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Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Freewheeling Part 2: How to Pick Your Toad
toad/tōd/ noun (From Patti’s American Dictionary of What’s Happening Now, Ya’ll)
- A vehicle that is “towed” (hence, the nickname “toad”) behind an RV for the purpose of driving around and running errands without having to break camp in said RV.
Choosing the right toad for your RV requires research. Do you want your toad on a dolly or do you want to tow flat with four wheels down? Only you can decide, and it’s for certain, everyone has an opinion. As in zillions of them.
Having said that, we chose to tow four wheels down because a.) we don’t want another vehicle (like a dolly) to deal with at RV parks that sometimes don’t have room for dollies in addition to toads and RVs and b.) we don’t want to haul extra dolly weight since our RV is quite small.
Many folks tow with dollies and easily find RV parks that accommodate them, but I imagine it takes some advance planning for site size. Probably not a big deal; just reality. The flat tow folks and the dolly tow folks each make cases for their preferences. Neither choice is terrible. We decided to tow four wheels down.
Things to consider:
1) It’s critical to follow car and RV manufacturer specifications regarding towing . Because we wanted to tow four wheels down (flat tow) we bought a car that’s designed by the manufacturer to do that.
2) If you make modifications so you can tow against manufactured specifications, you risk vehicle damage or losing warranty coverage if something goes wrong. The manufacturer could say something charming like “Hey…you didn’t follow our specs…we ain’t giving you a dime on your warranty coverage.”
3) Toad weight: Again, it’s about adhering to what your RV manufacturer says you can tow. Defy manufacture specs at your own peril. We didn’t want to risk anything based on our own stupidity (we have enough risk without deliberately asking for trouble!) so we always follow specs. Period. We’re actually go under manufacturer specs, just to be safe. For example, our 2006 Winnebago View specs say we can tow up to 3500 pounds. We wanted to come in under that, so we bought a Honda Fit Sport, curb weight 2520 pounds
4) Do your homework. I found these two links quite helpful as we started researching the right toad for us, as they both address correct toad weights for RV’s:
Is the Honda Fit Sport going to be a totally cool, luxurious car that reflects everyone’s idea of a mid-life crisis? Nope. But it will get us around, allow our RV to stay at the site, is designed to be towed four wheels down(even automatics; just follow manufactures’ towing instructions), gets 33 mpg and comes in well under our RV towing specs. Plus, it’s fun to drive and kind of cute in its own toad-like way! So, you want to get your dream toad? Study the the RV and car manufacturers’ specs and you should be in good shape. Yes, it’s called research and there’s no getting around it.
Oh…and just how well does our 2006 Winnebago View tow our new Honda? I’ll tell you later…we just bought the Honda and we’re waiting for the tow bar and adapter to arrive!
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