Can A Toyota 4runner Be Flat Towed? (Explained)

Time and unforeseen occurrences can make you require a tow for your vehicle at any time. But an experienced and defensive driver knows that not just any type of towing suits every auto.

For this article, I will be telling you all about towing a 4runner. So, with that, let us get the ball or, in this case, the tires rolling.

A Toyota 4Runner can be flat-towed but with a plane surface. There is an exemption with the 2019 model of the vehicle. It should not be flat-towed because its build-up is incompatible with flat-towing. It is not advisable for other models of a Toyota 4runner, but with strict adherence to the guide, it can be flat-towed.

Can a 2020 and 2021 Toyota 4Runner be Flat-Towed?

Can A Toyota 4Runner Be Flat Towed

With some improved features, both models can be flat-towed. The 2020 and 2021 4-runner has a 4.0LV6 engine, making it easier to flat-tow the 4runner.

They also have gearbox issues but have been improved with some features. These features make it possible for them to be flat-towed. 

Any 4-Runner above the 2019 model can be flat-towed. And this includes the 2020 and 2021 models.

They are built in a way that when you flat-tow them, the front shaft spins the oil up. This process helps ensure the transmission of the shaft maintains all parts of the auto from damage.

All you have to do is always ensure there is oil inside the vehicle. It is the oil that aids in maintaining a stable transmission irrespective of the gear.

The gearbox of modern 4runners is automatic hence requires a continuous pumping of lubricants to moving parts. That is why they are built to replicate this process.

Can a Toyota 4runner be Towed Behind an RV?

Given that the capacity of the motorhome can contain the weight of a 4-runner, it can pull a 4-runner.

The only thing you should prevent is overloading, as this eventually breaks down the motorhome you are using to drag the four-runner.

Using a motorhome is a good way of towing a 4-runner because nothing is applied. Nonetheless, this method is highly disregarded due to its maintenance cost.

Getting the auto on and off a motorhome is enough stress to discourage you. Aside from this, a 4-runner can be towed behind an RV.

The stress involved in towing a 4-runner is why many people prefer to risk flat-towing. When you weigh both the flat-towing and using an RV, you realize that flat-towing is less stressful.

The only thing you need is to attach a bar to the vehicle. Then allow it to roll on its own with the aid of the moving car.

However, it is not 100 percent safe for a 4-runner as it needs the gear to be engaged before moving.

Luckily for anyone considering this, the present generation of 4runners are adjusting and making the vehicles flat-towable, making them better and more friendly to flat-towing.

But I won’t recommend this a hundred percent since the gearbox is still automatic.

Another thing you should take note of is that it is not safe to flat-tow a 4-runner behind a motorhome on all its four wheels.

The workload becomes too much for the motorhome to bear. Hence, the aid of a dolly is employed. So towing your 4-Runner behind an RV works with a dolly or a flatbed trailer.

But always ensure to go through your car’s manual and guide before you flat-tow Toyota vehicles.

Can You Tow a Toyota 4runner on a Tow Dolly?

Yes, a Toyota 4-runner can be towed on a dolly. But you have to drop your drive shaft before it is taken on the dolly.

Removing your driveshaft is a rather unpleasant idea to people, which makes them despise dolly towing. 

When it comes to removing parts of an auto, car owners feel uncomfortable. This unpleasantness is more prominent, especially when it involves a heavy vehicle such as the 4-runner.

To tow a 4-runner is not a big deal as there are different ways of doing it. A dolly is one of the many methods available.

I discourage a tow dolly since it involves tampering with the car’s assembly. Dismantling your 4-Runner can cause damages that might affect the car later.

So pulling your auto on a bigger tow van is far better than a tow dolly. It still depends on the reliability of the service.

A legitimate tow dolly is preferable to any other kind of towing. If a highly experienced corporation offers you a tow dolly, accept it because a warranty will be attached.

So whenever a fault should arise, you would know where to run it.

There are different ways you can tow dolly your vehicle, which include;

  • Using a sling-type truck
  • Using a wheel lift-type truck and
  • Using a flatbed truck¬†

You need to know also Can Toyota CHR Tow?

Why Can’t a 4runner be Flat-Towed?

A 4-runner should not be flat-towed. It is built so that its movement needs to be in constant lubrication.

So, flat-towing disrupt some of the vehicle’s parts since it will be in motion while the engine is off. The build of a 4runner requires the engine to be ignited before it is moved.

Here are the reasons why you can’t flat-tow 4Runner:

  • Flat-towing a 4Runner make the driveshaft roll causing a major issue to the transfer case.
  • If a 4-runner moves without being ignited, the steering and brake system become stiff.

    The reason is that the assist from the engine to both steering and brake is no longer there. And it can lead to damage to your brake and steering.
  • The transfer case of your 4runner will overheat due to insufficient fluid circulation.

    Also, the center differential and transaxle are not supposed to move when the vehicle is not moving.

Irrespective of the reasons mentioned above, you can also flat-tow 4Runner. Provided all the following measures are met.

  • Make sure you use a flatbed to flat-tow Toyota. This way, there is no way your transmission system will begin to develop issues.
  • Remove the driveshaft from the 4-Runner. It is the drive shaft that causes gearbox issues.

    So once it is extracted from the vehicle, there won’t be any problem while flat-draging the car.
  • You can also neutralize your driveshaft. You can do this by setting the gear lever towards the neutral direction.

  • The transmission system of vehicles is at the front wheel.

    So when you use a tow dolly to lift the front wheel from contact with the ground, your transmission system is safe.

Most automobiles should not be flat-towed due to the automatic means of their transmission. There is no issue in towing a 4-Runner that is transmitted manually.

The wheels will run without causing any damage to its transmission system. However, when you follow the measures highlighted above, you can flat-tow without damaging your vehicle.


Initially, you can not flat-tow Toyota 4runner because of its transmission problems. But this is no issue with modern 4runners since they can now be flat-towed.

Manual vehicles do not have issues with flat-towing; it is just an issue with automatic transmission vehicles. Notwithstanding, knowing the build-up of your car is the key to Pulling the Toyota 4runner safely. 

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