RV Hitching & Towing Tips

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What are the basics of RV hitching?

RV Hitching

No matter what type of RV hitch you choose, there are some rules to remember when you tow a vehicle or RV. RV hitching safety includes:

  • Mirrors. You'll need large-view rear view mirrors that show the back of your vehicle and help in passing and turning. The larger the better.
  • Tire pressure. Always make sure your tow vehicle's tire pressure is correct for your vehicle and make sure trailer and tow vehicle tires are properly inflated. Keep a tire gauge handy, and know the recommended pressure for each tire.
  • The hitch itself. All hitches are made up of two parts, the drawbar and receiver. Make absolutely sure they are rated to tow the weight of your trailer. You should always buy a hitch with weight-distributing bars that help distribute some of the trailer's weight more effectively.
  • Check all the lights. Before you leave on your trip, check all your lights and connections. Make sure the brake lights come on, the running lights work, and the turn signals flash. Check these whenever you stop for gas or a rest, as the connections can sometimes get loose.
RV hitching isn't complicated, but you do need to remember the basics before you start to tow.

   
What's a tow car shield?

RV Towing Guide

Don't forget that your tow vehicle is going to get the worst of wear on your trips. Most RV towing guides recommend protecting your tow vehicle from debris, kicked up rocks, dust, and exhaust by using a tow car shield. There are several different models to choose from, but they all mount on the front of your tow vehicle to protect the body and windshield from debris, dust, and other road hazards.

Some of these shields mount directly on your tow bar, so they remain on the bar when you unhitch the vehicle, making it much easier to just get in the vehicle and go once you've arrived at your campsite. Others mount directly onto the car, covering the entire hood, windshield and fenders.

   
What types of RV car towing options are available?

RV Car Towing

What's a dinghy or a toad? It's the vehicle you tow behind your motorhome so you can leave the motorhome in the campground while you go out and explore the sights. Some RVers call these vehicles dinghies, while others call them toads. Whatever you call them, chances are if you own a motorhome, you're going to get into RV car towing sooner or later.

There are several RV car towing options. You can tow the car loaded on a tow trailer, tow it on a dolly or use a tow bar to attach it to the tow vehicle.

  • Tow trailers are bulky, so they aren't the most common way to tow a toad. However, the car doesn't have to be modified to take a hitch, and there's no wear to brakes, tires, etc.
  • Tow dollies are popular with people who tow 2-wheel drive cars. The cars don't have to modified as much, and some dollies come complete with automatic steering and brakes, which you need when RV car towing.
  • Tow bars are the most common way to tow a toad. However, your vehicle will need to be modified to be towed. These types of hitches are the easiest to hitch and unhitch, too.
Choose the right RV car towing options for your motorhome and your needs, and you'll always have a toad right behind you when you need it!

   
Do I really need a supplemental braking system as part of my RV towing accessories?

RV Towing Accessories

One of the most important RV towing accessories is a supplemental braking system for your towed vehicle. Most states have laws requiring brakes on any towed trailer and that includes vehicles you tow behind your RV. In addition, RV brakes are designed to stop the weight of the vehicle itself, not anything towed behind it, so supplement braking systems are a necessity if you want to tow a vehicle with your RV.

There are several different types of braking systems including surge, hydraulic, air and vacuum. What you choose depends on the weight of your tow vehicle and your own preference. You can find these systems where RV towing accessories are sold. Whatever system you choose, you should make sure it's portable and can be used on any vehicle, that you don't have to modify your brake system, that it brakes your tow vehicle whenever the RV brakes are applied and that it's easy to use and install.

   
What types of RV towing hitches are available?

RV Towing – Types of Hitches

There are different types of hitches in the RV world, which provide various RV towing options. Frame hitches are used with travel trailers and many people prefer them because they offer more versatility and towing options. A frame hitch leaves truck beds open for storage and hauling, even while towing and travel trailers are usually lighter than 5th wheel trailers, so your gas mileage may be a little better when towing a trailer.

However, the 5th wheel type of RV towing hitch that connects to the bed of a truck does offer several advantages, even if you lose hauling space. The 5th wheel hitch centers the trailer's tongue over the rear axle of the truck, which adds stability and traction. Because the trailer extends over the bed of the truck, tow lengths are usually less than the length of a travel trailer, too. Many people think the 5th wheel hitches are easier to hitch and unhitch as well. So, choose your hitch to fit your needs and the type of trailer you'd like to own.

   
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