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Old 09-27-2021, 05:11 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2021
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Question 3rd Gen Prius V Tow Dolly Question

Hi all! I'm new to these forums, and was hoping to get some help.

i've searched high and low to find an answer to "how do I properly tow my Prius V behind my RV?" I keep finding contradicting answers, so I thought I'd finally post and see what I can find out from you lovely people

I know that having a tow dolly with a built in swivel pan is probably the most ideal way to go, however I...just don't have one.

Since I have a tow dolly that DOESN'T have a swivel pan or wheels that turn, I know I need to make sure the Prius steering is unlocked for transport (similar to how the front wheels of a wagon need to be free to swivel).

How do I ensure that the steering wheel security lock doesn't activate? I keep reading that if it kicks in, it will break during transport if you turn too far then straighten out.

Any time I search for some combination of that question, I get endless posts on how to unlock the steering wheel when that happens (or how to manually activate it)...but no answer on how to prevent this from happening entirely when being towed.

I've tried manually turning the wheel when the car is off, and it's REALLY hard to turn it! I haven't really been able to turn it back and forth enough to determine if mine will lock.

I can't put it in accessory mode (push button start), as the vehicle automatically shuts off after x amount of time.

I don't mind pulling the battery to accomplish this, if I KNOW that is what needs to be done to keep the steering mechanisms free to do their thing. I can always get a memory saver device.

I don't mind pulling a fuse if that is what needs to be done, too.

I've read that the steering wheel lock remains inactive after you turn the car off as long as you don't open the doors. Do I have to climb out the window 'Duke's of Hazard' style? Sounds fun, but I'm hoping I don't have to do that.

I just need to be 100% sure I can put the car into the proper state for long tow trips once I've secured it to the tow dolly, even if it's a pain in the you know what.

If anyone can give me a super straightforward answer to this, I'd be forever grateful.

I'm hoping someone out there has experience towing a 2010-2015 year Prius (V or non V), and has experience with the steering lock situation.

Thank you!!
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Old 09-28-2021, 12:58 PM   #2
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Posts: 325
We towed a 2010 Prius 4 on an Acme (non swiveling) dolly for a while. Our 2010 Prius did not have a steering lock so we didnít have to worry about it locking on us. The Prius did tow fine on the dolly but we ultimately traded it for a car we could flat tow.
Jim and Shelia
2017 Tiffin Allegro RED 37PA
2018 Chevy Equinox
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Old 09-28-2021, 05:06 PM   #3
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Thank you for the feedback!

Here's what I've gathered so far, in case anyone else goes searching:
  1. Drive up on dolly following dolly manufacturer's instructions
  2. Place Prius in park, and apply parking brake
  3. Secure the Prius via straps/chains/etc
  4. Do any other prep work the dolly manufacturer suggests
  5. !Release parking brake!
  6. Drive the tow vehicle a bit to ensure the car can track properly on turns and that the steering hasn't locked.
  7. Double check straps/chains/lights
  8. Pray to whatever god will listen that nothing goes wrong
  9. Enjoy travel!
  10. Stop every so often to check that the straps/chains/car on the tow vehicle are OK, and adjust as necessary
  11. When you get to your destination (or every few hundred miles on a longer trip, maybe), unload the Prius and drive it around for a half mile (or more) to clear any error codes caused by towing with the wheels up. This also circulates fluids.
  12. Park the Prius, or re-load onto the dolly
  13. Enjoy a delicious beverage of your choice
From the sound of things, unplugging the 12v battery isn't necessary (at least not on this generation Prius).

For Prii with a physical key, leaving it in Acc may be good (but turn off/unplug anything that will draw additional power).

For Prii with a push-button start, leave the car off; Acc mode will automatically turn off after a period of time, anyway.

I'm guessing leaving the Prius unlocked during transport may be ideal, as that will help prevent alarms from going off. I can always lock it when I'm parked, and going to be away for a bit. If unlocking later, be sure to open and close a door as some models are set to auto lock if the door isn't opened shortly after the doors are unlocked.

Cunningham's Law should ensure someone will correct me where I'm wrong.

@Bikinjim, I may eventually go your route and find a car that can be flat towed with less hassle, haha

I'll be testing out the whole setup this weekend, so here's hoping it all goes smoothly.
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Old 09-28-2021, 06:30 PM   #4
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Posts: 325
We never had any codes set in our Prius after towing with the dolly. All I ever did was load the car on the dolly and attach the straps and chains, turn the car off and ensure the parking brake was off, and lock the doors. Then I stopped after a couple of miles and retightened the straps. I never had any real problems with towing that way but I needed to come up with a better method to connect the chains to the carís frame other than crawling under the car. Also, I really disliked having to stop and tighten the straps and then deal with the empty dolly at the campgrounds. There are simple ways to handle the chains so you donít have to crawl under the car but we decided we needed a newer car anyway and decided to buy a flat towable car and try that instead. I find that flat towing works better for us but it hasnít been problem or hassle free either. We purchased a 2015 Cherokee and got caught up in the death wobble thing and had frame damage to the car from a defective baseplate design. So we concluded that nothingís perfect and problems can happen in most anything. You just have to find what works best for you, stay observant, and be prepared to correct the problems as they occur. Good luck in your upcoming towing trial.
Jim and Shelia
2017 Tiffin Allegro RED 37PA
2018 Chevy Equinox
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Old 09-28-2021, 07:19 PM   #5
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Holy crap! I looked up a video on the death wobble, and it looks scary! I hope you and yours are safe and were able to get that fixed.

Thank you for the well wishes and extra info on the dolly and chains. I bought a dolly that can "stand up" and has 4 removable casters to roll on. I'm hoping I can prop it up and secure it to the rear RV bumper when not in use. I also got lucky, and have just enough clearance underneath the RV that the dolly could stay under there when not needed, and/or when parking on dirt. I can see how this could get old quickly, though...

We have been able to travel for several years without a towed vehicle, but I need something smaller to make going into cities, parks, etc easier (and less fuel hungry). I guess we'll start here, and adjust as we go.

The distant future may call for an electric truck and a small trailer, once range anxiety is better resolved. I really like the idea of never needing to pay for expensive fuel, and being able to charge up an electric truck on the RV park's dime

Thank you, again!
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