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Old 08-22-2021, 09:44 PM   #1
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The days of towing behind your RV may be numbered!

Well, at least thatís what it looks like to me. We were thinking about buying a new car and I caught myself only looking at cars that can be flat towed. None of the cars we liked could be towed. So I came home and did an unofficial, unscientific analysis. I looked at cars/trucks that could be flat towed in any configuration. Some require 4x4, or manual transmission, etc. I counted them all . Hereís what I came up with; in 2011 there were 110 cars that could be towed, in 2018 that number dropped to 64 and in 2020 the number was 44. If you look at the trend itís going to get to where you can only tow a 4x4 pickup (I see more and more of those being towed). You can still tow some Jeeps but I wonít buy another one of those (Iíve owned two Wranglers). So the pickings are getting slim.


Then I considered the cost. When I first started towing (about 20 years ago or so), you could buy a base plate for around $250. Today the price is right at $500. Add a tow bar, a breaking system, lights and labor and youíre going to spend close to $3k+ to set up a new car. But it's really not about the money.


Iíve only ever towed 4 wheels down except for a brief period when I used a tow dolly which I will never do again. So that brings me to my decision; Iím going to trailer my car for awhile. I bought a trailer thatís only 12 feet long (the deck, not including the tongue), has brakes on both axles complete with LED lights all around. I did a few test runs and Iím liking it. I have to back into my driveway off of a state highway and after a couple of times, I can back the trailer in the drive hooked to the RV. Thatís a plus for me.


Iíve asked a few RVíers that were towing a trailer if they experienced any issues. Most said no and a couple said that some RV parks were unavailable to them because of their trailer.


For me, I don't care how fast you can hook up to flat tow vs loading a trailer, I'm retired and usually have to stop in the middle of a task and have a cup of coffee and a nap anyway...



I know this topic has been discussed ad nauseam but I do think we are headed to a place where trailer'ing is going to be the norm. What do you think?


I'm going to use a trailer for the next year and see how it goes.
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Old 08-22-2021, 09:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darjacob View Post
Well, at least thatís what it looks like to me. We were thinking about buying a new car and I caught myself only looking at cars that can be flat towed. None of the cars we liked could be towed. So I came home and did an unofficial, unscientific analysis. I looked at cars/trucks that could be flat towed in any configuration. Some require 4x4, or manual transmission, etc. I counted them all . Hereís what I came up with; in 2011 there were 110 cars that could be towed, in 2018 that number dropped to 64 and in 2020 the number was 44. If you look at the trend itís going to get to where you can only tow a 4x4 pickup (I see more and more of those being towed). You can still tow some Jeeps but I wonít buy another one of those (Iíve owned two Wranglers). So the pickings are getting slim.


Then I considered the cost. When I first started towing (about 20 years ago or so), you could buy a base plate for around $250. Today the price is right at $500. Add a tow bar, a breaking system, lights and labor and youíre going to spend close to $3k+ to set up a new car. But it's really not about the money.


Iíve only ever towed 4 wheels down except for a brief period when I used a tow dolly which I will never do again. So that brings me to my decision; Iím going to trailer my car for awhile. I bought a trailer thatís only 12 feet long (the deck, not including the tongue), has brakes on both axles complete with LED lights all around. I did a few test runs and Iím liking it. I have to back into my driveway off of a state highway and after a couple of times, I can back the trailer in the drive hooked to the RV. Thatís a plus for me.


Iíve asked a few RVíers that were towing a trailer if they experienced any issues. Most said no and a couple said that some RV parks were unavailable to them because of their trailer.


For me, I don't care how fast you can hook up to flat tow vs loading a trailer, I'm retired and usually have to stop in the middle of a task and have a cup of coffee and a nap anyway...



I know this topic has been discussed ad nauseam but I do think we are headed to a place where trailer'ing is going to be the norm. What do you think?


I'm going to use a trailer for the next year and see how it goes.
We went to a trailer about 12 years ago and never went back. The last 5 we were towing we towed an electric vehicle. The only way you can (unless you use a dolly on a FWD EV). We liked being able to back into truck spots, parallel parking etc. We recently sold our motorhome and are going to the trailer life but if we ever went back to motorhoming we would tow on a trailer again.
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Old 08-22-2021, 10:06 PM   #3
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Since you are limiting yourself, by eliminating a tow dolly, I guess your available vehicles able to be flat towed is another limiting factor. Plus, you add the additional limiting factor of where to store the trailer when you get to your stop. Plus, your 12 foot trailer is shorter than the average small car, which, according to NADA, is 13.8 feet. If you stick with a sub-compact, then I guess you would be ok.
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Old 08-22-2021, 10:17 PM   #4
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We have been flat towing since 1988 and there has always been few vehicles that can be flat towed. From the towing lists we have seen from FMCA and other RV magazines there are more vehicles that there was 10 years ago. Using both a tow dolly or a trailer are not convenient when traveling from park to park. For those who are just starting out would suggest get a tow vehicle that can be flat towed.
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Old 08-22-2021, 11:31 PM   #5
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We don't tow. There's Lyft, Uber, and Enterprise, and they will all pick you up. That being said, we don't boondock and rarely get too far from home so if we need a car for some reason my wife drives hers and follows the coach. If we go on a 500+ mile trip then the 3 that pick you up works well.


No wear and tear on our cars, no hassles at fuel stops, hooking up, etc. And if you really analyze the costs [ at least in our situation ] it's cheaper.


Don't flame me, this is what works best for us.


JMO, YMMV
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Old 08-22-2021, 11:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HarryStone View Post
Since you are limiting yourself, by eliminating a tow dolly, I guess your available vehicles able to be flat towed is another limiting factor. Plus, you add the additional limiting factor of where to store the trailer when you get to your stop. Plus, your 12 foot trailer is shorter than the average small car, which, according to NADA, is 13.8 feet. If you stick with a sub-compact, then I guess you would be ok.
Your calculations are missing a key fact: Wheelbase IS NOT the length of the vehicle. There are very few vehicles that have more than a 144 inch wheelbase, and most are quite a bit under that. 110 inches is around the average.

The bumpers will be over the forward triangle tongue and slightly behind the trailer's rear bumper....But that is not an issue. I do think it is perhaps on the smaller side - My previous flatbed was a 12' deck with a dovetail rear - and it was suitable for my vehicles, I just didn't like how it pulled and turned. I now have a 16 foot aluminum trailer that is much nicer to handle. I can also adjust the position of the car on it if I don't like the loading balance, something which I could not do on the smaller deck.
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Old 08-23-2021, 06:47 AM   #7
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Plus, your 12 foot trailer is shorter than the average small car, which, according to NADA, is 13.8 feet. If you stick with a sub-compact, then I guess you would be ok.

That statement is misleading. I have a Volvo XC60 which is a SUV and it fits on my trailer with 3 feet to spare. You don't have to have a deck the length of your car, the wheelbase is what you need. My car has a wheelbase of 112 inches while the deck is 144 inches. Most of the car haulers U-Haul rents has a 12 foot deck. A 2021 Denali 4x4 has a wheelbase of 120 inches... About the only thing I can't haul is a 4 door pickup.
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Old 08-23-2021, 08:28 AM   #8
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This is interesting. I've been looking at smaller cars to tow behind my new class B. I can still tow my Lincoln but it comes in at the max towing weight of my Sprinter, which is OK.

I test drove a new Mini Cooper and was going to order one because I would need a manual transmission. The wait is 4 months. I can certainly drive a manual although it's been almost 40 yrs. since I had one! LOL!

The trailer idea might work as I could buy an automatic Mini.

What type of trailer is the best for a small car? I don't know anything about trailers.

Any tips to head me in the right direction to investigate?

I like the idea of being able to back up and I have heard that tow dollies are a pain in the beee-hind.

Thanks and safe travels!
Mark
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Old 08-23-2021, 09:03 AM   #9
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There are plenty of vehicles that can be flat towed. Maybe it is the choice/ style that is limiting your choice.

Ken
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Old 08-23-2021, 09:13 AM   #10
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If you are willing to spend a few bucks you can tow many rear wheel or AWD vehicles. I just had a new Sprinter setup to tow behind a Cornerstone. I had a Superior Driveline unit installed (previously Remco). Just put it in neutral, pull on a cable and go.
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Old 08-23-2021, 09:21 AM   #11
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There's a bunch of different opinions on this matter and to top it off people typically don't like change. I do not believe there's a perfect way to take additional car/truck with you as you travel. There's always going to be sacrifices.



After our tow bar broke we went to a 22 foot hydraulic trailer made by H&H. We've only been on one trip with it but it worked well. There's no doubt that it's going to be an inconvenience in some campgrounds. But i do find that I worry less knowing that I can back up and I think it's safer. I prefer longer trailers over shorter ones because they tow better and easier to back up.
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Old 08-23-2021, 10:34 AM   #12
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There are plenty of vehicles that can be towed four-down. Maybe not your first or second preference, but plenty nonetheless. For those of us with 40-45 foot coaches its is hard enough to find campsites big enough to fit the coach, let alone coach and a trailer. The coach limits me enough, I do not want to be further limited as to where I can go.

As for rentals, Ubers and Lyft, try doing that inside a national park, in a small town, or out in the wild. Those are the places we mostly like to go, not cities where rentals or Ubers are available.

The convenience of towing four-down far outweighs the costs and sacrifices involved. If they stopped making toad-capable vehicles, I would tow a 20-year old one in good condition before I would give up four-down towing.
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Old 08-23-2021, 10:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fqberful View Post
We don't tow. There's Lyft, Uber, and Enterprise, and they will all pick you up. That being said, we don't boondock and rarely get too far from home so if we need a car for some reason my wife drives hers and follows the coach. If we go on a 500+ mile trip then the 3 that pick you up works well.


No wear and tear on our cars, no hassles at fuel stops, hooking up, etc. And if you really analyze the costs [ at least in our situation ] it's cheaper.


Don't flame me, this is what works best for us.


JMO, YMMV


It is great you are able to do that. I tried to do it for the reasons you said. But when I planned a trip out west to National parks and away from metropolitan areas it was not possible.
If I could do it I would. It makes sense where and when it is possible.
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Old 08-23-2021, 01:01 PM   #14
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There are plenty of vehicles that can be towed four-down. Maybe not your first or second preference, but plenty nonetheless. For those of us with 40-45 foot coaches its is hard enough to find campsites big enough to fit the coach, let alone coach and a trailer. The coach limits me enough, I do not want to be further limited as to where I can go.

As for rentals, Ubers and Lyft, try doing that inside a national park, in a small town, or out in the wild. Those are the places we mostly like to go, not cities where rentals or Ubers are available.

The convenience of towing four-down far outweighs the costs and sacrifices involved. If they stopped making toad-capable vehicles, I would tow a 20-year old one in good condition before I would give up four-down towing.



We also have a little device that fits in the trailer hitch. It's a ramp actuated by a bottle jack and does a fine job of toting the wife's Suzuki Bergman 400. Again not towing. We use this in cases where the other 3 might not be available or we have needs closer to the park than justify the "3"..



Note that as I said we don't boondock. With a 45' coach it just doesn't work for us. We don't do national parks as most don't have sewer [ that's a discussion for another time ] We've never been *anywhere* the top 3 didn't work, at least one of them. Uber and Lyft even in some very small towns.
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