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Old 10-20-2011, 04:34 PM   #1
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Towing a Smart Car?

I've read the archives on towing a Smart car, but I'd like to hear from some real owners, if possible.
1) *Does it really take 8 hours to attach the base plate?
2) *Do you bungee the steering wheel?
3) *Do you use supplemental braking? Which one?
4) *Would you choose another Smart next time?
5) *Anything else I should know?

I like the size, weight, price and automatiic transmission. My small motorhome needs a small toad. The scooter just isn't working out and I find I am missing a lot of things I want to see and do just because it's too hard to get there.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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I towed a Smart for about 4,000 miles. It took my installer about 4 hours to install the Roadmaster base plates (have to pretty well disassemble the front end). I never had to bungee the steering wheel, but another friend who had one had problems until he did. (Don't know where he attached the ends) The only problems I had were at slow speed if you had to make a sharp turn and then another in the opposite direction. The "tail whip" would exceed the re-centering on the Smart. Stop, slow forward and it would straighten out. I didn't use a supplemental braking system because it is lighter that requirements in all but New York. I now tow a Honda CRV because we wanted more room. Enjoyed the Smart while we had it.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okmunky View Post
I've read the archives on towing a Smart car, but I'd like to hear from some real owners, if possible.
1) *Does it really take 8 hours to attach the base plate?
The place that installed our Blue Ox system took about 7 hours - it was the first one they had done and wanted to make sure they didn't screw anything up. The entire body in front of the doors has to come off.

Quote:
2) *Do you bungee the steering wheel?
Yes - it is entirely dependent on the geometry of your system: the distance from your rear axle to the rear hitch, the distance from the hitch to the front wheels of the smart, and the angle you make a turn. I find it easiest to simply bungee the steering wheel rather than wait to see if I need it.

Quote:
3) *Do you use supplemental braking? Which one?
No - the car weighs 1800 lbs and while California requires brakes on a towed vehicle over 1500 lbs I haven't yet spent the money to add brakes (money's hard to come by when you have no income!). The brakes on our Bounder are adequate - we've had a couple of panic stops with no issues so far.

Quote:
4) *Would you choose another Smart next time?
Absolutely! It's a perfect vehicle for two people. We use ours for pretty much everything. If we need to carry more people we have a Ford Escape but it needs to be towed on a dolly so we don't use it unless absolutely necessary. An added bonus: nobody asks us for a ride!

Quote:
5) *Anything else I should know?
Dealers are few and far between right now as Mercedes builds up their network. Many smart dealers have closed down since Mercedes took the line back from Penske so getting service might be an issue.

Quote:
I like the size, weight, price and automatiic transmission. My small motorhome needs a small toad. The scooter just isn't working out and I find I am missing a lot of things I want to see and do just because it's too hard to get there.
Be aware it isn't an automatic transmission - it's a sequentially shifted (just like a motorcycle transmission) 5 speed manual transmission with no clutch pedal. The clutch packs are operated by electric motors through the system computer. The computer also has the capability of actually shifting the gears, or the driver can shift the gears manually - but the clutch is always operated electrically.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:08 PM   #4
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There are a lot of used SmartCars on Sahara Ave in Las Vegas. The original dealer that sold them new quit selling them. Not exactly sure what that means.

Kerry
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:17 PM   #5
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I have a Smart but tow a Ford Explorer. I install my own base plates. I looked at the Blue-Ox and looked like too much work for the Smart. Besides,my wife hates it.

I use it around town. Not a good road car. BUT a constant 44.6MPG since new. 3 years old this August and only have 6,000 on her.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by two-niner View Post
There are a lot of used SmartCars on Sahara Ave in Las Vegas. The original dealer that sold them new quit selling them. Not exactly sure what that means.

Kerry
Thanks Kerry! I will be in Vegas tomorrow and will check them out.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:51 PM   #7
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Get a Mini Cooper S with a 6 speed...easy to tow 4 down and seats 4 with good mileage...also fun to drive at the destination. :-)
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-niner View Post
There are a lot of used SmartCars on Sahara Ave in Las Vegas. The original dealer that sold them new quit selling them. Not exactly sure what that means.
From 2008 until earlier this year smart dealers were mostly independent dealers franchised with the Penske Automotive Group - the people who had the exclusive import and distribution license. Earlier this year Mercedes took back complete ownership of the car, from manufacturing to distribution and service, so a lot of the old dealers closed (unless they happened to also be Mercedes dealers).
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:40 PM   #9
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I bought a new 2012 Smart Pure from a dealer in Plano, TX and will be picking it up in 2-3 weeks when I get down that way. I chose the Ready Brute Elite tow system which is being shipped to my brother's house so he can help me get it installed.

It feels like the end of Chapter 1 is approaching. Can't wait to see where Chapter 2 takes us.

Thanks Everyone!
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:56 PM   #10
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Weighing at 1800 lbs, the Smart is hardly there behind the coach.

It took me about 5 hrs. to install me Blue Ox.

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Old 10-30-2011, 08:50 AM   #11
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I have a smart car also, and I'm still loving it after almost 3 1/2 yrs. of driving it. It's still fun to drive, and it's my daily commuter as well as my preferred car on trips. Right now I'm looking to tow it behind our new motorhome, as well as sometimes taking my wife's Aveo & our Great Dane, so I'm looking at purchasing the Acme Eze-Tow Dolly for our use. It's gotten really good reviews on the forum from owners who are using it, and the price is right at $1300 plus $280 S&H. I just checked recently with an installer for tow systems & it was going to cost $3700 for a Roadmaster system installed, with a portable brake system. So.....right now I'm thinking (for our uses) the tow dolly will be the cheapest and best route. People that are using them say that they don't even know it's back there, and that's with a PT Cruiser. With a smart at 1840 lbs, I certainly don't think it would be noticeable. :>) Good luck with your search! I'll let you know how the tow dolly works with my smart.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meandering Retiree View Post
Get a Mini Cooper S with a 6 speed...easy to tow 4 down and seats 4 with good mileage...also fun to drive at the destination. :-)
At 6'3" and 285 lbs., I sat in a Mini Cooper once. Or should I say, I ATTEMPTED to sit in one. :>O I have far more leg room, head room, and comfort in my smart than I would ever have in a Mini Cooper, and I average 40 mpg in mixed driving, and 45+ in steady interstate/4-lane driving. Mini Coopers are great cars, and I imagine they're a lot of fun to drive, but I also like the idea of having a hardened steel (tridium) roll cage around me and the outside world. :>) That makes a smart a very, very safe car if you're ever involved in an accident. Also.....a smart starts around $12k brand new. I don't think you'll find a new Mini Cooper for that price. :>)
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:58 PM   #13
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...I'll let you know how the tow dolly works with my smart.
Before you buy the dolly, make sure the smart will fit on it - I know if I try to load my smart onto our Master Tow dolly the ramps will hit the body as they swing up - the wheelbase is just too short to work well with a dolly.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcritter View Post
I'm looking at purchasing the Acme Eze-Tow Dolly for our use. It's gotten really good reviews on the forum from owners who are using it, and the price is right at $1300 plus $280 S&H. I just checked recently with an installer for tow systems & it was going to cost $3700 for a Roadmaster system installed, with a portable brake system. I'll let you know how the tow dolly works with my smart.
I ordered this, which is tow bar and braking system combined, for $870 shipped

Elite ReadyBrute RV Tow Bar 8000 lbs Aluminum Ready Brute - $809...

and found the base plate for $317 shipped from hitchsource.com Installation will take 4-5 hours for both, but my brother is helping me with that.

I rented a tow dolly once and what a pain. You might want to rent one to see what all is involved and how it handles. For me, towing 4 down is the better choice. Also, a trailer or tow dolly is another vehicle to license and insure.
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