I’m planning to drive from Seattle to Texas with a 5x8 triler full of stuff hitched to my 2010 hyundai elantra. Is this going to destroy my car?
Define “full of stuff.” Full of what? How many 25-pound boxes? What type of trailer? Is it a lightweight bare bones uncovered trailer or a heavy duty fully enclosed trailer? Do you have a hitch on the car? What is the hitch rating?
No but it could destroy three axles, four sets of bearings and your temper. Those trailers aren’t meant for highway use. People get away with it but not always.
The definition of false economy. You’d be better off finding some other way of getting your stuff there. The Elantra is not very powerful and really isn’t designed for long-distance towing. Seattle to Texas requires you to cross several substantial mountain ranges. This is not a good idea.
It’s a 5’x8’ trailer with a bed, loveseat, table, boxes…it’s full.
I can’t imagine a responsible, reputable rental agency renting you a trailer to pull with an Elantra. I can’t imagine a responsible, reputable hitch shop willing to install a hitch capable of pulling that trailer on an Elantra. I wouldn’t feel safe towing much more than a lawnmower with your car.
Best thing to do is rent a U-Haul truck, pack it full, and tow the Elantra behind it.
Meh. I rented a 5X8 to tow with a '95 Nissan Sentra, all the way from Farmington NM to Pittsburgh PA. I made it, and the original clutch made it to the 130,000 mile scrapping of the vehicle years later.
Of course, that was in the late '90s, before the Explorer bit, and U-Haul was a lot more “caveat emptor-ish” back then. Doubt they’d do that today…
Yes, rental companies were pretty casual. And I think people worry a little too much about towing small trailers with ordinary cars. My father would rent one of those now and then to haul stuff to the dump, but that was just a few miles. It used to be common and few cars were ruined by that experience. But the OP has a trailer that wasn’t really designed for long range towing and has loaded it heavily. Expecting an Elantra to tow that over the mountains of the western US is not smart. Sure, it would probably make it by taking it slowly and stopping frequently, but there will be parts that suffer a lot of premature wear and you will be risking a messy accident, especially if you don’t have towing experience. An Elantra and a basic utility trailer are not the right tools for moving household goods more than a few miles.
If you do this just get used to driving through the mountains on the right shoulder of the road. This will allow the long lines of traffic behind you to get past. In other words…don’t do this. A FWD car with a small engine should never be used for towing.
Bad idea. A loaded 5x8 will be WAY over safe towing limits. Across town, at 35 mph? Maybe. Across country? No way.
Along with the weight of the trailer is wind resistance. Pulling the trailer will put a strain on the engine and transmission even with an empty trailer.
Check into moving companies. You can often get a special rate for a partial load. The downside is that your stuff is moved on the moving company’s schedule, but if you don’t have a deadline, it often works. My parents moved some things from Florida to Indiana this way and it was quite reasonable.
If one more negative vote will convince you to find an alternative HERE IT IS. Every possible route from Seattle to Texas would be difficult for such an effort. I-90 in Montana would be a terrible place to find yourself on the shoulder.
If you do it, at least go south through CA then east through AZ and NM. Avoid Rockies at all cost!
If you have a CVT automatic transmission, it probably won’t make it. Otherwise if you take it easy, it just might. Go down the coast to I-10 and take I-10 to Texas. That is the flattest route.
If you have a regular automatic transmission and you have over 30k miles on it and you haven’t had the ATF changed, then do get the ATF changed before the trip. Check it after the trip and if it is even the slighted bit brown, have it changed again. It does not need to be flushed, just drain and fill. Manual transmission, no issue.
Make sure the car’s and the trailer’s tires are up to pressure. For a long trip, I like to go 3 psi above the recommended on the tire placard on the door post or in the glove box. 35 psi is usually good for the trailer unless it has load range C tires, then find out the recommended for those.
If this is an older, light duty utility trailer, you may want to get the wheel bearing repacked and make sure the tires are rated for highway use.
The Elantra is listed to have a towing capacity of only 1,500 pounds. A 5x8 trailer probably weighs about 1,000 pounds, leaving only 500 pounds to carry. Not worth it.
Very bad idea!!!
Ase gave you excellent advice: rent a Uhaul box truck and a dolly, carry the load in the truck, and tow the Elantra. It’ll be a whole heck of a lot safer. And it’ll be cheaper that replacing the tranny on the Elantra.
With all due reect, we couldn’t give you a qualified answer without actually knowing the weight you will be carrying. I have a 9 by 5 aluminum utility trailer and it weighs less then 250 lbs. and just about any car can tow it. It’s rated to carry over 2000 lbs capacity so loaded to that weight, few if any compact cars could tow it safely. This is the kind of information, weights, we actually need…stuff means nothing ! Use your math skills and estimate each wight of the items you will be carrying and add them together…then ask the question again.
As others have noted, following the Pacific down to California, then heading east on I-10 from LA is the flattest route, but it still has grades (shorter and less steep than other routes) and the roads along the coast are mostly just two lanes and have quite a bit of traffic. That route is also a bit longer than some others, but that’s what you get when you avoid the highest mountains. From your description of the load I doubt you will be within the Elantra’s towing limit. Anyone who travels by car sees similarly unsafe loads. Also household goods scattered across the freeway and people by the side of the road waiting for help. If you’re the only driver, rent a truck and tow the car. If there is a second driver, rent a truck and drive both. There are countless ways of getting you, your car, and your stuff to Texas. Your car is too decent to be abusing it.
Just a note of caution, when you go down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1), parts are both 1 and 101. In Oxnard, make sure you follow the signs through Oxnard to the PCH, do not stay on 101 or you end up going up the Canejo Grade and through Simi Valley. That will be hard on the Elantra.