The first question is; Do we need a car when traveling?
Depending on your goals and lifestyle you might be perfectly ok without a car and take bicycles or a motorcycle with you. Other people will take shuttle buses or call an Uber of Lyft, maybe you should rent a car? It is difficult to say you do or do not need a car! Just try out what you think you would like and soon you know!
Now if you decide to take a car with you, there are a few possibilities that we discuss here;
When you want to have a car with you to do day trips or errands, there are a few ways to accomplish that:
This way is called four wheels down or Flat towing because it does not involve a tow dolly or trailer but a tow bar, the car is towed with all wheels on the road. In this case they also call the towed car a Toad (“Towed”) A lot of people prefer this method because it’s the quickest way to hook up to your motorhome and you do not have to maintain or store a dolly or trailer at home or at a campground.
First, you have to determine if your car can be towed all four down. Given the year when your car is manufactured you use this link and download the guide from that year. Next, look up your specific car and it will tell you if it can be towed four wheels down. But also check your car’s user manual for tow directions!
To check if your car can be towed 4 wheels down you need to download the guide from the same year as your car is manufactured.
Downloadable Dinghy Guides
Welcome to our dinghy guide central. Here, you’ll find all our flat-towing dinghy guides going back to 2000 in digital PDF format. Each digital guide is packed with setup tips, additional equipment and a full list of the model year’s dinghy-ready vehicles.
Note: Our guides to dinghy towing are only available for download in the PDF digital format.
Another great site to find out if and how you can tow a vehicle:
– See more at: http://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides
|Very quick to hook up your car||The most expensive solution|
|No extra axles to maintain or store||Wear and tear while towing|
|No mileage added||Car needs modification|
|No storage needed (Except for tow bar) *||Some limits on speed/distance|
|Minimal maintenance needed||Needs a separate braking system and lights **|
|Might need to charge the battery from the RV|
|Unable to backup more than a few feet|
*Most tow bars can stay on the RV but it is advised to use a lock.
** Braking system see bottom of this post.
Laws Governing Tow Dollies
|Works for any FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)||Does not work for AWD (All Wheel or 4 wheels drive)|
|No need for tow-bar or base-plate||Loading is cumbersome|
|No mileage added||Straps might get loose|
|No need for separate breaking system or lights *||Storage space needed|
|No car modifications||Tear and wear but less than flat towing|
|More flexible car choice||Maintenance needed|
A hassle to load the car for some and you need to have room on the campground and storage location after unloading the car. Make sure your RV can tow the total weight of a loaded trailer. Check the towing laws per state in the link below.
|No tear and wear from driving||Weight restriction|
|Almost any car can be loaded||Loading can be cumbersome|
|No mileage added||Storage space needed|
Some couples prefer to drive a car to a new campground while the other drives the motorhome. It adds mileage to the car and uses fuel in addition to the fuel and miles of the motorhome. You decide it might be the cheapest way depending on distance and how regular your camp. However, it might be a lonely drive.
|No tow dolly or trailer needed||Uses gas|
|No changes to the car||Tear and wear|
|No hookup trouble||Adds mileage|
|No extra storage||Can be lonesome|
It’s not only where you live, but it’s also where you are going.
Check on the states that you are traveling through to find the minimum towing weight requirement. If what you are towing exceeds the weight, an auxiliary braking system is required.
Length and weight restrictions differ in several states. This website show you those difference and requirements;
|All four down||Tow dolly||Trailer||Other driver|
|Availability for brand/model of car||Limited||Most FWD / Not for AWD||All||All|
|Fast hookup / Loading||Yes||No||No||N/A|
|More axles to maintain||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wear and tear on a car||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|External braking System||Yes||1)||Yes||N/A|
|External (braking) lights||Yes||1)||No||N/A|
|Backing up||Problematic 2)||Yes||Yes||Sure|
|Biggest complaint||Expensive||Not easy to drive on and hook up. Checking straps after a few miles.||Storage||Lonely|
- External braking and lights are only needed when they are not built in the dolly or trailer (See towing laws)
- It is extremely difficult to backup more than a few feet with 4 down towing. The car can jackknife easily