Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on it?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on it? We will explain how to tow a car behind an RV, how to equip a van with brakes and how to be safe on the road while towing a vehicle.

Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on it?

No, towing a car behind an RV does not put miles on it, considering that the engine of the car is off. Most cars have an electric system that registers miles on the odometer, which is usually off while the car is being towed. 

How to tow a car behind an RV?

Recreational vehicles are a fun way to get to know the country. Many people use their RVs for long trips and stay on the road for weeks or months at a time. When you are parked at a campground, you have a need for a way to see the sights.

Tow a car behind an RV safely so that you will have transportation for errands and sightseeing while on your travels. This allows you to keep your RV hitched at your campsite, and not disturb your home while on your trip.

Consider a trailer hitch to tow a car behind an RV. Mount a trailer hitch on the front bumper and frame of the car. It is in a V shape with a couple on the end. The coupler normally takes a 2-inch ball in the RV. It also has safety chains that attach to the RV. Make sure that when towing a vehicle that the towed vehicle’s gear is in the neutral position so that the wheels will turn freely.

Know that safety chains and lights are very important when towing a car behind an RV. Safety chains must be traversed when towing a car behind a motorhome. If the trailer hitch coupler comes loose from the RV and the chains are intersecting, this allows the car to follow behind the vehicle directly rather than side-to-side. Check all brake and turn signals on your motorhome and towed vehicle before hitting the road.

Use a Dolly car as an alternative when towing a car behind a motorhome. A car has two wheelbarrow wheels, a single bar that is attached to the RV and safety chains. Pull the towed vehicle up onto the Dolly car and lay down between the wheels. You have straps that go over the wheels. The straps hold the mobile platform.

How to tow a car behind a van: Step-by-step

Campers planning to set up their main camping van or RVs at a central campsite and explore the area from a base camp may choose to use a car for day trips. Once campers have established their RV, plugged in the power and water supply, and fixed their space they may not want to set up camp every day to take short walks around the area. 

RV owners can tow their small or compact car with a manual transmission. -Flat towing is when towing the car, keeping all four wheels of the car on the ground in front of a trailer.

  1. Take your car and go to an auto repair shop or RV dealer to have a trailer hitch and bar attached.
  1. The tow hitch will be attached to the frame of your car and the matching tow bar to the rear of your truck.
  1. Raise the volume on the truck’s tow bar with a jack.
  1. Manoeuvre your car so that the ball on the hitch is located just below the tow bar of the truck.
  1. Crank down the jack until it rests on the vehicle’s tow hitch ball.
  1. Allow the jack to lower the bar so that it unfolds over the ball, safely enclosing it.
  1. Hook the electrical cables that extend from the car into the van’s electrical outlet, so you can control the car’s tail lights and turn signals through your truck’s dash.
  1. Check that the lights are working properly.
  1. Pull back on the locking mechanism so that the hitch locks securely on the tow ball and then pin the locking mechanism.
  1. Attach the van car safety chains by crossing them, hooking the left car chain to the right side of the van, and vice versa.

Tips and Warnings: Practice driving your truck with your car hitched to it. You will have to learn to drive while accounting for the extra length of your towed car, as well as learn how to manoeuvre the two vehicles, park them, and back up. 

When backing up, your car starts in the opposite direction of the van. If you put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and turn in the direction you want the car to go, the car will back up when planning.

Always drive with the towed car in neutral. Do not allow anyone to ride in the car while the truck is towing it. This is illegal and extremely dangerous.

How to tow a car behind an RV equipped with brakes

Tow trucks, colloquially known as “toads”, are typically sold without a braking system. Manufacturers such as General Motors (GM) and Ford advise a braking system they can use on any towed load greater than 1,000 pounds. Even the smallest of cars weighs over 2,000 pounds. 

Almost every state requires brakes for loads over 3,000 pounds – the weights are a total of both the dolly and the towed vehicle – while other states perform random distance braking tests. Braked towing of a dolly equipped first requires the driver to find out what type of braking system has been equipped.

  • Determine if a hydraulic braking system is installed on your tow dolly. These are old, require a physical link to the RV’s hydraulic braking system, and are prone to leaks. The platform brakes are immediately deployed when the RV’s brakes are used, and the braking force is proportional.

 If you intend to use a hydraulic braking system, you will need professional installation of the sender connections on your RV.

  • Decide if an electric braking system will mount on your tow dolly. These are by far the most common devices, and although they have many different appearances, they all work by using an electrical signal from the tow vehicle to deploy magnetic brakes that work on the deck. 

Some older systems use power from a battery in the deck, but most use power delivered through the RV’s towing umbilical. If you intend to use an electric braking system, you can operate the platform brakes in one of two ways: using a “time delay” brake controller or a “proportional” brake controller.

  • Determine if you want a time-delayed brake controller to actuate the brakes installed on your tow dolly. A time-delayed system requires the driver to present the amount of braking force he wants the brakes to use, and the amount of delay between the RV’s brakes being deployed and the dolly brakes reaching that braking force.

These settings are hard to match, whether as the RV is breaking the truck or the platform braking the RV. This results in uneven brake wear and poor braking performance.

  • Decide if you want a proportional brake controller to actuate the brakes installed on your tow dolly. A proportional system has a built-in sensor that reads the deceleration behaviour of the RV and transmits a signal that results in the same amount of braking force being applied by the dolly brakes. 

The dolly will stop at the same rate as the RV towing it, anywhere between smooth slowing down and emergency stop. This results in even brake wear and good braking performance.

The bottom line

Towing a car behind an RV is an ideal solution if you need both vehicles on your trip, or even if you live full-time in a motorhome. Make sure you follow our advice and tow the car safely, both for yourself and for the other drives.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on it?

How should a car be towed?

To tow a car, you must safely keep your speed as low as possible and pull away as smoothly as possible, modulating the clutch to avoid sudden pulling on the rope. That will avoid a really nasty shaking action on the other car and there will be less chance of the rope breaking.

How many people can fit in an RV?

RVs can be better than a hotel. Depending on their size and style, you can find them with a bathroom, kitchen and space to accommodate a maximum of eight people or take your pet with you.

How does a camper work?

The camper has a 200 amp auxiliary battery that can be recharged in the following ways: By starting the vehicle’s engine. Through the charging cable, in conventional power outlets (campsites, motorhome areas, etc.). 


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