While a good number of people get trucks because they can look cool, the Toyota Tundra is a very capable machine when it comes to towing, but just how much can the Tundra handle? Towing is the main reason I moved from a Tacoma to a Tundra and I'm happy to report that it can tow a lot! For this post, I’ll be focusing on some of the newer models (2018+). Let’s get into it.
Depending on options and packages, the Tundra can pull 9,400 to 10,200 pounds. That’s pretty impressive, but not unexpected from the powerhouse in the form of the 5.7l V8 under the hood. To compare, the best the Tacoma can do from the factory is only 6,800 pounds. Toyota knows that people who buy the Tundra are going to be buying trucks. For that reason, the Tow Package is standard on all 2021 Tundras.
What The Tundra Has
What does that Tow Package get you? A lot! You get a towing hitch receiver, 4.300 rear axle ratio, TOW/HAUL Mode switch, Integrated Trailer Brake Controller (ITBC), a heavy-duty battery, 170-amp alternator, and a 4-/7-pin connector.
Let’s break some of that down. First off, the Tundra’s frame features an integrated tow hitch receiver and a trailer hitch that utilizes 12 high-strength bolts that are secured directly to the frame. When you’re using that to tow your load, you’ll be pleased to know that Tundra’s Integrated Trailer Brake Controller and Trailer-Sway Control are there for you.
Why It’s Good to Have
Now you know what the Tundra has, but why? Any time your truck is pulling or hauling more than the weight of the vehicle, it has to work harder. This means it needs power. Thankfully the 5.7l V8 gives that, but the upgraded battery and alternator are a must.
The integrated hitch receiver ensures the most optimal way for the safety of the truck but evenly distributing the forces caused by towing. The Integrated Trailer Brake Controller (ITBC) system is designed to link the trailer’s brake system with the Tundra’s, making towing easier and safer than ever before. This will tell your vehicle how much braking power to supply to each wheel of the truck and trailer to get you the safest and most secure braking.
The Trailer-Sway Control (TSC) helps keep control of your trailer. It will detect a sway in your trailer, generally before you even notice it. To compensate, it will apply brakes to the wheels where needed, and lessen some torque coming from the engine. All this helps keep your trailer where it is supposed to be!
Tongue Weight/Load of The Tundra
When towing, you have to make sure you have the right setup on your hitch to tow the right load. You need to consider your “tongue weight” or “tongue load.” Tongue load is the static force a trailer tongue puts on the hitch ball.
Generally speaking, your tongue weight or load is 10 percent of the total trailer weight. If you’ve maxed out your Tundra to its 10,200 pound towing capacity, your max tongue load is 1,020 pounds.
I mentioned this when I talked about Tacomas, however there is so much more science that I could get into, but West Marine has an excellent article and all the mathematical details on how to select the proper hitch, ball, coupler, and just about all the other stuff you need. You can read the article here: Sizing Up Trailer Hitches and Couplers.
Payload Capacity of The Tundra
Towing is great, but many people get a pickup so they can throw what they need in the back. Payload capacity is the amount that can be hauled above the axles, or in the bed of the truck. With a new Tundra, you can get from 1,520 to 1,730 pounds of stuff in your bed. With a 5 foot bed or a 6.5 foot bed, the sky is pretty much the limit with what you want to tow or haul.
Things Will Change When You Tow
Towing is a big deal. You’re changing the way your truck works. The handling is different, gas mileage is different, turning is different, and so on. Thankfully Toyota does make a lot of this easy with all of its features and standard equipment. However, you do want to make sure that you take some extra caution when you are towing something in your Tundra.
If you plan on using your Tundra for towing, know that Toyota thought of you. Many trucks out there need optional packages or aftermarket parts. Tundra comes ready to tackle whatever towing you need to throw at it. While there IS an aftermarket for these trucks, it’s not too important. Just make sure you don’t overload your truck, and drive carefully!
Towing 1 - Courtesy of Toyota South
Towing 2 - Courtesy of Bohn Toyota
Towing 3 - Courtesy of Bohn Toyota