Flat Towing Guide for RVing
Disclaimer: All product recommendations are our opinion. We do not get
incentive to promote any product other than RVi products.

This flat towing guide is designed to help RVers in knowing what to consider and what they'll need in order to flat tow
their car behind their motorhome. This is not an exhaustive guide, but will be a tremendous help, especially to those
who have never flat towed before.


Step 1. Choosing a towed vehicle

Motorhome magazine puts out a comprehensive list of flat towable vehicles in their annual Dinghy Towing Guide. You can download each year HERE.

In our opinion, the Jeep Wranglers of any year or model are the easiest to setup and tow. Not only are they cool, but they can go anywhere and there is nothing you “have” to do to tow it. Though there are many great vehicles that can be towed, the Jeeps follow the K.I.S.S. model.

Flat Towing Guide - Jeep

Like any flat towable vehicle, you have to install brackets for the towbar and a breakaway switch, but that is common to all vehicles.


Step 2. Choosing a tow bar

There are really three main players in the tow bar market: Blue Ox, Demco and Roadmaster.

In our opinion, Roadmaster’s latest line of tow bars is superior. This is because of their quality control. Each unit has a life of over 100,000 extensions, which is extraordinary for the tow bar market.

The latest gem in the line up is the Roadmaster Nighthawk. It has a built-in 6 to 7-wire power cord for the towed light system and is truly non-binding with its freedom latches. Aaaaaand it features a really cool LED strip down the side of the tow bar that is an incredible safety device at night when the tow bar and towed vehicle are hard to see.

When you purchase a tow bar you have to also purchase a baseplate that is custom to your towed vehicle for the tow bar to attach. You can learn more at roadmasterinc.com.

Flat Towing Guide Tow Bar

You an see a performance video with the Nighthawk by RV Geeks HERE.


Step 3. Choosing a light system

There are three types of light systems in the market: permanent wired using existing light bulbs, non-permanent wired that use a magnet to connect to the towed vehicle, and wireless light systems.

Flat Towing Guide Lights

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding:

1) Do I plan to change towed vehicles in the next 3 years?

This question is important because if you are having a wired light system installed, you are going to either have to uninstall it and reinstall it in another towed vehicle or bite the bullet and purchase another light system for the new towed vehicle.

2) Do I want to pay for installation or do I want to install something myself?

Installation time for permanent wired systems can take a few hours to install. If you have it installed the shop time can be expensive.

3) Do I want something elegant?

Non-permanent wired systems and wireless systems are very easy to setup and require no installation; however, cord management and appearance may not be for everyone. The nice thing about wired systems is that you never seem them. You simply plug in the umbilical power cord from the motorhome to the towed vehicle and you’re done.

In our opinion, permanent wired light systems that pull power from the umbilical that goes from 7-pin on the motorhome to 6-pin on the towed vehicle is the most elegant and seamless. The reason we recommend a 6-pin on the towed vehicle side is to keep your options open. 4-pin and 6-pin umbilicals all have the same 4 pins; however, the 6-pins have an additional pin for electric brakes should you tow a trailer with trailer brakes, and a pin with an always hot 12V accessory. We recommend our Towed Battery Chager for the last pin. You can learn more HERE.


Step 4. Choosing a braking system

There are two types of brake systems in the market: portable and permanent installed. In our opinion, RVibrake3 is the right choice. It's the easiest to setup and most technologically advanced braking system on the market. And just because its technologically advanced doesn't mean it's complicated, it's the advancements that actually make it easy to use.

Flat Towing Guide RVibrake3

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding:

1) Do I plan to change towed vehicles in the next 3 years?

This question, like choosing a light system, is important because if you are having a permanent installed braking system, you are again going to either have to have it uninstalled and reinstalled in another towed vehicle or bite the bullet and purchase another system for the new towed vehicle.

2) Do I want to pay for installation or do I want to have to install something myself?

Installation time for permanent installed braking system takes about 6-8 hours to install as compared to 45 min. for portable system that only need the breakaway installed. If you have it installed by a dealer, the shop time can be expensive, especially with changing vehicles.

3) Do I want add lots of monitors to my dashboard?

We are obviously partial to our RVibrake3 system and when you purchase an RVibrake3 you receive the Command Center tablet and hub. This tablet allows you to monitor multiple products on one screen. When you purchase other systems that only monitor themselves, you still have to purchase other monitor for devices like tire pressure monitoring systems (we’ll talk about that in a minute as well).

4) Are all braking systems created equal?

The simple answer is no. Between permanent installed units you have some that interact with the air brakes on RVs that have air brakes, and those that create their own air supply by splicing into your vacuum system in the towed vehicle. In the portable braking systems there are those that are very large and then there’s the RVibrake3 that is 4 inches tall and only 10 lbs. Also, in the portable brakes, you have to choose between electic pistons and air driven pistons. Reaction times on electic systems take as long as 3 seconds to fully actuate vs. air driven which only take 1/2 of a second. These are all important things to consider. We made a chart HERE to see how they all compare.

Again in our opinion, our RVibrake3 system is the best for many reasons, but the biggest reasons are its size, its technology, and the Command Center. You can see how it compares with other brakes HERE.


Step 5. Choosing a tire pressure monitoring system

RVing is such an exciting way to explore and grow with your family. RVs are incredible because of their flexibility and ingenuity. However, because of their size and weight they can be a liability. A blow out or low tire can be a real harm on the road. That’s why having a tire pressure monitoring sytem is so important. A blowout can cause major damage to you and your RV.

Flat Towing Guide Tire Patrol

In our opinion, our Tire Patrol tire pressure monitoring system is the way to go.  There are 3 main reasons why we believe Tire Patrol is the best system on the market and the best bang for your buck.

1) PRE-ASSIGNED SENSORS:

Essentially, the way a customer interacts with a thread-on tire pressure sensor has been the same until now. Each Tire Patrol sensor is pre-assigned and labeled for the corresponding tire it is designed for. Other manufacturers make the same sensor over and over, putting the burden on the customer for pairing and re-connecting. Pairing a sensor that isn’t pre-assigned can take 15 minutes or longer depending on how many sensors you have. When you have to re-thread the sensor on after taking them off, you don’t know which sensor goes to which tire and you have to do it all over again.

2) ALL PRESSURES ON ONE SCREEN:

Up until the launch of Tire Patrol, tire pressure monitoring screens would only show one pressure at a time. This is not only an annoyance, it is not safe. If you are going down the road and you want to review the current pressures of your sensors, you have to scroll through every tire. Four tires may not be so bad, but 14 is just not safe. With Tire Patrol’s 7” tablet, you can see not only all your pressures on one screen, but with the tap of a button, you can see all your temperatures for each tire on one screen. This is powerful.

3) COMMAND CENTER:

Lastly, the thing that separates Tire Patrol from the field is that you get the Command Center tablet and hub. The Command Center tablet and hub give you the ability to monitor not only the Tire Patrol, but the RVibrake3, RV Level, and any other product RVi creates for the Command Center. One screen to rule them all. No more cluttered dash.

You can learn more about Tire Patrol HERE.


Step 6. Choosing the extras

Lastly, there are a few extras to consider for your specific towed vehicle.

Flat Towing Guide Extras

1) Umbilical Type

We recommend a 7-pin to 6-pin umbilical power cord verses a 7-pin to 4-pin umbilical. This keeps your options open to other accessories down the road, like the Towed Battery Charger.

2) Charging the Towed Battery

For years, RVers have had charge lines installed in their towed vehicle to allow the RV to charge the towed vehicle’s battery while towing. The problem with a charge line is you risk the motorhome draining the towed battery if it gets low, and you have no feedback that the wire is doing its job. This is why we created the Towed Battery Charger…a charge line on steroids. This on demand system not only has a diode to prevent the motorhome from draining the towed vehicle’s battery, but it has an LED to give instant feedback that the system is working. You can learn more HERE.

3) Disconnecting the Towed Battery

It didn’t use to be this way, but it is becoming very common for manufacturers, particularly Ford and GM, to ask for the towed battery to be disconnected for towing. This is frustrating for two reasons. First, you have to use a wrench or socket set to unthread the nut on the battery cable every time you have to tow. Second, this removes power from the 12V outlet in the towed vehicle leaving you without power for your braking system. This is why we sell the RVi Towed Battery Disconnect. With the twist of a dial you can disconnect the battery in the towed vehicle. We also make the 12V Battery Direct Kit which gives you a 12V outlet dedicated for the brake system that runs directly to the towed battery even when the battery is disconnected.

4) Pulling Fuses

Another frustration is that in many towed vehicles manufacturers require that you pull a fuse for towing. Most often when you do this, it disables the 12V outlet and other items in the dash area. Again, this is why we make and sell the 12V Battery Direct Kit giving you a 12V outlet dedicated for the brake system that runs directly to the towed battery even when the fuse is pulled. To simplify the pulling the fuse process we created the Mini Fuse Bypass Switch. If your car has a micro fuse or any other type of fuse other than a mini fuse, then you’ll have to go to Amazon or another source for a bypass switch. The bypass switch gives you a simple switch to disable the fuse that needs to be pulled.


We hope this guide helps you as you planning for your flat towing adventures.

If you still have questions don't hesitate to e-mail or call 800-815-2159.