Love my 2008 Rav 4 V6 and do not want to ruin it at al but I need to tow a 5x8 trailer to Oregon with a medium load. Am I going to ruin my transmission? Is this a safe call to pull a trailer? ( yes its a Uhaul rental )
The Owner's Manual has information about towing, including among other items maximum allowable towing weights. You should be able to pull a U-Haul trailer as long as the total towing weight doesn't exceed the allowable limit for your RAV's configuration. Obviously you will need to have a proper class trailer hitch installed as well as wiring for the trailer lights, and if the towed weight exceeds 600# Toyota says that trailer brakes are needed. There also is quite a lot of info on this forum as, for example, this Search turns up: Rav 4 World is the internet's largest Toyota Rav4 SUV and Rav4 EV online forum community - Search Results for V6 towing
As you'll see by following the several links we have many members who regularly tow with their RAV4s but to save you reading those "books" here are some short answers.
If done properly you can tow w/o any damage to the transmission. The trick is to manually control it by shifting into lower gears to keep it from constantly hunting. For instance when my BIL, our wives and I towed a camper from Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay it included some pretty steep grades on the Dalton Highway. Left on it's own around 50 mph the transmission would shift down to 3rd only to accelerate and upshift to 4th, slow down and repeat. We simply held it in 3rd until the terrain allowed it to stay in 4th. With the load we were towing most of the trip was in 4th with 5th reserved for downgrades. Similar conditions will certainly be found between Colorado and Oregon.
Secondly, consider the costs. Unless you can DIY you could spend $1000+ just outfitting the RAV4 with a hitch receiver, wiring and electric brake controller. And that's before you rent the trailer and tow it one foot. Then you get the fun of learning how to back up a trailer. Not a big factor these days but expect your mpg to be cut in half. We got 15 at 50-55 mph.
So if this is a one-time deal, shipping or even selling and repurchasing items may be the most practical. That's the advice others have taken, especially those with 4 cylinder RAV4s which are at marginal towing limits, but it might also be best in your situation.
Great information. I especially appreciate the driving hints. Don't worry about downshifting to 3rd in the mountains. Every experienced driver will be doing that, or lugging their engine to death. The V6 is very good in that range.
I know you are familiar with mountain weather, snow. I would feel better with electric brakes with a heavy load.
the weak link when towing with the V6 is the transmission temperature, even with a trans oil cooler, and the towing package I still see 230F+ temps (using my Scangauge II readout) which are not good for the oil in the long run... The WS transmission oil used in these transmission is very thin and doesn't take abuse very well.
so go easy on it, and check the transmission oil after to see if it need to be changed.
You are right to consider the transmission. A hunting transmission will skyrocket transmissions temps. We towed an enclosed motorcycle trailer to CO with my truck (1st gen Tacoma). I made a practice run well before the trip and discovered the trailer caused unacceptably high transmission temperatures (via scan gauge II). Adding a tranny cooler and locking out OD allowed the tranny to survive the trip. Change the fluid when you get back.
You don't have to add a brake controller if you are towing a U-Haul trailer. Their 5x8 trailer does not have any brakes on it (be careful!). Their 5x10, and larger, trailers have automatic surge brakes that are built in to the front tow bar assembly.
Most Uhaul trailers that I've ever rented had independent surge brakes that didn't require any electrical hookup to the tow vehicle.
I've towed a 2000 lb boat and trailer many times with no tranny issues. Just go slow and be sure you load carefully.