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GypsyStephie

If you flat tow, what vehicle do you tow?

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We're looking to replace our Jeep Wrangler with either a new or less than 3 year old small SUV or car that we can flat tow. Much as we love our Wrangler, we'd like a four-door vehicle that's a little bigger and easier to get in and out of. I don't want a pick-up truck. If you flat tow a car or small to mid size SUV, what make, model and year is it? It seems like the car dealers don't want to commit to saying you can flat tow any vehicle -- we'd love to hear from the voice of experience. Thanks!  

Stephie Henkel

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We tow a 2018 Ford CMas Hybrid.   Ford now has a section in their owners manuals on how to tow behind a motorhome if the car will do it - - easy to check as you are looking at possibilities.  

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I tow a 2018 Lincoln MKX all wheel drive with a 3.7L engine.  I looked at a 2019 but the owners manual contradicts itself so went with 2018 instead. 

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Now a Honda CRV, but previously Honda Fit and several different year Geo Trackers. Trackers and Fit were my favorites, because they only weighed about 2600 lbs, didn't even slow me down.

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13 hours ago, GypsyStephie said:

It seems like the car dealers don't want to commit to saying you can flat tow any vehicle --

Welcome to the Escapee forums! The reason your sales people won't usually answer on the ability to tow a vehicle is either that the answer is you can't and they want you to buy anyway, or they do not know. The first place to look is in the vehicle's owner's manual. A good place to research what vehicles to look at is the annual Dinghy Towing Guides from Motor Home magazine. If you wish to have some ideas on what to shop for, REMCO Towing has a list of recommended vehicles as well as a place to look up each vehicle to see if it needs modified and if there is a kit to make it towable. There are a lot of choices out there, but there are even more than can't be towed or that must be modified. Many people tow for many happy miles using a vehicle that has been equipped with a REMCO kit to make it towable. 

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17 hours ago, jcussen said:

Now a Honda CRV, but previously Honda Fit and several different year Geo Trackers. Trackers and Fit were my favorites, because they only weighed about 2600 lbs, didn't even slow me down.

Do you tow the Honda CRV 4 wheels down or on a dolly? That's one of the vehicles we're looking at.  Thanks!

Steph

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9 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums! The reason your sales people won't usually answer on the ability to tow a vehicle is either that the answer is you can't and they want you to buy anyway, or they do not know. The first place to look is in the vehicle's owner's manual. A good place to research what vehicles to look at is the annual Dinghy Towing Guides from Motor Home magazine. If you wish to have some ideas on what to shop for, REMCO Towing has a list of recommended vehicles as well as a place to look up each vehicle to see if it needs modified and if there is a kit to make it towable. There are a lot of choices out there, but there are even more than can't be towed or that must be modified. Many people tow for many happy miles using a vehicle that has been equipped with a REMCO kit to make it towable. 

Thanks, Kirk! This is very useful info.

Stephanie

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HOnda CR-V was flat towable in all models for model years 1998 through 2014 but has not been towable since that time. We flat towed a 2001 model an all wheel drive, automatic transmission one for about 60k miles then traded for a 2009 automatic that we towed perhaps 30K. The years that it was towable have instructions in the owner's manual but basically you just let it idle for 3 minutes, then run through all gears, going from drive into neutral, turn off the key, leaving the wheel unlocked and tow. You need to do that every 8 hours if you travel longer than that.

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3 hours ago, GypsyStephie said:

Do you tow the Honda CRV 4 wheels down or on a dolly? That's one of the vehicles we're looking at.  Thanks!

Steph

Had  a 1998 and now a 2008 both automatics and both towed 4 down. As Kirk said, all the CRV's up to 2014 or so are towable 4 down. Not sure you could put a all wheel drive on a dolly .

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

HOnda CR-V was flat towable in all models for model years 1998 through 2014 but has not been towable since that time. We flat towed a 2001 model an all wheel drive, automatic transmission one for about 60k miles then traded for a 2009 automatic that we towed perhaps 30K. The years that it was towable have instructions in the owner's manual but basically you just let it idle for 3 minutes, then run through all gears, going from drive into neutral, turn off the key, leaving the wheel unlocked and tow. You need to do that every 8 hours if you travel longer than that.

Our 2010 CR-V had a shorter time than that I think. I'm pretty sure we never towed eight hours but we did kill the battery once by not repeating the procedure soon enough. Fortunately, we were in a rest area near a major city when we realized what happened so CoachNet quickly sent someone out to jump start the car.

Linda Sand

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Got be careful on that starting the car every 8 hours. I usually did it in the morning before I left the campground. I started the car and shut the door and it auto locked. No spare key. Luckily there was a Honda dealer about 10 miles away, so towed the running Honda, it was in neutral, to the dealer and got a new key to open the door. Pretty reasonable, showed them my insurance app on my phone with the VIN, and they gave a key for $9. There is a kit , actually a switch with wires that wires into the radio/nav memory fuse that allows you to to shut it off, and that way, towing with ignition switch on, will not kill your battery.

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A "heads up" on Remco info - when looking up a vehicle to tow "as is" = 4 down.

AWD = All Wheel Drive

FWD = Front Wheel Drive... (*not* four wheel drive)

My 2016 GMC Terrain (6 cyl or 4 cly)  "FWD" can be towed 4-down.  The AWD models can not.

Haven't looked up the newer models.  The Chev Equinox should be the same - however, in 2016 the six cyl Equinox was *only* available with All Wheel Drive.   (I wanted a six cyl = why I went with the Terrain).

As others  posted - check owner's manual & Remco.  Don't rely on a salesperson.

.

Edited by Pappy Yokum

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8 hours ago, sandsys said:

Our 2010 CR-V had a shorter time than that I think. I'm pretty sure we never towed eight hours but we did kill the battery once by not repeating the procedure soon enough.

That is due to the fact that the 2010 was one of the years that also recommended the removal of use #34 which supplies power to the electronics relays if the ignition key is in any position other than locked. That was part of the instructions in the owner's manuals, starting about 2007. I never removed ours because I also never towed for more than about 5 hours, but for those who did tow for long periods, it was needed. The instruction was in your owner's manual. I'm not sure what the longest towing time was for us with the 2009, but I have known several others who did as we did and I also knew some who ran a 12V supply lead from the motorhome to the RV to keep the battery up. I also knew some who installed a switch in the fuse #34 wire. 

Again, follow the directions in your owner's manual. 

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Here is a great link to Ford...excellent information. (The Edge is flat towable for many years...only the most expensive model appears to be flat towable for 2020)

https://www.fleet.ford.com/towing-guides/

 

The Chevrolet Equinox is flat towable in FWD and AWD with the 2.4L (You can google the owner's manual for the years you are interested in and there will be specific information on towing in the manual). The Equinox is a nice, inexpensive vehicle that weights about 3200. The Edge weighs about 4200 and is a larger SUV "crossover" vehicle.

 

Honda produces a great car. We own 2 and one is 12 years old and the other 17. Neither car has ever given us a problem ...just routine maintenance. But new Hondas are not flat towable in most cases except maybe a few with manual transmission.

 

We also have a newer (2015) Subaru Outback (not flat towable) and we're learning that newer isn't better. Just replaced a $900 "head unit" (radio and navigation system) that failed after 4.5 years. Turns out the electronics are problematic on these cars. Would never buy another Subaru but I know many swear by them.

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2018 Chevy Equinox...very easy to set up with no problems. Run it  5 minutes before and after each towing day and you're good to go.

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Thanks everyone for all the valuable input, great info and good advice! We've decided on the 2020 Chevy Equinox. I like the ease of getting in and out as well as the bells and whistles that we didn't have in our Wrangler. Flat towing shouldn't pose a problem. From comments above, it looked like people who had them were usually happy campers. 

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We flat tow our 2015 Lincoln MKT. Although ours is the Base model (front wheel drive, standard engine), the manual clearly says that almost ALL of these cars are towable. That INCLUDES the all-wheel drive models.

If you are looking for a great vehicle, check out the MKT. We just drove from The Ranch (Escapees co-op between Carlsbad and Artesia) to White Sands National Park and back. We took a circular route, so crossed the mountains at different places coming and going. Gas was $1.999 in Alamogordo, so I took advantage of it. Got 31 mpg on the way back. I think it was more like 28 on the way out.

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We Flat tow our 2019 Chevy Equinox AWD Turbo Diesel 4 wheels down.   Awesome TOAD.  This is our first Chevrolet and quite pleased with it.

Previously, we had a Toyota Prius V and a tow dolly.  Tow dolly was a royal pain in the a***.  Took too much time to load, unload and the scheduled stops to check the front wheel strap tension.  Our Chevy is hooked up and ready to tow in under 10 minutes.

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We flat tow a 2016 Ford Focus SE four door with a Blue OX base plate and tow bar. Google the owners manual then look under towing in the index foe esay set up procedure. We Googled all the owners manuals for the vehicles to be considered and the Focus was inexpensive with terrific gas mileage. getting in and out of it for me can be annoying cause I like my trucks but the compromise is well worth it. they don't make the Focus so try Enterprise used car sales as we purchased a 2014 for our daughter with 29,000 miles for $13,000.. she drove it for another 135,00 miles trouble free the upgraded to a 2017 Escape, not towable as she has no RV presently. the new 2020Ford Escape Hybrib is the only Escape that's towable as per the owners manual but no one manufactures the Base plate yet. Hope this info helped have a safe trip where ever you go.

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We're on our 5th tow car in 15 years of full timing, and we now own the one we should have bought to begin with.  It's a 2013 Honda CRV.  AWD, auto, comfortable, and virtually maintenance free.  With over 100K road miles and around 40K towing, it's never needed anything but fluid changes and new tires.  Not fancy, but functional and holds it's value.

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I flat tow a 2006 Chevy Cobalt SS with the 2.4l LE5 engine and auto tranny. I just run a switched wire to the fuse box with an inline fuse (or pull the fuse when you tow.) It's the fuse that works when the key is on accessory (which is where you need it when you tow) so it doesn't run the battery down.  It has 425,000 miles on it and about another 8,000 miles towing it. It used to be my tow vehicle, pulling my Aliner over 40,000 miles before I went full-time. I plan on keeping it till I die, as it's paid for and cheaper to repair than replace. The first engine lasted about 390,000 miles, so it has proven to be very reliable. It gets over 30 mpg and runs like a scalded dog, so I'm a happy camper. If it's stolen or set on fire tomorrow I will have already gotten my money's worth out of it three times over.

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