If you own a Toyota Tacoma, one of the key features you are likely to be interested in, is whether your truck has a tow package.
A tow package is a feature or set of features that allows your Toyota Tacoma to be used as a tow truck for other vehicles. This is an important part of any truck that turns it into a true utility vehicle.
So, if you’re looking to find out if your Toyota Tacoma has a tow package – whether it’s a truck you own already or one you’re looking to buy – then read on and discover easy ways to do so.
How To Tell If A Tacoma Has A Tow Package
Toyota introduced the Tacoma line in 1995. But it wasn’t until 2005 that it became one of the most popular trucks among users. And one of the reasons for this, is the introduction of the tow package in the 2001 model year.
In 2001, Toyota introduced many new features in the Tacoma including the three person rear seat, four regular doors, and the tow package.
Therefore, if you own a Toyota Tacoma from 2001 model year to date, then it is most likely to have a tow package. Here’s how to find out:
1. A Class IV Receiver Hitch With Trailer Wiring And A 4pin to 7 Pin Connector That Inside The Three-Piece Bumper
This is probably the most obvious way to tell if your Toyota Tacoma comes with a tow package. Virtually all Toyota Tacoma model years from 2001 come with a class IV hitch tow capability.
For context, trucks with tow capability come with hitch grades from I to V. Your Tacoma’s IV hitch rating means that it is rated 10,000 lbs weight carrying and 14000 lbs weight distribution.
What this means is that your Toyota Tacoma can carry tow weights of up to 10,000 lbs using the hitch only. However, it can carry weights of up to 14,000 lbs with a weight distribution system attached to the hitch.
Location of The Hitch
I have placed the hitch at number one because it is the easiest to find. You do not have to open the car, or any compartment or components in it to find the hitch.
Simply head to the rear of the car and you’ll find it protruding out the back, close to the contact with the ground. Here, you will also see details about the grade of your Tacoma’s hitch.
Furthermore, you will find the 4 PIN to 7 pin connector that sits in the rear bumper. This connector allows you to safely attach the trailer or towed vehicle to your Toyota Tacoma.
2. Transmission Cooler
A transmission cooler is designed to preserve the lifespan of your Toyota Tacoma’s transmission as well as improve its towing performance.
In a previous article, I explained what the transmission is. In summary, it is the component in your truck that controls the speed and mechanical navigation of the truck.
Using your Toyota Tacoma to tow another vehicle can put undue stress on the transmission because of the extra load. Enter the transmission cooler. It maintains the temperature of the transmission at optimal performance levels.
At this point, I should point out that all vehicles come with a default transmission cooler which is inside the radiator. However your Toyota Tacoma comes with an extra transmission cooler in addition to the radiator.
Location of The Transmission Cooler
The transmission cooler on a Toyota Tacoma is located just beside the radiator. It is like a mini radiator that connects directly back to the main radiator.
3. Vehicle Identification Number
Checking the specifications of your Toyota Tacoma using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is supposed to be the easiest way to find out if it has a tow package. You simply need to input your Tacoma’s VIN in this Toyota website below and then look at the specifications to see if a tow package is included.
While this has worked for many users, some users complain that the specifications displayed on the Toyota website is different from those physically present in the car.
I would also like to point out that you may not see Tow Package Included displayed on the Toyota website. Instead, you may get indications that your vehicle has a tow package if the other components listed in this article are present for your truck.
4. Engine Oil Cooler
The presence of an engine oil cooler is another strong indication that your Toyota Tacoma comes with a tow package.
Its purpose is to cool the oil passing through the coils, thereby preventing overheating and thus improving the lifespan of both the engine and the transmission.
It works by transferring heat to the oil, which then passes through a the oil coller in a heat exchanging exchanging mechanism. When this hot oil flows through the engine oil coller and is cooled therein, the oil is then circulated again to absorb more heat from the engine.
The engine oil cooler is another mini radiator located right in front of the main water radiator. But instead of water, it is oil-based.
5. Large Alternator of At Least 130 Amp
The average alternator in cars and trucks is rated 65 amps to 100 amps. They usually come with about 15 percent reserve to handle extra stress.
However, an easy indicator of whether your Toyota Tacoma comes with a tow package is if the alternator is rated at least 130 amps.
You see, the alternator converts chemical energy from the battery into electrical energy in order to keep the battery charged whenever the car is running. This is also what enables your car to charge other electrical components in the car.
Fow towing, your truck requires extra energy or electricity to be generated, hence the presence of larger alternators.
The location of the alternator in a Toyota Tacoma may vary across models but the general location is as described below:
- Open the hood of the car
- To the bottom left the engine block, you will find the alternator. It is a cylindrical device that has to wings in front for screwing it securely.
If the size is larger than average, then you are sure your Tacoma comes with a tow package.
Alternatively, you could take your Toyota Tacoma to a dealer who can read the Alternator output for free.
Or, if, for example, your alternator part number is F3UZ, then you know it is 130amps.
6. Heavy-duty battery
Related to the alternator size and ampage is the battery size. If your Toyota Tacoma comes with a heavy-duty battery, then you are sure that it has tow package.
And it follows. You need a large alternator size and output to power and charge a large battery. And you need both to power towing on your Tacoma.
If your Tacoma’s battery is at least 14V or has 25F designation, then it is designed for towing and so has tow package.
7. Trailer Sway Control
Sway control is an automated system built into a truck that enables it to prevent, or more accurately, reduce swaying during towing operations.
It is part of the Toyota Tacoma’s stability control system and automatically activates when swaying is detected in the towed or attached vehicle. When this is detected, the system reduces some of the Tacoma’s engine power or torque, and then applies brakes at each wheel.
The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Swaying is the cause of many hauling accidents. Toyota has included this electronically-powered system to help minimize such incidents.
The automated trailer sway control system is comprised of several components including a sway control angular hitch, a Trailer Sway indicator, and eletectronic sensors to detect precise movements of the trailer or towed vehicle.
If your Toyota Tacoma was manufactured from 2001 upwards, then it is likely to have a tow package. What may differ among models is the tow capacity and features.
For example, your Tacoma may not come with a transmission cooler but may have other features described in this article.
A hitch at the rear of the vehicle is usually the easiest way to find out. Using the VIN on the Toyota website is another convenient method.
Ensure to use your Toyota Tacoma below 70% of its towing capacity most times. Using it at higher levels, especially on a regular basis, will cause damage to the truck in the long run. I recommend that you never come to 90% of the towing capacity.