How To Tow A Broken Motorhome The Right Way
Do you own the ultimate road trip companion – a big, beautiful, broken down motorhome? Or are you looking to buy one? If so, then you’re in luck. You’re about to read the best guide on how to tow a broken motorhome.
To be honest, I never thought I'd write a blog post on how to tow a broken motorhome. But this page was such a phenomenon that it made me reconsider my stance. Seems there's lots of interest in this subject - and indeed a lot of misinformation out there. So, somebody had to get the story straight, put all the facts in one place and demystify the heck out of the whole thing.
Think safety first
Once you've found the right company, try to get as close as possible to where they will have room to park their truck and make the tow. Turn on all four-way flashers and put out traffic cones if it's safe to do so. If you're on the highway, call 911 or move as far off the road as possible while still being visible.
If you're driving when it starts raining or snowing, pull off the road right away and turn off your engine until it's safe again.
So just how do you tow a broken motorhome?
If you are on the road traveling in your motorhome and it breaks down, there is a good chance you are not going to be able to fix it right away. Instead, you need to tow it and get it back to your home for repairs.
To help you do this the right way, here are some steps to follow.
Look for an experienced towing service
The first thing you need to do is find a service that can tow a broken motorhome. You may not be anywhere near where you live, so finding a reputable service that can do this may take some time.
When your motorhome breaks down, you can't just have any tow truck pick it up and haul it away. It's not that you're going to get a bad deal from just any tow company, it's that most of them do not have the experience needed to tow a motorhome safely. In order to find someone who can handle your rig, you need to make sure they know what they are doing.
Before you call anyone to come pick up your RV, ask them if they have towed broken motorhomes before. Find out how long the company has been in business and get references from past customers. If you know anyone who has had their motorhome towed before, ask them who they called and how their experience was with the company. One great place to look for recommendations is on social media websites like Facebook or Twitter.
You should also ask questions about their experience, how many years they have been doing this type of work and if they have any references you can call.
Tow the motorhome yourself.
If you are going to tow your motorhome yourself, you need to ensure that your vehicle is set up properly. First, you will need a tow bar.
These can range in price from $200 on up to $1,500 depending on weight and style. Next, you will need a baseplate (or bracket) that attaches to your motorhome and the tow bar attaches to this baseplate. You will also need safety cables that attach from the tow bar to the chassis of your vehicle and diode wiring so your tow vehicle's electrical system does not backfeed into your motorhome's electrical system.
Know the limitations of your tow vehicle.
When you tow a motorhome with a car or truck, you will have different limitations than if you were driving it yourself. As noted above, you must use safety cables. These safety cables are an important safety measure because if the tow bar becomes disconnected from the baseplate while under way, they prevent the car or truck from becoming separated from the motorhome. When it comes to speed limits, some states allow 60 miles per hour when towing a motorhome with a car or truck, some allow 50 mph and others allow 55 mph.
Tips for towing
- Tow Vehicle Weight
You want to avoid having a lighter tow vehicle than the motorhome if possible. That's because you could end up losing control of both vehicles if they're traveling at high speeds. A small car, large sedan or a pickup truck can be used for this type of tow as long as they have a strong enough engine and transmission to handle hauling an RV that's not moving under its own power.
- Get some help
Ask someone to ride with you in case of emergency while you tow your motorhome home. This person can help navigate and steer if necessary and serve as a lookout to prevent accidents.
- Use the right tow vehicle
Towing a broken-down motorhome is a relatively simple task, but there are important considerations to keep in mind. The main question is whether you have the right vehicle to do the job.
Hitching and unhitching your broken motorhome
- Turn off the main battery disconnect switch and remove any freestanding appliances that could be damaged by movement (e.g., microwave ovens, televisions, etc.).
- Secure all storage compartments and doors.
- Chock wheels (if set) and set parking brake.
- If you are stopped on a grade that is too steep for your tow vehicle to safely maneuver, ask for help from passing motorists in moving your RV into a level position.
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Prepare for the worst case scenario
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your RV is properly prepared for towing.
We are going to assume that your motorhome has air brakes. If you have hydraulic brakes, you can still tow it, but there are some additional steps that you must take. If your motorhome has hydraulic brakes, then you will need to install a pressure differential switch (which cuts off the vacuum to the power brake booster). This prevents the braking system from being overcharged while braking while being towed.
You have a few options when it comes to tow bars, dollies and other accessories. These items range in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up into the thousands. Just remember that this is an investment that will give you many years of service if you take care of it.
Towing a broken down motorhome is much easier if you are prepared for it. The best way to be prepared is to have an emergency road kit ready and packed in your motorhome. This includes basic tools and spare parts that you might need in case of emergencies. Your emergency road kit should include:
Ultimately, towing a broken motorhome can be a little tricky. You want to tow it correctly so that you don’t damage your vehicle or cause any harm to the RVs occupants. But at the same time, you want it done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Hopefully, this blog has been helpful in both regards, and you have all the information you need to make the right decisions before and after this unfortunate event takes place.