Can a Toyota Tacoma Be Flat Towed? (2005, 2016, 2019, 2021)

Flat towing has its benefits. Those benefits are why so many RV owners are looking for vehicles that can be flat towed. Just because you see one being towed in this manner, does it mean the owner is not damaging their transmission. Do thorough checking before you make the attempt.

If you ask Toyota directly, then the answer may be a resounding no. The Tacoma is not designed, in general, to be flat towed. One reason Toyota says no is that there is no transmission fluid being pumped while the car is being towed.

To learn more about this topic and the individual models, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about before you try this move. It is always best to follow instructions given by the manufacturer in this situation.

Can a Toyota Tacoma Be Flat Towed?


According to our research, this vehicle cannot be flat towed. This is the answer given by Toyota directly. There are some good reasons for this answer:

1. No lubrication- while the vehicle is being towed, the transmission pump is not putting out any fluid to protect the components. This can be solved by using an external pump.

2. The driveshaft needs disconnecting- this will make it easier to flat tow if you do this. The Tacoma was not designed to have this component freely spinning when the engine is turned off.

The way to solve this issue is to connect a drive shaft disconnect cable to the driveshaft.

3. Center differential and transaxle- these parts are also not made to spin freely with the motor off.

4. Manufacturer liability- Toyota and other automakers do not want any liability if things go wrong.

Can You Flat Tow a 2021 Toyota Tacoma?

No, there is a long list of model years for this vehicle that can be flat towed. The 2021 model year is not on that list. It seems that all 2nd generation Tacomas are barred from being flat towed.

Also, that list does not have one Tacoma model year on it. There may be the odd exception that allows for specific Tacoma models to be flat towed, but those are rare.

One exception would be the 4WD options that have a neutral setting. Another exception would be those vehicles that have an electronically shifting transfer case. This second option will include those models with an automatic transmission.

There are Toyota vehicles that can be flat towed, however, the Tacoma is one of those models that are not on that list.

Can a 2019 Toyota Tacoma Be Flat Towed?


Unfortunately, no it cannot, not unless it fits into one of the exception categories. We do not know which options those would be but it is best to err on the side of caution and look for another means for towing this vehicle.

The reasons given above will apply here as they will with every model year in this article. Another reason would be that the transmission can overheat due to a lack of lubrication.

When that happens, you are looking at an expensive repair bill. That is if damage does occur. Some owners may have been lucky and their transmission did not get damaged by the heat.

Then other components may be damaged as well raising that bill to a very high level.

Can a 2016 Toyota Tacoma Be Flat Towed?

Again, the answer will be a hard no. It is just the way Toyota made the vehicle. They have the technology, the parts, etc., to allow the vehicle to be flat towed but they decided it was not in the best interests of the company or its customers to allow this feature on this vehicle.

Also, if the Tacoma is new and still under warranty, you could void the warranty and lose your protection if you make the attempt to flat tow it. You may also have trouble with your insurance coverage if you take this action.

Both situations will depend on the insurance company and Toyota what happens with your protection. Play it safe and get a tow dolly or a flat utility trailer that can handle the weight.

What Year Toyota Tacoma Can Be Flat Towed?


As you can see by that list, there is no year where the Tacoma can be flat towed. If you are going to flat tow, and many owners do, they disconnect the driveshaft to do it.

But that is taking a big risk as you can still damage the transmission or other components when you try this method of towing. There are exceptions to this answer but you have to have specific equipment to do this type of towing.

The manual you have will tell you that you can’t flat tow and it is important to follow those instructions to protect yourself and your car. There are good reasons for it saying so:

1. You can be made personally liable if your vehicle causes an accident. That can get expensive.

2. Expensive repairs are something you do not want to do.

The warranty and insurance issues are the same here as well. Talk to your insurance agent before making modifications and hooking the Tacoma up.

Can You Flat Tow a Toyota Tacoma 4x4?


Only if it has the specific components mentioned earlier. These Tacomas are exceptions to the rule, not obeying the rule. You need to have a model where the 4Wd has neutral gear capability and the transfer case can be shifted electronically.

You may make some modifications to ensure that your Tacoma is an exception to the rule. You would have to add a driveshaft disconnect cable, an external transmission fluid pump, and a supplemental braking system.

These can be spendy as well and take some time getting each part installed. You will have to decide if the expense is worth putting your Tacoma at risk of further damage, loss of insurance or warranty and if you want to take on personal liability.

Can You Tow a Toyota Tacoma Behind a Motorhome?

There are two good ways to flat-tow your Toyota Tacoma behind your RV. The first way would be to rent or buy a tow dolly. These handy little devices lift the wheels of the road and prevent damage from being done to your nice vehicle.

The other way would be to rent or buy a good utility trailer made to haul cars, SUVs, and trucks. As long as your RV is rated to tow that combined weight, you should be good to go.

All four wheels are off the road and your coverage should be protected as well since you are not bypassing the manufacturer’s instructions. Plus, your car’s components are safe from damage.

Flat Towing a Toyota Tacoma


Many owners do this despite what the manual or the manufacturer says. This is a risky thing to do but many owners do what it takes to flat-tow their Tacoma.

We will not recommend that you follow their example as there are too many risks involved. Your friends may not have an accident with their flat towed Tacoma but it is still possible that you may.

Weigh the risks, and the expense and compare those with the risks and costs of using the two alternative methods. It may be best to do the latter and not the former.

While the latter two options may be more expensive, they will not be more expensive than repairing your transmission or other components or losing your insurance or warranty protection.

Some Final Words

While it is more convenient to flat tow, as well as cheaper, it is not recommended that you ignore Toyota’s instructions. The Tacoma SUV was not made to be flat towed and you should respect Toyota’s decision on that issue.

It is best to protect your vehicle from damage, and other risks as well as keep your warranty and insurance coverage valid. Take the safer options to make sure. Don’t let what other owners do influence you to make the wrong decision.

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