What Is an RV Toad and How to Choose the Best One

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Itasca Sunova pulling a 2015 Jeep Wrangler dinghy

What is an RV Toad and how do you choose the best one? No, we’re not talking about frogs here. We’re actually talking about cars. And the best one for you is just that — the best one for you.

You’ll have to do your research and decide what vehicle suits your family’s needs. Do you need a larger vehicle like a Jeep Grand Cherokee, or will a smaller off-road Jeep Wrangler work better for your travel needs? Let’s dive in!

What Is an RV Toad?

An RV Toad is a vehicle that is towed behind your motorhome, hence the nickname Toad. Why would RVers do this? It’s a lot easier to navigate a car around town than a Class A. 

Once they’ve parked their RV at a site, owners can then take the Toad and venture out to nearby parks, shopping, or attractions. 

Having a separate car to explore comes in handy, especially in big cities with limited parking and narrow streets.

What to Look for in an RV Toad

You can only tow specific cars behind a motorhome. These cars have features that allow you to tow them with all four wheels on the ground. 

You can lift other cars off the ground on a tow dolly or car trailer and don’t require specific capabilities for towing. Let’s look more in-depth at these options.

Flat Towable

Flat towing, sometimes called four-wheel towing, is when all four wheels of the vehicle are on the ground. The wheels turn as it goes down the highway. However, many vehicle transmissions don’t allow for flat towing. 

Do your research before attaching your car to a tow bar behind your RV. The vehicle must have a transmission disconnect and steering lockout override. The most common cars for flat towing are 4×4.

When you find the right flat towable vehicle for your RV Toad, then you can find the right equipment. You’ll need a tow bar, base plate, safety cables, supplemental braking system, and signal lights if you aren’t hardwiring them.

Tow Dolly

You have more options if you tow with a dolly or trailer. A tow dolly is a two-wheel trailer that elevates the front wheels of your RV Toad. These can only be used with front-wheel drive vehicles.

However, tow dollies can’t carry as much weight as other car trailers, so pay attention to how much your vehicle weighs and how much your tow dolly can handle. If you want to use a tow dolly, you’ll need to research lighter, more compact cars.

Car Trailer

If you want to use another car that isn’t front-wheel drive or capable of being flat towed then you can get a car trailer. These are where the vehicle’s wheels are not on the ground at all. This means you have even more options for an RV Toad. 

These car trailers vary, including fully enclosed units so do your research about trailer weight and load capacity. But it is possible to tow a heavier vehicle on a car trailer behind your motorhome.

Price

You have many options for an RV Toad. If you have a tight budget, don’t worry. There are flat tow vehicles out there on the less expensive end of the spectrum. You can spend about $10,000 on a used compact SUV like a 2010 Honda CRV. 

Or you can spend over $40,000 on a used 2016 Yukon Denali. So don’t sweat it if you have to find a cheaper option. Just make sure to do your research to make sure the vehicle you choose is capable of flat towing.

Can You Tow the Car You Already Have?

Read your owner’s manual. It will tell you if you can tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground or if you need to elevate the front two. Why does this matter? 

Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars that feature a transmission disconnect won’t destroy the transmission when towed. Vehicles that don’t feature a disconnect must have the front two wheels raised, or else the owner will spend big bucks repairing or replacing the transmission.

The owner’s manual will also give specific instructions for flat towing. Follow the procedure outlined in the manual to ensure you stay safe on the road and protect others.

The Jeep Wrangler is the most popular 4×4 to tow. This offroad vehicle is an excellent option for RVers since many owners like to travel to more remote locations. If you need bigger options, the Ford F-150 and Jeep Grand Cherokee are popular because of their spaciousness and rougher terrain capabilities.

Select models of compact cars are also good flat towing vehicles. Make sure to pay attention to the year as well. The manufacturing year, not just the make and model, will determine if it can be an RV Toad. 

Research and read your owner’s manual if you are interested in flat towing a vehicle you already have. For example, the 2011 Kia Soul is the only model year that you can flat tow. You can tow the Honda Fit but only model years 2010-2013 and 2020.

What RV Toad Option Is Best?

Consider your options and travel lifestyle. Do you want a compact car that easily maneuvers through the big cities? Or do you want an off-road vehicle that can handle steep rocky cliffs? Determine your needs, then start doing your research about towing capabilities.

If the vehicle you have your heart set on isn’t a flat tow vehicle, decide whether or not you want to find another RV Toad or if you want to get another towing option like a dolly or a car trailer. 

You have many options but do your research. You don’t want to regret an expensive purchase later because it can’t do what you wanted. You also don’t want a substantial mechanical failure to deal with when you travel. So to flat tow or not to flat tow?

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