I’m thinking of buying a small fishing boat. Something in the range of 12 to 16 feet with an outboard motor of 40hp or less. I’m wondering if I can tow a rig of that size with my current car. I drive a 1996 lexus ES. It’s a 6 that makes about 190hp. My major towing concern is will I be able to pull that boat up out of the water from a fairly steep launch ramp. I can’t imagine a boat and trailer of that size would weigh any more than about 1700lbs or so. Am I going to need another vehicle if I get the boat?
We have been getting these "tow with my sedan’ questions frequently. I am all for proving something out of the norm can be done but when I take a look at the weight you want to tow I just shake my head.
500 to 700lbs I would be all for it but not at 1700lbs and up a slippery boat dock.
My main reason why I say no,you will not have enough “cushion” between barley doing it and a disaster.
Info is in your manual or from the nearest dealership…
Edmunds doesn’t give a tow rating for the ES.
If you get the boat, you WILL need a different vehicle. Never assume the weight of the trailer and always get a bit more towing power than you need. Take it to a weigh station for trucks and get the proper weight and go from there.
Are you sure about the 1,700 lbs for the boat, motor, and trailer? Either the fishing boat you are looking at isn’t all that small or you are overestimating the weight of the package.
If you get a simple 16’ aluminum boat, a twenty five HP motor that drives from the tiller you should come in much less than 1,700 lbs. Find out the towing capacity of the car. Find out the cost of getting a hitch and wiring put on the car. See if you can find a boat, motor, trailer package that you can enjoy that weighs at least 250 lbs. LESS than the towing capacity of your car. You will be putting gas and gear in the boat and the weight of the entire thing “wet” and loaded is what the car has to pull.
Don’t worry about coming up the ramp, that’s the easy part…
Even if it’s in your cars towing capacity (barely, I’d imagine) using a 14 year old car is a good way to blow a pretty old transmission. I wouldn’t.
With the addition of an add-on transmission fluid cooler and if this towing was not something that added up to a lot of miles (long distances, used every week, etc.) then I would say that it’s at least feasible and may not cause any harm.
My ex-next door neighbor had a small Bronco II (V-6, auto) and he pulled a 20 foot ski rig all over creation on a near weekly basis. The Bronco was never a problem, but keeping the boat going was a challenge. The Bronco outlasted the boat…
The only car I would consider for your purposes is a Subaru. They pull 2000-3000 lbs with ease and no issue on slippery/wet slimy boat launches.
NO WAY…NO HOW. The car is NOT rated for towing anything even close to that. 1000lbs at BEST.
Agree with you on this one, no way with a Subaru.
I used to routinely pull 1500-2500 pounds with my last Subaru. Other than running out of steam a little bit on an uphill grade and allowing a bit extra for braking it was never a problem.
I was estimating at the high end. I’ve researched boat weights a bit more and I’ve found several boats with trailers in the 1000 to 1200lb. range. I’m still a bit concerned even at this reduced weight.
OK4450, people have way too much respect for your advice for you to be posting this. Someone might try this in a hilly populated area and rearend a van full of schoolkids.
Bassman? and no boat, or just no vehicle to tow it?
FYI, there is a 1995 Lexus ES owner who posted on this page below your post to whom I posed the question of towing.
Let’s see if/what answer we get.
His/her post is ’ A/C and ceiling leak Lexus ES300 ‘95’
It really depends on the boat launch. Concrete should be fine, sand or gravel look for plan b.
There is more to the equation than just the towing weight. How much wind resistance will the boat have behind the car.
I had a 05 Camry with 4 banger and I towed all kinds of stuff with it on my 4x6 trailer. When I got to about 800-1000 pounds (depending on wind resistance of load) I would go home and get the truck.
I personally would not tow a boat the size you describe with that car.
10 year old thread that was revived by a Spam post that has been removed.
With a FWD sedan and all the weight on the back end on a slippery ramp?
@bassman, It’s not the HP that will get you, it’s the rear struts that weren’t designed for this kind of use. As a fellow bass fisherman, I recommend a canoe instead that you can tie to the roof or haul on a small utility trailer. You can get some canoes that will let you mount a trolling motor on the back.
My small utility trailer weighs 600lbs dry.