Beginners guide

Can a car pull a trailer behind them? A helpful guide to tow trailer!


by Jack simmon


More than 250 million people in the US are proud owners of their cars, and the numbers are increasing day by day. Thus, many new curious car owners got questions as they saw some riders pulling a trailer behind them. Therefore, many beginner riders have lots of confusion when pulling a trailer behind the car.

In this post, we will be discussing all the required basic information you need to know in detail.

So, Can a car pull a trailer behind them? Yes, a car can pull a trailer behind it, but the trailer weight should not exceed ½ of the total car curb weight. So, the trailer weight should always be less than the car scars total carrying weight to pull the trailer safely.

Before towing anything behind your car, you must have some knowledge on your part.

So, to pull a trailer behind your car safely, you need to know the total carrying capacity of your car. Like average car-carrying capacity is 500 – 800 kg.

To know the total carrying capacity of your car, you can use this equation.

Total carrying/towing capacity of the car = Gross vehicle weight Rating (GVWR) – Curb weight of the car 


GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is the maximum safe weight of the car permitted by the manufacturer. By knowing the GVWR of your car, you know how much of the total weight you can carry safely without damaging your vehicle or risking any safety. It includes the curb weight, passenger weight, accessories, cargo, etc. So, whatever you add to your car, you only need to ensure that it doesn’t exceed the GVWR. The GVWR of the car is printed on a car VIN plate, or you can find it on the service manual.

Curb weight includes the weight of all the necessary fluids and things required to run the car, such as fuel, engine oil, brake fluid, fork oil coolant, battery, hydraulic fluids, etc. It describes the car scars’ ready-to-ride (running) state.

You can know the curb weight of the car because the different manufacturers add various factors while calculating the curb weight of the car differently, so check the official website of the manufacturer.  

So, there is an alternative that manufacturers come up with to know the curb weight to calculate the dry weight of the car. Dry weight is the weight of the car according to manufactured and shipped from the factory. The weight when the car doesn’t contain any fluid or battery, etc., And electronic appliances like a sound system.

So, if you know the GVWR and curb weight of your car, then you can know the total carrying capacity of your car. 

Let’sLet’s take an example of Ford F-150 and find out the total carrying capacity:-

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating:- 6100 to 7050 lbs

Wet weight (Curb Weight) :- 5685 lbs

So, total carrying capacity = 6500 lbs – 5685 lbs

          = 815 lbs (370 kg)

Thus, if you have a Ford F-150, then you can safely carry a trailer of 815 lbs.

What’s the reason people pull a trailer behind the car?

People who do long-distance rides for exploration or, say, camping pull a trailer behind their car. It’s because the car has a small storage capacity,

So, people carry a trailer to accommodate all the essential things needed for their long-distance from one point to another. 

Apart from this, I have also seen people carrying their household items in the pull trailers. To my surprise, there is a looks like a small truck trailer that is specially designed to travel. We will discuss the types of trailers in the below section. Therefore, a pull trailer enables riders to carry everything they need on their journey and save themselves from trouble during the journey.

Types of pull behind trailer for car:-

There are four types of pull-behind trailers you can tow with your car:-

  1. Cargo trailers
  2. Camping trailer
  3. Open trailer 
  4. Tiny house trailer

Cargo trailer

Cargo trailer for a car
Cargo trailer for a car

As the name suggests, a cargo trailer is made to accommodate stuff that isn’t possible to pack in a small storage car. The cargo trailer helps carry things from one place to another in a car.

The cargo trailer is also beneficial if you are planning for long riders to keep the essential things with you.

Wait!! Did I say to use a cargo trailer on your long ride with a car? Riders riding a car for long distances should use a camping trailer. 

Camping trailer

Camping trailer for a car
Camping trailer for a car

Camping trailers are specially designed to meet the requirement of car campers riding long distances. If you are really in love with mother nature and want to wander and enjoy the place, then a camping trailer will fulfill your requirement for your survival.

These camping trailers are made lightweight enough to be hauled by most cars. As these trailers carry not only your things but also shelters, you make it easy to explore the place.

These trailers come with a good system that turns the trailer into a living tent right away. So, these trailers not just carry your things but also turn out to be a living room while camping.

These camping trailers could cost up to $15000 depending on the brand and type of specs they have. For example, Timeouttrailers easy camper is $13,695, which is smaller in size, but a deluxe camper, costs $15,695.

Open trailer

Open / Utility pull trailer for a car
Open / Utility pull trailer for a car

An open trailer is used to transport large objects with the car. These open trailers are also known as utility trailers. The open trailers are flatbed and don’t come with any protection from the weather.

So, if you often carry bulky objects from one place to another, then you can buy an open trailer. You must note that while I am saying “bulky objects,” transport bigger things in your car.

Obviously, if it’s an open trailer, then it is going to be smaller than other standard open trailers.

Tiny house trailer

Tiny house trailer for a car
Tiny house trailer for a car

Most people in us choose to stay in a tiny house because they are working in a remote location so, they don’t have hotel room near their workplace then they choose tiny house trailer to connect with his car for staying.

Apart from that, inside the trailer have many types of features to have required for leaving like a heater, fridge, and television.

One day I was surprised when I showed a tiny house trailer have to make a small kitchen for cooking.

We have discussed four types of pull trailers for the car so far, and each of these has its uses. So, while choosing a trailer, make sure to look on you need not buy anything from relatives or friends influence.

Is it safe to pull a trailer behind your car?

It’s safe to pull a trailer with your car till you do not exceed the total carrying capacity of the car. So, to have a safe ride in every aspect, carry a trailer whose weight is lesser than the total carrying capacity of the vehicle. 

If you will tow a trailer whose weight exceeds the carrying capacity of the vehicle, then it will result in an unbalanced load and will result in an unsafe ride.

The overload trailer can adversely affect the overall handling of the car because of the imbalance of mass distribution.

And, of course, beginner riders who have just got his/her license should stay away from towing a trailer with a car. There are lots of factors to consider because riding with a trailer is different than riding a car alone. You will need to practice learning to ride a car with a trailer. It would help if you began practicing in your neighborhood and backyard.

How to safely tow a trailer with a car?

Trailers are great accessories to accommodate many things on a car for long-distance tours. But, trailers are wider and add up extra weight to your car. You need to ride cautiously because a trailer attached to your car will affect the handling, braking, and millage because of the weight of the trailer.

Here are some points you should keep in mind to tow a trailer safely:-

  • Use a high-displacement car such as 4000 cc or higher to tow the trailer. Higher-displacement cars are packed with a powerful engines that can easily tow a trailer. 

While if you have a 2000cc or 3000cc car, then it’s better not to tow a trailer behind it. Because these car doesn’t have enough power and cause safety issue on your journey.

  • You should also know the Tongue weight of the trailer. Tongue weight is the amount of weight that’s on the hitch (connecting the vehicle with the trailer). So, the tongue weight should be less than 15% of the total trailer weight. You should take the help of a weight machine to measure the tongue weight.
  • Always remember that the trailer’s weight must be 50% of the car carb weight (wet weight).
  • It would be best if you understood the importance of hitch. While riding, your car will need to lean or sometimes corner; thus, make sure to buy a hitch that revolves 360°. It will enable you to lean without causing instability between a car and the trailer. If you are not sure about buying a hitch, then you should buy a Heim’s joint. Heim joint hitch can do a 360-degree swivel.
Heim’s joint
Heim’s joint
  • Always remember to be cautious while changing lanes and making turns. Your turn will be large in diameter because of the trailer width. If you forget about the trailer, then you can cause trouble and damage to your trailer.
  • As you are carrying a trailer, allow yourself some time for breaking as it adds an extra 1000-2000 pound weight behind your car that will affect your braking. Therefore you must slow down before braking for a proper stop.
  • Maintenance is crucial to do while on a long ride, such as tires, lights, etc. You must ensure that everything works properly to make your ride safe, sound, and successful with the least amount of trouble. Therefore, Inflate your car and trailer tires properly and also carry a tire repair kit with you. Because now you have to maintain not only two tires but four (two for the vehicle and two for the trailer). For a safe and sound ride, you will have to maintain all the tires, thus keeping essential things like pressure gauge, air pump, etc. Tubeless tires are easy to repair; read this article to know more.


  • Pull-behind trailers are handy for riders as they enable them to carry essential things on long rides.
  • There are various pull-behind trailers made for a specific use, such as cargo, tiny house trailers, camping trailers, and utility trailers.
  • The trailer’s weight should not exceed the car’s 50% curb weight. That way, you are ensuring a safe ride for yourself.
  • Choose your trailer wisely. Don’t get influenced by your relatives and friends’ choices. 

If you are a newbie, then stay away from riding with trailers behind your car. It’s crucial to practice pulling a trailer behind the car to make your pleasing journey sound and safe.


Can a four-cylinder car pull a trailer? No. A car lacks the gearing and a strong enough transmission to get a five Ton trailer moving. It would just roast the trans. Even semi-tractors have low gearing to help get the load moving, with 1500+ ft-lbs of torque.

If you need to go uphill, or you will be loading the car full of stuff while towing, you’d probably be better off with the bigger motor. When I test drove the 3cyl, it had hardly enough power to drive well on the highway without towing anything, so I’d be hesitant to use it for much more than that.

Can a car pull a motorcycle trailer? I have seen several cars pull a small trailer, so I guess it’s as safe as pulling a motorcycle trailer with a car.

Most of the cars I have seen do a big dresser like a Honda Gold Wing or a giant Harley Davidson bike trailer.

I am guessing you need a certain amount of mass to stop a trailer successfully, and therefore it’s the heavier trailer that will use a small trailer and not the lighter sport versions.

Can an electric car pull a trailer? Torque. Electric cars are fantastic at producing vast amounts of torque. The more significant issue is towing capacity.

Most electric cars on the market are pretty small, and a small, light car can’t physically handle a large trailer, no matter how much torque it has. A Nissan Leaf, for example, can tow a small utility trailer with no issues.

But, the car is just too small and light to safely handle a big travel trailer.

Bigger EVs, such as the Tesla Model X, do tow exceptionally well. More electric SUVs and trucks are coming to the market soon, and I think we’ll shortly see just how good they can be for towing.

Can you pull a trailer with a rental car? My uninformed personal opinion would be “no,” because by itself, being a driver not on the rental agreement is not proof of towing or shifting activity.

Make sure why you want to rent a car; if you want to shift some kinds of stuff from one place to another place, then you have to rent a small truck or pickup van.

Can cars pull a horse trailer? The short answer is that you want to make sure the trailer’s weight and its load don’t exceed the gross vehicle weight rating of your truck, car, or SUV.

A typical horse trailer will weigh around 1000kg unladen. The average horse weighs around 500kg. So, if you’re planning to transport each of them, that means, for the average trailer/horse combination, you need a car that can comfortably tow 1500kg.

In typical situations, if your vehicle’s GVWR is 10,000 lbs and you only plan to haul 1,000 lbs of cargo, you’re good to go.

Can a car pull a U-Haul trailer? I pulled the trailer empty for 50 highway miles without the roof box and got 15-16 miles MPG. This trailer had an obnoxiously long tongue (I assume so that novices can’t jackknife and damage the trailer).

But it makes the front of the trailer catch all of the draft coming off the car. I thought keeping the box on the top would help redirect that air over the top of the trailer instead.

I wanted the smaller trailer, the 4’x8′, which is shorter than the car, and I think it would be more aerodynamic – but that trailer was not available anywhere within northern Illinois. A U-Haul trailer is an affordable solution for your moving kinds of stuf one place to another place.

Can car pull a trailer in the snow? Yes, if your car have more than 3000 cc, it can tow a trailer on snow or icy road. When the roads are snow-packed or icy, you may find it challenging to drive safely, you must carry winter tyre and tire chain for grip between road and tire. Ice doesn’t give a damn how capable a vehicle is supposed to be. Extra traction is needed here, especially given a trailer in tow.

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