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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Towing UHaul Trailer with a 2015 RAV4

A few weeks ago we moved ~1,450 miles from Atlanta to Denver. Before the semi-trailer move we are living with pretty much what we could bring a small UHaul trailer. (need to find jobs, a house here, decide where to live etc)

Following a few common-sense precautions we had no problems towing a 5x8 UHaul trailer, even up some reasonable inclines.

Here is a summary:
  • Load it correctly! (we verified tongue weight using bathroom scales)
  • Verify trailer tire pressures (our were ~10psi low)
  • Add ~6psi to the vehicle's rear tires
  • We kept speed at ~70mph (75 mph max)
  • No swaying at all, but stopping distance was obviously greatly increased

MPG dropped from its normal 32 mpg highway average to ~18 mpg! This 2WD RAV4 LE was almost brand new but I changed the engine oil at ~700 miles knowing this trip was coming.

Lots of people with trailers will pass you at 90mph or better. Ignore them and arrive in one piece! We shared the driving and slept in the vehicle for ~five hours at a truck stop. Apps for cell phones show where truck stops, rest areas etc are - VERY useful.

You'll get a little rise on the front. Recommended tongue weight is stated oh the trailer. IIRC we were at ~180lbs. I used my floor jack to raise/lower the loaded trailer and weigh with bathroom scales:


The 5x8 is ~900lbs empty. We filled it completely. Load the heavier stuff lower, trying to get anything really heavy above the axle.


Not necessary but I already owned a 'StowAway Hitch Tightener' - they are great for bike/cargo racks and could not hurt when towing a trailer.


Am just showing off now. Parking here is tight and of course the parking spaces opposite were occupied. Somehow after driving ~1,400 miles I managed to back it into the small garage at this rented (temporary) town-home.
 

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Add ~6psi to the vehicle's rear tires
  • We kept speed at ~70mph (75 mph max)
just a warning, most ST tires are rated for 65mph max
 

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just a warning, most ST tires are rated for 65mph max
Wow, that is shocking! I didn't know there were any such low-rated tires today. What brand are those ST tires? I want to be sure I don't get them.
 

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Wow, that is shocking! I didn't know there were any such low-rated tires today. What brand are those ST tires? I want to be sure I don't get them.

I believe those are on the trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
U-Haul say don't go above 55mph. Loads of people towing trailers passed us, many doing ~90mph.

The USA is litigation crazy. If we followed every rule/advice for trailers we'd need a 4WD 6,000lb+ 400hp+ duallie pickup truck to tow a 1,000lb trailer and still not be able to exceed 50mph. I looked on European forums for towing advice - it seemed a lot more sensible. The RAV4 in Europe is rated for over 3,000lbs IIRC although that is for braked trailers.
 

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The towing setup and loading look great! Looks like an improvised trailer wiring harness job which did what it was supposed to. Congratulations!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The towing setup and loading look great! Looks like an improvised trailer wiring harness job which did what it was supposed to. Congratulations!
Thanks. It's the 'Curt 56166 T-Connector' harness, but I ran 12V power from the front aux outlet using two extensions. Cut one extension pretty short and spliced it to the harness behind the trim. It appeared a tough job to route under the vehicle to the battery + we rarely tow anything needing lights so this was a smarter option. Cargo carrier and bike rack is >99% of our 'towing'.

 

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U-Haul say don't go above 55mph. Loads of people towing trailers passed us, many doing ~90mph.

The USA is litigation crazy. If we followed every rule/advice for trailers we'd need a 4WD 6,000lb+ 400hp+ duallie pickup truck to tow a 1,000lb trailer and still not be able to exceed 50mph. I looked on European forums for towing advice - it seemed a lot more sensible. The RAV4 in Europe is rated for over 3,000lbs IIRC although that is for braked
 
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