Can You Pull a Fifth Wheel Trailer With a Van or SUV?

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When it comes to towing a fifth-wheel trailer, many people assume that you need a large pickup truck to get the job done. Is it true? After all, no one of us has a heavy-duty truck that could tow or pull the 5th-wheel trailer.

So, the question is can you pull a fifth-wheel trailer with a van or SUV? Yes, you can pull a fifth-wheel trailer with a van or SUV, but it requires proper weight distribution. However, make sure to choose a fifth-wheel trailer within the towing capacity of the van or SUV.

In this blog post, I will explore the basics of towing, the limitations of vans and SUVs, and the considerations you should make when towing with a van or SUV.

Read More: Can You Tow a 5th Wheel With a Regular Hitch?

Basics of Towing

There are two main types of towing: weight-carrying and weight-distributing.

  1. Weight-carrying towing is when the trailer’s weight is carried by the hitch on the back of the vehicle. This type of towing is typically used for small trailers, such as utility or boat trailers. In our daily routine, we utilize weight-carrying towing for the transportation of small trailers.
  2. Weight-distributing towing is when the weight of the trailer is distributed evenly across the vehicle and the hitch. This type of towing is typically used for larger trailers, such as fifth-wheel trailers. If the weight is not evenly distributed, then the heavy-duty trailer will cause stability issues.

When towing a fifth-wheel trailer, it’s important to understand your vehicle’s towing capacity. This is the maximum weight your vehicle can safely tow, and it can be found in the owner’s manual or by consulting with a professional.

If your SUV or Van is powerful and is rated to tow the trailer with a specific load, then you won’t face any issues while towing. However, if you own an underpowered SUV that is not rated to tow the trailer, you’ll surely face issues during towing.

Related Article: Does Weight Distribution Hitch Increase Payload?

Can Vans and SUVs Handle Fifth-Wheel Trailers?

Yes, usually, the vans and SUVs can tow the fifth-wheel trailers. However, if the van or SUVs are old, or underpowered, they won’t be able to tow a fully loaded 5th wheel trailer. If the trailer is empty or half-loaded, the SUVs (even if they are old and underpowered) will be able to tow it.

As you know vans and SUVs are not as powerful as pickup trucks, and they typically have a lower towing capacity. This means that you will need to choose a fifth-wheel trailer that is within the towing capacity of your van or SUV.

You should also keep in mind that vans and SUVs are not built for towing like pickup trucks. In other words, SUVs do not specialize in towing while pickup trucks do. They typically have a lower ground clearance, which can make it more difficult to tow a fifth-wheel trailer.

So, ideally, the pickup trucks should be used for towing the 5th-wheel trailer. However, if you don’t have one, you can also tow the trailer with an SUV, but make sure that the trailer is not too loaded so that the SUV tows it comfortably.

Some vans are made to serve as towing ninjas. For example, the Ford Transit and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are both popular vans that can handle a fifth-wheel trailer. The Chevrolet Tahoe and the Ford Expedition are also popular SUVs that can handle a fifth-wheel trailer.

My Personal Experience and Opinion 

You can surely use SUVs to pull the fifth-wheel trailer however, your towing capacity will be affected and you’ll have to compromise. In case you’re going to tow an empty fifth-wheel hitch, you’re perfect and you won’t face any problems. However, towing the trailer with a higher load will not be smooth.

Considerations When Towing with a Van or SUV

So, have you decided on towing with your SUV? That’s great! Towing can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to remember a few things before you hit the road. Here are some key things you should remember before you try to tow with your SUV:

  • The most important point that you take seriously is that having proper weight distribution is essential. In this regard, a weight distribution hitch will help to distribute the weight of the trailer evenly across the vehicle and the hitch, which will make towing safer and more stable.
  • Make sure to know the towing capacity of your SUV. Your SUV’s towing capacity is the maximum weight it can safely tow. You can get this information from the owner’s manual or by contacting your dealership. Make sure you know your towing capacity and don’t exceed it.
  • You’ll need a hitch, a ball and socket, and a trailer light connector. Make sure they’re rated for your towing capacity and that they’re properly installed.
  • Make sure you’re loading your trailer properly and evenly. This helps with stability on the road and prevents overloading the hitch. Overloading will stop you from getting a smooth and comfortable driving experience. Towing the trailer with overload will put pressure on your SUV.
  • When towing a fifth-wheel trailer with an SUV or van, it’s also important to drive at lower speeds and to be aware of the wind. High winds can make towing a fifth-wheel trailer with a van or SUV much more difficult, so it’s best to avoid driving in windy conditions if possible.

Van vs. SUV: Towing a Fifth-Wheel Trailer – Key Differences

When it comes to choosing between a van and an SUV, both are almost the same. However, I consider SUVs a slightly better option than vans. SUVs come with higher ground clearance are more powerful and handle the towing better.

The vans usually have lower ground clearance and don’t have much power. Due to these two drawbacks, the vans are not a good option when it comes to towing the 5th-wheel trailers. Keep in mind that both SUVs and vans are capable of towing the empty, or half-loaded trailers.

But the issue comes: when you tow the heavy-duty 5th wheel trailer with SUVs or vans. They won’t offer ideal performance. In such cases, the SUVs will perform slightly better, and you’ll be able to tow the trailer, but I still don’t suggest you tow a heavy-duty trailer with an SUV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I tow a fifth-wheel trailer with a van or SUV in windy conditions?

Yes, you can tow in windy conditions, but it can be difficult and dangerous. High winds can make the trailer difficult to control, so it’s best to avoid driving in windy conditions if possible.

What vehicles can pull a fifth wheel?

Trucks and pick-ups are the most common vehicles that can pull a fifth wheel. However, you can also use SUVs and vans if you have a proper hitch.

Is it better to tow with a truck or SUV?

It depends on the weight of the load being towed and the towing capacity of the vehicle. A truck typically has a higher towing capacity than an SUV and is better suited for heavy loads.


In short, it is possible to pull a fifth-wheel trailer with a van or SUV. However, you will have to face some limitations. In case you’re going to tow the empty fifth-wheel trailer, then you won’t face anything bad; but towing the overloaded trailer can get you in trouble.

If you are towing the heavy-duty trailer, then use a weight destruction hitch as it will help to distribute the weight of the trailer evenly across the Van or SUV and you’ll be good to go. I hope that this information will help you have a perfect towing experience with your SUVs. See you in the next guide.

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