There is no better way to travel the country than in the comfort of a recreational vehicle. If your RV is a motorhome, you may be setting up frequently at an RV park or campsite. You could be staying for a day, a week, a month … or longer. During the duration of your stay, it can be advantageous to have an extra vehicle on hand.
Once the recreational vehicle is parked and hooked up to the RV park services, you may wish to leave it there until you’re ready to move on. In other words, if you get all set up and you discover that you need eggs for the morning meal, you may not want to break camp simply to run to the corner market. In this case, it’s very handy to have a vehicle on hand that you can hop into and run an errand at a moment’s notice. This is why so many people these days tow an extra vehicle behind their RV. Some refer to these vehicles as a “dinghy” or a “toad” car. This practice has become more popular than ever. As a matter of fact, you may see more RVs with a vehicle in tow than without.
In addition to running errands, you may be traveling to an event or an attraction, but the idea of having to park your RV in the congested parking lot doesn’t exactly appeal to you. Perhaps you want to go sightseeing without using as much fuel as it would take to power your RV. How nice would it be to hop into a smaller vehicle to get you there?
Some like to tow a more versatile vehicle to be used for more than just passenger comfort. These are the folks that prefer to pull a 4WD, such as a Jeep or a pickup truck for more rugged exploration and recreation. Whatever the case, it is extremely handy to have a car ready to go when you are.
There are a few options you have when you choose to pull a toad car, each having its advantages and disadvantages:
Car Dolly: This is a great alternative to flat towing. It is a device that keeps the front tires off of the road, with the rear tires rolling directly on the surface. However, you must keep in mind that if you use a tow dolly, you will need to store it somewhere while you camp. Also, the tow dolly is almost impossible to back up. If you absolutely must put your RV into reverse, you’ll need to disconnect the dolly, back up, then reconnect. In addition, the weight of the dolly must be included when figuring out the gross combined weight rating.
Flat Tow: If you choose not to use a car dolly, be sure that the dinghy vehicle you choose is approved by the manufacturer for flat towing. This is when all four wheels are on the ground as you pull it behind your motorhome. There are several passenger cars or light duty trucks that can be safely flat towed, but you may need to add a towing accessory (such as a transmission lube pump) from the dealer or as an aftermarket add-on. There may be some modifications to make on the vehicle before you embark on your trip (check the specifications of your car). You want to make sure that flat towing will not adversely affect the warranty, and that proper procedures are followed.
Trailer: Hauling your dinghy in a covered trailer is very convenient when you are on the road. It can be backed up, and it protects your extra car from the elements as you travel. However, it greatly adds to the weight you are pulling, which can be very limiting. In addition, it adds much more length to your overall rig, making it difficult at times to find a place to park. Also, you will need to figure out a place to store the trailer when you are not on the road. Lastly, it can be very pricey to purchase a trailer that will accommodate your car.
One of the most important things to consider when selecting a dinghy is the RV manufacturer’s gross combination weight rating (GCWR). Be sure that you will be causing no damage to either the RV or the vehicle you are towing.
One very essential component for towing a dinghy safely is a properly installed linkage between the RV and the car. The hitch receiver, the tow bars and the base plates all need to be in good working order, with the proper weight rating for the car you intend to pull. While you may upgrade these items, it does not allow for an increase in the weight your RV is rated to pull.
If you have any questions about towing a dinghy behind your motorhome, you can always call Pedata RV and discuss it with them. They will guide you in the right direction every time.