Will a Toyota 4Runner Tow a Boat?


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Toyota 4Runner has a long history of being a fantastic SUV; the 4Runner is known for its off-road performance and towing. Regardless of which engine is under the hood, the 4Runner will tow up to 5000 pounds. If you are a fan of boating or fishing, you will need to tow your boat many times to the river or lake. You need a vehicle that would be able to pull this heavy load without difficulty.

In this article, we will take you through which type of boat your Toyota 4Runner can haul and which 4Runner is best for towing in general, continue reading for an in-depth view of the Toyota 4Runner.

How Much Can a 4Runner Tow?

The amount of cargo towed by a 4Runner depends on the type of engine it has and whether it is equipped with a trailering technology.

A 4Runner that is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6, which delivers 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque, can tow up to 5,000 pounds of cargo. Some 4Runners are equipped with a V-8 engine and can tow up to 7,300 pounds.

What Types of Boats can a 4runner Tow?

Just because your 4Runner can tow 5,000 pounds does not mean that you can pull 5,000 pounds of cargo. You have to factor in the weight of your trailer in your vehicle’s towing capacity.

For example, if your trailer weighs 500 pounds, you can tow a boat that weighs a maximum of 4500 pounds. The 4Runner can tow various types of boats, these include Jon Boats, personal watercraft, bass boats, dinghy, jet boats, deck boats, ski boats, and walkaround.

Joan Boats
Jon boats are small boats that are constructed from lightweight materials such as aluminum. They are normally used in small water bodies and weigh about 450 pounds.

Personal Watercraft
Personal watercrafts weigh about 750 pounds, they are also known as PWCs or Jet Skis.

Bass Boats
They are smaller than other fishing boats but weigh about 2300 pounds, they are mainly used while fishing in freshwater lakes.

Dinghy
They are mostly used as rescue boats, they weigh about 1700 pounds.

Jet Boats
These are high-speed boats that use jets of water propelled from the rear of the boats, jet boats weigh about 2,300 pounds.

Deck Boats
These are boats that are used to host parties, social gatherings, and large crowd events, a deck boat weighs about 3100 pounds.

Ski Boats
These boats are normally used to produce waves, utilized in water sports like surfing, water skiing, and water tubing, ski boats weigh about 3500 pounds.

Walkaround Boats
These are the heaviest boats that the 4Runner can tow, they are commonly used for fishing and weigh an average of 4100 pounds.

The 4Runner can tow all the boats mentioned above with the standard 4.0-liter V-6 engine. Various towing technologies help the 4Runner tow a large trailer without straining the driver.

What are the 4Runner’s Towing Features?

The 4Runner is equipped with several features that make towing easy and enjoyable. It comes standard with an integrated towing hitch receiver, this receiver is strong enough to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Buyers can also opt for after-market towing hitches, but they won’t improve your towing capacity, this is because the 4Runner’s SAE J2807 tow rating is 5,000 pounds and should not be exceeded.

The 4Runner is also equipped with a wiring harness, with 4- and 7-pin connectors that help you hook up your trailer lights quickly when towing, this harness assists the driver to hitch and haul safely.

It also reduces the chances of causing accidents or damage to the boat. New 4Runners are equipped with a 360-degree view towing camera. This camera assists the driver to view the trailer when driving and also helps when attaching the SUV to your trailer.

Available towing features include an all-wheel-drive system that enhances stability and improves traction when towing, the available all-terrain tires also help to improve traction when hauling on a slippery road.

What Should You Do Before Towing Your Boat?

Make sure the hitch used can support your load:

If you are planning to tow a 4500-pound boat with a 3500 pounds hitch, you may lose your trailer on the road.

Please make sure that your hitch supports more than you can tow. Sometimes drivers may think installing a hitch rated higher than the SAE J2807 towing limit will increase the towing capacity.

However, this does not mean that the car can haul that weight.
Ensure the hitch is properly installed and secured to prevent losing your trailer as it may detach from the hitch.

Make sure your vehicle is road ready:

You should make sure your vehicle is in good condition before heading to the road. Make sure your car can tow your heavy load.

Because you are about to haul a heavy load, check if your tire pressures are okay to prevent handling difficulty while driving. You should also make sure the heaviest part of your boat is on the front. This arrangement works to inhibit fishtailing and to increase traction.

Follow towing guidelines:

There are various guidelines that drivers should adhere to, these guidelines are for their safety and the safety of others on the road. It is essential to stay in your lane and avoid changing lanes every time.

You should also ensure you maintain a safe distance between your 4Runner and other vehicles. Also, drive at a slow speed so that you are able to brake, turn, and swerve without losing control of your 4Runner.

When you are overtaking, make sure you take into consideration the added length. You should stop if you sense a problem with your trailer.

Install the right hitch:

Install a hitch that can support the weight of your trailer and boat. If you want to tow a boat or trailer with a broader bumper-pull, you must get a weight-distribution hitch, it helps your 4Runner suspension and makes sure you can carry more load.

Replace worn out axles:

Upgrade your axles to heady-duty ones so that they can be able to support more load, if your axles are worn out, replace them with new ones.

Upgrade your brakes:

A more massive load requires more braking force to stop your 4Runner. In this case, you need to upgrade your vehicle’s brake pads and rotor. You will also have to get a trailer braking system for your 4Runner, this system will help your vehicle stop together with the trailer.

Upgrade your suspension:

After upgrading your axles and braking system, you need to upgrade your suspension to heavy-duty ones. Heavy-duty suspensions would be able to support a more substantial load.

Final Thoughts

The 4Runner can tow most of the boats used for fishing, leisure activities, and sports. It will be a very valuable asset for you if you plan to take your boat to the lake or ocean.

It is one of the most reliable and robust SUVs, and it is also affordable and has good fuel economy numbers. If you’re looking for a vehicle that is great for towing and water activities, you can’t really go wrong with the Toyota 4Runner.

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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