Tips for Towing with an RV
Updated: Jul 6, 2020
Summer is here and you've been waiting to take out the motorhome. I don't blame you, I'm planning on taking mine out this coming week. Maybe you're new to owning a motorhome or maybe you're looking to buy a new vehicle that would be good to tag along. There are a few things to look out for when towing your vehicle, rather you have all four on the ground, two in the air or riding on a trailer. Here's my list of things to watch for when towing behind an RV.
Towing by Trailer or Dolley
You can tow just about whatever you want by trailer as long as you're watching your weight and Motorhomes towing capacity. Same with dollies no problem there. I would recommend bringing an extra tire in case of an accident or problem you may occur along the trip.
But maybe you don't need a trailer. Why take it if you don't absolutely have to. Maybe it's even better NOT to take a trailer. Causing issues with parking, loading/unloading or even having maintenance issues along the way that you shouldn't even have to be worrying about. The best answer to that problem would be....
Towing a vehicle with all four tires on the ground. All that would be needed is a tow bar and base plate. Attaching to the front of your car/truck and letting said vehicle roll along behind the motorhome. Which you can find over at sites like www.blueoxtowbars.com. They have variety of tow bars to choose at great prices. Tell them what you have and they may even have a retailer near you to help install.
Automatic FWD Transmission
Rule of thumb typically is if your vehicle has an automatic transmission then you rather need to drop the driveshaft or put her on a trailer. If your vehicle is front wheel drive, I would absolutely put her on a dolly. There's no way of disengaging the transmission if you pull your FWD vehicle with all four tires down. You'll burn up the transmission, and it won't be pretty. Check under your vehicle and look for the axle or look in your owner's manual in case you're unsure if your vehicle is FWD or not. If you're looking for a good price dolley to buy for your RV check out www.demco-products.com. They have a good selection to look through.
Automatic RWD Transmission
Maybe you have a truck or even a rear wheel drive car you want to bring along. You have a few options on what you could do. Could load the vehicle from the back on to your dolly and tie off the steering wheel. That way your drive axle is off the ground and there's no way of burning up a tranny because nothings getting to it. The drive axle is off the ground. Tieing off the steering wheel would keep the vehicle from moving left and right out of control. Many people believe they have a steering wheel lock that immediately locks when the vehicle is cut off, but that's not necessarily true. Always check and make sure the wheels are locked otherwise there's a possibility they won't. Don't worry about getting a rope or strap when tying the steering wheel off, just wrap the seat belt through it until tight and click it back in. And of course move the seat back until the seatbelt is nice and tight.
Now maybe you don't want to do that. You don't have to. You could hook up your new blue ox tow bar right on to your vehicle and get on down the road. BUT be sure to take out your driveshaft. It's typically held on by four bolts heading in to your rear end. Take those out and she should pull right out. That way when the rear wheels spin it'll have no effect on the transmission.
Automatic AWD Transmissions
All wheel drive Transmissions. A lot of SUV's and higher end cars are AWD. That means your transmission is turning on all four wheels and if you're towing that vehicle you better have all four wheels off the ground. But like before there are ways of getting around having to bring your trailer. On vehicles like say a Hummer, the driveshaft is very easy to reach. Four bolts out, driveshaft pulled and you're good to go loading onto a DOLLEY. Be sure to keep the front of the vehicle on the dolly, since that would be the drive axle. Rear axle is now NOT touching the transmission so is free to roll. But you don't always have that choice, sometimes the driveshaft is unreachable or just too much of a hassle to deal with if you're on a road trip and just trying to get back and forth to the store. So in cases like this, yes a trailer would be more adaptable/easier to what you're trying to do. Look underneath and check, you may sometimes have to remove the plastic undercarriage to reach the driveshaft. Just depends on the vehicle.
Automatic 4X4 Transmissions
Most 4X4 trannies you are able to click them in and out back to 2X4. In this case you could engage the vehicle back in two wheel drive and put the rear on the dolly. Or like before you could also drop the driveshaft and tow dinghey style behind your motorhome. Most jeeps, trucks, and some SUV's are towed this way dinghey style.
Standard Transmissions are pretty simple. Keep them in neutral with the transfer case also placed in neutral that way nothing is in direct contact with the transmission.
All in all just play it safe and make sure you go through your owners manual that comes with your vehicle to make sure your vehicle is tow applicable. I'd even give the dealer a call to double check.
If you're in the Houston area and need a tow be sure to give us a look at www.houstonquicktow.com for more information. Or call at 713-855-0526