When the Toyota Tundra first rolled off of the assembly line in 2000 folks weren’t quite sure of what to make of it.
Slightly larger than the Toyota Tacoma, but still quite a bit smaller than the full-size Ford F150, the Tundra felt kind of like a “tweener” – somewhere in between compact and full-size.
The maximum towing capacity for the 2008 and newer Toyota Tundra models is 10,800 pounds – a little more than 3000 pounds more than the 2007 model that could only haul 7100 pounds.
Toyota figured out pretty quickly, though, that they should shake things up and make the Tundra a legitimate full-size contender that could go toe to toe with Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc.
By 2008 (the second year of the Second Generation) the Tundra had gotten bigger, faster, and stronger.
Now a full-fledged full-size pickup truck, the Tundra was awarded the coveted Motor Trend Truck of the Year in 2008 – and has been a contender ever since.
A lot of the allure to the Tundra is the Toyota engineering “under the hood”, engineering that gives this vehicle a ton of towing capacity.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the 2008 Toyota tundra Towing capacity breakdown right now!
Breaking Down 2008 Toyota Tundra Towing Capacity
As mentioned a moment ago, the original (First Generation) Toyota Tundra was pretty small for a full-size pickup truck.
The 2008, though, is about as big as a Ford F150 and has plenty of power and muscle to face that legendary truck down without ever feeling embarrassed.
A brand-new (for 2008) 5.7 L 381 hp V-8 motor is the heartbeat of this mean machine.
Toyota decided that the 4.7 L V-8 that was in all 2000-2007 Tundras just wasn’t quite as bulky enough to do everything that modern pickup truck owners needed. That engine was capable of knocking out 271 hp (and tons of torque, critical for towing) – but that’s more than 100 hp less than what the 2008 engine can do.
As far as towing capacity is concerned, the 2008 Tundra got a big lift in that department, too.
The maximum towing capacity for the 2008 model sits at 10,800 pounds – a little more than 3000 pounds more than the 2007 model that could only haul 7100 pounds.
Not a minor bump, is it?
This means that Tundra owners are going to be able to comfortably tow bigger boats, large trailers, campers, and still fill the bed of their truck – and the cabin with people and pets – without worrying about their Tundra really struggling.
How Well Does the 2008 Toyota Tundra Handle Towing?
As a general rule of thumb you want to be under maximum towing capacity no matter what, but story after story about the 2008 Toyota Tundra shows that the vehicle handles just as well near the full 10,800 pound rating as it does with hundreds of pounds less on the hitch.
Starting your truck and accelerating with a trailer behind your 2008 Toyota Tundra isn’t going to feel like you are stuck in the mud anymore.
The larger V-8, the extra horsepower, and the more torque you have sent to the wheels on the 2008 model compared to 2007 and earlier models guarantees you can “get up and go” without headache or hassle.
On top of all of that, the brakes on the 2008 Toyota Tundra are significantly beefier and more than capable to handle stopping – maybe not on the time, but reliably and safely – when you have a payload behind you.
Again, it’s a good idea to try and stay below maximum capacity (as low as you can get). But don’t think that the 2008 Tundra is going to have a tough time going down the road with 10,000+ pounds on the hitch.
That’s not going to be your experience!
Tips and Tricks for Making Towing with the 2008 Toyota Tundra Even Better
Okay, now that we have all of that squared away let’s break down a couple of tips and tricks you’ll want to keep in your back pocket when towing with your 2008 Toyota Tundra.
Get an Accurate Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
Straight out of the gate you want to be sure that you have accurately calculated your Gross Trailer Weight (or GTW) before you start on your journey.
This means calculating the weight of everything you put on your trailer as well as the weight of the actual trailer itself.
You might be surprised to discover that plenty of people only think about the weight that they are putting on their trailer and never think about how much their trailer ways, too.
Don’t make that mistake and always be sure that the GTW is lower than the 10,800 pounds rating for the 2008 Tundra.
Know Your Tongue Weight Capacity
Secondly, you want to know about the kind of tongue weight capacity you are working with – and recognize that the “usable” tongue weight (the tongue weight you can safely have attached to your vehicle) is somewhere between 10% and 15% lower than your GTD.
On top of all of that, it’s important that you distribute weight across your trailer smartly to maximize your tongue weight capacity.
60% of your load’s weight should be in front of the trailer axle and 40% should sit behind the trailer whenever you can make that happen.
In a perfect world, that might happen 100% of the time. But we don’t live in a perfect world and you may not be able to get exactly 60% of a load’s weight up front of the axle with 40% behind it.
That’s okay, do your best and drive carefully!
At the end of the day, it’s important that you carefully plan out how you are going to tow something with your 2008 Toyota Tundra.
The 10,800 pounds towing capacity is pretty impressive (even as far as full-size trucks go), but you can’t just stick 10,000+ pounds on your trailer hitch and hope for the best.
That’s a surefire recipe for disaster.
Instead, think about weight distribution, think about every pound (and where it’s coming from) that you all with your truck, and think about the overall payload rating that your truck can handle – including the weight of everyone in the cab and everything in the bed.
Be smart about it and you’ll find towing with your 2008 Tundra is really pretty simple and straightforward.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.