During the first six months of full-time RVing in our Winnebago View, we drove our motorhome without a towing a toad vehicle. However, we found that we wanted more freedom to explore once our motorhome is parked. So, we decided on a Jeep Wrangler (JK) off-road vehicle so we could diversify and expand our adventures. So, having experienced RVing in a motorhome with and without a toad vehicle, we want to share the pros versus cons of towing.
But there are other reasons why we chose towing our adventure vehicle in which we’ll get to later in this article. And of course, we’ll also tell you the negatives to give insight for those considering the same.
PROS AND CONS: MOTORHOME WITH A TOAD VEHICLE
ALWAYS seek recommendations from the vehicle manufacturer to insure dolly-towing can be performed and instructions on how to properly and safely tow.
FLAT TOWING A TOAD VEHICLE VS. TOW DOLLY
Flat Towing with Tow Bar
Only vehicles with manual transmissions (but not all) can be flat-towed. That said, having a vehicle with a standard transmission does not necessarily mean it can be flat-towed.
And, weight of the vehicle must be considered. A motorhome’s towing capacity is most important otherwise, you’ll incur damage to your motorhome.
Do diligent research before anything! Do NOT take the word of a car salesman if you wish to flat-tow a vehicle.
2-Down Towing with Tow Dolly
The other option of towing a toad vehicle is to purchase a car tow dolly.
A car tow dolly is designed for cars weighing less than 5000 pounds with front-wheel drive. As most cars have front wheel or rear wheel drive trains, it’s always recommended to check with the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Towing with a tow dolly has the potential of damage to the motorhome and/or the vehicle itself due to the uncertain ground clearances. A toad vehicle can sustain damage to the body, undercarriage and/or bumper.
Before towing with a tow dolly, the drive shaft of the toad vehicle must be disconnected to prevent damage to the transmission.
And equal to the flat-towing, never should a vehicle be towed backwards due to safety and damage concerns.
What we chose and why
After extensive research, first, we chose our 2010 Jeep Wrangler JK 2-door with removable hard top because it is lightweight and can be flat-towed with all wheels on the ground. Since the Jeep Wrangler JK 2-door is lighter in weight, there’s less wear and tear on our towing system as well as our Winnebago View motorhome. And as a matter of fact, it’s one of the vehicles recommended to tow behind smaller Class C motorhomes.
We also worked with two different tow bars. First, we towed using the highly recommended and popular Blue Ox which we found to be of great quality and durability. However, we found it to be heavy and oftentimes would bind making it difficult to disconnect. And, the price is a bit steep because of it’s popularity and supply and demand.
Then, we tested the more affordable and lighter weight CURT Rambler tow bar. The CURT Rambler seems easier to disconnect with virtually no binding. And since it is lighter weight, it’s more manageable to remove and store it instead of leaving it out in the elements, possible theft or damage. But also, if we just want to go toad-less for awhile.
And we couldn’t be happier! But that doesn’t mean all’s hunky dory because we have a toad vehicle. As with everything, there’s pros and cons even with towing our Jeep behind our small compact Class C motorhome. So, let’s dig in to learn the advantages and disadvantages of towing behind a motorhome.
PROS OF TOWING A TOAD VEHICLE
Having a toad vehicle allows us an additional means of transportation. We can park our motorhome at an RV park or campground where our kitties can relax while we drive our toad to go on auto tours or daytripping.
And, some places may not permit higher profile vehicles such as when we went on the Covered Bridges Tour in Ohio. Toads are great for attending festivals, concerts, and parking garages; without the kayaks, of course.
Smaller Parking Footprint
Finding parking spaces along some of the routes or stops while exploring may not be big enough for even our small Class C Winnebago View. So, having a smaller toad vehicle enables us to explore without worrying about if we’ll be able to find a parking space. Also, there are times we wish to dine out, go to a concert or visit the big cities. Having that toad vehicle is instrumental in expanding our urban adventures; especially when there are parking garages with height restrictions!
Exploring and Run Errands
We use our toad vehicle not only as our adventure vehicle but also as our grocery getter and going to the laundromat. Also, if we want to run errands, go shopping or just to go pick up take-out, our Jeep is a great run-around town vehicle. Additionally, if one of us is flying out, the other can drive to the airport and have a run-around vehicle to explore on their own.
Adventure Equipment Storage
One of the benefits of having our toad vehicle is not only is it our additional transportation but also it provides additional storage for our adventure gear. Its hard not to notice our two Perception Swifty Kayaks loaded on the roof. And inside, we keep our hiking gear such as poles, backpacks, Camelbacks and extra shoes. But also, it allows us to keep our bicycles as well.
We hope to never breakdown on the road towing our Jeep. However, in the event that we do, at least we can disconnect our toad vehicle and drive the kitties to a hotel while our motorhome gets towed to a repair facility.
CONS OF TOWING A TOAD VEHICLE
Initial Setup Cost
One of the reasons why we hesitated to get a toad vehicle is the initial setup is costly. Our Jeep needed a new base plate installed to receive our CURT Rambler tow bar. Cost can vary from about $3000-5000 depending on parts and equipment, installation, economic locations and labor.
Another Vehicle to Maintain and Outfit
It’s a no-brainer that you’re going to have added expenses having another vehicle other than a possible loan payment. A toad vehicle is going to require regular fluid changes, washes, wiper blades, tires, belts, etc.
In our case, we want to outfit our 2-door Jeep JK to endure 4-wheeling adventures and exploring.
Check out our video of some cool Jeep upgrades from MORryde!
Additional Insurance and Vehicle Registration
Having a toad vehicle will require insurance and vehicle registration fees. Again though, variances in vehicle insurance will be based on geographical location of insured vehicle, driving record of insured, vehicle value and coverages. So, if you’re eager to compare your insurance coverage with others, there’s many reasons why premiums may differ.
Speaking of insurance, when we initially set up insurance on our motorhome, it was written in our policy that we are not towing. However, now that we are towing a vehicle, our motorhome insurance increased a tad bit because of liability risk. So, be aware that not only will you incur vehicle insurance but your motorhome premiums may be affected as well.
Extra Weight and MPG Loss
Our Jeep JK added about 4000 pounds loaded to our tow. This includes accessories, fluids, full tank of fuel, kayaks and rack, and any gear we store in the back. And while we don’t really feel the surges, jolts or heaviness of the tow, we do feel it in the wallet when it comes to a decrease in mileage.
When towing, our Class C Motorhome MPG (miles per gallon) decreases about 2 MPG. It’s just something to think about before taking the plunge in buying a toad vehicle and towing system if finances may be an issue. Those 2 MPG can add up if you’re trekking up to Alaska, into Mexico or cross country USA.
Once we connect the toad vehicle to the motorhome’s tow bar, our maneuverability will decrease. When flat towing or using a tow dolly, you cannot reverse your setup. Otherwise, severe damage to the toad vehicle, tow bar and consequently your motorhome will result.
So, if we get to where we need to reverse our motorhome, we’d have to disconnect our toad vehicle first, then reverse our motorhome and reconnect to the tow bar.
Also, tight turns may be more challenging as we must consider where our toad vehicle will follow. We must make extra precautions to not drive over or scrape curbs, traffic islands or damage property.
Additional Toll Fees
Our last negative is when towing, you’re going to incur additional toll fees because of your toad vehicle’s two additional axels. So, plan accordingly to have extra cash on hand or if you have a toll transponder or E-Z Pass.
So there’s our comparisons to give you an idea of what to expect when considering towing a toad vehicle with your motorhome. While there are amazing opportunities to explore more and have more convenience to tour, there are some things to consider such as additional equipment and costs, weight restraints, and maneuverability.
But all in all, we have the best of all worlds when RVing with a toad vehicle. We have our home on wheels and our adventure vehicle to explore beyond!