Motor Homes Towing Cars or Other Vehicles

Towing small cars (often called toad or towed) behind motor homes has become popular as a way of providing transportation after the motor home is parked at a camp site. Towing a car differs from towing travel trailers or fifth-wheel trailers. Very little hitch weight is involved when the car is towed on all four wheels and only minimal hitch weight is involved when the car is towed on a dolly.

If you wish to tow a vehicle behind your motor home, you need to consider whether or not your motor home can handle the extra weight under all conditions (i.e., climbing steep hills or mountains). Your vehicle must have sufficient power to climb grades without holding up traffic and its braking power must be sufficient to stop the combined weight of the motor home plus the car and/or tow dolly effectively.

Motor home chassis manufacturers provide limits on gross combined weight (motor home plus car).

If you are towing a car, be sure the hitch attachment on the motor home is secure. Hitch weight ratings are usually stamped on the hitch assemblies. The tow bar attachment is also a concern because of the integrated frame construction used in most small cars. If you use a tow bar, safety chains are required, but a breakaway switch is not.

Fully operational tail, brake, and turn signal lights are required on the towed car.

It’s easy to forget you are towing a car when driving a large motor home because you can’t see it. So remember to allow extra space when entering a freeway or passing another vehicle so you won’t cut off the other driver. Your vehicle combination cannot exceed 65 feet. However, cities and counties may prohibit vehicle combination lengths over 60 feet, when posted.

One other thing to consider… in most states, you may only tow a single vehicle without a special endorsement or driver license. You may not tow two vehicles or trailers with a typical drivers license. (Example: You cannot tow a boat trailer/boat and car behind your motor home or pickup/camper.)

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8 Responses to "Motor Homes Towing Cars or Other Vehicles"

  1. I drive a 42 ft Diesel Pusher with a dual exhaust brake, towing a Jeep Grand Cherokee. I use a Blue Cox hitch. As I look through the various sites I see references to brake requirements. Some say almost all state require an add on brake for the trailer. Others say the state or states have no law for towed cars.

    The dual exhaust brake provides stops the coach and car in half or less distance then without it.

    When towing a car is the dual exhaust brake system on the motorhome sufficent to meet state laws? or are you required to also install a separate braking system in the car when towing it behind a diesel pusher with a dual exhaust brake?

  2. As you travel you see signs as you enter many communities saying “Exhaust Braking Prohibited”. Do these cities understand the risk for the community when you turn off the exhaust brake systems. My coach requires at least twice the stopping distance without the exhaust brake and depending on speed, up to three times the distrance..

    Are they actually trying to block the very loud Jake Brake, but simply don’t know the difference between Jake and other exhause brakes. My exhaust brake makes very little noice.

  3. I’m sure many of the Exhaust Brake restrictions were enacted during the Jake Brake era. Yes I think there is a lot of ignorance regarding exhaust brakes. That actually could work in your favor. Unless a LEO is very familiar with the types and sounds of exhaust brakes the chances of you getting cited for using your exhaust brake are negligible. Remember, it is the excessive noise of some exhaust brakes the is the issue. However the law is the law and, if you choose to obey it, then it is your responsibility to adjust your speed and fallowing distance to safely stop your rig without the use of your exhaust brake.

  4. Check with the highway patrol in your state about this. If they say the towed vehicle needs breaking then that’s your answer. If it is not required in your state then I believe you are are okay in all states but I am not 100% sure so do your own research. Of course the fact the law may require supplemental braking in the towed vehicle doesn’t mean you necessarily need it for safety. That all depends on the GCVWR of the motorhome versus the weight of the towed vehicle. Then again, can you have enough braking ability?

  5. I have a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a Quad Trac II , it has the neutral switch by the low shift button! We can’t get it to shift to neutral or low gear , all we get is service 4 wd transmission on our screen, do you have any ideas how to get this transmission to work, so that we can get it in tow position. We checked fuses and played with quite a while with no luck

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