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Old 10-02-2010, 09:27 PM   #1
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Some Front Wheel Drive Cars Can't be Towed on Dolly?

Strange. The DW and I went shopping for a new small vehicle to tow on a dolly behind the MH. Looked at the VW Jetta and the Toyota Corolla. Both dealers said their cars can't be towed even on a dolly! Must be 4 off the ground. Both these vehicles are front wheel drive so wondering why they are not towable on a dolly? Could it be because the front framework is too light and perhaps puts them under different stress than when you are driving the car?? Just didn't make sense. Can someone tell me why or if they are towing on a dolly either of these vehicles? Thanks .. Tom

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Old 10-02-2010, 09:55 PM   #2
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This doesn't make ANY sense to me! The issue of whether a vehicle is suitable for towing applies with 4 wheels down. It's an issue of whether the transmission is designed to be lubricated with engine not running and drive wheels turning. Some are designed that way, many are not.

When the vehicle is not suitable for drive wheels down towing, then one reasonable alternative is to use a dolly. I believe that ANY front wheel drive vehicle can be towed on a dolly without question.

I think you need to talk to another dealer, possibly one that sells both cars and motor homes.

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Old 10-03-2010, 07:55 AM   #3
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You can pretty much tell when an RV or auto/truck sales person is lying....their lips will move.

On a front wheel drive only vehicle, the rear wheels are strictly free wheel. Now, most all-wheel drive vehicles will need to be towed on a trailer with all 4 wheels up.

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Old 10-03-2010, 08:12 AM   #4
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What does the automobile owner's manual say about recreational towing? The auto manufacturer is the final say when it come to towing and how to tow. If not in the owners manual give them a call for technical support. Why guess with somthing so important?
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:22 AM   #5
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My guess would be the dealers just aren't aware when it comes to towing their cars and don't want to be bothered to find out for sure. Maybe post a question under towing here to see if others are towing these models on a dolly.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:24 AM   #6
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When I bought my coach in '07, I also bought a Toyota Corolla and a dolly. No problems, towing from Florida to New Mexico, back to Florida, through Virginia. So obviously, a Corolla can be towed on a Dolly. Having said that, I didn't like the hassel of a dolly, so I sold it and traded the Corolla for a Saturn Vue, that could be towed four down. Been much happier with that setup, ever since. Everyone I talked to told me that I would be happier towing 4 down.....didn't listen. They were right!
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:26 AM   #7
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Nothing here at the VW manufactures website suggest there is any reason for not towing on a dolly. Rear SuspensionTwist beam rear suspension, coil springs, telescopic gas pressurized shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
And nothing here at the Toyota website. SuspensionIndependent MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars (XRS adds sport strut tower brace)

Neither car seems to have 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive as an option. I would still check with the manufacturers of each. Also look in the owners manual. There may be something we are not seeing here.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:10 AM   #8
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I just saw a new Jetta on a dolly being towed out of our campground here in West Virginia.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:21 AM   #9
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There are a few cars that require special handling when being towed EVEN IF IT IS a FULL TRAILER (or Flat Bed tow truck) Tow.

However most dealers, and sales types, when asked about towing will give you one of two answers "Sure no problem" Never mind that it's a big problem or the CYA answer: "You can't do it" Note that both answers are generally false.

There are a few cases where one of them it true. (IE: a 2002 Jeep liberty with manual transfer case "Sure no problem" is true)
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:26 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments and research -- I agree doesn't make sense as both are front wheel drive only. I didn't check in the owner’s manual as don't have one in my possession and just took their word. At the Toyota dealer, it was the sales manager (not the sales person I was working with) that told me so guess I assumed he knew what he was talking about. And when I questioned him on it, he stuck to his guns and I walked ... you would have thought he'd try to keep me as a customer if he wasn't sure of himself. The DW is leaning towards the Jetta TDI (diesel) because of the power and mileage -- so may have to go grab one of their owner’s manual and read for myself. Can get some great deals on 2010 models right now as the 2011s are hitting the dealers. Is there a place on-line to find owner’s manuals for cars?

Gripper -- other than the obvious advantage of not having to take the car off the dolly, what are the other advantages of towing 4 down. And assume the Vue is a4-wheel drive that you can switch into neutral? Aren't the wheels still turning gears/transfer cases when 4 down meaning more friction? Just curious.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:31 AM   #11
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I have towed a 2006 Toyota Corolla - manual transmission - 4 down for 3 years without a problem. There is no transmission pump made for the automatic.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:34 AM   #12
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As a sideline I do some tech. training for VW sales people. It seems that the sales force of the dealer you contacted needs some of my services!

It is amazing what little knowledge some sale persons have on the cars the sell (no wonder, because a VW sales person may sell Chevy's tomorrow!).

Any front wheel driven VW can be towed on a dolly! Any VW that has 4 Motion must be towed on a trailer!
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #13
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We have a Jetta SportsWagon TDI and love it. I thought we could trade it in for a manual transmission and tow all wheels down. The manual says only up to 30mph for a maximum of something like 50 miles. This makes no sense to me. I met someone towing a 3 series BMW all wheels down with a manual transmission. He said he's not had any problems towing several thousand miles, even though the manual stated a similar restriction. Maybe, the Germany manufactures just don't realize there's a MH market here that's much bigger than any European market.
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:25 PM   #14
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We bought a 37' MH in May and needed to tow one of our vehicles. Since they both are automatics and trading in for a new manual trans. vehicle was not a financial option, we needed to work with what we had.
Adding a trans. pump and a braking system is very expensive, and since we wanted to be able to take either vehicle, we would have to double that.
So our obvious choice was a tow dolly. We bought one from Acme Trailers on the east coast, it has disc-brake surge brakes so I don't need to add an electric brake system to the MH and I am legal in all states. The trailer works great and after doing it a few times I can load the vehicle and be ready to go in about 15 minutes, and have put about 5000 miles on it since June.
The best part is it was delivered to my front door in Tucson, AZ for $1400 total.
No, I don't work for Acme Trailer, but I certainly am a satisfied customer.


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corolla, dolly, front wheel drive, jetta

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