Towing gear and gas mileage - Toyota RAV4 Forums
4.3 Exterior Tires, Wheels, Lights, Spoilers, Flares, Bars, Tow Hitches, etc.

User Tag List

LinkBack Thread Tools
#1 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 06:39 PM
Country: evmoore's Flag is: United States
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 74
Thanks: 18
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
(Thread Starter)
Towing gear and gas mileage

Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum.

I have a 2008 Rav4 Sport with a V6 and towing packing. I use my Rav4 to tow an enclosed 5x8 trailer (900lbs) with my Yamaha Grizzly 700 4-wheeler (650lbs). I typically haul between Western South Dakota to the twin cities of MN or to northern MN near the Canadian border.

The total weight of the load I haul is about 1600-1700lbs and I always tow in 4th gear. However, My gas mileage is horrible! Even with my rear tires inflated to about 40lbs I still only ever get 14-15mpg. Obviously, much of the reduction in gas mileage can be attributed to the fact that I'm hauling a square, enclosed trailer which acts as a significant wind drag, and the fact that when I use 4th gear the engine automatically revs to about 3000rpm's at 75mph, but I was still expecting better fuel economy numbers. How is it anyone on here manages to get 19-20mpg hauling much heavier loads than the one I haul? Might have to trade in the enclosed trailer for an open trailer instead.

The only thing I can guess is that some people are foolish enough to tow in D, rather than 4th?
evmoore is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 08:07 PM
Advanced Member
Country: Blogson's Flag is: Wales
Blogson's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Oregon coast
Posts: 3,717
Thanks: 28
Thanked 229 Times in 229 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Perhaps driving in D would help some. The Owner's Manual for my 2011 suggests not driving in "overdrive" while towing to aid with braking and electrical charging, but except when descending a grade and in other situations where engine braking is needed I tow in D and let the engine and transmission management systems make the decisions.

2011 Upgraded Base V6 4WD
2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT
2002 Craftsman LT1000 V2

Jesus is Lord
Blogson is offline  
#3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 09:12 PM
Super Moderator
Country: RTexasF's Flag is: United States
RTexasF's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rio Grande Valley TX
Posts: 7,168
Thanks: 59
Thanked 378 Times in 322 Posts
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
MPG sounds about right to me. 75 MPH in 4th gear would suck gas without towing much less with a loaded wind brake behind you.

Old Bird......sometimes wise
2008 Base V-6 front wheel drive
2008 Limited V-6 front wheel drive
Both with Tow Prep Package
RTexasF is offline  
#4 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 137
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Yea that does seem about right. I get 24 at 75 without towing and on flat ground with a 4 banger

nobettername is offline  
#5 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 11:18 PM
Advanced Member
Country: friendly_jacek's Flag is: United States
friendly_jacek's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 2,607
Thanks: 38
Thanked 39 Times in 39 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
14 MPG is expected. This is exactly what I get towing my heavier but more aerodynamic boat. My Subaru incidentally produced the same figure with the same load. D is only fine on perfectly flat road. As soon as you have a grade, the converter will unlock putting more heat stress on tranny.

If you want to get better MPG, you need to slow down. While I'm also guilty of going as fast, slower is better and safer.
friendly_jacek is offline  
#6 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 12:01 AM
Country: evmoore's Flag is: United States
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 74
Thanks: 18
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
(Thread Starter)
Thank you all for the responses. I typically get about 24mpg while driving about 75mph without towing as well. Western SD is fairly hilly compliments of the Black Hills, so I'd never risk towing anything in D. After reading your feedback I realize my towing gas mileage is normal. Thanks again for the input.
evmoore is offline  
#7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 01:09 AM
Advanced Member
Country: Dr. Dyno's Flag is: United States
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eastern CT
Posts: 4,201
Thanks: 150
Thanked 300 Times in 282 Posts
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
The box and speed is what's killing your mileage.

Just came back from towing a 2000# Scamp aerodynamic 16' travel trailer 1650 miles in Alaska with a 2008 Base V6 RAV4. With four people plus camping gear we averaged 14 mpg. We drove the Dalton Highway Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay & back at 50-55 mph (mostly dirt or frost heaved pavement) letting the trans go into Drive whenever it wanted which was mostly on the downhills. Most of the time it selected Fourth with Third in the hills. We'd hold it in third uphill to keep it from hunting between 3 & 4. Though we'd get better mileage on the comparitively flat run from Fairbanks to Anchorage but at 60-65 mph we didn't. Again we let it go into Drive when it would but it probably spent 3/4 of the time in Fourth.

I also just came back from Sturgis and I'd say the hills of the Black Hills are a little less steep than the 7-10% grades on the Dalton.

An open trailer would do wonders for your mileage. You could tow in fifth, still run 75 mph which I'd bet is the speed limit most places you travel, and get nearly 20 mpg.

2006 RAV4 V6 4WD Red Limited - wife's
2006 Accord V6 Hybrid - Dr. Dyno's - quick as the RAV but +8 mpg
2003 Odyssey V6 - handy people & cargo mover
1999 F-250 4X4 Diesel - snow plow, Bully Dog chip
2001 F-250 4X4 Diesel - truck camper, TS chip, 20' bike/trike dyno trailer
2004 Suzuki DRZ-400S Dual Sport

It's the pedal (or the handgrip) on the right!!
Dr. Dyno is offline  
#8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 09:42 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
5th gear is just too high to have enough torque. I tow a (WELL made and sort of heavy) 5x8 open trailer with just a single dirt bike. Best I managed was 22mpg (with no rear gate on the trailer). But that was from Atlanta to the Alligator Enduro in Daytona. Mostly flat at 75mph. If I leave the gate on the back it is like a parachute and my mileage drops to 16 or 17. If there are a lot of hills or big winds, I have seen 14mpg. A Rav4 just isn't designed to tow heavy or big loads. But it sure beats the guys with big trucks at 10 to 12mpg.

With an open trailer the gates really make a difference. I leave mine off for highway trips.
smithpa68 is offline  
Sponsored Links

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome