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Old 08-14-2015, 10:27 AM   #1
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Base Plate High Mileage Vehicle?

Hi All,

I have been wrestling with the dilemma of whether to tow 4 down or with a dolly. To be honest, my preference is 4 down, but my car, a 2009 Ford Focus with manual transmission, has 163,000 miles on it. A recent estimate from the local RV dealer put the cost of the base plate and all of the associated hardware (breakaway cable, etc) at $1600.00. My dilemma is whether or not it make sense to invest those funds in a car with that high of mileage or just punt and use a tow dolly?

Thanks for any input.

Rick
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:40 AM   #2
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If you've already got the dolly, yeah, use it. If not, you'll spend at least as much, if not more, buying one.

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Old 08-14-2015, 10:55 AM   #3
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Like Lori said, If you have the dolly, that is going to be the least expensive way to tow.

If not, the dolly is probably still less expensive - if you add a braking system to flat tow. The dolly could have brakes as standard equipment.

Then, there is the question about the next car. What to do when you want to replace the Focus?
With a dolly, you can pick from the VAST majority of cars. Flat towing modern cars restricts you to a much smaller group of available cars. Then you are buying and installing new base plates too.

Which ever you pick, hope you get brakes on the toad. They are not required in many places, but are required in some states and obviously safer.

Best luck
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Old 08-14-2015, 12:41 PM   #4
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On the other hand, only about $350 (plus any dealer labor) is unique to that Focus. That's the price of the base plates, plus labor to install and add a light hook-up. And you can maybe sell the base plate when you no longer need it. Tow bar, safety chains, etc. are all transferrable to a replacement toad. And sell the dolly too. Maybe that changes the arithmetic enough to reach a different decision?

I'm not suggesting that you do change the decision, just giving something to consider.
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Old 08-14-2015, 12:54 PM   #5
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I think it depends on what type of RVing you are going to do. If it is two trips a year snowbirding, then a dolly would work. If you are fulltiming, then towing four down is much more user friendly.
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:37 PM   #6
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There is so many things to consider. We're still working and can only go on weekends and vacations, but we tow 4 down. For us, easier hook up and disconnect, and not having to find a place to store a dolly both at home and at a RV park makes it worth it. You'll have to consider all the advantages and disadvantages of 4 down, dolly, and trailers and go from there. And they all do have advantages and disadvantages. We waited until we were due to get a newer vehicle before making the decision to tow. I would not go to the bother and expense to mount tow base plate onto a vehicle that I was probably going to trade in a couple years. And we bought our toad with the idea that we will take care of it and make it last as long as possible, which means we park it in storage every fall the same time we put the motorhome into winter storage, and we don't drive it in the winter on salted roads. We kept our older vehicles for that!
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
On the other hand, only about $350 (plus any dealer labor) is unique to that Focus. That's the price of the base plates, plus labor to install and add a light hook-up. And you can maybe sell the base plate when you no longer need it. Tow bar, safety chains, etc. are all transferrable to a replacement toad. And sell the dolly too. Maybe that changes the arithmetic enough to reach a different decision?
I'm not suggesting that you do change the decision, just giving something to consider.
kb1flr

What Gary RVRoamer said!
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:46 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the opinions. This will be for fulltiming. As I had said, I would normally choose flat towing without question, but was questioning sensibility of spending a fairly large amount of money on the Focus given the likelihood that it will last a year or two more.

Rick
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:56 PM   #9
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The chances of you doing the base plate and light install yourself? They come with directions, and are no more difficult to install than a Class II or III hitch installed on the back of your vehicle.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:07 AM   #10
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$1600 is a lot of money to dedicate to one tow vehicle, especially one that may be nearing the end of its life cycle.

$1600 will buy a brand new Acme dolly that has a surge brake, and it can be used to tow just about any vehicle.

I was in a similar dilemma. I tow an old 2001 Honda Civic that has 220,000 miles on it. I used to tow it with a dolly, but I found a used base plate for the Civic for $100 and installed it myself.

Dolly towing is a little more cumbersome than flat towing, but dolly towing offers the most versatility, especially if your on a budget and may need to tow different vehicles at differenty time.

* The Dolly is also great for "Dad's auto repair and moving company" if you have kids.
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