Can a Car Tow a Jet Ski? How Much Towing Capacity do You Need?

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Can a car tow a jet ski? –  This is a typical question asked by many jet ski buyers, and with good reason. Jet skis are significantly lighter than boats, which means you don’t need a huge full-size truck to tow them!

Jet skis are not just easier to move and store, but they also have smaller price tags and ownership costs, so that’s why many buyers ultimately choose a jet ski over a boat!

If you’re considering to buy a jet ski, you probably want to know if your car can tow a trailer or not.  Without further ado, let’s check the most important factors and limitations you have to pay attention to before you tow a jet ski with your car!

Can you Tow a Jet Ski With Your Car?

Yes, you can tow a jet ski with your car, but not in all cases! Whether or not you can tow a jet ski with your car depends on two factors; the jet ski gross weight with trailer, and the towing capacity of your car. But the good news is yes, many cars can tow a jet ski easily and securely!

If you’re wondering how to determine these numbers, don’t hesitate to read more. You can learn how to calculate the jet ski’s gross weight, and how you can find out your car’s towing capacity!  We also give some examples for you with the smallest and the biggest jet ski models on the market.

Can you tow a jet ski with your car?

You can find out if your car can tow your jet ski by checking its towing capacity, which is clearly stated in its owner’s manual. If you can’t find the manual, you still have other opportunities to determine your car’s tow rating.

These numbers can be found on the car’s data plate, so you can check it easily. These plates are usually mounted in an easily accessible place in your car, like the glove box or the driver-side door.

If you still can’t find it, don’t worry, as there are many online sources like the Automobile Association with a complete database of tow ratings. Moreover, you can find several good apps in the app stores which can come handy. Finally, you can still call your car’s dealership for advice.

If you have a smaller car like a sedan, you can expect this rating to be around 1,000-1,500 pounds, while larger cars and can tow 2,000-4,000 pounds easily. When you do your research, make sure that you know your car’s exact type and year, as capacities and other specs may change from year-to-year and model-to-model.

Once you’ve got it, be aware that this rating is the maximum limit you can tow with your car, which means you shouldn’t come close to this limit for safety reasons!

Towing the maximum weight is not just dangerous, but it may overload your car’s engine and transmission which can result in several malfunctions. Experts say that you should never exceed 80% of the published tow capacity, especially when it comes to regular use. Additionally, don’t forget to check the state laws to learn about the local regulations and the necessary equipment to stay safe and legal when you tow a jet ski with your car!

How much towing capacity do you need for a jet ski?

Once you know your car’s towing rates, you may still ask: “How much towing capacity do I need for a jet ski?” The answer is “it always depends on the jet ski’s curb weight and the trailer’s weight”. As a rule of thumb, you need at least 700-1,500 pounds of towing capacity to move a jet ski with your car.

Can a sedan tow a jet ski?

This is a common question when it comes to buying a new jet ski.

The good news is that many sedans can tow a jet ski easily, but you have to be careful. As most sedan’s towing capacities are just 1,000-1,500 pounds, they can only tow smaller jet ski models. On the other hand, bigger sedans have tow ratings of 2,000-4,000 pounds, which means towing a jet ski is not an issue with these cars.

Are you wondering about these smaller jet ski models which can be towed with smaller cars? Let’s do the math, and calculate the towing capacities for the smallest as well as the heaviest jet skis on the market!

How Much Towing Capacity Do You Need to Tow a Jet Ski?

The curb weight of the different jet ski models vary widely from 350 pounds to 1,000+ pounds, while jet ski trailers weigh around 170-300 pounds. So ultimately, a single jet ski and trailer weigh around 700-1,500 pounds depending on the model and the weight of the extra gear.

Before we move on to the examples, there’s something here that needs to be clarified. When it comes to jet skis, the owner’s manuals usually describe the dry weight (net weight) of the machine. This means the weight of the jet ski without any fluids like gas, oil, and other liquids, and the accessories in the storage compartments.

Since you’ll need all of these to hit the water, you have to calculate the jet ski’s curb weight, which includes the weight of the jet ski with all of the fluids and gear. When calculating this number, keep in mind that 1 gallon of gas weighs around 6 pounds.

Don’t forget that beyond the jet ski, the weight of the trailer also matters. How much does a jet ski trailer weigh? The average single jet ski trailer weight is around 170-300 pounds, but it depends on several factors like the size, material, and accessories.

So finally, the formula is based on calculating the total weight:

Total Weight = Trailer Weight + Jet Ski Curb Weight (net weight + weight of the fluids, and gear)

Average Jet Ski and Trailer Weights – The 5 Main Categories

Let’s start with the smallest jet skis, which are definitely the stand-up models. An “average” stand-up jet ski weighs around 350-400 pounds (curb weight), thanks to their small hulls and lightweight 2-stroke engines. This means a stand-up jet ski with trailer weighs as low as 500-600 pounds!

Although you can do many cool tricks on the stand ups, let’s face it, these models are not for everyone. You need athletic skills to ride them, and they’re not family-friendly at all. These are the main reasons why more riders choose a sit-down jet ski.

Speaking of the sit-down models, the most lightweight models are the Rec-Lite PWCs. These tiny jet skis weigh around 450-700 pounds (curb weight) depending on the model. Considering the weight of the trailer, you can expect 750-1,000 pounds of total weight. It means you can tow a sit-down jet ski with a smaller car, even if only the smaller ones!

If it still exceeds your car’s tow rating and you stick to sit-downs, you should take a look at some older 2-stroke vintage models, as these weigh just around 350-500 pounds!   If you’re looking for a more convenient jet ski, the Recreation category is for you. Keep in mind that these models are heavier, as they weigh around 750-900 pounds. It means the total weight with the jet ski trailer and gear would be somewhere between 1,000-1,200 pounds.

If you’re happy with just a powerful Performance and Luxury jet ski, you will definitely need more towing capacity. These models can reach 900-1,100 pounds of gross weight, which means the total weight your car has to tow would be 1,200-1,400 pounds. Applying the 80 % rule means your car’s towing limits should be around 1,500-1,800 pounds! For your convenience we’ve summarized these numbers into one chart:

Required Towing Capacities for Jet Skis

PWC CategoryAverage gross weight (Lbs)Gear weight (Lbs)Trailer weight (Lbs)Total weight (Lbs)Car's Required Towing Capacity (Lbs)
Stand up350-4000200550-600700-750
Rec-Lite450-70050250750-1000950-1250
Recreation750-900502501050-12001300-1500
Performance900-1200502501200-15001500-1900

Again, please consider these numbers “for informational purposes” as the jet ski’s gross weight and the car’s towing capacity may differ from model to model. Always refer to the owner’s manual or other reliable sources when you do your own calculations! Also, don’t forget to add the weight of your gear and jerry cans if you store them on the trailer!

Can You Tow a Double Jet Ski Trailer With a Car?

Jet skiing has never been a lonely activity, as riding with buddies or the family is always more fun!  That’s why many people want to know if it’s possible to tow a double jet ski trailer with a car. Contrary to popular belief, not only huge trucks but also certain cars can tow a double jet ski trailer!

If you have two jet skis, the double trailer is the most convenient way to tow and launch two skis at once, so these setups have become more and more popular. You may ask: how much does a double jet ski trailer weigh?

The average double jet ski trailer weight ranges from 350-500 pounds, while two jet skis with fuel and gear mean an extra 700-2,500 pounds. Finally, it boils down to a total weight of 1,100-2,800 pounds, depending on the type of jet skis and the trailer’s material.

Calculating the 80% safety limit again, you will need a car with 1,400-3,500 pounds of maximum towing capacity to tow a double jet ski trailer safely. In this chart, you can find the calculated total weight as well as the required towing capacity for 2 jet skis on a double trailer. If you consider towing two jet skis with a car, it can be a good starting point for your research.

Required Towing Capacities for 2 Jet Skis

PWC CategoryAverage gross weight (Lbs)Gear weight (Lbs)Trailer weight (Lbs)Total weight (Lbs)Car's Required Towing Capacity (Lbs)
2 x Stand up700-80004001100-12001400-1500
2 x Rec-Lite900-14001004001300-18001600-2300
2 x Recreation1500-18001004001900-22002400-2800
2 x Performance1800-24001004002200-28002800-3500

Just for information purposes only. Always refer to the owner’s manual.

Can you put one jet ski on a double trailer?

This is another common question in connection with double trailers, but don’t worry. You can put one jet ski on a double trailer securely! If you want to leave one of your skis in the garage, a jet ski lift and a dolly also come in handy!

What Cars Can Tow a Jet Ski?

Now that you know the jet ski and trailer weights, you may be wondering, what are the best cars for towing a jet ski?  When it comes to tow vehicles, the rule of thumb is: bigger and heavier is always better. But let’s face it, many jet ski buyers have smaller cars, and they want to know if a sedan can tow a jet ski or not. To make the situation clearer, we’ve gathered some popular car data and their towing capacities under one roof.

Cars Towing Capacity by Model

BrandModelTowing capacity (lbs)Recommended max weight (lbs)
AcuraTLX1000800
BuickRegal1000800
CadillacATS1000800
ChevroletMalibu1000800
HondaAccord1000800
DodgeChallenger1000800
HondaCivic1000800
LincolnContinental1000800
NissanAltima1000800
ToyotaCamry1000800
VolkswagenPassat1000800
SubaruImpreza1200960
ToyotaCorolla15001200
HondaCRV15001200
AudiA415001200
AudiA615001200
GMCEnvision15001200
HondaCRV15001200
ChevroletBolt20001600
JeepRenegade20001600
KiaSportage20001600
LexusNX 200T20001600
DodgeJourney25002000
LincolnMKC30002400
FordEscape35002800
GMCTerrain35002800
ToyotaSienna35002800
VolvoS60 T535002800
VolvoS8039003120

These numbers are for informational purposes only, as the exact specifications of each car may vary depending on the year or engine options.

Be selective when you choose your vehicle to tow your jet ski, especially you want to drive it in the mountains, as it can be dangerous for your transmission.  Another typical problem could be a boat ramp, as the condition and the angle of the ramp can make your job difficult.

If you want to launch your jet ski on a pretty steep ramp regularly, it’s also recommended you choose a bigger car or a truck if it’s possible with a powerful engine.

What cars can tow a jet ski?

As you see, there are many smaller cars that can tow a jet ski securely. But when it comes to heavy loads (like 2 bigger jet skis), you should consider something more appropriate. The best cars for towing a double jet ski trailer are definitely the biggest AWD sedans (beyond trucks of course).

This is because RWD cars can spin out on a slippery ramp, while there could be too much weight on the rear wheels in case of an FWD car, which results in poor traction again due to the lack of weigh on the driven wheels. If you want to tow a heavy double jet ski trailer with a car, it’s the best if you stick to AWD models.

Can a Toyota Corolla tow a jet ski?

When it comes to Toyotas, many owners want to know if a Corolla can tow a jet ski or not. Luckily, a Toyota Corolla can tow most jet skis securely as its towing capacity is 1,500 pounds. However, this rating may vary depending on the year and the model.

That’s why you have to check the capacities in the owner’s manual upfront!

Can a 4 cylinder pull a jet ski?

Can a 4 cylinder pull a jet ski? The answer is: it depends ! Although most cars can tow jet skis easily, you might find some that can’t. Finally, it always depends on two factors; the car’s towing capacity and the jet ski’s gross weight with trailer. But in general, many cars with a 4-cylinder engine can pull a jet ski securely.

Conclusion – Can a Car Tow a Jet Ski?

As you’ve learned, there are many cars which can tow a jet ski without any problem. Whether or not you can tow a jet ski with your car depends on its towing capacity and the total weight of the load.

Always double-check and calculate these numbers carefully! Every car has its own towing capacity; it’s highly recommended to never exceed them!

Another issue could be the launching; if the ramp is steep and slippery it can make your job much harder if your car/truck is not AWD even if the load is within its capacity.

Speaking of jet ski weight, as a rule of thumb, a stand up jet ski with trailer weighs around 600 pounds, while the vintage 2-stroke and the Rec-Lite jet ski models with trailer weigh around 1,000-1,300 pounds.  If you’re looking for something bigger, you can expect a total weight in the range of 1,300-2,000 pounds in the case of a Recreation or a Performance/Luxury jet skis.

Before you purchase a jet ski trailer, it’s also wise to consult with your dealer to choose the right model which meets your towing needs and your car’s towing capacity.

And finally, keep in mind that the legal requirements for trailering a jet ski may vary from state to state, so always check the local laws upfront to stay legal!

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