
  1. Know Your Mirrors: Adjust your mirrors so you can see what’s happening behind and on the sides. Keep an eye on your blind spots.
  1. Slow and Steady: Drive at a reasonable speed. Towing adds stress to your Prius, so take it easy on the gas pedal.
  1. Watch the Weather: If it’s windy or rainy, be extra cautious. Trailers catch wind like a sail.
  1. Practice Backing Up: If you’re not a pro at backing up with a trailer, practice somewhere safe. It’s trickier than it looks.
  1. Check the Lights: Make sure all your trailer lights are working. You want folks behind you to know what you’re up to.
  1. Inspect Regularly: Before hitting the road, do a quick inspection of your trailer and its connections. Safety comes first, always.

If you maintain all of this in mind, then you can enjoy the towing journey.

Are There Any Aftermarket Modifications That Can Improve The Towing Capacity Of A Prius?

You might be tempted to soup up your Prius for some heavy-duty towing. Then, sorry to tell you, there aren’t any magical aftermarket mods to significantly boost its towing capacity. The Prius is designed for efficient, eco-friendly commuting, not heavy hauling.

While you can find aftermarket trailer hitch installation  and wiring for towing, they won’t suddenly turn your Prius into a towing powerhouse. The vehicle’s towing capacity is largely determined by its engine, transmission, and structural design.

Making substantial changes to these components isn’t a realistic or safe option. Messing with the original design could also void your warranty and affect your Prius performance, storage space, and fuel efficiency. And that’s not a road you want to head down.

So, the bottom line is that if you need more towing capacity, you’re better off considering a different tow vehicle designed for that purpose, like a truck or an SUV. Trying to beef up a Prius for heavy towing is like trying to turn a bicycle into a motorcycle – it’s just not gonna cut it. Safety and reliability should always come first when it comes to towing.

What To Do If You Experience Trailer Sway?

What To Do If You Experience Trailer Sway

Do you want to ignore all those and want to pull an overloaded or overweight trailer with your Prius? Then, be ready for trailer sway. No worries, I won’t leave you here. Here is what to do if you get stuck on the trailer sway:

  1. Feel the Sway: When you’re towing, a little movement is normal, especially on bumpy roads. But if your trailer starts doing a wild side-to-side dance, that’s a problem. Trust your gut. If you feel the sway, ease off the gas, but don’t slam the brakes – that can make it worse.
  1. The Right Hitch: Your trailer hitch is like the matchmaker between your ride and your trailer. Make sure it’s the right one for the job. A load-distributing trailer hitch is your buddy for stability. Listen to what the hitchhiker suggests. Big trailers need a strong vehicle, not a car.
  1. Load It Right: Packing your trailer is an art. Don’t stack everything in the back, or you’re in for a bumpy ride. Aim for about 60% of the weight up front. Spread the rest evenly so one side isn’t way heavier than the other. Strap everything down tight, or it’ll turn into a rollercoaster in there. And don’t overload the trailer – check your owner’s manual for the limit.
  1. Sway Control: Sway control gadgets are like relationship counselors for your ride and trailer. They make them get along better. There are different types, and what you need depends on your trailer’s weight. Some even play nice with your brakes, detecting sway and fixing it. They can cost a few bucks, though.
  1. Take It Easy: Slow down. Stay under 55 mph – it’s often the law, and it’s safer, saves fuel, has some effect on fuel economy, and keeps your rig steady. If the wind’s acting up, go even slower or pull over and wait for it to chill out. Smooth and gentle moves are the way to go – no sudden jerks.
  1. Tire Check: Don’t ignore your tires. Low-pressure or worn-out rubber can mess with your trailer’s balance. Over inflation isn’t great, either. Learn how to check those tire pressures and keep ’em just right. It’s a small task for big safety.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Big Of A Trailer Can A Prius Tow?

The Prius can typically handle a trailer with a towing capacity of around 1,500 to 1,600 pounds. It’s not built for heavy towing, so stick to smaller trailers, like lightweight cargo or utility trailers.

What Is The Towing Capacity Of A Prius In Kg?

The towing capacity of a Toyota Prius typically ranges from 680 to 725 kilograms (about 1,500 to 1,600 pounds). It can vary slightly depending on the specific model year and trim, but that’s the ballpark figure you’re looking at.

Can You Put A Hitch On A Prius?

Yes, you can put a hitch on a Prius to tow small loads like bikes or light trailers. Just make sure to choose a hitch compatible with your Prius model, and don’t exceed its towing capacity. It’s handy for some extra versatility.

Does Towing Affect The Fuel Efficiency Of A Prius?

Towing definitely hits the Prius’ fuel efficiency. When you’re hauling extra weight, the engine has to work harder, which means more gas gets burned. It’s like carrying a heavy backpack while you run – it slows you down and makes you use more energy.


So, basically, the exact answer to can a Prius pull a small trailer is you can, but it isn’t safe. But if you really want your friends to tag along, then buy one of those trailers. Which is perfect to pull with a Prius and enjoy the trip.

John Little

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John Little

Meet John Little, the Tiny Living Guru. With two decades of hands-on experience and an architecture degree, he’s a Sustainable Housing Innovator and Tiny Home Ambassador. John’s mission: inspire eco-conscious, mobile living. Join him on this transformative journey.

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