Towing With a Motorhome: What To Know

Whether embarking on a nomadic journey or a one-day camping trip, Bretz RV & Marine is here to help you and your family hit the road with confidence. As a multi-generational family business, we have a rich history in the automotive industry, specializing in sourcing boats, RVs, and accessories for your outdoor travels. We understand your specific needs regarding motorhome towing. As towing with a motorhome can be tricky and intimidating, we have compiled this in-depth guide to help you learn how to tow your vehicle safely.

Motorhome Towing: What You Need To Know

Towing with a motorhome can greatly enhance your RV experience, letting you bring additional luggage on your trip. Here are some basic requirements of motorhome towing:

  • Know your vehicle’s towing capacity: Consult your RV owner’s manual to check if your RV is rated for towing. You can find further information on its towing capacity and ensure your vehicle doesn’t exceed it.
  • Use the right hitch accessories: Depending on the weight and type of vehicle you’re towing, you’ll need a specific type of hitch, such as weight distribution bars. This will ensure safe and secure towing.
  • Maintain the towing system: Inspect the towing system regularly, making any necessary replacements or repairs. You also need to monitor the lights and signals on the RV and vehicle.
  • Follow local laws and regulations: Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding towing, such as speed limits and required safety equipment.
  • Maintain your motorhome and towing vehicle: Learn and practice proper towing and braking techniques for a safer and more enjoyable experience. 

Essential Towing Equipment for Your Motorhome

Consider your motorhome’s size, weight, and towing capacity before finding the correct equipment. When it comes to flat towing your vehicle with a motorhome, here’s some of the essential towing requirements:

  • Tow bar: A tow bar is a quick, simple, and easy way to connect your RV with a vehicle. You may need chains, cables, and other aftermarket accessories when using a tow bar.
  • Baseplate: Upon deciding on the tow bar, you need a baseplate, a bracket that attaches to the vehicle’s frame and provides an attachment point for the tow bar. This requires your vehicle’s make, model, and year to get the correct base plate from an RV dealer or online retailer.
  • Tow brake: When towing, you’ll require supplemental brakes to reduce the time and distance needed to come to a controlled stop. Tow brakes also reduce wear and tear while relieving stress on the tow bar and preventing tow system failure during panic stops.

Towing Capacity: How Much Can Your Motorhome Handle?

Here are the different classes of RVs to determine towing capacity:

Class A

Class A motorhomes, the largest and most luxurious motorhomes, have the highest towing capacities. The exact towing capacity of a Class A motorhome depends on several factors, including the engine size, transmission, and axle ratio. On average, they can tow between 5,000 and 15,000 pounds, with some high-end models capable of towing up to 20,000 pounds or more.

Class B

Class B motorhomes or campervans are the smallest of the motorhome classes. On average, a Class B motorhome can tow between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. Despite their size, they’re well-equipped camping machines with properly configured spaces. 

Class C

Class C motorhomes fall between Classes A and B in size and comfort. Typically, the towing capacities range from 3,500 to 8,000 pounds. Being a good middle option, they have decent towing capacity and great versatility. 

Some other factors that affect towing capacity include:

  • Weight of the towed vehicle.
  • Gross vehicle weight rating.
  • Braking power.
  • Payload capacity.
  • Tow rating.
  • Hitch rating.

Common Towing Mistakes To Avoid

Here are some common towing mistakes to avoid:

  • Wrong towing capacity: Consider the towing capacity, which is the maximum weight your motorhome can safely tow. 
  • Improper weight distribution: Consider the towed vehicle’s weight, as it affects the towing capacity of your motorhome along with its stability and precise steering control. Use a weight distribution hitch to distribute the weight evenly and avoid the risk of rear sag.
  • Ignoring the engine power, transmission, suspension, and brakes: A powerful engine, transmission with a lower gear ratio, correct suspension system, and trailer brake controller are important for towing.
  • Not paying attention to driving conditions: Always pay attention to conditions, such as road grade, wind, and weather, that can severely affect the towing capacity of the motorhome. 
  • Not considering the right rig: Your RV needs to fit with your tow vehicle to avoid a mismatch in weights and towing capacities.

Safety Considerations for Towing With a Motorhome

Towing with a motorhome requires careful attention to safety considerations to ensure a smooth and incident-free trip. One of the most important factors is proper weight distribution and load balancing. To maintain stability, distribute the weight of the towed load evenly across the motorhome’s axles, and use weight-distributing hitches or sway control devices.

When traveling with a towed load, adjust your driving habits to accommodate the added weight and length of the vehicle. Allow for extra stopping distance, and make turns slowly and carefully to avoid swaying or tipping. Accelerate gradually, and maintain a steady speed, especially on hills or in windy conditions.

Check the towing connections and equipment before and during the trip. Ensure all connections are secure and the equipment is in good working condition. Regularly inspect the tires, brakes, and lights to ensure correct functioning.

Always obey traffic laws and regulations when towing with a motorhome. Be aware of any special requirements or restrictions for towing in the areas where you’re traveling, and follow all posted speed limits and traffic signs. 

Bretz RV & Marine’s Role in Your Towing Journey

Motorhome towing involves considering several aspects, including understanding your RV’s towing capacity, acquiring the right equipment, and avoiding common mistakes, all essential for a safe and enjoyable trip. For more helpful tips, how-tos, and information on RVing, be sure to check our RV resources page.  Contact us at Bretz RV & Marine, and our team will be happy to assist you. Browse our extensive inventory of new and pre-owned RVs for your next exciting adventure.

Photo Credit: Image via OEM

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