Is towing a car with your RV a good idea?

Like a turtle in its shell, RVers need to know where their RV will go and where it will not. A visit to the Wal-Mart may not be as difficult for parking as maneuvering your motorhome through downtown streets looking for a parking space. Either way, it’s not fun.

As much as we enjoy RV living with its freedom, adventure, and variety, having a smaller vehicle for exploration gives you even more freedom. Towing a “toad,” a small car—or if you’re into watersports or off-roading—a motorboat or Jeep plus RV just doubles your pleasure.

But it is more than just buying a towbar, hooking up, and taking off. Like everything about RVing, a bit of education comes first.

Not every car can be safely towed

We’re speaking specifically about towing a vehicle, such as a small car, with your RV. Did you know that not all cars/trucks can be towed without being damaged? If you are preparing to do this, check with the manufacturer for towability. Some brands are built for it—Jeeps, for example. This is not true of all cars (which explains why road assistance companies load vehicles onto a flatbed trailer), especially with today’s onboard technology.

The easiest tow style is called “four wheels down” or “flat tow.” It works better for a vehicle with a manual transmission, and simply calls for an attached towbar, electrical connections, and putting the vehicle’s transmission in neutral. Special devices can be purchased for vehicles that the manufacturer deems untowable, but not only are they expensive but are touchy for installation and maintenance.

Can my RV do it?

First, learn the towing capacity of your RV. Then if you want to add a tow dolly or flatbed trailer (AKA “car hauler”), you need to factor in the additional weight, trailer, and vehicle together. Yes, these accessories do need additional storage and parking space. And in some states, they also require a separate license plate. Furthermore, tow dollies and trailers have their own maintenance requirements.

Using a “dinghy,” as these additions are called, adds some complication along with the advantages. Don’t forget that dinghy or flat tow vehicles need to have brake and signal indicators wired to the RV system. Wiring systems can vary with the vehicle being towed and by the vehicle’s manufacturer as well as that of your coach.

Additional details to consider: do you want to add extended mirrors? (Yes!) And how about those high-altitude highways? They will slow your speed and eat up fuel. What about speed limits on the highway? Recommendations for tow speed are to stay under 70 mph.

What about sway when on the road?

High winds play havoc enough with your RV, especially the largest, and this escalates when towing a vehicle. Some hitching systems are built to reduce sway, but know your system’s limits before you purchase it. Depending on the system, turning a corner in your RV can be a new learning experience. More costly systems, such at the PullRite, can offset the sway problem. Some hitching systems are installed for a specific pull vehicle, so you can’t switch out to a different car.

Backing your RV into a camping space may not be an option when towing. In fact, with a dolly or car hauler, don’t expect to do any backing up with one attached.

Let’s face it: we can’t cover everything you need to know before towing anything. However, we can recommend storage solutions. Luxelocker can accommodate all your equipment along with the RV and has various locations in the American west. Prime locations in Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Washington will set you up for a park and go. Store your RV and take off to explore the area in your car or truck. You can rent or purchase a secure, well-maintained space for your trailer, dolly, and RV, head to the city for a few days, then return to pick up your RV.

With Luxelocker, you can experience exploration perfection!