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The Exact Towing Capacity Of An Acura MDX (And More..)

We’ve talked extensively about the Acura MDX, its capabilities, and its features on this blog. Today, we will take it a step further and tell you everything about the towing with it. This includes the maximum towing capacity and so much more information. Let’s start with a quick answer:

The 2008 – 2013 Acura MDX has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs for all trim levels within that generation. Acura MDX manufactured between 2014 – Present-day have a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs for the FWD and the AWD models without towing packages. AWD models with a towing package have a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Below we’ve also outlined how the towing capacity changes with the number of occupants. Furthermore, we’ve written down everything you need to know regarding the maximum tongue load weight, what rules and recommendations Acura has concerning towing with, and MDX. We have written down a complete checklist for every generation that you can go through before towing. Read on!

Before You Start Towing

Before diving into the model years and their maximum towing capacities, it’s good to talk about some general safety concerns and limitations of the Acura MDX.

First of all, it’s essential to know that most 2014 – Present-day Acura have a standard and maximum towing capacity (more on that below). To reach the maximum towing capacity, you’ll have to buy a towing package at your dealer. Acura refers to the towing package as the “Trailer Hitch ATF Cooler Kit”.

This towing package includes the following and costs $500 at your dealer:

  • Receiver-style hitch compatible with a wide range of trailer coupler designs
  • Trailer Hitch Kit includes draw bar, retaining pin, and clip
  • Wiring harness with 7-pin round-style connector available separately
  • 1 7/8-in or 2-in balls available separately

Furthermore, these are general rules you should abide by when towing with your MDX:

  • Towing with your Acura MDX is strictly forbidden during the break-in period (before 600 miles or 1.000 kilometers).
  • Acura recommends you use special trailer brakes for trailers that weigh more than 1,000 lbs (450kg).
  • Do not exceed a speed limit of 62 mph (100km/h) when towing a trailer and 55 mph (88km/h) when towing a fixed-sided trailer (such as a camper).

Also read: The Types Of Gas An Acura MDX Takes (Explained)

Towing With A 2022 Acura MDX

In 2022 Acura redesigned the MDX, and with that came a slight change in towing capacities. Below we’ve stated the towing capacities for each specific model and its carrying load. As you can see, the towing capacity decreased with the number of occupants. In its calculations, Acura states that each occupant weighs an average of 150 lbs (68kg) and that each occupant has 17.6 lbs (8kg) of luggage.

An Acura MDX has a standard maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. If you want to tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs you’ll have to opt for the AWD models with a towing package.

Towing Capacity And Tongue Weight

Besides the maximum towing capacity, you should also know the maximum tongue weight. The maximum tongue weight indicates the maximum weight the MDX can carry at the point where the trailer is attached to the vehicle. The weight of the tongue with a fully loaded trailer on the hitch should be approximately:

  • Boat trailers: 5 – 15% of the total trailer weight
  • Other trailers: 10 – 15% of total trailer weight

The maximum tongue weight for this generation is as follows:

Acura advises you to calculate your gross combined weight and the maximum weight per axle using a public scale.

  • Use the image below to make these calculations.
  • If you cannot weigh the rear axle, subtract 1 from 2.
  • The maximum gross combined weight (4) decreases by 2% for every 1,000 feet (305 meters) of elevation.
  • To calculate the tongue load, subtract 5 from 6.
  • Refer to the trailer owner’s manual for additional information.

If a public scale is not available, add the estimated weight of your cargo load to the weight of your trailer (as quoted by the manufacturer), and then measure the tongue load with an appropriate scale or tongue gauge or estimate it based on cargo distribution.

Preparing To Tow

  • Have the trailer properly serviced and keep it in good condition.
  • Make sure that all the weights and load in the vehicle and trailer are within limits.
  • When towing more than 3,500 lbs (1,590 kg), use of gasoline with a pump octane number of 91 or higher is recommended.
  • Securely attach the hitch, safety chains, and other necessary parts to the trailer.
  • Securely store all the items in and on the trailer so that they do not shift while driving.
  • Check if the lights and brakes on the trailer are working properly.
  • Check the pressures of the trailer tires.
  • Turn off the Auto Idle Stop system using the Auto Idle Stop OFF button. The trailer weight can affect your vehicle’s brake effectiveness if Auto Idle Stop is activated on a hill while towing a trailer.
  • Turn off the rear parking sensor system.
  • Turn off the Low Speed Braking Control system if your vehicle has this function. It may activate if it detects the towed object as an obstacle.

Also read: 11 Common Problems Of An Acura MDX 

Towing With A 2014 – 2020 Acura MDX

The maximum towing capacity and tongue weight for the 2014 – 2020 version of the Acura MDX differs slightly from the 2022+ generation. You can see this below.

Before you look at the tables, it’s good to know that the 2017 and 2020 Sport Hybrid models of the Acura MDX are not designed for towing, and doing so will result in damage that’s not covered under warranty.

Towing Capacity And Tongue Weight

The maximum tongue weight of this generation is as follows:

And the maximum weight per axle for this generation can be found in the table below. Use the same calculations as explained in the subheading of the 2022 Acura MDX that we discussed earlier.

Preparing To Tow

  • Have the trailer properly serviced and keep it in good condition.
  • Make sure that all the weights and load in the vehicle and trailer are within limits.
  • When towing more than 3,500 lbs (1,590 kg), use of gasoline with a pump octane number of 91 or higher is recommended.
  • Securely attach the hitch, safety chains, and other necessary parts to the trailer.
  • Securely store all the items in and on the trailer so that they do not shift while
    driving.
  • Check if the lights and brakes on the trailer are working properly.
  • Check the pressures of the trailer tires, including the spare.
  • Turn off the Auto Idle Stop system using the Auto Idle Stop OFF button. The trailer weight can affect your vehicle’s brake effectiveness if Auto Idle Stop is activated on a hill while towing a trailer.

Also read: How Well Does An Acura MDX Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

Towing With A 2008 – 2013 Acura MDX

For the 2008 – 2013 generation, it’s interesting to note that all of these models have a maximum towing capacity of 5,000lbs. In other words, no generation’s limited to 3,500 lbs. Finally, we see that the tongue weight slightly changes again compared to the older generations.

Towing Capacity And Tongue Weight

And the maximum weight per axle. Again, use the calculations as explained in the Acura MDX 2022 subheading discussed earlier:

Weight Limit ForAll Models
Front gross axle2,888 lbs (1,310 kg)
Gross vehicle5,952 lbs (2,700 kg)
Rear gross axle3,175 lbs (1,440 kg)
Gross combined10,053 lbs (4,560 kg)

Preparing To Tow

  • The vehicle has been properly serviced, and the suspension and the cooling system are in good
    operating condition.
  • The trailer has been properly serviced and is in good condition.
  • All weights and loads are within limits.
  • The hitch, safety chains, and any other attachments are secure.
  • All items on and in the trailer are properly secured and cannot shift while you drive.
  • The lights and brakes on your vehicle and the trailer are working properly.
  • Your vehicle tires and spare are in good condition and properly inflated.
  • The trailer tires and spare are in good condition and inflated as recommended by the trailer maker.

Also read: How Many Miles Can Acura MDX Last? (Answered)

Can It Tow a Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?

Finally, we’ve also created a table that tells you exactly what kind of trailers an Acura MDX can tow and what generations can tow an empty or loaded trailer of this kind. Read below!

Trailer TypeAverage Empty
Weight (lbs.)
Average Total
Loaded Weight (lbs.)
Can An Acura MDX Tow It?
Canoe / Kayak Trailer200                                                  400Yes
Jet Ski Trailer300                                               1,800Yes
Motorcycle Trailer500                                               2,400Yes
Teardrop Trailer1,700                                               2,400Yes
Small Open Utility Trailer700                                               2,500Yes
A-Frame Camper1,700                                               2,900Yes
Small Enclosed Utility Trailer1,000                                               3,200Yes
Fishing Boat Trailer600                                               3,300Yes
Pop Up Camper2,300                                               3,400Yes
Small Travel Trailer2,800                                               3,600Only 2008 – 2013 models and 2014+ AWD models with ATF cooler
Tow Dolly600                                               4,000Only 2008 – 2013 models and 2014+ AWD models with ATF cooler
Large Enclosed Utility Trailer2,700                                               7,100Yes, all generations can tow an empty trailer of this kind
Small Horse Trailer2,900                                               7,200Yes, all generations can tow an empty trailer of this kind
Large Travel Trailer6,700                                               8,300No
Car Trailer1,900                                               9,000Yes, all generations can tow an empty trailer of this kind
Large Flatbed Trailer3,000                                             10,400Yes, all generations can tow an empty trailer of this kind
Large Boat Trailer2,200                                             13,600Yes, all generations can tow an empty trailer of this kind
Dump Trailer4,500                                             16,900Empty only, 2008 – 2013 models and 2014+ AWD models with ATF cooler
Toy Hauler7,600                                             17,900No
Large Livestock Trailer7,300                                             18,700No
5th Wheel Camper12,700                                             18,700No
Gooseneck Flatbed Trailer7,200                                             23,200No
  • Kayak: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow a kayak trailer. On average, an empty kayak trailer will weigh 200 pounds. A loaded kayak trailer will weigh an average of 400 pounds with a maximum of 800 pounds which is well within the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Jet Ski Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow a jet ski trailer. On average, an empty jet ski trailer will weigh 300 pounds. A loaded jet ski trailer will weigh an average of 1,800 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds which is within the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Motorcycle Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow a motorcycle trailer. On average, an empty motorcycle trailer will weigh 500 pounds. A loaded motorcycle trailer will weigh an average of 2,400 pounds with a maximum of 3,500 which is within the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Teardrop Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow a teardrop trailer. On average, an empty teardrop trailer will weigh 1,700 pounds. A loaded teardrop trailer will weigh an average of 2,400 pounds which is within the range of the  Acura MDX. Some teardrop trailers will weigh a maximum of 6,000 pounds, outside of the limits of the  Acura MDX.
  • Small Open Utility Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an open utility trailer. On average, an empty small open utility trailer will weigh 700 pounds. A loaded small open utility trailer will weigh an average of 2,500 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds which is within the range of the Acura MDX.
  • A-Frame Camper: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an A-frame camper. On average, an empty a-frame camper weighs 1,700 pounds. A loaded a-frame camper will weigh an average of 2,900 pounds with a maximum of 3,600 pounds which is within the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Small Enclosed Utility Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an empty small enclosed utility trailer. On average, an empty small enclosed utility trailer weighs 1,000 pounds. A loaded small enclosed utility trailer will weigh an average of 3,200 pounds with a maximum of 7,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Fishing Boat Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an empty fishing boat trailer. On average, an empty fishing boat trailer weighs 600 pounds. A loaded fishing boat trailer will weigh an average of 3,300 pounds with a maximum of 6,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Pop-Up Camper: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an empty pop-up camper. On average, an empty pop-up camper weighs 2,300 pounds. A loaded pop-up camper will weigh an average of 3,400 pounds with a maximum of 4,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Small Travel Trailer: Only 2008 – 2013 Acura MDX and 2014+ models with ATF cooler will be able to tow a loaded small travel trailer. On average, a small travel trailer weighs 2,800 pounds. A loaded small travel trailer will weigh an average of 3,600 pounds with a maximum of 4,500 pounds, within the range of some Acura MDX.
  • Tow Dolly: Only 2008 – 2013 Acura MDX and 2014+ models with ATF cooler models will be able to tow a loaded tow dolly. On average, an empty tow dolly weighs 600 pounds. A loaded tow dolly will weigh an average of 4,000 pounds with a maximum of 5,000 pounds, within the range of some Acura MDX.
  • Large Enclosed Utility Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an empty large enclosed utility trailer. On average, an empty large enclosed utility trailer weighs 2,700 pounds. A loaded large enclosed utility trailer weighs an average of 7,100 pounds with a maximum of 10,000 pounds, outside of the range of the  Acura MDX.
  • Small Horse Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an empty small horse trailer. On average, an empty small horse trailer weighs 2,900 pounds. A loaded small horse trailer weighs an average of 7,200 pounds with a maximum of 8,000 pounds, outside of the range of the  Acura MDX.
  • Car Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to tow an empty car trailer. On average, an empty car trailer weighs 1,900 pounds. A loaded car trailer weighs an average of 9,000 pounds with a maximum of 15,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Large Flatbed Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to town an empty large flatbed trailer. On average, an empty large flatbed trailer weighs 3,000 pounds. A loaded large flatbed trailer weighs and average of 10,400 pount with a maximum of 26,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Large Boat Trailer: All Acura MDX models will be able to town an empty large boat trailer. On average, an empty large large boat trailer weighs 2,200 pounds. A loaded large boat trailer weighs and average of 13,600 pounds with a maximum of 34,400 pounds, outside of the range of the Acura MDX.
  • Dump Trailer: Only 2008 – 2013 models of the Acura MDX and 2014+ models with ATF cooler will be able to tow an empty dump trailer. On average, an empty dump trailer weighs 4,500 pounds. A loaded dump trailer weighs an average of 16,900 pounds with a maximum of 30,000 pounds, outside the range of the Acura MDX.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of An Acura MDX

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