How Much Weight Can a Prius Tow? Shocking Towing Capacity

Even though Toyota stresses that you should not tow something with your Prius, there are many owners that are wondering if damage would occur or would their vehicle be able to pull.  I researched online accounts from actual owners that stated that they were able to tow and I developed an understanding of the limitations.  Nevertheless, it is possible that you could negatively affect your warranty if you use your Prius in a way that was directly against the advice given in a manual.

How much weight can a Prius tow? A Prius can tow 1500 pounds of weight that is on a trailer.  The ability to tow appeared only starting with the model for 2015 in the UK.  This means that it could tow even a light caravan.  You will need to use the compatible wiring systems and hitches for towing as outlined for the Prius.  The US manual states that towing should not be done for the Prius. It is not equipped for the use of a tow hitch.

If you wish to take the risk, you can install a hitch that is aftermarket online that will provide you with the ability to tow with your Prius.  They seem to be designed only for smaller lightweight items like a trailer for a motorcycle or bikes, but perhaps you could try out the 1 500 pounds amount that some people are achieving.

Nevertheless, you are taking a risk.  There is some mention that the CVT transmission is what is causing the problem with adding a hitch to a Prius.  It might be another reason why you should avoid towing with your Prius. The CVT transmission can be negatively affected.  Towing is going to sap the battery quickly which will not be great for your mileage.  Also, the extra strain on the transmission is going to happen because of the demand for torque to pull a trailer.

Can you tow anything at all with a Prius?

Yes, it is true that there are Prius vehicles that can tow.  Towing is okay based on the manual. The problem is that this is only something that I had noticed for their Priuses that are from the UK. 

Click here to view a CURT trailer hitch for a Prius, available on Amazon.

I also suggest that you check the pricing on custom Trailer wiring on Amazon, available through CURT.

UK Priuses that had appeared in 2015 had the ability to tow a trailer.  This is opening up the market for the type of person that likes to camp outside or that is very outdoorsy, to begin with.  The maximum towing capacity is 1598 lb.   The restriction with this type of Prius is that you have to purchase the hitches that are sourced by Toyota and not just any old aftermarket hitch. If you do so it could affect negatively your warranty.

I thought that maybe there was a change in the transmission that allowed this type of Towing for the UK Priuses.  This does not seem to be the case because even the rear bunk bumper is the same as before and the hardware for the hitch is able to be concealed underneath the bumper.

The safety ratings of these UK Priuses is still at a high level since they still have a  five-star rating in the crash test even though the rating methods are a lot stricter than before. In other words,  that wasn’t a lot of adjustments that were made to the vehicle in general.  They are still very safe. 

One small adjustment that I could find was that they changed the heat management system which ended up allowing the towing to happen. In other words,  for the US to meet this standard they would have to make some adjustments in the same system.

Nevertheless, I admit that it is possible to tow with your Prius although it might not be a good plan based on your warranty. If you make any adjustments, such as adding wires or other hardware, and then you have servicing performed, Toyota might be able to attribute this hardware to the fact that you’re towing.  Any problems with the transmission or perhaps the overheating of the motor might not be covered by your warranty.  

How much weight can a 2008 Prius tow?

Toyota does not recommend that you tow a trailer based on its manual from 2008.   Do they explicitly state that it will cause problems with your warranty? They do not directly, but you may encounter problems if you need to have a very expensive repair done.

 I have read reports of people that had towed around 1,500 lb on a trailer without any problems,  but I feel that it all depends on the terrain.  If you’re going up and down a mountainous area, that’s going to really demand more torque which could affect negatively your Prius if you were towing a heavy load.

I checked into what the vehicle loan limits are for the Prius 2008.   The limit is set at 810 lb.  This includes your passengers and other equipment within your Prius. They state that if you go above this weight that it can affect your tires, can cause problems with your steering, and it could affect your braking system. 

All these factors are important when one wishes to drive safely.  If you take the route of Towing, just remember that you could cause problems with the Prius. The Prius of this year was not designed for towing, it was designed to have the best miles per gallon possible as a hybrid vehicle.  There are not many hybrid vehicles that recommend you to tow, and you need to take that into consideration. If you have to transport a heavy load a long distance, is it might be best to rent a U-Haul instead of endangering your Prius.

Can a 2014 Prius pull a trailer?

When I check the manual for a 2014 Prius, I didn’t notice a huge difference in the overall weight capacity.     It only differed by a few pounds compared to the 2008 Prius. Nevertheless, you will find many companies that will offer you a hitch for your Prius. I saw numerous videos online that explained how to install hitches that were aftermarket.

 in other words, it is possible to tow with this year of a Prius. 

Even though there are Priuses that are available in the UK that are okay for Towing, the American dealerships are not willing to recommend that their customers tow anything with their Prius.   There’s just a different culture in the states compared to the UK.  Also, there are differences in speed limits between the states and Europe.  Even though it is suggested that anyone towing a trailer with a car should be traveling around 55 miles per hour in the states, there are many people who are willing to push it to the limit which puts the driver at risk.

Nevertheless,  you’re going to find a lot of indications in forums of people that were successfully towing with their 2014 Priuses. That doesn’t mean that you should be doing so yourself. There are a lot of different factors involved such as in the way that you’re loading the trailer.

If you really insist on towing something with your Prius, make sure that you buy the correct hitch that will work with a Prius, and install it correctly. If there are videos to watch for installation please watch them.  Also, try not to go over 1500 pounds in total which includes the trailer weight. This seems to be the amount that most people are able to pull use a 2014 Prius.

What is the 2020 Toyota Prius towing capacity?

When I verified with the manual for the 2020 Prius, I didn’t notice a lot of differences with respect to the section on the towing capacity. they’re still recommending that you do not tow anything with your Prius. The overall capacity weight is still at 825 lb for the Prius. 

I did come across a video on YouTube where a guy had attached a trailer to tow his two motorcycles.  He determined that the total weight including the trailer was 1300 lb.   Again this is close to the magical 1500 lb that other people have claimed is okay for towing using a Prius  This person was taking a little bit of risk because he was willing to use a trailer that needed new tires, but he was very pleased about the fact that he’s able to tow his motorcycles since previously had on the truck that made the task a much easier task to perform. 

Another video shows a person with a trailer that’s attached to his Prius (assuming a model from around 2020)  that he has used for over 60000 miles. He doesn’t do a lot of hauling with it, mostly just trips to the dump or for towing small appliances. He does mention that he has hulled more than two thousand pounds but it’s best to drive very slowly you don’t damage the transmission. He had heard of a person that had used a trailer with his Prius for over 250,000 km with no issues at all. Again he had mentioned that this guy stated that you should not try to win any races while towing anything with a Prius.

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