He was the son of Tuoba Fu, and the father of Tuoba Yihuai and Tuoba Shiyijian. In 310, Tuoba Yulü was ordered by Tuoba Yilu to assist Liu Kun (劉琨), the Governor of Bingzhou (并州) (modern Shanxi province), to fight the Xiongnu Tiefu chieftain Liu Hu. In 316 Tuoba Yulü became the Prince of Dai upon the death of Tuoba Pugen's unnamed infant son. In 318, he defeated the Tiefu chieftain Liu Hu and also captured some territory from the Wusun. In 321 he was killed in a coup d'etat launched by his cousin Tuoba Heru, who succeeded him as the Prince of Dai.
Yulü at least had two daughters: one married He He (贺纥) the Helan chieftain, one gave birth to Liu Kuren (刘库仁) the future Dugu chieftain.