Motorhome Towing Guide: Flat Towing vs. Trailering Pros & Cons (Also, See Which Cars Can Be Towed With 4 Wheels Down)


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For the longest time, Saturns were the #1 choice among vehicles that can safely be towed 4 wheels down behind an RV with a tow bar.

These days, Jeep Wranglers seem to be the popular choice for motorhome towing.

Most Jeep and Saturn vehicles can be towed without modifications, as well as various Chevy, Ford & Dodge cars, trucks & SUVs. Check with your dealer to verify tow-ability. It can be very costly to repair a vehicle that has been towed when it should not have been. –RVAccessory

Here’s how to tow a Jeep with all wheels down.

Generally speaking, the best vehicle to tow behind a motorhome is one that:

  • Can be towed with its wheels on the ground
  • Is relatively lightweight
  • Doesn’t register miles while being towed

The lighter the vehicle is, the less wear and tear on the RV and motorhome towing system as well!

See if your car is capable of being towed four wheels down, plus what you need to know about flat towing vs trailering with a tow dolly…

 

Cars That Can Be Flat Towed 4 Wheels Down

Years ago, finding cars suitable for flat towing wasn’t all that hard. Most cars and trucks with manual transmissions could be pulled four-down, as could most four-wheel-drive SUVs with manual transfer cases. But things change. Today the plethora of electronic transmissions and front-wheel and full- and part-time four-wheel-drive systems require a bit of planning when you are selecting flat-towed cars and trucks. Source

Here are some great tips for flat towing four wheels down from Motorhome Magazine.

 

With The Proper Equipment, Most Cars Can Be Towed

It’s worth noting that most vehicles that are not approved by their manufacturers for towing on all 4 wheels can still be towed using aftermarket accessories — such as a cable-operated driveshaft-disconnect device (rear-wheel-drive vehicles only), a driveshaft-disconnect device, or free-wheeling hubs (front-wheel drive).

According to REMCO, the towing experts:

  • You can tow any front wheel drive manual transmission vehicle as far as you want and as long as you want. However, as an added precaution, you might want to consider a Lube Pump or Axle Lock to ensure that no transmission damage will occur.
  • Most four-wheel drive vehicles with a manual transmission, manual transfer case, and manual lock out hubs can be towed on all 4 wheels safely with no problems.
  • If your four-wheel drive vehicle has no manual lockout hubs and/or no manual transfer case… you will need a coupling device on the rear drive shaft in order to tow it safely.

Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right tow vehicle.

 

Flat Towing vs. Trailering Pros And Cons

Following are some tips before you hit the road with your vehicle in tow behind your RV, plus a summary of the ways that towing anything behind your RV requires a whole different way of driving.

For starters, this video is filled with helpful recommendations and gives you a visual explanation of how and why you need to do some things differently when you’re towing a dinghy behind your motorhome:

 

Motorhome Towing Four Wheels Down

Towing your vehicle 4 wheels down (also called “dinghy towing” or “toading”) has many advantages and is becoming more and more popular among RVers.

Four-wheel down toading has little or no effect on the:

  • Handling
  • Gas mileage
  • Overall wear & tear of your RV

Plus, it gives you freedom to go sightseeing, shopping, and exploring on a whim!

On the other hand, to tow your vehicle with 2 wheels up or 4 wheels up, you’d have to purchase a trailer or a tow dolly.

 

Motorhome Towing With A Dolly

Towing a car behind a motorhome with a tow dolly does come with some inconveniences.

Here are a few:

  • In some states (like Washington) tow dollies must have a separate license plate.
  • A tow dolly adds 500 to 1,500 pounds to the towed weight — which will now total 4,000 or 5,000 pounds.
  • Due to the added weight, a tow dolly requires on-board brakes — which significantly increases the price and maintenance.
  • It’s not easy to back up a tow dollyit will definitely take some practice.
  • You need to plan ahead what you will do with the tow dolly once you arrive at your destination.
  • It typically takes 2 people to maneuver the tow dolly out of the way while your RV is parked and you’re driving the toad.
  • A tow dolly requires regular maintenance and repairs on the tires, wheels, and frame.
  • Two sets of safety cables are required — 1 to secure the motorhome to the tow dolly, and 1 to secure the tow dolly to the vehicle. (Tie-down straps frequently fail on tow dollies.)
  • It’s not always easy to connect the brake lights, stop lights, and clearance lights on a dolly-towed vehicle.
  • Perhaps the only benefit to using a tow dolly is that the vehicle being towed would not require any special modifications.

Check here before you go shopping for a tow dolly to see how much you can expect to pay, as well as what should be included, along with optional additional parts.

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Lynnette

Over the past several years, I've been involved with transporting RVs, renting RVs, and fulltime RVing (months at a time). I'm fortunate to have had a number of different RVs available to me to try out -- which has enabled me to experience the nuances of RVing firsthand. When I'm not RVing, you can find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).

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