Does Towing a Car Behind an RV Put Miles On It?

Regular RVers know how helpful it can be to both drive your home, and park it to relax during trips and travel. Even if you are a novice RV driver, it is easy to understand just how awkward and time-consuming it can be to pack up camp just to drive a short distance to the store or to explore the area.

Thankfully, taking a “toad” with you on your travels is an efficient option that will give you the freedom of movement without the need to dismantle for casual side trips. A toad is a car or truck that is towed behind your RV. This allows for a lot of freeing when you are on the road and it can make sightseeing much easier. That being said, it makes sense to consider if towing a vehicle behind your car will add to its overall mileage.

Modern cars are able to be pulled behind an RV without the wheel rotations causing the mileage to be calculated. However, older cars will have their mileage counters go up when they are flat towed behind an RV even though the engine is not running. The type of car you have will determine if flat towing or using a trailer will be the best option when towing a car during your travels.

Knowing you have the option of moving around the local area without breaking down your camp is essential for long trips. That being said the last thing you want to do is add mileage to your toad vehicle without actually driving it. Not all cars and trucks are made the same, some will make great candidates for flat towing while others are more suited to a travel trailer. In our post below we will go more into detail about mileage and towing behind an RV in addition to which type of vehicles are best used as toad vehicles.

RV Camper Towing a Trailer

If you have a modern vehicle, the electric system is what is used to add miles to the odometer. That means if the engine is not running, no miles will be added even if the wheels are spinning. At the same time, if your vehicle is older, it will operate on a mechanical odometer.

These types of odometers do not need electricity to work, so turning wheels will add miles even if the car is not being driven. When considering towing a car or truck behind your RV, make sure you check the odometer type before you start your trip to prevent increasing the miles accidentally.

Does Towing A Car Damage an RV?

It is completely safe to tow a car or truck behind your RV, however, there are still side effects to consider. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you may have added mileage, but for newer cars, this won’t be the case.

Your towed vehicle will not experience engine wear and tear, but the rest of the vehicle will experience the same amount of wear as if you were actually driving. That means your wheels will wear down, as usual, dents and nicks from road hazards are also a possibility. Anything that happens to your RV while on the road will also be reflected in the vehicle you tow behind it.

Another way your vehicle can become damaged is if it is not being towed properly. Incorrect hitching can lead to alignment, damage to the transmission, and harm to other car systems.

Always check the car manual and the hitching instructions for each vehicle prior to getting on the road. Many RV or car dealerships will offer tutorials on proper hitching techniques that will help you prevent avoidable car damage when towing behind your Camper.

What Vehicles Types Can Be Flat-Towed Behind an RV?

There is a wide range of cars and trucks that can easily be towed behind your RV during your next trip. In fact, any type of car or truck can be pulled behind an RV with the right setup. The main thing to remember is that regardless of what type of vehicle you have, an appropriate towing method must be used.

Not every type of car can be flat towed, but just about every car can be pulled behind an RV on a two-wheeled dolly. A good place to check for flat-towing compatibility for modern cars is at Etrailer. Another good source is Motorhome, but their list is for 1999 and earlier.

A few different car types are ideal for flat towing behind an RV.

  • Ford F-150s are a popular choice especially for those who plan to camp in the wilderness or hilly areas.
  • The Chevrolet Spark is a nice compact car that is big enough for the family, but small enough for even a mid-sized RV to handle.
  • Dodge Rams are also great as tow-along’s due to their sturdy frame and easy maneuverability.
  • Jeep Wranglers is on the lighter side if you have a smaller RV but still want to bring along another vehicle for shorter trips.

It is important to know the towing capacity of your RV in addition to the hitching ability of your vehicle when considering the tow-along option.

It is a good idea to let your RV dealer know the make and model of the car you plan to travel with before making a purchase so they can recommend the right RV class to fit your needs.

What Makes a Vehicle Suitable for RV Towing?

In general, any car that has a manual transmission with rear-wheel-drive capabilities is suitable for behind RV towing.

  • A 4-wheel-drive that has a manual transfer can be placed in neutral and towed behind an RV.
  • If a car features rear-wheel drive, it is possible to tow it flat, or on a two-wheel dolly with equal ease.
  • Every vehicle can be transported on a four-wheeled trailer.
  • Automatic vehicles and electric vehicles can also be hauled behind an RV, but the model type will determine what type of towing setup will be ideal for your travels.

Methods for Towing a Vehicle Behind An RV

There are a few different towing methods to choose from when you want to haul your car or truck behind your RV.

Let’s talk about each option in further detail, so you can make the best choice for your next trip.

Dinghy Towing

CURT 58910 Custom Towed-Vehicle RV Wiring Harness for Dinghy Towing, Fits Select Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon

CURT towed-vehicle RV harnesses

Also known as flat towing, this option is best for older cars that won’t have their mileage counts affected during your trip. All four wheels are on the ground and the vehicle is attached to the RV using a tow bar. You can find a handy kit here.

Car Hauler

HTTMT- US-FF801-BK- Adjustable Tow Towing Bar Bumper Mount 5000lb w/Chains RV Car Truck Jeep System

HTTMT Adjustable Tow Bar

This option is best for all-wheel drive vehicles or other types of vehicles that are not suitable for flat or dolly towing. If your mileage will increase when your wheels are in motion, a car hauler, or flatbed tower is a good option. You will need a sturgy hitch and an electronics box to attach to the tow bar for this style of unit. You will also need a ramp and ratchet straps.

TOW Dolly

Demco 9713051 Tow-It II Dolly Setup with Brakes

9713051 Demco RV Car Dolly Use For Towing Vehicles With 42 Inch

This option is best for cars or trucks that have front-wheel drive. The RV tow dolly will keep the front wheels off of the road while the rear wheels are used for traction on the road. All you need for this setup is heavy-duty ratchet straps, the ramp that comes with the dolly, and the dolly itself like the Demco RV Car Dolly found here. The cost of this towing option is much more affordable than a full trailer for cars that can’t be flat towed.

What Gear Should the Vehicle Be in While Towed?

When you are towing a vehicle behind your RV, it should always be in a neutral.

This ensures that the engine is disengaged and also helps to reduce the risk of your vehicle being damaged.

Depending on the type of car and the towing method you use, it may be necessary to stop occasionally to run the engine. This lubricates the transmission and helps to prevent engine damage.

Check the manual to see if fuses need to be removed before you tow as well. Some cars have steering locks that will be triggered when in motion, so the keys may need to remain in the ignition even if the car is off.

You’re All Set Up To Tow. Where To Now?!

Traveling in an RV is an easy way to get the comforts of home while still enjoying the adventure that comes with traveling. When you don’t have a smaller car, however, it is easy to feel limited in what you can do or where you can go.

The best way to get around that is by towing a smaller vehicle along with you. When you are ready to hit the road in your RV this coming travel season, our towing tips are a great way to ensure your tow along is safe during your travels.

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