Originally Posted by DRosedale
Is is cheaper to rent a car when you arrive at your destination or buy something you can tow?
I know there are a lot of pros for having your own auto, but are the costs worth it? (You've got purchase cost, insurance, maintenance, towing equipment, plus the extra cost of fuel you will spend towing., etc., etc.)
If your toad is also an every day driver when not RVing, many of the costs you mention are not factors. My wife drives our Honda CRV everyday when not RVing. There is no upcharge for insurance, it uses no fuel while being toad. About the only "extra" expenses associated with bring the CRV are the one-time towing equipment costs and slight increase in maintenance costs (even though the odometer does not turn while being towed, those tires are still racking up miles and wearing down while towing so they will be replaced with greater frequency).
The idea of renting when you get there takes out a lot of spontaneity. Plus, how do you justify it when you discover that you need to go get some repair parts for the RV (trust me, that will happen)? You need to go to Home Depot or an auto parts store for some items. Are you really going to rent a car for that?
One hard to measure but important aspect of the toad is your own rescue vehicle. If the RV were to become incapacitated/nondrivable for any reason (eg flat tire or something mechanical), having the toad gives you the ability to simply unhook and drive to safety or for help. Could be a lifesaver if you are out of cell phone service, for example.
The economics would be very different if you had a dedicated toad that served no other purpose for you (i.e., if it wasn't for the RV you wouldn't even own the vehicle). But when you select a toad vehicle for multipurposes, you really won't have much incremental expenses. You'd pay for the towing equipment (tow bar and braking system) in very short time.