Towing a small trailer

I have a 2005 stick shift 4 cylinder Hyundai Tucson. I want to tow a trailer filled with my stuff to a new location. What is the maximum weight I can safely tow? What danger to the Tucson is there if I tow more than recommended weight? I am concerned about the clutch, transmission, and tires.

You will have to read the manual, But I do not think it will be a problem.

The maximum towing capacity according to Edmunds is 1500#. Compare that to the weight in your owner’s manual (the final authority). I would not exceed the maximum capacity for very long. You will overheat the transmission and engine. It will also be difficult to operate the clutch.

Do you have a hitch already?

How much/what kind of stuff? Any furniture? Uhaul will know the trailer’s weight. Lots of boxes of books weigh lots more than, say, clothing.

As a general rule, I won’t tow anything with four cylinders. I won’t bother mounting a trailer hitch on anything with four cylinders. I think of a V6 as a minimum tow vehicle.

I have heard that maximum towing weight has more to do with the ability to safely stop than it has to do with engine/transmission size.

We used to pull a small sailboat trailer with a 1 liter 3 cylinder Geo Metro with manual transmission.

Steady 55 mph without trailer, the car got about 51 mpg or the engine was burning about 1.08 gallons per hour.

Steady 55 mph with trailer took the gas mileage down to about 45 mpg or the engine was burning about 1.22 gallons per hour.

Steady 70 mph with no trailer got about 40 mpg or the engine was burning 1.75 gallons per hour.

Based on these observations, I conclude that going 55-60 mph while pulling a trailer may very well be easier on the engine/transmission than going 70-80 mph without a trailer.

P.S. With this “abuse”, this car was already worn out with only 280,000 miles on the odometer.

Read the manual to verify the 1500# given already here. You can safely pull a small trailer occasionally if you install a proper hitch, and stay out of top gear. My brother in law in Europe used to have a Dodge Colt with which he pulled a small travel traler once a year to go on holidays. He used 3rd gear max. and had no problems.

The factory weight ratings are very conservative by the way. You can use the hitch receiver to mount a bike carrier, so it’s a good investment.

Was this you?

Thank you waterboy, jtsanders, texases, whitey, and B. L. E. for your helpful comments. I can?t use U-haul since I am pulling the trailer to Mexico. I have no furniture, but I have lots of books, which I may leave behind or donate to a charity.

Instead of selling all your books you can buy a LOCKING rooftop carrier to carry some of the excess baggage you have. We did this years ago with a move and bought an “Excargot” from Sears. Sold it years later to a retire who was going to travel widely with his minivan and wanted more space.

Enjoy your stay in Mexico.

You can pull a lot more with a 4 cylinder truck than a car…esp fwd. Always stay well within the load rating. The closer to it you go, the more you should err on the side of caution. Also, the more weight you can transfer to the vehicle, the safer the tow. If your vehicle is awd instead of fwd, you have a greater safety margin of error though your capacity may be the same. Handling will be better. Because it’s not a truck, I would always stay well under the limit of 1500 lbs and drive slowly. The best way to shorten the life of your vehicle (and possibly yours) is to start disregarding the manufacturers recommendations. Air pressure also becomes VERY important as does weight distribution within the vehicle. Any problems you have with a vehicle, are magnified when towing.

My ford ranger with a 4 cyl manual trans towed our boat fine with bumper ball. Tongue weight and towing weight were well within specs, 18’ fiberglass 90hp boat. Had to have human cargo for traction at gravel and sand launches, 4th gear not 5th on the on the highway, but it was pushing the limits. I at times wish I had had another 2 inches to the floorboard.

Do your homework about being a lot of “stuff” into Mexico. There are limits as to what is allowed. A few books are OK, boxes of books, not…Depending on where you are going, your vehicle can only be in the country for 6 months max, including the trailer.