With an RV, you can travel just almost anywhere while still having the comforts of home. RV travelers enjoy the same kitchen, bathroom, living area, and bedroom each night. However, those comforts come at a cost; RVs need larger parking spaces, guzzle gas, and are not practical for driving around town. As a result, a lot of times, you’ll see RVs towing Jeeps. Why is that?
RVers tow Jeeps because they want an easy way to travel the area once they reach their camping destination, to see the sights or pick up supplies without driving their RV around. In addition, Jeep 4x4s can be easily flat towed, making them the ideal vehicle of choice.
Is it worthwhile to tow a Jeep with an RV that already gets low fuel mileage? It might seem pointless to have one vehicle tow another while you travel, but Jeeps allow campers and travelers to take full advantage of the places they visit. This post will dive into how Jeeps help RV travelers find the balance between comfortable camping and rugged adventure, and you’ll discover why Jeeps are a smart companion to RVs.
Why Are Jeeps So Popular to Tow Behind RVs?
Since its launch in the early 1940s, Jeep has become an “American Icon,” with a distinctive design, unprecedented off-road performance, and longevity; it’s easy to see why this vehicle has been around for so long. Yet, as often as we see Jeeps on and off-road, we are starting to see more of them towed behind RVs.
Jeeps are much more popular to tow behind RVs than other vehicles. Though other vehicles are also towed behind RVs, Jeeps, especially Jeep Wranglers, are the most common choice. Odds are, if you have been on a road trip, you have seen an RV towing a Jeep. One of the reasons Jeeps are so popular is because they can easily be hooked and unhooked from an RV.
What is Flat Towing?
Flat towing, sometimes known as “four-down towing or dinghy towing,” is the process of towing a vehicle behind an RV and not on a car-hauler trailer or tow dolly. It requires attaching a tow bar from the RV to the toad (slang for a towed vehicle) and allowing it to roll along behind the motorhome with its own four tires on the pavement.
Flat towing works by having a hitch mounted to the RV, which connects easily to the Jeep once a tow bar is installed. The flat tow makes hooking and unhooking faster because the Jeeps tow bar can easily be connected to and disconnected from the RV while still being safe with safety chains and brake assist options.
A steel or aluminum tow bar connects the two vehicles together at three points, one at the RV hitch and two on the towed vehicle’s front. Following is a list of the necessary components needed for safe flat towing.
- RV hitch: The part attached to the RV’s chassis for towing.
- Tow bar: Connects the toad to the RV for safe flat towing.
- Baseplate kit: Vehicle-specific parts installed on the front frame of your toad.
- Safety cables: Steel cables attached from the toad to the RV in case of a tow bar failure.
- Wiring harness: Allows the toad’s brake lights, turn signals, etc., to work in conjunction with the RV lights.
- Supplemental braking system: Synchronizes the toad’s brakes with the RV’s brakes.
The Jeep’s design makes it simple to tow it behind an RV; many Jeep models, including the Wrangler, Gladiator, Cherokee, Patriot, and Liberty, can be flat towed.
However, it’s essential to note that not all specific types of the Cherokee, Patriot, and Liberty models can be safely flat towed. Therefore, it’s critical to research the particular model and trim level of the model you have or are thinking about purchasing.
Failure to tow the Jeep correctly can cause severe transmission and/or transfer case damage.
If travelers need to take a quick trip to the store in the Jeep, they don’t have to waste time unloading the Jeep from a dolly or trailer to leave only to load it back up upon returning from the store.
Additionally, if you get to where you’re staying for the night and quickly want to head out on an adventure, you can unhook your Jeep and get rolling.
Jeeps and RVs are opposite kinds of vehicles. If you want to get adventurous and explore somewhere off-road, a Jeep can easily get you places where other vehicles cannot. This vehicle will help take you off the beaten path and explore new places that others can’t get to.
The Trail Less Traveled
Seasoned RVers know that the Jeep Wrangler is one of the best vehicles for flat towing, as well as an ideal roam-around vehicle once they get to their campsite. But where this rugged 4×4 really excels is when the pavement ends and you’re ready to tackle some off-road trails.
The Wrangler has exceptional ground clearance, as well as protective underbody skid plates that allow you to drive over rocks, logs, and other obstacles you may encounter while traversing rough terrain.
Numerous other features come standard or are available, such as a fully boxed frame, off-road differentials, and extra-tough body-mounted rock sliders, making it the vehicle of choice for those off-road adventures.
These vehicles are designed for off-road use. Complete with rugged four-wheel-drive packages, knobby tires, and rigid suspensions, Jeeps are ready to tackle almost any road you take them down, an attractive option after driving in an RV all day.
The Jeep is a versatile vehicle in its ability to be towed easily, fit a family and their gear, and take on rugged terrain. A Jeep can take you to the supermarket to pick up supplies to restock your RV, or it can take you up a steep, rocky trail through the mountains, helping you discover a new place on your trip.
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Is the Jeep Wrangler the Most Popular Towed Vehicle?
Not all Jeep models are designed to be flat towed. However, all Jeep Wranglers are compatible with flat towing. For this reason, Jeep Wranglers are the ultimate and most common Jeeps that are towed behind RVs. In addition, some Jeep Wranglers are shorter vehicles, so towing them behind an RV is easier to manage than a larger off-road vehicle.
Jeep Wranglers have been around since the 1980s, so RVers can buy an inexpensive, older model and only drive it limited miles once they get to their campsite.
An older Jeep Wrangler might not be ready for a long road trip at high speeds, but when it is flat towed by an RV, it doesn’t need to be. Many older models are very reliable to get you around town and through rough terrain.
If travelers in a Class C RV, which is smaller and has less towing capacity than a Class A, still want to flat-tow a vehicle, Jeep Wranglers are a viable option. In addition, Wranglers almost always weigh less than 5,000 pounds, so either a large Class C or Class A RV can tow them. The Jeep Wrangler is arguably the most common vehicle towed behind an RV for those reasons.
What Makes a Jeep Flat Towable?
Many Jeeps have flat towing in mind when they are designed and built. Jeep models compatible with flat towing, like the Jeep Wrangler, are ideal for RV travelers because these Jeep models make it possible to have the vehicle off without the steering wheel locking.
Not all models are the same, but they have similar settings—you can either have the vehicle off or the key turned to a specific setting, so not much battery power is used. This option will keep your battery from being drained while it’s getting towed.
Certain Jeep models are designed, so parts of the transmission don’t move while it is flat towed. This design keeps the transmission from being damaged while the wheels are moving.
With 4×4 vehicles like Jeeps, it’s important to remember to always flat tow them instead of putting two wheels on a dolly or trailer. If two wheels are spinning, connected to the road, and the other two are not moving, it will damage the four-wheel-drive system.
Does Flat Towing a Jeep Add Miles?
If a Jeep is properly configured, flat towing will not add any miles to the odometer. However, there are some critical steps to ensure you properly prepare a Jeep to be flat towed.
While different guides explain the proper steps to take when flat towing a Jeep, the best reference will be your owner’s manual. Always try to find the instructions from the manufacturer to ensure you flat tow safely.
Though no miles are added to the odometer, the Jeep will still incur some wear while it is flat towed. Several areas flat towing may cause wear to:
Proper preparation of your Jeep and RV when deciding to flat tow is the best way to avoid any damage on your road trip.
Do Jeep Wranglers Hold Their Value?
Yes, Jeep Wranglers hold their value exceptionally well. They are a well-known and well-loved design that Jeep fans have loved for decades. The Wrangler always has minor changes, but the overall design stays the same. Consequently, it’s not uncommon to see Wranglers from the 1990s sell for over $7,000.
These models have been tested on the pavement and through mud, hills, and rocks over the years; they continue to prove themselves. New Jeep Wranglers keep up to 70% of their value after three years and around 60% after five years. Whether used or new, a Jeep Wrangler is a reliable investment.
Off-roading can be rough on any car, so protective measures like skid plates are good options to prevent damage and help a Wrangler hold its value.
The Perfect Combination of an RV And a Jeep
So many RV travelers flat tow Jeep Wranglers because the Jeep has proven to be a companion to fun and adventure. While an RV is set up with all the amenities of home, a Jeep is ready to take you where only a Jeep can. A Jeep can give you the freedom to find secluded beauty in many places you visit. You can climb up a rough, rocky road with confidence in your Jeep. Then, you can return to your comfortable camp and enjoy warmth, comfort, and safety in an RV.
RV camping becomes much easier with a Jeep. For example, you don’t have to pack up your whole camp to go restock supplies. Or, if you crave a night in the city or town while camping, you can take the Jeep, so you don’t have to worry about finding parking for an RV.
In addition, camping and RV travel becomes more flexible when travelers flat tow a Jeep behind their RV. Suddenly places to camp become places to see from a new perspective—a rare perspective made possible by a rugged off-road vehicle that can climb rocks and take your travels to a whole new level.