What’s the towing capacity of a Toyota Tacoma? Towing capacity numbers are important for the safety of the Tacoma, load, and driver.
Knowing about the towing capacity of your Toyota Tacoma is essential when hauling something big.
Safety is at stake, so understanding what your Tacoma is capable of and how to know its capabilities is very important.
Toyota Tacoma’s towing capacities vary based on the year and model. More recent Tacomas from the late 2020s can tow up to 8,000 lbs.
Tacoma built in the mid 2000s can tow up to 6,500 lbs with proper towing packages. Older Tacomas are more limited to around 3,500 lbs without towing packages available.
We’ll review Toyota Tacomas and the years, equipment, and trims that make a difference in Tacoma towing capacity.
This includes a discussion of how manufacturers describe towing capacity and what your Tacoma needs to be able to tow.
The safety of yourself and your vehicle is on the line, so we’ve sourced information from Toyota as well as broad information about towing math.
Which Years of Toyota Tacoma Offer Which Towing Capacity?
The towing capacity of the Toyota Tacoma depends on a few factors, including the drivetrain (rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive), the engine capacity, and the cab. Here is a more detailed look:
Older Tacomas, 1995-2001
There are still more than a few old Tacoma on the road today, given the legend of Toyota durability.
The lowest towing capacity comes from a 1995-2001 Toyota Tacoma with the 2.4-liter engine, at 3500 lbs with 2 wheel drive.
You’ll get the same capabilities from the 2.7-liter engine. The 3.4-liter 6-cylinder raises the bar to 5,000 lbs of capacity.
Mid Generation Toyotas, 2002-2004
Tow capacity remained the same for the 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter engine, landing at 3,500 lbs. The 3.4-liter engine trim added a tow package, allowing the Tacoma to tow 6,000 lbs.
A 3.4-liter Tacoma without the tow package offers 3,500 lbs.
2005-2015 Toyota Tacomas
Toyota went a while without changing the towing capacity significantly, but towing still improved.
The tow capacity of the 2.7-liter engine remained at 3,500 lbs, though the gross capacity of the 4WD and Prerunner went up by 500 pounds to 8,000 lbs.
This means the Tacoma could have a higher payload with towing.
The 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine was introduced and added a few hundred pounds capacity, providing Tacoma drivers with 6,500 lbs with the tow package.
The capacity remained the same 3,500 lbs without the tow package.
2016-2020 Toyota Tacomas
The 2016 to 2020 Toyota Tacoma remained steady at 3,500 lbs for the 2.7-liter models. The gross weight crept up by 20 pounds to finish at 8,020.
The 3.5-liter 6-cylinder added some variety. Now the 2WD with Access Cab with tow package could max out at 6,800 lbs.
The Crew Cab offered slightly less at 6,500 lbs and a 2WD off-road TRD could haul 6,700 lbs.
The above numbers assume there is a trailer brake installed on the trailer and hooked up to the vehicle.
A trailer brake helps communicate and execute the ability to slow down with a significant amount of weight behind a vehicle. Without a trailer brake present, the max towing capacity is 1,000 lbs.
This largely applies to very small trailers.
Gross Weights of Tacomas
One important thing to consider for your Tacoma is the gross weights and the towing capacity.
Tacomas from different years, makes, and trims might have different Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Ratings, or GCVWR.
The GCVWR comes from the manufacturer and tells us how much total weight the Tacoma can hold and haul.
If you are carrying cargo in the backseat or the truck bed, this does add to the total weight being hauled by your Tacoma.
For math, you’ll want to know your Tacoma’s curb weight. This is often in the manual but might also be listed along with the towing capacity on the driver’s side door jam.
Now take the vehicle’s rated GCVWR, which includes all the things you are carrying in the truck before the trailer is attached.
This includes everything from a backpack in the backseat to the fuel in the bank, and of course, people.
This is very important because you don’t want to exceed the curb weight, or even come within 10% of exceeding the Tacoma’s towing capacity.
Excess weight makes the trailer more difficult to manage, which is a danger in itself in addition to the extra stress more weight puts on the drivetrain.
Do I Need Extra Equipment to Tow With My Tacoma?
While the Toyota Tacoma does have a towing package available on more recent models, these pieces of equipment are built into the truck.
You might actually need a little more than that, and Toyota doesn’t provide it because needs vary between vehicles.
Most Tacoma owners will discover they need a towing ball to hook onto a trailer. These are relatively inexpensive considering the purchase price of a truck.
In some cases, you can install them yourself – though it is certainly possible to have a dealer or mechanic do it for you.
What If I Need to Tow More?
A Tacoma should not be altered to attempt to tow more. The next best option is to get a more powerful truck, like Tacoma’s big brother, the Toyota Tundra.
The Tundra offers 10,000 lbs of towing capacity or more, which is on par with full-size trucks.
Summing Up Towing Capabilities of Toyota Tacoma
The towing capabilities of Toyota Tacomas vary, but some models can get up to even 8,000 lbs of towing power. Many boat and RV owners are able to take advantage of their vehicles’ power in order to go on vacations.
Make sure you have the right equipment you need before starting to tow!