Skip to Content

How Much Can a Ford Explorer Tow?

How Much Can a Ford Explorer Tow?

Some trucks are great for pulling campers around, others have a limited towing capacity. How much can a Ford Explorer tow? 

Some models of the Ford Explorer can tow a lot more than other models. Ford Explorers can tow from as little as 1800 pounds to as much as 7300 pounds.  

As long as you get the right model, a Ford Explorer is more than adequate to pull a trailer. The towing capacity is higher if your trailer has brakes. 

2023 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

Current Ford Explorers can tow about 5300 pounds, give or take only a bit. If you get a Ford Explorer with a bigger engine, it doesn’t drastically increase the towing capacity. 

Braked vs. Unbraked Towing Capacity

Some trailers have brakes and do not only have to rely on the towing vehicle’s brakes. This increases the towing capacity because you can tow more safely if the trailer can stop itself. The Ford Explorer can tow up to 6740 pounds if the trailer has brakes. 

Other Towing Capacity Factors

The hybrid Ford Explorer cannot tow as much as the purely gas-powered model. Many other factors affect the towing capacity. 

Smaller Engines for Some Earlier Models

All of the current Ford Explorers have powerful enough engines that they can pull heavy loads. However, if you get a used model, it might have a significantly smaller engine.

For example, some models of 2019 Ford Explorer have weaker engines. They can only tow 2,000 pounds. Don’t assume that a Ford Explorer can always tow a small trailer just because the newer models can. 

Weight of Passengers and Gear

The weight of your passengers, everything you store in your trailer, and everything you store in your vehicle all matter as well. Don’t assume that these other weights are insignificant compared to the weight of your trailer. 

Type of Engine

There are a few engines currently used in Ford Explorers, all of which are powerful enough to pull 5000 pounds. There is the Turbo 4-Cylinder 2.3 Liter Engine, which can pull 5300 pounds. It is a 300-horsepower engine that generates 310 foot-pounds of torque. 

There is also a Twin Turbo V6 3.0 Liter engine that can pull 5600 pounds. Only the King Ranch, Platinum, and XT models have this engine. It is 400 horsepower and has 415 foot pounds of torque. 

Finally, there is a slightly weaker hybrid 3.3-liter engine on the hybrid models. While a bit weaker, it can still tow 5000 pounds. 

You can also get a trailer tow package for your Ford Explorer. It has a class IV frame-mounted hitch and a wiring harness. 

Can You Get a Tow Hitch?

Yes, and you will have to get it if you want to tow a trailer. You’ll need a tow hitch and wiring harness, plus you might need a trailer ball hitch depending on what you are towing. 

Towing Capacities for Earlier Models

The 2023 Ford Explorer can tow 5000, 5300, or 5600 pounds depending on the model. Some older Ford Explorers have significantly different towing capacities depending on the engine and trim level. 

2022 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

2022 Ford Explorers can also tow between 5000-6000 pounds. Their towing capacity depends on the model and the engine:

  • 5000 pounds for the limited hybrid
  • 5300 pounds for models with the 2.3L EcoBoost engine
  • 5600 pounds for models with the 3.3L V6 engine

2021 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

2021 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

The 2021 Ford Explorer is the same as the 2022 model. It can pull 5000, 5300, or 5600 pounds, with the hybrid model being relatively weak. 

2020 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

2020 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

The 2020 Ford Explorer is also the same. It can tow 5000 to 5600 pounds depending on the model and engine. 

2019 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

The 2019 Ford Explorer is different. It can tow significantly less unless you get the right model. To have a 5000-pound towing capacity, you need a Ford Explorer 3.5L 4WD. 

2019 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

Other engine types have significantly lower towing capacities:

  • The 2.3L GTDI 2WD can tow 2000 pounds
  • The 2.3L GTDI 2WD can tow 2000 pounds or 3000 pounds with the towing package installed
  • The 3.5L TiVCT 2WD, 3.5L TiVCT 4WD, and 3.5L GTDI 4WD can all pull 5000 pounds with the towing package installed.
  • The 3.5L TiVCT 4WD can only pull 2000 pounds without the towing package. 

2018 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

The 2018 Ford Explorer has a 5000-pound towing capacity if it has any of the 3.5L TiVCT 2WD engine, 3.5L TiVCT 4WD engine, or 3.5L GTDI 4WD engine. It also must have the towing package installed to have a 5000-pound capacity. 

2017 Ford Explorer Towing Capacity

The 2017 Ford Explorer can tow 2000, 3000, or 5000 pounds. The 2.3L GTDI 4WD can tow 3000 pounds if it has the towing package. 

If you want the full 5000-pound towing capacity, the options are:

  • 3.5L TiVCT 2WD with the towing package
  • 3.5L TiVCT 4WD with the towing package
  • 3.5L GTDI 4WD with the towing package

Does Towing a Trailer Increase Wear and Tear?

Towing a trailer around increases wear and tear on your truck and will make your truck have more problems than the mileage would suggest. 

Any towing increases wear and tear, but it’s worse if you go beyond the maximum recommended amount your vehicle can tow. 

The hybrid Ford Explorer cannot tow as much as the purely gas-powered model. Regardless of what model you have, you can tow less if you have more passengers and more heavy things in your trailer. 

Weight Distribution is Important

If the weight in your trailer is distributed equally, towing a trailer will be less harmful to your vehicle. If you put all of the weight in your trailer on one side, that will be a huge strain on your truck. 

While there should be a roughly equal amount of weight on the left side and the right side, this is not true for the front and back. 

You should put most of the weight at the front, such as putting 60% at the front and 40% at the back. 

Have Your Truck Inspected First

Have a mechanic look at your Ford Explorer before you take it anywhere with a trailer. If there is a small problem, towing the trailer could make the problem much worse. 

You aren’t supposed to play sports with an injury, and your truck isn’t supposed to pull a trailer while having any problems. Your mechanic should check your brakes, steering, hitches, lights, and more. 

Practice Driving With a Trailer First

If you have never driven with a trailer before, a long road trip might be dangerous. Take your trailer out on safe and easy roads first. Get used to the extra size and weight before you head across the country. 

Remember that braking is harder with all of that extra weight. Even if you slam on the brakes, you won’t stop right away. It might cause an accident, plus braking hard increases wear and tear on your vehicle if you have a trailer. 

Many things can cause your trailer to sway back and forth, which is a common cause of accidents. If your trailer sways to the left from a gust of wind or a sharp turn, it could hit something. Despite these risks, pulling a trailer is not inherently dangerous and can be done safely with a bit of practice. 

Key Takeaways to How Much a Ford Explorer Can Tow

All newer Ford Explorers have fairly high towing capacities. They can tow 5000+ pounds. However, some older Ford Explorers have small engines and can tow 2000 pounds or less.

If your trailer has brakes, your Ford Explorer can tow more. This is because it is safe to tow a heavier load if the trailer and not only the truck have brakes. 

Different models of Ford Explorers have significantly different engines, so they vary a lot in towing capacity. Make sure you get one with a decent engine if you want to pull a trailer around.

You can get a tow package that makes your Ford Explorer able to tow extra. 

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!