How To Tow A Prius: The Only Guide You Need

You know that familiar sight – the ever-present Prius, the hybrid wonder that seems to be everywhere you turn! 

It’s become a symbol of eco-friendliness on the road. But sometimes, even something so reliable needs a little towing help.

No worries though, I’ve got you covered with this expert guide on towing a Prius like a pro, with all its special mechanisms in mind!

The safest way to tow a Prius is with a flatbed. But if a flatbed isn’t in the cards, you can still tow it using a dolly.

In this post, I’ll go through all the different methods to tow a Prius in detail. 

Without further ado- let’s get started. 

Can You Tow All Models Of Toyota Prius

Yes, you can tow all models of the Toyota Prius, but the method varies. 

You need to be aware of every method to avoid any damage to the vehicle during the towing process. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that towing a Prius requires a bit of extra care due to its unique hybrid drivetrain.

Can You Tow A Prius Behind An RV?

Yes, you can tow a Prius behind an RV, but you need to use tow dollies. Towing a Prius with all four wheels on the ground (flat towing) is generally not recommended because it can put a strain on the transmission system.

Can You Flat Tow A Prius?

No, flat towing a Prius is not recommended by Toyota. 

The hybrid drivetrain relies on both the gasoline engine and electric motors working together. Flat towing can cause damage to the system. Instead, use a tow dolly or a car trailer to tow the Prius safely.

If you absolutely must flat tow, make sure to only do so in emergencies. Even then, make sure that you stay within speed limits (less than 18 mph)  and only tow a short distance. 

What You’ll Need To Tow A Toyota Prius

Before towing a Toyota Prius, you’ll need the following:

  • A Tow Dolly or Car Trailer: Choose a reliable tow dolly or car trailer that fits your Prius model. Make sure it’s in good condition and can safely handle the weight of your vehicle.
  • Proper Towing Equipment: You’ll need straps, chains, and other towing accessories to securely fasten the Prius onto the dolly or trailer.
  • Vehicle Information: Know the weight of your Prius and its towing capacity to ensure you stay within safe limits while towing.

How To Tow A Prius

There are 4 methods to tow a Prius, based on the situation. I’ll go through all of them in detail in this section. 

How To Tow A Prius On A Flatbed

Using a Flatbed is one of the most reliable and safest ways to tow a Prius. Most people will suggest you try this first – and so do I. Here’s how you can do the towing:

  • Choose the Right Flatbed: Choose a flatbed tow truck or trailer suitable for the Prius’s size and weight, with secure tie-down points.
  • Prepare the Prius: Before loading, make sure the Prius is in neutral gear. Turn the ignition to “ON” (without starting the engine) and shift to “N” (Neutral).
  • Position the Flatbed: Park the flatbed on a level surface, apply the parking brake, and leave enough space for loading the Prius.
  • Drive the Prius Onto the Flatbed: Carefully drive the Prius onto the flatbed, positioning it in the center for balanced weight distribution.
  • Secure the Prius: Use strong tie-down straps or chains to secure the Prius to the flatbed. Attach them to designated points on the Prius, like tow hooks or approved attachment points.
  • Double-Check Connections: Verify that all tie-down connections are tight and secure to prevent any movement during transport.
  • Raise the Flatbed: Use the flatbed’s lift mechanism to raise it to the transportation height. Make sure the Prius is clear from the ground.
  • Drive Carefully: Drive carefully, avoiding sudden stops, sharp turns, and rough roads, while maintaining a safe speed and distance.
  • Do Periodic Checks: Check the tie-downs every once in a while during the trip to ensure they stay secure. Make adjustments if needed.
  • Unloading the Prius: Upon arrival, lower the flatbed, remove the tie-downs, and carefully unload the Prius.

How To Tow A Prius On A Tow Dolly

Towing a Prius using a tow dolly is suitable for front-wheel-drive Prius models.

  1. Prepare the Tow Dolly: Ensure the tow dolly is rated for your Prius’s weight. Check the tires, ramps, and coupler for any damage.
  2. Position the Prius: Drive the Prius onto the tow dolly, aligning its front wheels between the dolly’s ramps.
  3. Secure the Prius: Use provided straps to secure the front wheels to the tow dolly, crisscrossing them over the tires and tightening them securely.
  4. Check Transmission Status: Turn the Prius’s ignition to “ON” (without starting the engine) and shift the gear selector to “N” (Neutral).
  5. Verify Connections: Double-check all connections, safety chains, and electrical connections.
  6. Drive Safely: When towing, drive carefully, especially while braking or turning.
For AWDs: Using two tow dollies or a flatbed trailer lifts all four wheels of the Prius off the ground. This helps keep the Prius safe during towing and protects its sensitive drivetrain from any potential damage. So, by using these methods, you can make sure the Prius stays in good condition while being towed.

How To Tow A Prius With A Dead Battery

Towing a Prius with a dead 12-volt auxiliary battery requires specific steps to put the vehicle in neutral.

  1. Prepare the Towing Equipment: Ensure the tow dolly or car trailer is ready.
  2. Override the Shift Lock Mechanism: If the battery is dead, locate the shift lock override slot near the gear shifter. Insert a key or screwdriver, and press down while moving the gear selector to “N” (Neutral).
  3. Confirm Neutral Gear: After overriding the shift lock, verify that the Prius is in neutral gear before towing.
  4. Check Connections: Double-check all connections and safety measures before towing.
  5. Now you can safely tow following the processes I already discussed above.

How To Tow A Prius Behind An RV

Towing a Prius behind an RV is suitable for all-wheel-drive Prius models and involves using tow dollies.

  1. Choose the Right Method: Consider using tow dollies under the drive wheels based on the Prius model and RV manufacturer’s towing recommendations.
  2. Install Supplemental Braking System: Install a supplemental braking system if required by state regulations.
  3. Check RV Towing Capacity: Verify that the RV’s towing capacity is adequate for the Prius and towing equipment.
  4. Secure the Prius: Secure the Prius onto the towing equipment following manufacturer instructions.
  5. Drive Safely: While towing, maintain a safe speed, allow for extra braking distance, and be mindful of the RV’s increased length and weight.


Does Prius need to be in neutral to tow?

Yes, it’s essential to put the Prius in neutral when towing so that the transmission and hybrid system don’t get damaged.

How much can a Toyota Prius tow?

The Toyota Prius isn’t built for heavy towing. It’s best to check the car’s owner’s manual for the specific towing capacity.

How do you put a Prius in neutral?

To shift the Prius into neutral, turn the car on (ignition in “IG-ON” mode), press the brake pedal, and move the gear shift to the neutral position (N). 

Final Thoughts

Towing a Prius might be a little trickier than your average car with all the extra care needed. 

With all these steps in mind, you can get it done in a jiffy though- no Prius is going to be left out in a ditch while you’re around. 

Be ready and keep your eye out for any broken-down Prius so you can show off your superb towing skills and get some extra cash!

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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