Towing RAV4 with built in tow hooks

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Oct 7, 2005
I've been trying to figure out how I am going to tow my 2006 RAV4 with my RV.  I have a lube pump installed, but haven't been able to find a baseplate yet.  Nobody makes one yet, and it won't be available until after a trip I have planned.

Here is my situation.  My RAV4 has two popouts on the front bumper.  Behind them is a threaded hole for towhooks.  I even got a towhook in my rear compartment that fits it.  It seems that it should be a common thing to match up the threaded hole with the tabs necessary for a towbar, but I can't seem to find an answer.  REMCO and Blue Ox don't want to answer because of liability.  I'm sure no one wants to answer on those grounds.  I was hoping to get some insight or experiences from you guys.

1. Has anyone used the towhook mounts on a new RAV4 (or any vehicle) to tow behind an RV?
2. Do you think the towhook threads are built to allow for towing over long distances?
3. Has anyone heard of any commercially available adapters that go from the towhook thread to a towbar?
4. Does anyone have any thoughts on something custom made?

Thanks for any advice you can give.


Many newer (and some older) vehicles have those tow hooks. Unfortunately, they are not designed or meant for long distance towing. They're there just to get you pulled out of a ditch or something similar. Go to the Blue Ox website here The last paragragh talks about their fit program. Your vehicle may qualify, so give them a call. BTW, both Blue Ox and Roadmaster make a baseplate for the '04-'05 models. Maybe one of those will work with the '06. Call and ask.
The "hooks" on most import cars are intended as tie-downs when they are transported on roll-on/roll-off ships. Not an insignificant workload, but probably not intended for use as a "tow" hook either.  Your guess is as good as anybody's as to whether it would be safe to attempt to tow using them.  If you try, be sure you have safety chains attached to some other good solid point, e.g. wrapped around an axle or frame member.

I suggest that the base plate manufacturers do NOT consider the threaded holes to be adequate or they probably would have a base plate systen that utilizes them by now.
Back when I drove tow trucks, we called those tow hooks "pull tabs".  More that once a new driver would hook up to them and have it break off.  Can't say that would happen with the RAV but I would make sure I'm bolted solid to a frame. IMHO

Thanks for the feedback guys.

The 06 Rav has changed quite a bit over the 05, so the 05 baseplate won't work.  BlueOx and Roadmaster are working on an 06 baseplate but it doesn't look like it will be done before my trip this summer.

Looks like I might have to find someone to do a custom baseplate.

Thanks again for your help.

Those threaded holes are in addition to the hold-downs for transport, and are meant for pulling, but not any distance.  Normal tow hook-ups would damage the front facias and air dams, so these threaded eylets must be used to pull them onto a flatbed towtruck. The safety trucks carry a collection of them for various makes of cars 'cause one size does not fit all.
For anyone who wants to tow a 2006 RAV4, I now have the scoop...

The bottom line is that Remco now makes a baseplate kit for the 2006 RAV.  You need to install the baseplate and a lube pump to tow the 2006 RAV4 on all 4 wheels.  Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES can you tow a RAV4 on two wheels, even with a lube pump.  Trust me, I learned the hard way.  At the risk of looking like a total idiot, I am willing to share my story to help any other would be future idiots.  Read on if you are interested.

We took a month long RV trip this summer.  I planned for months to get my RAV4 ready for towing.  Unfortunately at the time, Remco did not yet make a baseplate.  I spent a lot of time trying to find someone to make one but had no luck.  I ended up looking closely at the tow hooks that come on the RAV4.  After looking under the cowl, it appeared they were attached directly to the unibody.  I thought that they would be sturdy enough.  I then built some adapters that would screw into the RAV tow hook receivers and mate up with my towbar.  Everything worked great.... for about 1000 miles.  After my third day of towing, I parked at the campsite and noticed that the adapters I made were flopping loosely.  The good news is that they were still in place and would not pull out so I didn't lose my car going down the highway.  The bad news is that it ripped up the tow hook receivers and I could no longer use them.

So, making lemonade out of lemons, I headed off to a nearby trailer dealer and bought a tow dolly.  I hooked up the RAV4 to the tow dolly and ran with the lube pump on.  We went from Minnesota to Mt. Rushmore and the next morning when I took the RAV off the tow dolly.  The rear end was making an awful noise.  Well, to make a long story slightly shorter, part of the new electronic transmission is not happy when only two wheels are running, and it burned up.  Even the Toyota dealer I went to had to do some research to understand what caused it.  Five days and $1100 later, they had the new part installed and I was ready to go on my way, but I still needed a way to tow it.  Off again to a local trailer dealer where I traded in my tow dolly for a flatbed.  We hauled the RAV for the rest of our trip with all 4 wheels off the ground and didn't have any more problems.

Though you will never get a dealer to sign anything in blood, the Toyota dealer told me I should be ok towing on 4 wheels with a lube pump or all 4 wheels off the ground, but never on two wheels (lube pump or not). 

About a month after I got back, Remco had the baseplate available.  I just had it installed, but haven't had a chance to tow the car yet.

And of course, this comes with the standard disclaimer that you use this info at your own risk...  ;D

Good Luck,


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