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Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity: What To Know

in Year Model Comparison
Tacoma in a driveway

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The ability to tow a load is an appealing feature of the Toyota Tacoma (or any pickup). But, every truck has its limits. So, knowing the Toyota Tacoma’s towing capacity is a smart move before connecting a trailer. 

With this in mind, we’ll check out Toyota Tacoma towing capacity over the years as a helpful guide. For simplicity, we’ll cover models since 2000 (although the Tacoma has been in the U.S. since 1995). Before diving in, here are important points to review.

  • The information in this article is a summary of related details and not the definitive source for specifics about a Tacoma truck. Always consult the Toyota-supplied owner’s manual and the certification label (located on the driver’s door jamb) for guidance about using a Tacoma for towing. An authorized Toyota dealer is an additional resource.
  • Toyota Tacoma’s towing capacity is limited to 1,000 pounds unless the trailer has a braking system. This applies to all model years. The capacities mentioned in this article assume the trailer uses a braking system.
  • The towing capacities referenced here and in the owner’s manual may be reduced according to the limitations of the trailer hitch and related components. Always consult a trailer dealer or similar professional before towing a load.
  • Depending on the model year, check to see if your Tacoma has the towing package. This will greatly affect the truck’s hauling capacity. The factory window sticker will have this information or contact a Toyota dealer.

There are also some technical terms to understand.

  • GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The maximum weight of a vehicle, including passengers and onboard cargo (payload).
  • GTW = Gross Trailer Weight. The total weight of a trailer, including the trailer load. A similar term is TWR or trailer weight rating.
  • GCWR = Gross Combined Weight Rating. The maximum towing weight of a vehicle, including GVWR and GTW.

And, let’s look at some examples of common towing loads.

  • 2,500 pounds = 16-foot pop-up camper 
  • 5,000 pounds = 20-foot powerboat with trailer
  • 7,500 pounds = 30-foot, dual-axle camper 
  • 13,000 pounds = fifth-wheel camper (too big for a Tacoma!)

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Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity: Model Overview

2000-2004 Toyota Tacoma

Tacoma from these years use one of three engines:

2RZ−FE (2.4L, four cylinders)    

3RZ−FE (2.7L, four cylinders)   

5VZ−FE (3.4L, six cylinders)

Engine type and drivetrain (two-wheel drive/2WD or four-wheel drive/4WD) directly determine Tacoma towing capacity. GTW for both four-cylinder engines is 3,500 lbs, while the six-cylinder bumps that up to 5,000 lbs. In 2002, adding the towing package to a Tacoma with the largest engine and 4WD increases GTW to 6,000 lbs.  

GCWR for 2000-2004 Tacomas with 2WD ranges from 6,700-6,800 lbs. GCWR with 4WD models and the mid-level engine begins at 7,400 lbs and maxes out at 9,000 lbs. Adding the towing package (2002-2004) increases the limit to 10,000 lbs.

As with all model years, Toyota specifically warns that all trailers (and trailer loads) weighing more than 2,000 lbs require the use of a sway control system (which is part of the towing package or can be added on).


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2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma

2005 sees the introduction of reworked Tacoma engines.

2TR−FE (2.7L, four cylinders)    

1GR−FE (4.0L, six cylinders)

Again, the towing package has a significant determination with capability. GTW without this package means a 3,500 lb limit. With the towing package, the GTW almost doubles to 6,500 lbs.  

2WD Tacomas (regardless of the engine) have a 7,500 lb GCWR. A 4WD Tacoma with a smaller engine has a GCWR of 8,000 lbs. The 4WD/six-cylinder Tacomas have an 8,100 lb GCWR or 11,000 lb limit with the towing package.

2011-2013 Toyota Tacoma

The same engines (2TR−FE and 1GR−FE) continue, but determining Toyota Tacoma towing capacity gets more complex as cab style (regular, Access, or double) are now part of the formula. The owner’s manual and certification label will have specifics, but in general, GTW starts in the 3,300-3,500 lb range for Tacomas without the towing package and up to 6,500 with this option. Likewise for the GCWR, which begins with 7,440 lbs for the basic Tacoma and 11,170 lbs for a double cab Tacoma with the big engine, 4WD, and the towing package.

For the first time, Toyota specifically mentions in writing not to use the Tacoma for fifth-wheel or gooseneck towing. 

2014-2015 Toyota Tacoma

From a towing perspective, the 2014 Tacoma mainly was a carryover year from 2011-2013 models. Depending on the vehicle configuration, there was a slight increase in GCWR capacity due to minor weight reductions (or retesting) of the Tacoma itself.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

The third (and current) generation of Tacoma debuted for the 2016 model year. In addition to an all-new design, the regular cab was dropped, leaving just the Access and double cab models. The four-cylinder engine continues from the previous generation. However, the larger engine gets swapped with a smaller but more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine (dubbed the 2GR-FKS in Toyota-speak). 

As with earlier Tacomas, GTW capacity is determined by cab style, engine type, and drivetrain configuration (2WD or 4WD). So, GTW begins at 3,500 lbs and caps at 6,800 lbs. Thanks to the new engine and other improvements, GCWR for the Tacoma reaches up to 11,360 lbs (that’s for an Access cab model with 4WD and the larger engine).


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2017-Current Toyota Tacoma

Towing capacity for the most recent years of the Tacoma ebb and flow with minor changes of GCWR limits. For example, the 11,360 lb GCWR limit mentioned above (with the fully equipped Access cab version) drops to an 11,290 lb maximum. This is nothing unusual, as manufacturers may swap heavier (or lighter) components, or there’s a need to retest a vehicle’s capabilities.  

The truth is that if you’re worried about a 70-lb fluctuation in a truck’s towing ability, you’re probably pulling something too big for a Tacoma and should be looking at a larger vehicle.



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