Flat Towing Hitch: Essential Guide for RV Enthusiasts

Talk about convenience on the road! When it comes to RV adventures, flat towing a car behind your motorhome is a game-changer. Picture this: you’re parked at a beautiful campsite, and exploring nearby towns or picking up groceries becomes a breeze. No more maneuvering the enormous RV through tight spaces or busy streets. Flat towing allows us to bring our familiar, everyday vehicle along for the ride effortlessly.

A vehicle with a flat towing hitch attached to its rear bumper, ready to tow another vehicle

Let’s dig into the essentials that make flat towing the ideal choice for road trippers like us. With the right flat towing hitch, setting up your car for the journey is straightforward. We connect the car to the RV using a robust tow bar, ensuring it’s secure and ready for the miles ahead. Our personal favorite? The one that doesn’t compromise on safety and ease of use, offering peace of mind and a smooth towing experience.

From our own escapades, we’ve learned a thing or two about what works best. Ensuring you have the right gear, like a high-quality RV hitch and proper wiring, transforms the towing process into something almost magical. Imagine the freedom of unhitching your car and exploring at your own pace while your RV stays comfortably parked. It’s truly the best of both worlds, blending the convenience of everyday driving with the adventure of RV life. 🌄 🏕️

Understanding Flat Towing

Flat towing involves pulling a vehicle behind an RV or another primary vehicle, making it possible to have a smaller car available when you reach your destination. It demands the right equipment, connections, and safety measures to ensure a smooth towing experience.

Essentials of Flat Towing

Flat towing, also called dinghy towing, uses a tow bar to attach the second vehicle. This method saves the need for a trailer, and is highly depended upon for its durability and ease.

Key components include the tow bar, base plates, safety cables, and a reliable braking system. The base plates connect the tow bar to the towed vehicle. Safety cables provide a fail-safe connection, ensuring everything stays hitched together.

Configuring these elements properly prevents potential mishaps on the road. Always keep these essentials in check for dependable operation and hassle-free travel.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Selecting the right equipment is crucial. Tow bars come in various styles:

  • A-frame tow bars
  • Self-aligning tow bars

It’s important to choose a tow bar compatible with your vehicle’s base plates. A hitch with a 2″ receiver is standard for most setups, as mentioned in several resources.

Supplemental braking systems are another indispensable component. They work to synchronize the towed vehicle’s brakes with the towing vehicle’s, adding a layer of safety to the operation.

When selecting equipment, consider the weight capacity. A mismatch can lead to wear and tear or even accidents. Always verify specifications beforehand.

Safety Measures

Safety measures should never be overlooked. Safety cables are imperative, acting as a supplementary link between the vehicles if the primary connection fails.

Enable a supplemental braking system for better control and safety. This system helps manage the towed vehicle’s brakes, reducing the burden on the primary vehicle’s brakes. Remember, this is especially crucial on steep declines or emergency stops.

Routine checks of all connections and equipment before setting off can prevent potential hazards. Ensuring proper lubrication of tow bar arms and checking hitch receivers regularly is key to long-term reliability. Staying vigilant on these fronts guarantees safe and efficient travel.

Installation and Connection Guidelines

When it comes to flat towing a vehicle, precision in installation and connection is crucial. We will guide you through the essentials, from attaching the base plate to configuring the tow bar, ensuring a seamless setup for your next adventure. 🚗🔧

Attaching the Base Plate

Attaching the base plate is the foundation of your flat towing setup. Start by choosing a base plate kit compatible with your tow vehicle model.

Base plates typically bolt onto the vehicle frame, providing a secure connection point for the tow bar. You’ll need to remove any obstructions, like plastic trim or skid plates.

Tools Needed:

  • Wrenches and ratchets
  • Drill and bits
  • Safety glasses and gloves

After positioning the base plate, bolt it in place, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to double-check the fit to ensure a snug and secure mount.

Wiring Options for Towed Vehicles

Proper wiring ensures that your towed vehicle’s lights synchronize with those on your RV, increasing safety. There are various wiring options available.

Towed Vehicle Wiring Methods:

Method Description Pros Cons
Magnetic Lights Portable lights attached magnetically Easy to use Less secure, can fall off
Diode Wiring Kit Wiring installed in vehicle harness Permanent setup, secure Installation can be complex
Bulb and Socket Kit Independent bulbs installed Separate from vehicle wiring Requires drilling

Choose a wiring kit based on ease of use and permanence. Carefully follow the instructions to ensure all connections are secure and functional.

Configuring the Tow Bar

Configuring the tow bar involves ensuring it is level between the RV and the towed vehicle. A level tow bar reduces undue stress on both vehicles.


  1. Position and Align:

    • Make sure your motorhome and towed vehicle are on level ground.
  2. Adjust Height:

    • Adjust the height of the tow bar within the “safe zone,” which is typically 3 inches above or below level for motorhome-mounted tow bars.
  3. Secure Connections:

    • Attach safety cables or chains, crossing them underneath the hitch for added safety.
  4. Check Locks:

    • Ensure all locking mechanisms are securely fastened.

Having the proper fit for your tow bar setup is essential. Regularly inspect and maintain the tow bar components to enhance towing reliability and safety.

By following these steps, we ensure our flat towing experience is safe, efficient, and ready for the open road. 🚙💨

Operational Best Practices

Flat towing a vehicle requires attention to detail and adherence to specific guidelines to ensure safety and efficiency. Focus on correct steering and transmission settings and keep an eye on your towing capacity.

Steering and Transmission Settings

When preparing for flat towing, the steering wheel and transmission settings are critical. First, ensure the steering wheel is unlocked, allowing the towed vehicle to follow the towing vehicle smoothly. Many newer models automatically unlock the steering when the key is in the accessory position.

Always check your vehicle’s manual for specific towing instructions.

For the transmission, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Automatic transmissions often need to be in neutral and may require additional settings adjustments, whereas manual transmissions typically need to be in second gear. Not following these instructions can result in drivetrain damage.

⚠️ A Warning

Incorrect transmission settings can cause serious damage.

Monitoring and Adjusting for Towing Capacity

Understanding and monitoring your towing capacity is essential. Exceeding this capacity can lead to dangerous situations and mechanical issues. **Check your vehicle’s manual for the maximum towing weight.

Vehicle Type Max Towing Weight Notes
Class B Motorhome 3,000-5,000 lbs Depends on configuration

Always attach the safety chains securely. They act as a fail-safe if the tow bar detaches. Balance the load to avoid excessive wear on the tow vehicle. Use regularly spaced stops to check the rig and adjust if necessary.

Flat towing requires forethought and care to ensure you get to your destination safely. Properly aligning steering and transmission settings, along with constant monitoring of towing capacity, is crucial.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Rest assured, flat towing a vehicle can be a smooth experience if you handle common challenges and stick to a rigorous maintenance schedule. We’ll walk you through resolving some frequent towing issues and provide expert advice to keep your equipment in tip-top shape.

Resolving Common Towing Challenges

Encountering problems during flat towing? You’re not alone! Here are some common challenges and their fixes:

  1. Low Battery: Towing can sometimes drain the towed vehicle’s battery. To avoid this, install a battery disconnect switch or use a trickle charger.
  2. Steering Wheel Lock Issues: Some vehicles require the steering to be unlocked while towing. Check your vehicle’s manual and ensure proper steps are taken to unlock the steering.
  3. Driveshaft Problems: A stationary driveshaft can cause damage. Ensure you have a driveshaft disconnect system if required for your vehicle model.
  4. Improper Handling: Poor handling might result from incorrect towing setup. Double-check connections, ensure the tow bar is level, and verify that tires are inflated to the correct pressure.
  5. Brake Concerns: Safety first! Use a supplemental brake system for your towed vehicle to maintain control and comply with legal requirements.

Expert Advice and Support

When in doubt, talk to the experts. We’ve learned a lot from seasoned pros who can often diagnose issues we might overlook.

  1. Regular Inspections: Experts recommend frequent inspections of your hitch, tow bar, and base plates to catch wear and tear early. This can prevent significant problems down the road.
  2. Proper Lubrication: Keep all moving parts well-lubricated. Expert tip: Use high-quality lubricants for increased longevity.
  3. Seek Expert Help: If troubleshooting isn’t fixing the issue, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. Sometimes our hands-on fixes need a pro’s touch.
  4. Customer Support: Many towing equipment manufacturers offer support hotlines. Keeping their numbers handy can be a lifesaver.
  5. Real-World Tips: Join online forums or communities. Example: Bronco6G is a great place where users share practical advice and fixes that have worked for them.

By following these steps, you can handle most towing challenges and ensure your equipment remains reliable and safe for all your adventures.

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