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Towing concerns about 2015 Toyota RAV4

I have a 2WD Rav4 LE with a towing capacity of 1500 lbs. My boat comes close to that limit at approximately 1400 lbs. I take several trips a year of 150 miles or so at 70 to 75 mph and am concerned that I am hurting or pushing the vehicle too hard. So far there is no indication of stress. I have gotten mixed advice on the subject, that I should put in aftermarket transmission coolers yet a reputable transmission shop nearby says that would probably do more harm than good. Any advice or suggestions on keeping the vehicle as reliable as possible while towing. Is an aftermarket cooler a wise investment?

I have no idea why that would be true. Did they tell you why? It’s something I would do, you’re at the limit of the towing capacity. Are hills involved? I might limit my speed to 65 mph max.


Usually and aftermarket cooler is a good idea… but. Your vehicle is rated to tow 1500 lbs. You tow that or less so trust that Toyota knows best and drive on.

But slow down, trailer tires are not usually rated to run at speeds above 65 mph unless otherwise noted on the tire.

I would definitely replace the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.


After I asked to have him install one, I believe it was the owner of the transmission shop that told me that an aftermarket transmission cooler would starve the front end of the tranny. That the new transmissions are not like those of yore.

Now, this conversation took place last summer, and I didn’t ask him to explain further. I honestly don’t know much about transmissions so why waste his time. He has a good reputation and has the business of many of the local garages

Are hills involved? They create a big load while towing.

There are hills though not real steep. I would say that most are in the 5 to 10 degree range.

They said that because if you take care of your transmission, they lose business.


Thank you for your responses.

I have received similar mixed messages since I bought the car 18 months ago. I think I’ll try a transmission shop in the next town and see what he says. I’d like to get one installed if I can, so far the Rav4 has been pulling it like a champ but I’d like some insurance,

Hang on a second. If the boat weighs 1400 pounds, then unless the trailer only weighs 100 pounds, you’re overweight.


Plus the gear in the boat?



OK, I am getting a hitch on my 2014 rav to tow a 3k boat 4x a year for 2 miles each trip, sure it is stupid, sure not many hills but I am going to do it anyway

The problem with hills is they can make the trans downshift while pulling hard. With a 4 speed automatic I can put it in D3 which pretty much keeps it from having to shift on the highway. Can your trans be set to do less shifting at highway speed? The shifting under excess load, not so much the hard pulling, is what wears an automatic trans.

Boat, motor, trailer, batteries, gas, trolling motor, electronics and gear - 1400#.

Was this AAMCO? I’d find a different transmission shop. A separate transmission cooler will definitely help. Transmission fluid doesn’t like getting too hot. Sounds like this transmission shop doesn’t want to do a $200 job now, but wait for the $6,000 job in a few years when you need a new transmission.

In all reality the Rav4 will probably do fine without the cooler. I’d just change the fluid more often. Maybe once a year. And use a good fluid that’s compatible with the WS Toyota fluid.

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Thanks Mike, that seems like sound advice. I’m not familiar with AAMCO but will see if any are nearby.

You can see if there is one nearby but I doubt if anyone on this site will tell you to use them .
AAMCO - stands for ’ All Transmissions must come out ’ .
Find an independent shop , not a chain.

Nearest AAMCO is 68 miles away so it’s a mute point.

I wasn’t suggesting them. It was meant to be funny because AAMCO is the LAST place you’d want to take your tranny.

Yes. In the town next to us - they have 4 independent transmission shops. My small town has 2. I’ll bet you can find a good independent tranny shop near you.