How Much Can A Jeep Wrangler Tow?
The Jeep Wrangler is the quintessential adventure vehicle. The Jeep brand represents a lifestyle of adventure, exploration and the outdoors. It’s one of the reasons I am drawn to the brand, especially the Jeep Wrangler. As my family has expanded, I now need more “stuff” when I go on a family adventure. As a result, I started thinking about pulling a trailer behind the Jeep. This got me thinking. Can A Jeep Wrangler Tow?
So, can a Jeep Wrangler tow? Yes, a Jeep Wrangler can tow, but it has a limited towing capacity due to its short wheelbase. Most Jeep Wranglers have a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs to 3,500 lbs.
So this leads to the next most obvious question of…
How Much Will My Jeep Wrangler Tow?
Jeep Wranglers can take you all over the world. They can take you over mountains, through streams and climbing over boulders the size of a house, but one of the biggest challenges is towing for the Jeep Wrangler.
Let’s dive in deep and see the towing capacity of a Jeep Wrangler model by model…
How Much Can My Jeep Wrangler YJ Tow?
Popular Jeep YJ Towing Capacity Search Terms:
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The Jeep Wrangler YJ was produced between 1987 and 1995. This Jeep stands out from all other Wranglers because of the shape of its headlights. You see, the Jeep Wrangler YJ had square headlights.
The Jeep YJ is a good place to start because before 1987, technically the CJ-7 and CJ-5 were not considered Wranglers. That’s a topic for a whole other page here on Jeep Wrangler Newbies!
So how much can a Jeep Wrangler YJ tow?
From the factory, the Jeep Wrangler YJ was listed with a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds.
If you search the Jeep forums, you will see guys claim they tow vehicles of 2,700 pounds with their Jeeps because they have a hitch rated for 3,000 pounds.
My advice, don’t do it. It might work a few times, but trust the factory when they tell you your Jeep Wrangler YJ is only rated to tow 2,000 lbs.
Want to tow a heavy boat with your Jeep? Probably not a good idea. Tow and jet ski or dirt bike trailer with your Jeep Wrangler YJ, sure! No problem.
How Much Can My Jeep Wrangler TJ Tow?
The Jeep Wrangler TJ was produced between 1996 and 2006. This was the first Wrangler to have round headlights. Remember, the older Jeeps like the Willys and CJ’s were not technically “Wrangler” models.
So, what is the towing capacity of a Jeep Wrangler TJ?
The Jeep Wrangler TJ has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds from the factory.
Popular Jeep TJ Towing Capacity Search Terms:
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If you go searching deeper on this question, you will get people talking about the lack of power, the strength of the frame, the stopping power of the Jeep brakes, the transmission or any other factors that might limit the Jeep Wrangler’s towing capacity.
While these may factory into the towing capacity, the single biggest limitation of the TJ (and YJ) and why it gets a 2000 lb towing limitation is because if the short wheelbase of these Jeeps. That’s right, it is the wheelbase that is the limiting factory.
Don’t believe me?
The Jeep Cherokee of this era were built using the same general parameters and it used the same 4.0 engine and the YJ and TJ Wranglers. However, it had a longer wheelbase which allowed it a towing capacity of a respectable 5,000 pounds.
So why is your Jeep’s wheelbase a limiting factor in its ability to tow heavier items?
The answer lies in Newton’s first law of motion. Sometimes it is referred to the law of inertia. You probably learned about Newton’s law in school.
See if you remember Newtons Law…
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Okay, enough about thinking back to our school days sitting in class. Let’s get back to our Jeeps. Right?
The reason a short wheelbase limits your towing capacity is that anything heavier than what is stated by the factory will take control of your Jeep Wrangler when you are towing. If you are going down a winding road and the first time you have to hit your brakes hard in a strong curve you will be in BIG-BIG trouble!
If you have a short wheelbase Jeep you should only tow within the confines of the factory 2000 pound restrictions. It just is not worth the risk.
Alright, if wheelbase is the issue what about some of the bigger Jeep Wranglers?
How Much Can the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited LJ Tow?
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited LJ was produced from 2004-2006. Many people call the LJ the “Long Jeep”. Surely with a longer wheelbase, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited LJ should have a higher towing capacity, right?
So, how much can the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited LJ tow? with a 118.4-inch wheelbase compare the Wrangler TJ wheelbase of just 93.4 inches, the factory towing capacity of the Wrangler JL is 3,500 pounds. Yes, 1,500 pounds heavier than the smaller Jeep Wrangler towing capacity!
Before you get too excited, many LJ owners would say to stay under 3,000 pounds. Especially if you are going up or down hills on your trip. The acceleration under a heavy load can be annoyingly slow to accelerate and it’s hard to maintain speed even thought the 4.0L engine is a great engine.
Also, you will have to do a lot of shifting to maintain a highway speed of 60 mph give or take. If you have to tow through the mountains… experience would say get a different tow vehicle.
It also depends on what you will be towing. An open trailer is much easier to tow that a big enclosed trailer with poor aerodynamics.
So now we have covered every Jeep produced from 1987 until 2006. That’s a 19-year span, but these Jeep Wranglers are all over a decade old by now. I would venture to guess their towing capacity today has diminished some from when it rolled off the showroom floor, but this is just my opinion. You will have to test it for yourself.
Here’s a bonus tip…
Find a time of day where traffic is light and test towing the trailer or item you want to hitch up to your Jeep. Drive it around, turn corners, slam on the breaks, etc.
After 30 minutes behind the steering wheel, you will know whether you should attempt to tow the item with your Jeep.
What if you have a Jeep Wrangler that was built this decade? How much can they tow?
Let’s find out.
How Much Can My Jeep Wrangler JK Tow?
The Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited were produced from 2007-2018 and…
Surprise-surprise! The Jeep Wrangler JK has a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. Yes, you are seeing a theme here. The Jeep Wrangler YJ, TJ, and JK all have the same 2,000-pound towing capacity.
Again, it all goes back to the short wheelbase.
How Much Can My Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Tow?
The Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited was produced from 2007-2018. If the shorter wheelbase JK has a 2,000-pound rating and the longer wheelbase LJ has a 3,500 lb rating, what would you guess is the towing capacity of the bigger Jeep Wrangler JK with a wheelbase of 116 inches?
What is the towing capacity of the 4-door Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited?
Yep, you probably guessed it! The larger Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
We have just about wrapped up a full review of Jeep Wrangler towing capacities but as of the time of this writing, there is just one more, Jeep Wrangler, that we need to discuss.
Anyone have any guesses what the towing capacity will be? Maybe so, but if you keep reading, I will let you know. Lol
How Much Can My Jeep Wrangler JL Tow?
The Jeep Wrangler JL was built in 2018 and as of the writing of this article, I have no clue when they will end production.
Here’s the shocker!
Since 1987 the shorter wheelbase Wrangler has had a towing capacity of just 2,000 lbs. While there were some internal documents showing a higher towing capacity for the Jeep Wrangler JL, but no.
What is the towing capacity of the Jeep Wrangler JL?
The towing capacity of the new Jeep Wrangler JL is 2,000 pounds just like every other short-wheelbase Wrangler ever built.
There is one final Jeep Wrangler to discuss the towing capacity. So let’s ask the question…
How Much Can the Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited Tow?
If you have read this full article from the beginning you will not believe what I am about to tell you! Can you feel my sarcasm? My humor in that statement?
If you are only reading this one section you will not get my humor, but others will.
So the answer to the question “How much can the Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited tow?” is…
<drum roll please>
3,500 pounds! That’s right. It is exactly the same as every other long-wheelbase Jeep Wrangler ever built by a Jeep factory.
If you read this article from the very beginning, great for you. You now know the towing capacity of every Jeep Wrangler ever built.
If you simply went to the section that covered your specific Jeep Wrangler that’s perfectly fine. I hope this article was helpful. If it was, please feel free to share this article with other Jeep owners who want to know about the towing capacity of their Jeep Wrangler!
Here are a few bonus questions that fellow Jeep owners often ask:
Can A Jeep Wrangler Tow A Boat?
Jeep’s and boats just seem to go together. While a Jeep is the on-land adventure vehicle, the boat is a water-based adventure vehicle. There is just one problem…
Can A Jeep Wrangler Tow a Boat? A Jeep can tow a small boat, but you want to be aware of the trailer length and weight. Do not overload your Jeep. A skiff or other small boat would be fine, but leave bigger boats to other long-wheelbase vehicles.
Can A Jeep Wrangler Pull A Camper?
With the introduction of the four-door Unlimited versions of the Jeep Wrangler, it has opened the Jeep Wrangler up to serving as a family vehicle. With family exploration trips it would be great to be able to pull a camper with a Jeep. So this begs the question…
Can A Jeep Wrangler Pull A Camper? Yes, but it needs to be a really small one. The average camper has a dry weight of 5,200 pounds (2,350 kilos), which is way too much for a Jeep Wrangler to tow. If you want to tow a camper with your Jeep Wrangler, you should consider a teardrop size camper which weighs from 500 pounds to 3,500 pounds. You could also go for towing a pop-up camper when it typically weighs from 500 pounds to 2,000 pounds.
There are other camper styles called adventure campers which might also be an option for towing with a Jeep Wrangler.
Can a Jeep Wrangler Pull A Horse Trailer?
The average two-horse trailer weight between 2,000 and 3,500 pounds. It depends on what the horse trailer is made out of steel or aluminum, how the sides are made and how much storage room for tack is available. Then you have to add the weight of your horse or horses.
So, can a Jeep Wrangler Pull a Horse Trailer? No, I would not pull a horse trailer with a Jeep. The weight of a standard 2-horse trailer is equal to (or greater) than the towing capacity of the Wrangler. Then you add 1100 pounds per horse and another 500 pounds for tack, hay, etc. and you are way over capacity for towing with your Jeep Wrangler.
While your Jeep Wrangler can tow, you do not want to tow a trailer that is equal to the maximum towing capacity. I recommend keeping your trailer weight to 80% of the maximum towing rating.
If you are in the smaller Jeep that is 2,000 lbs X 80% = 1,600 pounds.
If you are driving a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited model, your target towing capacity is 3,500 lbs x 80% = 2,800 pounds. *Check your owner’s manual. Certain gear ratios are limited to just 2,000lbs.
Need more towing capacity? Check out the towing capacity of the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.