The 411 on towing a car (or boat) behind your RV
Vacationing in an RV is an amazing experience. Unfortunately, there may be times when you need a car to go on a day trip or someplace with narrow roads where an RV won’t fit. You might also want to bring your boat when camping on a lake or bay. The good news is you can tow another vehicle or boat behind an RV if you have the right equipment. RV Advisor can help you decide on the best way to tow a car behind you.
What can you tow behind an RV?
You can tow most anything behind an RV, including a car, boat, or a trailer with jet skis or an ATV. To know how much your particular RV can handle, you’ll need to determine its weight capacity, which is the maximum amount it can safely tow.
The RV’s manual will list the Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), which is a combination of the gross weight of the trailer and the gross weight of the RV. Be sure to include the weight of everything you are bringing in the RV, as well as full fuel and water tanks. Generally, any RV larger than a Class C can handle towing a car or boat.
What type of car is best for towing?
As for the types of cars that are best suited for towing, you want something that is lightweight and is equipped so it can be towed with all four wheels on the ground. Jeeps are a good option, as they don’t require any modifications. Some Ford, Dodge, Chevy and Honda models have the same advantage. Other cars will have to be modified, but unfortunately, not all cars can be towed. It’s a good idea to check with a dealership or your auto mechanic to see if your car qualifies or what modifications need to be made.
Note: Never tow a car that is not properly outfitted as you can cause extensive damage.
What are the Best Methods for Towing?
There are three ways to tow a car or boat.
1.Tow bar. This method is used strictly for cars. It is also called “4 wheels down” as the vehicle is towed with all four wheels on the ground. It’s the most affordable option, as well as one of the most common. Safety chains and cables are used to secure the vehicle to a specialized bar. This method works best with cars that have a manual transmission, but you can check with your car’s manufacturer to see if it will work. You will also have to install supplemental braking and light systems to alert other drivers when you’re stopping or turning.
Note: The downside of using a tow bar is that there are limits on the weight allowed so you will be restricted to smaller vehicles.
2.Flatbed or enclosed trailer. This method gives you the option to tow almost anything, including large SUVs or trucks, boats or ATVs. It is also usually the most expensive as you have to buy a trailer and outfit the RV in order to tow it. The advantage is that trailers have their own brakes and light systems.
3.Tow dolly. With this option, the back wheels are left on the ground while the front wheels are mounted on a dolly. If you don’t want to buy a trailer – or your vehicle will not work with a tow bar – a tow dolly offers a good compromise, although there are still some weight restrictions. You can also find tow dollies that have built-in braking and light systems, so you won’t need supplemental ones.
Caution about towing a car or boat behind an RV
So, you’ve decided on a method and attached a car to your RV. Now you have to drive while dragging another vehicle behind you. This takes special care. “Be aware of the length towing a car behind your RV adds. When you turn, merge into traffic, and stop, that added length requires you to react differently. You may not be used to the difference,” according to TripSavvy.com.
It’s a good idea to practice driving with your car or boat attached before you hit the open road. You don’t want to risk an accident when you’re far from home.
Towing a car behind your RV gives you more options and flexibility during your vacation. With the proper towing method, you can bring an car, boat, or even an ATV or Jet Ski to add to your adventure. These tips will help you get started, but if you need more advice about towing a vehicle, become an RV Advisor Member today.
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