Go Gear: How we tow

Towing is pretty easy. . .with a lot of benefits, too.

Don Cohen Don Cohen  |  04.20.2016

The idea of towing a car behind our first Navion alternately sounded like a liberating and terrifying idea at the same time.  One of the reasons we chose to buy the Mercedes Sprinter based Navion was that it was a lot less intimidating to drive than a big rig.  We also liked it’s easy to maneuver size.

It was one of our big rig friends who asked me before we even took delivery of Navion number #1, “So what are you going to tow?”  “What? Why would we want to do that?,” I asked.  Coincidently we were also in the the new car market and, just in case, the idea of towing a car pushed us to get a great little Honda Fit with a manual transmission that would be tow-ready.

After about 10,000 miles of traveling without a tow car, we found that there were a few times we rented a car at a destination — or wish we had.  I was now at least comfortable with driving our rig to the point that the idea of towing something behind us was less intimidating, so out came the Visa card and about $3,000 dollars later off we went dragging our little Fit behind us.  And boy did we drag it!  When we traded our Fit in it had 11,000 actual miles on it, but over 30,000 towed miles (and no, the odometer miles only show actual driven miles, not towed).

No matter what size motorhome you drive, a tow car is a liberating luxury that, once you get used to the hook-up process, is no big deal to pull along.  With a tow car it was an easy drive across 120 miles of Utah dirt road to Kodachrome Basin, or parking the Navion at a shopping mall west of Miami Beach and driving into South Beach for Joe’s stone crabs, or driving upstream from the campground for better fly fishing access.  We also like to try the local cuisine while we travel and what I noticed is that when we’re traveling without a tow car, our dining pattern is more like infrequent lunch stops and dine-in dinners.  When we tow, once we’ve pop the jacks and slideout, we’re often off into town to find the dining hot spots offered up on local recommendations, Yelp, Urban Spoon or OpenTable.

If you’re contemplating towing let me break it down for you based on our experience.

There are two common approaches to towing a car.  One is to use a tow dolly.  This is a mini-trailer that you drive your front wheels onto.  Tow dollies run $1,500 to $3,000 and are the best solution if you already have a front wheel drive car with a non-towable automatic transmission.  The one downside to dollies is that they take up space for storing and can be more of a hassle to deal with if you have to detach the whole assembly — like when having to back into a campsite space.

The other option is to tow a car with all four wheels down (flat four).  You can do this with most manual transmission vehicles and selected automatic transmission models.

We really loved our our little Honda Fit, but with our college years far, far behind us the fluidity of clutching seemed to have become more of a lost art and prompted frequent muttered comments as to the driver’s fitness for the task.  When we moved to downtown Denver our big SUVs got downsized and the Fit was perfect for urban tasks and easy parking.  It was just that lurching around town got a bit tedious which triggered the hunt for a towable automatic..

There aren’t a lot of towable automatic transmission cars on the market — especially smaller ones.  Many manufacturers are going to CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatics which can only be towed with two wheels up on a dolly.  For the reasons I mentioned before, a dolly wasn’t an attractive choice.  It also ruled out getting another Fit which now comes with a non-towable CVT transmission.

On the very short list of candidates we looked at Ford which uses a technology called dual clutch transmission (DCT).  It’s a European design and its name would make you think it’s a manual, but it’s not.  The Ford Focus is one of the models that uses this type of transmission and during my research I made it point to download the owner’s manual and read that, yes, it’s actually designed to be towed behind a motorhome!

Navion TowingOur new pearl white 2016 Ford Focus matches our Navion quite nicely.

We ultimately decided on a fully loaded Ford Focus hatchback.  Compared to the Fit, the Focus has a more refined ride, is much quieter, and no longer required us to use our sketchy shift and clutch skills.  Loaded up with a superior voice activated GPS (Ford switched to a new technology in 2016 that finally removes them from the brutal criticism of the past several years), leather heated seats, and a bevy of technologies like blind spot detection, our svelte Focus is an absolute pleasure to drive.Focus interiorHey, it’s not a Tesla, but the Focus is chock full of useful technology and easy to read displays.

For years we’ve driven far bigger and more expensive SUVs, and though a lot smaller the Focus has not disappointed us.  It is a fantastic city car and very comfortable on the highway.  It’s German designed heritage shows through and it’s no wonder that it’s the top selling car in the UK and over 200,000 of the Detroit made models were sold in the US last year.

Tipping the scales at 2,950 pounds (about 500 pounds more than a Fit), the Focus comfortably is well below our 5,000 pound Navion towing capacity.  To get the Focus ready I made an appointment with our local purveyor of all-things-towing to get a towplate and electrical connections installed.

Navion and Focus towingAll set up and ready to tow.  We use a dual receiver for our hitch that allows us to install a hitch-based bike rack. This solution means we can leave the bikes locked on the rig when we use the car. If you install a tow receiver on your car, you can then easily transfer the bike carrier for even more extended biking options.

We’ve been using a Blue Ox system which I like a lot.  Top on the list of likes is that the connection point to the car does not require a heavy and rather unsightly horizontal crossbar.  Tow connection RV to carNo heavy crossbar!  The Blue Ox attaches to two steel posts that positively bayonet and click into place in the nearly hidden tow plate.

Outside of the two emergency backup steel tabs that protrude slightly below the grill, you don’t even notice the recessed bayonet connection points.  For the same kind of Blue Ox system we have you should expect to pay around $2,000 installed.  This includes the adjustable tow bar that attaches to your hitch receiver, the attachment plate that’s bolted to your car chassis, and the electrical connections for brake and signal lights.

Tow ConnectionsLooking straight down.  The towing bars are attached to the removable posts and locked with retaining pins. Inside the  tow bars are the safety cables.  In the center the thin wire is the breakaway that, if the car becomes detached, the inside braking system will stop it.  The yellow cable with wide connector is the 7-way electrical and light connection.

Attaching the car is pretty easy.  We nudge the car about 2 feet behind the tow bar, put the transmission into park and then connect the two adjustable tow arms, power cable, breakaway cable, and two safety cables.  When connected we put the car transmission into tow mode and make sure the emergency brake is off. I once dragged the Fit about 100’ in an RV park at Moab that had people frantically waving their arms at us – fortunately the only damage was diminished ego.  With everything connected it’s then time to install the auxiliary brake system.

Almost every state requires an auxiliary braking system for tow cars (though I’ve never heard of anyone being stopped and checked).  For smaller rigs, such as our Navion, having a system that presses on the car’s brake while you’re decelerating really makes a difference.  Without a braking system you can feel a definite push behind you and have to hit the brakes more forcefully.

Braking systems take two approaches.  One system is truly invisible as it’s mounted under your hood and ties into the hydraulic lines of the brake.  One of the big downsides of this type of system is that it requires both an installation when you set up your car and a de-installation when you go to sell it.  The more common braking system is one that sits on the floor on the driver’s side and has a pneumatic arm that clamps to the break pedal.  When the internal accelerometer senses the RV is slowing it triggers the arm to press down on the brake pedal.  It’s a very high tech way to do a low tech thing.

I chose the RVi brake system.  The owner of the company invented the original Brake Buddy that’s a competitive product.  After his non-compete expired he designed a much more compact, but more capable unit that, among other things, has an available option for TPMS so you can be aware of your tow car’s tire inflation.  The RVi is easy to use and, when I had a problem early on with the unit while on a trip, their customer service was nothing short of spectacular.  They actually found a dealer that had a unit on our way toward Raleigh and we stopped off and simply switched out with a brand new unit.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

RViThe RVibrake sits on the floor attached to the brake pedal.  The thin wire in the center is an antenna that lets you monitor and adjust the brake system and watch tire pressure remotely in the RV.

With the transmission in neutral, the parking brake off, RVi turned on, the final check is to make sure your signal and brake lights work.  And it’s at this point that I should say something about the wiring to your RV.  The cable that controls the tow car’s lights also can bring power to your tow car.  Why is this important?

When you have an auxiliary braking device operating or simply just having to leave your car in accessory mode (so the front wheels don’t lock) it can drain your battery during a day of driving and you’ll have to jumpstart your car to get going.  I’ve read many on-line postings about people having their batteries go dead while towing and it’s the installer’s mistake not to run power from the RV to the car.  Now it’s happened to me a few times that the power and signal cable connection got loose and the car battery died.  After hassling with a couple of jump starts from the Navion battery I bought a rechargeable jump start battery from Amazon for about $70 dollars which is a pretty nifty accessory to have.

The final question I’m most commonly asked is what does towing do to our gas mileage?  With the Honda Fit it decreased efficiency by 1 MPG.  With the 500 pound heavier Ford Focus the mileage penalty seemed to be the same over a 5,000 mile trek to Florida.

In RV lingo a tow car is often referred to as a “TOAD.”  I like to think of it in more romantic Star Trek terms as the shuttle craft for the away team.  But now, I’m beginning to think the acronym of “SCAT” isn’t much of an upgrade, nor is drag queen.  I’ll leave it to you to find your own optimal name.  But, however you describe it, towing a car behind your rig is pretty easy and it definitely opens up your options of exploration.


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45 Comments

  1. Brad Posted on 07.05.2017

    I have a 2006 View and considering towing, has a 5 cylinder engine, anyone have experience with that year?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 07.05.2017

      Many owners with the older engines tow. A great resource is to check out the View/Navion forum on Yahoo for more information: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/View-Navion/info

  2. Bob Butera Posted on 07.04.2017

    Don,

    Thank you for a great article that is immensely helpful to us newbies.
    We purchased a new 2017 View a few months ago, and are about to purchase a 2014 Honda CR-V 2 wheel drive auto trans for a Toad. Wasn’t aware of the curt dual receiver hitch for carrying our bikes, great tip!
    This is a very complicated subject, made even more so by the elimination of many previously towable cars due to the CVT issue. I’ll keep tuned into GoLife for more helpful articles.
    Many thanks,
    Bob

  3. Larry Posted on 07.01.2017

    I have a View and tow a Honda CRV. Been towing for a year in Drive with no problems but wondering if I need to tow in a lower gear.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 07.03.2017

      Larry,

      I’m assuming that your Honda CRV is a 2014 or older model. From 2015 on Honda switched to CVTs (continuously variable transmission) that is not towable. A quick internet search seems to indicate that Honda’s instructions for towing recommend that the transmission is in NEUTRAL. I know that’s what our Ford Focus requires us to do. Here’s some more information that I found from a 2011 Motorhome Magazine article. Definitely double check with a trusted Honda dealer!

      “The CR-V is approved by Honda for flat towing with a couple of pre-tow procedures: While idling the engine, press the brake pedal and move the shift lever through all its positions. Then shift the transmission to drive and hold for five seconds, then to neutral and idle for three minutes. (Warning: severe transmission damage will occur if the vehicle is shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed; it must be shifted from drive to neutral after idling for five seconds.) Next, turn the ignition key to the acc position, which shuts the engine off but leaves the steering wheel unlocked. The above procedure should be repeated after eight hours of continuous towing. Removing the aforementioned fuse also is recommended (only remove the fuse after you have performed the transmission shifting procedure and the key is in the acc position). Also make sure the radio and any items plugged into the accessory power sockets are turned off so they don’t drain the battery.”

  4. Robert Rickwall Posted on 04.11.2017

    I’m going to tow a 2016 Ford Fiesta with a 5-speed manual transmission. Not sure if the ignition key has to be in any position?. Doesn’t appear to have a locking steering wheel. I’ve towed around the block with no key in the ignition. The manual doesn’t say anything about key position for a manual transmission. Also the newer fords have a electronial power steering system, however in towing the engine isn’t running anyway. Shouldn’t make any difference. What do you think?. Sincerely; Robert

  5. Bill Blandford Posted on 09.09.2016

    I see a number of concerns about disconnecting the battery as stated in the Ford Focus manual. Can you confirm you have had no issues because you have a 12v connection from your rig? I just want to be sure so we don’t mess up our new Ford Focus. Thanks much, really enjoyed the article.
    Bill

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 09.10.2016

      Bill,

      If your hitch installer is experienced, he/she will properly connect 12v power coming from your rig. We’ve had it done twice, first for our Fit and now with our Focus and it works perfectly.

  6. Bob MacCallum Posted on 06.18.2016

    Your power connection to the coach with the lights, etc – is not going to last long. It us not physicslly supported and there is no protection for the center connector. That connection should be on the coach – not midway. Normally you should use a Blue Ox 7pin to 6 pin cable with a 6 pin Blue Ox or other connector firmly attached to the car. Looks like whoever installed the wiring has no understanding of the stress that cabling will take while towing. Your cable will fail and you lose your lighting to the toad. I would suggest you correct it before it fails. I dont mean to be critical of your installation but dont want you to have it fail. Check out similar connections on other coaches and you will gave a better idea of ehst it shoukd look like. Good luck,
    Bob

  7. Maurice Boguth Posted on 06.15.2016

    I have a 6″ drop on my receiver to the Blue Ox tow bar. I am now using a single receiver, but am looking for a duel receiver. So I can use our bike rack in the 2″ receiver also. We pull a Ford Focus Hatchback (2950 lbs. ) In researching I am being told the upper receiver is only rated at 350 lbs, so I can`t turn it “upside down” Blue Ox and Curt both tell me they don`t make one. What is your duel receiver`s part number? Thanks for the advice in advance.
    2015 Aspect Ford E-450

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 06.19.2016

      Maurice,

      I have the Curt (https://www.amazon.com/CURT-45792-Dual-Receiver-Extender/dp/B00371VLAC/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1466380540&sr=1-1&keywords=curt+dual+hitch+receiver) which is rated at 350 pounds tongue weight. Our Thule rack and bikes seems solid enough being attached to the upper receiver and the in-line lower receiver goes to our Blue Ox and Focus hatchback.

  8. Maurice Boguth Posted on 05.22.2016

    Do you use anything to protect the toad?
    Such as full width RV mud flap, stone shield, etc.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.24.2016

      We haven’t used any road protection devices and have found that the mud flaps on our Navion do a good job of keeping debris from chipping the paint. However, when we get around to taking an Alaska trip I’ll definitely be looking at stone shields.

  9. Greg Russell Posted on 05.15.2016

    We tow a 2014 Honda CRV behind our 2012 VIA and the Mecedes chassis seems to love it. Our fuel economy drops to an average of 13 mpg but well worth the cost to have flexibility at destination. We also use the Blue Ox system with the RVibrake. Both great products from fabulous companies. We also put HWH jacks on our Mercedes chassis and checked with Mercedes before doing so. Mercedes advised that there would be no warranty issues. They work great and really make life easier. We came from larger coaches and the ride of the Sprinter chassis sold us on the VIA.

  10. Dave Posted on 05.15.2016

    Reading the above article confirms my preference to a rental car vs a toad.

  11. Dave Posted on 05.15.2016

    Renting a small car at destination seems much more reasonable, and less expensive.

  12. Steve Dave Posted on 05.14.2016

    I decided to get away from a dolly which I was towing my 1966 Volvo and wanted a convertible. I eliminated all the front wheel drive vehicles that
    would require a trans pump, and went with a rear wheel mustang convertible. Parts were listed for 2009 and older and I purchased a
    2012. Checked and ordered parts for a 2009 that worked. This required
    changing the drive-shaft to dis-connect when towing. I was concerned
    about your mention of leaving in the accessory position. Was informed
    to put the vehicle in neutral and turn the key off. It works fine and the
    steering wheel will not lock so the wheels are able to turn.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      Steve,
      I think there will be differences in installations and the appropriateness of turning the car off or being in accessory mode depending on the vehicle. Sounds like you found a good solution for your needs.

  13. Gerry Posted on 05.14.2016

    Great article. We use a blue ox and the invisabrake. We run the running lights on the View, same as the Navion, it trickle charges the battery so we don’t have that problem. Also when you buy fuel just let the car run while at the station and that will keep your car charged.

  14. Michael Richardson Posted on 05.14.2016

    Don, many thanks for the very informative article! Do you have a blog I could follow? I’ve still got a couple of years to work (overseas) before we will be able to pursue our RV dream, but I’m doing a lot of research. Your insights are really helpful.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      Michael,

      My personal blog has been retired and I spend my time focusing on GoLife. If you are considering a View or Navion, then the gold mine of information is to find the View/Navion Forums on Yahoo. It’s a fantastic community of people (over 8,000 on the main forum – the largest RV forum on Yahoo).

  15. Sandy Montesano Posted on 05.14.2016

    I purchased a 2011 Ford Escape because I wasn’t told it could be flat towed. After several trips my transmission went and was then told I needed a pump (about $50000 later). Think twice before you buy and Ford for towing!

  16. Ann Metz Posted on 05.14.2016

    Have been wondering how well the Navion and View pull the tow vehicle in the Rocky Mountains since their horsepower is far less that bigger motorhomes? The only comments I have seen are for flatter land towing.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      Ann,

      I’m you’re guy. Living in Colorado I know a little about mountain passes. We’ve towed over Eisenhower Tunnel (11,000′), Vail Pass (10,500′), Slumgullion Pass (11,500′) Engineer/Molas Pass US 550 (11,000), Wolf Creek Pass (10,800′) and Monarch Pass (11,300′), all in Colorado. Pull in the car up Eisenhower tunnel (I-70) our speed drops down to 45-50. We’re definitely not the slowest up the hill and generally have to pass around gas Class A’s and diesel pushers. The 4 cylinder Mercedes has a little less power, but not much less. Watch/read the GoLife story where we tested the V6 versus the I4 models. As a mountain guy I’ll still bet on the 6 for a little more oomph, but the 4 does remarkably well, too.

  17. Fred Betke Posted on 05.14.2016

    Don,

    Excellent posting, clearly written, photos’ etc. Well done. Addressed and answered all the similar concerns that we had re: towing in our Navion 24V. Feeling more confident by reading this.

    Regards,
    Fred & Jan B.
    San Jose, CA

  18. Peter Posted on 05.14.2016

    If you are pulling a vehicle 4 wheels down, are you still restricted to the 5000lb max tow weight? I have a 2016 Era 24′ on sprinter platform and want to pull a 2015 Wrangler unlimited which weighs aprox. 5400lbs.
    Thanks,
    Peter

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      RVersOnline makes a good point about total GVWR. A View/Navion weighs more than an Era (and probably with more gear water/waste). I would recommend calling both Winnebago’s Owner Relations 800-537-1885 and speaking with your local Mercedes dealer to determine suitability.

  19. RVersOnline Posted on 05.14.2016

    It may be slightly misleading to suggest any car up to 5,000 pounds could be considered. And of course if a tow dolly is involved, one would need to add that weight as well. But with View/Navion, it’s not at all difficult to approach the GVWR when fully loaded for travel. Should that be the case, the “5,000” number comes down substantially because of the GCVWR. Hopefully readers will take this into consideration when considering a tow car. Agree they are fabulous to have when traveling!

  20. Crawdot Posted on 05.14.2016

    Don, I’ve done some towing with my View but recently have been worried about it’s affect on RV tranny life. Have you seen any affect on the tranny (i.e temperature, oil analysis, etc}?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      On our first Navion I installed a Scanguage II to watch for transmission overheating. We towed for 30,000 miles and I never saw any big temp changes in differing grades and some pretty hot weather. In my years of following the View/Navion forum on Yahoo I have not ready about any persistent issues or problems with transmission life.

  21. Philip Ehlinger Posted on 05.14.2016

    WARNING. The Ford manual says the negative terminal of the battery must be disconnected for flat towing, and nothing here was said about that. You will VOID your warranty. We also tow a Focus, and since the negative terminal is in the rear of the engine compartment and quite difficult to get to, we turned the battery around, put an extended positive cable, and a knife switch on the negative terminal to disconnect the battery. Not a big addition to the workload, but easier than having to replace the electronics/computer. When power is reconnected, & the car started, it takes a couple of minutes for the computer to reprogram itself…usually while you are finishing putting away cables, etc.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      For what it’s worth, my Ford Dealer didn’t have any warranty concerns and sees similar installations to mine. Of course it’s always worth asking, though you may get differing opinions. The same void your warranty conversation revolved around the aftermarket HVH lifters voiding the Mercedes warranty. Having two different Navions serviced by a Mercedes dealership in Denver it was as complete non-issue.

  22. Eric Eltinge Posted on 05.14.2016

    A great article on a complicated subject! On my 2015 Winnebago ERA, I have installed a Thule bike rack designed for (2) 65-lb. electric bikes for about $700.. I purchased a Specialized hybrid urban bike that weighs 35 lbs. for $3,000. With (2) saddlebags I can make local runs from the campground to Trader Joe’s, etc. It is both adaptive and regenerative. A security cable is a must as the Thule upper support bar came off my bike causing me to drag the bike on the freeway. It cost me a new bike handlebar for $300.

    This week I also installed four Koni shock absorbers to improve the rough ride of the ERA on freeways. The coach feels more stable with less bounce and porpoise movements. I would think this would also help with the towing.

    The Motorhome Magazine 2016 Guide to Dinghy Towing says the 2016 Ford C-MAX Hybrid/Energi and Fusion Hybrid/Energi can also be towed 4-wheels down. My Toyota Prius can not per the guide. Does anyone have experience with towing these hybrids? Thank you.

  23. Doug/Linda Noonan Posted on 05.14.2016

    We tow a Ford Fiesta automatic behind our Winnie aspect, don’t even know it’s behind us( 2500 lbs). Bought it as a tow vehicle but drive it more than our other vehicle.

  24. Donna Babbitt Posted on 05.14.2016

    I just finished installing a Blue Ox baseplate and Roadmaster Invisibrake in my 2012 Focus Hatchback for towing behind my Minnie Winnie 31h. A lot of work to do the install, but a lot of satisfaction from doing so; now I can troubleshoot if necessary. Installed a negative terminal cutoff switch on the Focus battery too because of need to completely disconnect negative terminal from battery for towing. Will be heading to Maine in a week so am a little nervous about towing, but feel everything will work out well!

  25. Leonard Ciani Posted on 05.14.2016

    We have very similar hook-up with a 2014 Focus and a 36ft Journey diesel pusher. Only difference is our understanding that the Focus battery needs to be disconnected. I added a simple switch to the battery terminal. I also use the RVi with a battery jump-start. I do not run power from the motorhome to the Toad.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      Leonard,

      Look at this thread for my reply to Bob Beckley. It explains why you don’t have to disconnect the battery.

  26. peggy hill Posted on 05.14.2016

    We are picking up our new Navion V in June. We’ve been looking at the Ford Focus hatchback to tow. Do you have to disconnect the battery on the car while towing? We are new to the motorhome world. We’ve had travel trailers for 25 years. My husband has mobility issues, so I need to be able to hook up the tow vehicle by myself. Is it easy enough for me to do that?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      Peggy,

      No you do not have to disconnect the battery. See my answer to Bob Beckley regarding 12V. Just make sure your hitch installer runs 12V from your Navion to the Focus (btw – congrats!).

      I can’t speak to other tow bars, but I believe you should be able to manage a Blue Ox pretty easily. The tow bar unit itself is fairly heavy and you may want help sliding it into your tow receiver. When you connect it make sure that the rotating connection to the receiver and the extension arms are reasonably lubricated so you can manipulate them easily. Over time, these connections get a little stiff and requires a bit more muscle. Good lubrication avoids that problem.

  27. BOB BECKLEY Posted on 05.14.2016

    We have the same set up that we tow our 2012 Ford \Focus but one thing not mentioned in the article is that it is recommended by Ford that you disconnect the battery while the car is being towed. Is there any way that you are aware of that a type of switch that can be used to shut off the battery rather than disconnecting the battery each time? Thank You

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.14.2016

      Bob,

      My guys at the Hitch Corner in Denver (who have done several hitch/tow installations for me) told me that by wiring 12V from the motorhome to the car it eliminates the need for disconnecting the battery. The reason for this is that, without an external 12V connection there would be power drain from the car essentially being in the accessory mode and essentially draining the battery. The RVi braking system requires 12V power to run.

  28. harvey inouye Posted on 05.14.2016

    Bruce you forgot to mention buying a car is a lot simpler. I f the dealer doesn’t have a car that can be towed with four on the ground, you go somewhere else. I’ve been towing since 1990. Been threw the trailer, stick shift and automatic transmission, size of tow car–started with a Dodge Caravan on a two trailer. Today, I find that the Honda is longer towable with four on the grown. Would like to see a list of cars with automatic transmissions which can be towed with four on the grown. Thanks Harvey.

  29. Bruce Anderson Posted on 05.02.2016

    Don my wife and i found your article so informative. We just bought a 2016 view v and will be towing a 2016 hatchback focus. We would like more information on your bike rack. We also have a blue ox towing system. I like the setup you have on your View. Please let me know what the make and model type of the two receivers you have. receiver one that goes into the rv and the reciever two for the tow bar. Can you let me know the make and model of the bike rack.

    Again the article was great and we want to use the same system you have on your unit to carry our bikes.

    Thank you for your response

    Bruce Anderson

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.02.2016

      Bruce,

      I bought a Curt 2″ dual receiver from Amazon ($60). There are others on the market, but I like the Curt because it seemed (and is) very heavy duty and the lower receiver is inline which meant the dropped receiver to connect the Blue Ox tow arms would remain at the same height.

      Over the years I have used both Thule and Yakima bike racks and have been happy with both. The particular Thule ($259) we have is set up for two bikes, but there is also one that carries four. The Thule Vertex that we have works with both 2″ and the smaller 1 1/4″ receiver. A great option for using the bikes on your tow car would be to add a smaller 1 1/4″ receiver. That way you can easily move the bike rack to the car. The bike anchor system on the Thule is excellent and won’t require you to use any extra bungee cords. For security I use a large cable that I loop through the bikes and around the rear ladder of the coach.

  30. alice friedman Posted on 04.23.2016

    here all I have heard is called a dinghy … Perfect timing as I was looking to find something to drive so I can start going places when I start going places!