Can You Pull A Motorcycle Trailer With A Car? [Safety Rules And Load Reloading Steps]




Key Takeaways:

  • Towing a motorcycle trailer with a car is possible, but it depends on your car’s towing capacity, the weight of the motorcycle and trailer, and the trailer type.
  • Larger vehicles like pickup trucks, midsize SUVs, utility trailers, large SUVs, and some crossovers are better suited for towing motorcycle trailers.
  • Factors affecting towing include towing capacity, lightweight trailer,  the weight of the motorcycle, trailer weight, tongue weight, trailer type, road conditions, brakes, and suspension.
  • Loading and unloading a motorcycle trailer involves several steps, including preparing the trailer, positioning the bike, and securing it.
  • Towing capacities limits for cars vary based on the tow vehicle type and can range from 1,000 to over 10,000 pounds.

I recently planned a road trip, and my friends decided to tag along. But they want me to tow their motorcycle for some meters. They wanted to join the road trip with me but still did not want to leave their bike alone. I know it sounds fun, but can you pull a motorcycle trailer with a car?

can you pull a motorcycle trailer with a car

It sounds fun and all, but wait a minute before saying yes to your friend. The answer depends on your car’s towing capacities. In general, the car has a maximum towing capacity of 1,000 pounds. Your friend’s bike had to meet that weight limit; otherwise, it would be risky.

So, how much weight can a car tow? What type of car is perfect for towing? Dig into and learn about all of that.

Can You Pull A Motorcycle Trailer With A Car?

So, can you pull a motorcycle trailer with a car? Well, whether you can do it or not depends on a few things. Luckily, legal stuff doesn’t come in just like you need to wonder about  it being legal to pull a trailer behind a camper. It’s just about the weight capacity there.

First, you need to check out the manual that came with your ride to see if it’s up for the task. It’ll tell you how much weight it can handle without breaking a sweat. 

If you’re driving a pickup, a decent-sized SUV, or a bigger crossover, you’re in luck. These bad boys usually have the muscle to tug a trailer with a motorcycle. But if you’re stuck with a regular car or a small crossover, they usually can’t handle more than a measly 1,000 pounds. So, how much your bike and trailer weigh is a big deal.

Now, when it comes to bikes, they can range from super light scooters at around 200 pounds to massive touring motorcycles that can tip the scales at over 1,000 pounds. You can pick up a lighter trailer if you’re buying one, but if you’re just renting from U-Haul, their motorcycle trailer weighs about 800 pounds. So, keep that in mind before you hit the road.

What Is The Maximum Weight That A Car Can Tow?

It’s not that easy actually. How much maximum weight your car can pull depends on a bunch of things. It’s called the towing capacity, and it’s different for every car. Things like what kind of car it is, the size of the engine, the type of transmission, and if it’s got any special towing stuff all play a role.

Smaller cars and those cute compact sedans usually can handle around 1,000 to 2,000 pounds for towing. Now, if you’re rollin’ in a midsize SUV, crossover, or one of those bigger tow vehicle, you’re looking at more like 3,000 to 5,000 pounds or even more.

But wait, there’s more! Big tow trucks and some of those jumbo SUVs can tow over 5,000 pounds, and some even top 10,000 pounds. Crazy, right?

To find out exactly what your car can handle, check out the owner’s manual or hit up the car maker or a dealership. You should stick to your car’s towing capacities, man, to keep things safe and sound. Don’t mess with it, or you might mess up your car or, worse, put safety at risk.

Different Types Of Motorcycle Trailers

If you want to tow your motorcycle that badly, then buy a motorcycle trailer. It is pretty convenient to tow your friend’s motorcycle. There are many types of motorcycle trailers out there. But here are some of the most famous and affordable ones:

Different Types Of Motorcycle Trailers
  • Open Trailers: These are like the OG of motorcycle trailers. They’re simple and don’t have a roof or walls. You just roll your bike on and strap it down. Easy peasy.
  • Enclosed Trailers: Now, these are like the fancy, covered-up version. They’re like a little garage on wheels for your bike. It is good for keeping your ride safe from the elements and prying eyes. You can even sleep inside an enclosed trailer, so towing is obviously easy. The enclosed trailer may get hot for a little while towing, but it can be managed.
  • Single Rail Trailers: If you’re all about that solo ride, these are your jam. They can carry just one bike, and they’re lightweight trailers.
  • Double Rail Trailers: Double trouble, my friend. These can haul two bikes. They’re like the big brother of single-rail trailers.
  • Lift Trailers: These are like magic. You press a button, and your bike goes up in the air, so you don’t need to wrestle it onto the trailer. Perfect if you’re all about convenience.
  • Tilt Trailers: Tilt it, load it, and then until it. These are like a see-saw for your bike. It’s super easy to get your ride on and off.
  • Utility Trailers: Utility trailers are like the multitool of trailers. You can use them for bikes, but also for hauling other stuff. They’re versatile, man.

Remember, choose the one that fits your style and needs, and you’ll be rolling in no time.

What Type Of Car Is Best For Towing A Motorcycle Trailer?

So, can a car tow a motorcycle trailer? Yes, you can if every criterion is met. If your friend is a stubborn kid and wants you to pull a motorcycle behind your car really bad. Then it will be a clever move to choose the perfect car for it. Here are some of the best types of tow vehicle:

Pickup Trucks: These are like the muscle cars of towing. Big engines have high towing capacity, and they can easily handle your bike and trailer without breaking a sweat.

Midsize SUVs: These are like the Goldilocks of towing. They have the power and capacity to haul a trailer but still keep you and your crew comfy.

Large SUVs: Think big and bold, like the Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition. These heavy hitters can tow your motorcycle and gear while carrying your peeps and stuff.

Crossovers: Some of the bigger crossovers can handle the job too. Just make sure to check the specs for their towing capacity.

Minivans: Yeah, you might not think of minivans as towing champs, but some with the right packages can handle a motorcycle trailer. Just keep an eye on their towing limits.

Remember to peek into your car’s manual or chat with the manufacturer or a dealership to make sure it’s up to the task. And don’t forget about extras like hitches and towing packages to make your towing experience smoother.

What Are The Factors That Affect Pulling A Motorcycle Trailer With A Car?

Can you tow a motorcycle with a car? Pulling a motorcycle trailer with a car involves various factors that can impact the towing experience. Such as:

Factors That Affect Pulling A Motorcycle Trailer With A Car
  1. Weight of the Motorcycle: Different bikes, different weights. A lightweight trailer dirt bike is a breeze, but a massive touring motorcycle? That’s some heavy lifting.
  1. Trailer Weight: Don’t forget about the camping trailer itself. Some are feather-light, but others can be hefty, especially if they’re fully loaded with gear.
  1. Tongue Weight: This is the maximum weight that sits on the tow hitch. Too much, and your car’s rear end might sag. Too little, and your trailer might misbehave. You need to handle your tongue weight carefully.
  1. Trailer Type: Open or enclosed? Single or double rail? Lift or tilt? The type of trailer and its wide range matter in how it handles and affects your car’s performance.
  1. Road Conditions: Where you’re driving matters. Hills, curves, and rough terrain can make the ride more challenging. You need to be prepared.
  1. Brakes: Your car’s brakes better be in tip-top shape. They’re doing extra work when towing, and you don’t want them failing on you.
  1. Suspension: A good suspension system can help absorb bumps and keep things steady. It’s like the shock absorbers of your car.

Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance, and safety is the name of the game. Check your car’s manual, take it slow, and make sure everything’s secure. Towing a motorcycle trailer can be a smooth ride with the right setup and precautions.

What Are The Safety Precautions To Take When Pulling A Motorcycle Trailer With A Car?

When you’re out there, pulling a motorcycle trailer with your car, it’s like a dance but a safe one. You need to groove to some safety beats:

First off, check your car’s manual, you know, that boring book that came with your car? It’s got the lowdown on your car’s towing capacity, and you have to stick to it while towing. Exceeding it is a big no-no. Before you hit the road, make sure your bike and the cargo trailer are strapped down tight and secure. You don’t want your ride wobbling or falling off.

Your car’s brakes need to be in primo condition. They’re working extra hard when you’re towing, so give them a little TLC before you go. Properly inflated tires are the name of the game. Underinflated ones can mess with your car’s stability, so check those tire pressures.

Safety chains are like the lifelines of your cargo trailer. Don’t forget to attach them, and they need to be crisscrossed to catch the trailer if it decides to do a runner. Your rearview and side mirrors are your BFFs. Make sure they’re adjusted correctly so you can see what’s going on behind and around you. If it gets too hot, then make a tropical roof for the camper trailer.

Finally, don’t go crazy on the gas pedal. Take it easy, keep a safe following distance, and slow down when you’re going downhill or around curves. Safety is the groove, man, so keep it steady and rock on down the road.

How Do I Properly Load And Unload A Motorcycle Trailer?[Step By Step]

How Do I Properly Load And Unload A Motorcycle Trailer

Now you have everything you need to tow. So, it’s time to load your motorcycles. Doing it looks easy, but it is tricky. One wrong step can lead you to an accident. So, do as I told you to do.

Loading The Motorcycle:

  1. Get the Trailer Ready: First things first, check that the trailer is level and securely hitched to your ride. Make sure it’s in top shape, tires and lights included.
  1. Park the Trailer Right: Find a flat spot to park your cargo trailer, and make sure you’ve got space in front and behind it.
  1. Lower the Ramp: If your trailer has a ramp, put it down. This makes it easier for your bike to get on board.
  1. Lock It Down: Prevent any trailer shenanigans by using wheel chocks, straps, or whatever keeps it in place. You can use gas struts for camper trailers to do this job, too.
  1. Bike Pre-game: Your bike needs to be in neutral and the side stand up. If you have a center stand, put it in action for extra stability.
  1. Boarding Time: Depending on your trailer, you can either walk your bike on or ride it up. If you’re riding, keep it steady and under control.
  1. Center and Secure: Make sure your bike is dead center on the trailer and balanced both front to back and side to side to make the perfect center of gravity. Lock the front wheel in place with a choke or something sturdy.
  1. Tie It Down: Use the right straps to secure your bike to the trailer. Hook them up to strong points on the bike, like the handlebars, frame, or foot pegs. Don’t go overboard with the tightening; you don’t want to hurt your ride.

Unloading The Motorcycle:

  1. Scout the Scene: Check that the area is safe, flat, and obstacle-free. Ensure the trailer is rock solid and hitched up to your ride.
  1. Lower the Ramp: If there’s a ramp on your camping trailer, let it down for a smooth exit.
  1. Untie the Beast: Gently remove the straps that have been keeping your bike in check. Make sure everything’s undone.
  1. Bike Ready: Stick your bike in gear so it doesn’t take off. If you’ve got a center stand, engage it.
  1. Clutch and Brake Action: Stand beside your bike, squeeze that clutch lever, and hit the front brake. This combo keeps your bike from rolling while you set it up for the offload.
  1. Guide It Down: If you’ve got a buddy, they can help guide your bike while you control the descent. If you’re a lone wolf, slowly walk your bike backward, using the clutch and brake to keep it in line.
  1. Time to Roll: Walk your motorcycle down the ramp like a boss, maintaining a strong grip on those handlebars.
  1. Steady as She Goes: Once your bike’s safely off the foot trailer, make sure it’s on stable ground and won’t take a tumble.

Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Take your time, suit up with the right safety gear, and stick to these steps for a smooth and secure loading and unloading mission for your bike trailers.

What Are Some Tips For Driving Safely With A Motorcycle Trailer?

Ensuring safety in all cases is a must. And while you are driving with a motorcycle trailer, it has to be done. Here are some tips to help you with:

Tips For Driving Safely With A Motorcycle Trailer

Easy Does It: Don’t go all “Fast and Furious.” Keep your speed in check. You’ve got precious cargo back there.

Extra Following Space: Give yourself more room behind the car ahead. You might need extra stopping distance. Maintain the tow rating.

Practice Parking: Practice parking with the camping trailer. It’s different, so get used to it.

Check the Lights: Before you hit the road, make sure all your trailer lights are working. Safety first!

Weight Matters: Stick to your car’s towing capacity. Don’t overload it. That’s just asking for trouble.

Wider Turns: When turning, swing a bit wider. The trailer needs space to follow you.

Sway Control: If your trailer is swaying crazy, slow down and avoid sudden moves. You want to stay in control.

Check Tire Pressure: Keep those tires pumped up. Low pressure can mess with your stability.

Stay Calm: If things get hairy, don’t panic. Slow down and pull over safely if you need to.

Weather Watch: Keep an eye on the weather. Wind and rain can make things tricky.

Brake Early: Start slowing down early when you need to stop. The trailer adds weight, and you want to brake gently.

Alright, now you’re all set to hit the road with your motorcycle trailer. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be cruising safely and soundly. Ride on!

What Are The Alternatives To Towing A Motorcycle Trailer With A Car?

If you’re not down for towing your motorcycle with a trailer behind your car, there are some other options to consider. First up, you could ride the bike to your destination. That’s the classic move if you’re all about the open road.

But, if that’s not an option, you can rent a truck or a motorcycle transport service. They’ve got special rigs to haul your bike without a trailer. Plus, some larger vans or SUVs can fit a motorcycle inside with some fancy loading ramps and gear.

Just remember, it all depends on your ride and what makes the most sense for your journey. So, pick the one that suits your style and hit the road.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are There Specific Trailer Hitches For Towing Motorcycles With Cars?

Yes, there are special hitches for towing motorcycles with cars, and they’re like a match made in trailer heaven. These hitches are made to handle the extra load and stress of hauling your bike.

What Are The Towing Capacity Limits For Cars?

Smaller rides like compact sedans might be around 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. Midsize SUVs and crossovers, they’re stepping it up with 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. Now, the big dogs, full-size trucks, and some SUVs can go well above 5,000 pounds.

Yeah, it’s mostly legal to tow a motorcycle trailer with your car, but there are some towing rules to follow. You need to stay within your car’s towing capacity and use the right equipment, like hitches and safety chains.

Is It Hard To Pull A Bike Trailer?

Nah, pulling a bike trailer ain’t rocket science. It’s more like a walk in the park if you do it right. Just pay attention to a few things, like your car’s towing capacity, and make sure your bike and trailer don’t go overboard on the weight.

What Is The Maximum Speed For A Bike Trailer?

Most bike trailers are designed for regular biking speeds, like 25 km/h (15 mph). They’re not built for high-speed action like you’re in a movie chase scene. Don’t try to break any land-speed records with a trailer in tow. 

How Much Weight Can A Bike Trailer Hold?

Most bike trailers can handle around 75 to 100 pounds of weight. But you need to check the deets for your specific trailer ’cause it can vary. Some heavy-duty ones can even carry more.


Now you know about can you pull a motorcycle trailer with a car or not. So, now you can decide if you will take your friend with you or not. If everything goes your way, then decide to pull and maintain all the safety things.

John Little

Written by

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts