How to Tow a Broken Motorhome (All ways and RV classes)

Motorhomes are large RVs. So, if they break down, towing them is not a walk in the park. So, no matter what the size of your RV, here’s how to tow a broken motorhome.

Most tow companies have the ability to tow large motorhomes. While driving the RV onto a flatbed trailer is ideal, they can be towed with just the front wheels off the ground while in neutral. But rear-wheel-drive motorhomes would ideally have the rear wheels off the ground.

But the above is just the tip of the iceberg.

In this article, we’ll explore if it’s feasible to tow a motorhome with a pickup truck and how to tow a Class A RV. But we’ll also find out if you can tow a motorhome with a tow bar.

Let’s get started.

How do you tow a Class A RV?

The best way to tow a Class A RV is using a flatbed trailer. However, front-wheel-drive Class A RVs can be towed with the front wheels off the ground. For rear-wheel-drive Class A RVs, disconnecting the drive shaft may be necessary before towing with the rear wheels on the ground.

And it’s worth noting that most Class A RVs are rear-wheel drive.

Class A RVs are some of the largest RVs in the market. They weigh a lot and are very long. Some weigh between 16,000 to 30,000 pounds and are between 20 feet to 45 feet!

So, they can be cumbersome to tow. You’ll need a towing vehicle with enough torque and towing power to get the job done.

Towing a Broken Down Class A Motorhome: Different Options

1. Flatbed Towing:

Flatbed towing involves loading the entire motorhome onto a specialized flatbed trailer. This method ensures that all wheels are off the ground, preventing any further damage to the vehicle. Pros include enhanced safety, as the motorhome remains securely positioned. However, this option can be costly and may require a specialized towing service.

2. Two-Wheel Tow Dolly:

A tow dolly is a small trailer that lifts the front two wheels of the motorhome off the ground. This option is relatively affordable and accessible. However, it requires proper alignment and secure attachment to prevent any potential damage to the motorhome. Additionally, the rear wheels of the motorhome will still be in contact with the road, which may cause wear and tear.

3. Four-Wheel Flat Towing:

Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing, involves towing the motorhome with all four wheels on the ground. This method requires a motorhome that is specifically designed and approved for flat towing. It offers convenience as there is no need for additional trailers or equipment. However, not all motorhomes are suitable for flat towing, so it’s essential to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines.

4. RV Towing Service:

Hiring a professional RV towing service is a reliable option when dealing with a broken-down motorhome. These services have the expertise and equipment to handle the towing process efficiently and safely. However, the cost of professional towing services can vary based on factors such as distance, location, and the specific towing company.

5. Motorhome Transport Service:

If the motorhome requires long-distance transport or if you prefer not to tow it yourself, utilizing a motorhome transport service can be a suitable option. These specialized services will arrange for the motorhome to be loaded onto a transport trailer and safely transported to the desired location.

However, this option can be more expensive compared to other towing methods.

Torn between buying a Class A motorhome and a travel trailer?

That’s what I explored in a recent article. I showed whether travel trailers are better than motorhomes. But I also shared how long a Class A motorhome will last.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you tow a Class B RV?

Towing a Class B RV can be done using various methods, but one of the most common and recommended options is flat towing or dinghy towing.

This method involves towing the Class B motorhome with all four wheels on the ground, providing convenience and ease of use. It requires a Class B RV that is specifically designed and approved for flat towing, so it’s crucial to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility.

Towing a Broken Down Class B Motorhome: Different Options

1. Flat Towing:

Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing, is a popular choice for towing Class B motorhomes. It offers convenience as there is no need for additional trailers or equipment. The motorhome remains securely attached and can be easily maneuvered. However, not all Class B RVs are suitable for flat towing, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications.

2. Tow Dolly:

Using a tow dolly is another option for towing a Class B RV. A tow dolly lifts the front wheels of the motorhome off the ground while the rear wheels remain in contact with the road. This method can be cost-effective and accessible, but it requires proper alignment and secure attachment to prevent any potential damage to the motorhome. Additionally, it may limit maneuverability and may not be suitable for all Class B RV models.

3. RV Towing Service:

Hiring a professional RV towing service is a reliable option when towing a broken-down Class B motorhome. These services have the expertise and equipment to handle the towing process efficiently and safely. They can assess the situation, recommend the appropriate towing method, and ensure the motorhome reaches its destination securely.

However, the cost of professional towing services can vary based on factors such as distance, location, and the specific towing company.

4. Motorhome Transport Service:

If you prefer not to tow the Class B RV yourself or if long-distance transport is required, using a motorhome transport service is an alternative. These specialized services will arrange for the motorhome to be loaded onto a transport trailer and safely transported to the desired location. This option offers convenience and eliminates the need for towing equipment. However, it can be more expensive compared to other towing methods.

5. RV Recovery Service:

In case of a major breakdown or accident, an RV recovery service can assist in safely recovering and transporting the Class B motorhome. These services have specialized equipment to handle challenging situations, such as off-road recoveries or extracting a stuck motorhome.

RV recovery services offer expertise and peace of mind, but the cost can be higher due to the specialized nature of the service.

If you’re buying a new RV, is it even worth considering a Class B?

In a recent article, I shared 13 significant pros and cons of Class B RVs, including the 1 reason I’ll probably never buy one.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you tow a Class C RV?

The best way to tow a Class C RV is using a flatbed trailer. However, front-wheel-drive Class C RVs can be towed with the front wheels off the ground. For rear-wheel-drive Class C RVs, disconnecting the drive shaft may be necessary before towing with the rear wheels on the ground.

Class C RVs are close to Class A RVs.

So, they are big. As such, they are equally demanding to tow. They range in size between 10,000 to 12,000 pounds. It follows that the towing vehicle must have the capacity to tow a Class C RV within that range.

You’ll also want a towing vehicle that has an electric brake system attached to the towing device.

A tow dolly attached to a full-sized truck can get the job done. Ensure that the tow dolly and the RV are properly aligned before you drive off.

Also, make sure that there is a 700-to-800-pound buffer between the front and back of the RV. Ensure as well that the ball height is between 16 to 18 inches for effective hauling. Each tire should be strapped securely, and between 40- and 50-miles intervals, check if the tires are tied down properly.

Towing a Broken Down Class C Motorhome: Different Options

1. Flat Towing:

Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing, is a common method for towing a Class C motorhome.

It involves towing the motorhome with all four wheels on the ground. This option provides convenience and ease of use, as there is no need for additional trailers or equipment. However, not all Class C motorhomes are suitable for flat towing, so it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility. Additionally, flat towing may have weight restrictions and can impact fuel efficiency.

2. Tow Dolly:

Using a tow dolly is another option for towing a Class C motorhome. A tow dolly lifts the front wheels of the motorhome off the ground while the rear wheels remain in contact with the road. This method can be cost-effective and accessible, but it requires proper alignment and secure attachment to prevent any potential damage to the motorhome. Tow dollies may limit maneuverability and may not be suitable for all Class C motorhome models.

3. Trailer Towing:

Towing the Class C motorhome using a trailer is a popular option, especially when the motorhome is larger or heavier.

This method involves using a specialized trailer that the motorhome is loaded onto. Trailer towing offers flexibility as it can be used with various motorhome sizes and types. However, it requires additional equipment, such as a compatible trailer and a tow vehicle with sufficient towing capacity. Maneuvering and parking may also be more challenging with a trailer.

4. RV Towing Service:

When dealing with a broken-down Class C motorhome, hiring a professional RV towing service is a reliable option.

These services have the expertise and equipment to handle the towing process efficiently and safely. They can assess the situation, recommend the appropriate towing method, and ensure the motorhome reaches its destination securely. However, the cost of professional towing services can vary based on factors such as distance, location, and the specific towing company.

5. Motorhome Transport Service:

If you prefer not to tow the Class C motorhome yourself or if long-distance transport is required, using a motorhome transport service is an alternative. These specialized services will arrange for the motorhome to be loaded onto a transport trailer and safely transported to the desired location.

This option offers convenience and eliminates the need for towing equipment. However, it can be more expensive compared to other towing methods.

Can you tow a motorhome with a pickup truck?

Many larger pickup trucks can easily tow a Class B or Class C RV. However, some Class A RVs weigh as much as 30,000 pounds and will be beyond any truck’s capacity. Trucks such as a Ford F-250 or F-350 or a Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500 can pull approximately 23,000 to 24,000 pounds.

Here’s a handy chart showing the best-known pickups and their tow capacity:

Pickup Truck Make & Model Tow Capacity Type of RV it Can Tow
Nissan Titan XD 11,070 pounds All Class B RVs, a few small Class C RVs
Dodge Ram 1500 12,750 pounds All Class B RVs, a few small Class C RVs
GMC Sierra 1500 13,200 pounds All Class B RVs, and many small Class C RVs
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 13,300 pounds All Class B RVs, and many small Class A and C RVs
Ford F-150 14,000 pounds All Class B RVs, and many small Class A and C RVs
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD 20,000 pounds All Class B and C RVs, Some smaller Class A RVs
GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 20,000 pounds All Class B and C RVs, Some smaller Class A RVs
Ram 2500 and 3500 23,000 pounds All Class B and C RVs, Many small-med size Class A RVs
Ford F-250 and F-350 24,200 All Class B and C RVs, Many small-med size Class A RVs

It’s also worth pointing out that most of the time, the tow capacity assumes that what is being towed has braking capability.(source)

In other words, it is expected that you’ve electronically connected the brakes to the RVs brakes so that when you brake in the truck, the RV brakes too. After all, the weight of the RV, in many cases, will be significantly heavier than that of the truck, so it’s crucial to be safe.

Now let’s look at the weight of several popular motorhomes in all 3 categories.

Bear in mind many models, such as the Newmar Bay Star I have still come in several different floor plans. Each of those can vary a lot in weight. So, consult your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer to be certain.

This is a GUIDE.

Make and Model of RV Type of RV Average Weight
Winnebago Adventurer Class A 22,000 pounds
Newmar Bay Star Class A 22,000 pounds
Forest River Berkshire Class A 47,000 pounds
Coachmen Freelander Class C 22,000 pounds
Thor Compass Class C 13,500 pounds
Jayco Redhawk Class C 14,500 pounds
Airstream Interstate Class B 11,030 pounds

Let’s look at the most vital things to keep in mind when towing a motorhome with a pickup truck. The first thing is to know your motorhome.

Knowing some basic facts about it will help you choose the right pickup truck.

Its size, weight, and GCWR (gross combined vehicle rating) must be known. The GCWR is the maximum allowable combined mass of your motorhome.

Then, you’ll need a truck with a strong frame, powerful engine, and a top-notch suspension system. A 2-wheel drive truck is ideal.

But, you probably think a 4-wheel drive would be better, right?

Interestingly, a 2-wheel drive is better for the job because a 4-wheel drive weighs more and has a lower towing capacity.

The more a truck weighs, the lower its towing capacity. You’ll also need to make sure that the truck’s towing capacity exceeds the weight of your motorhome.

When you’re using a truck to tow a motorhome, it’s crucial that its towing capacity exceed the motorhome’s weight because towing a motorhome with more weight than is ideal could trigger brake fade, tire failure, or an overheated engine in the truck!

And you’ll want a truck with automatic transmission because these types of trucks have higher tow ratings.

They are also a lot easier to drive since the transmission shifts automatically. That way, you can simply focus on the road and the motorhome.

You’ll want to weigh the motorhome and the truck together at a certified scale or weight station before you hit the road.

Have you ever wondered whether RVs and motorhomes are the same?

You’re in luck because a recent article I published explored the difference. In it, I shared what the different names for RVs mean and looked at which one’s better: a travel trailer or a motorhome. But I also revealed whether you should buy a Class A or a Class B.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can I tow a motorhome with a tow bar?

A tow bar can be used to tow a motorhome, provided the towing vehicle has the tow capacity to accommodate the RV’s weight. But for rear-wheel-drive RVs, if towing from the front, it may be necessary to disconnect the driveshaft.

Essentially, a tow bar connects the towing vehicle to the vehicle being towed.

And it allows for swiveling so that vehicles can move independently in turns and over bumps. In virtually all cases, one can get a fitting tow bar off the shelf. And bespoke ones can also be crafted if needed.

But also remember, as I mentioned above, that in most cases, the tow capacity assumes that what is being towed has braking capability.

In other words, it’s expected that you’ve electronically connected the brakes to the RVs brakes so that when you brake in the truck, the RV brakes too. After all, the weight of the RV, in many cases, will be significantly heavier than that of the truck, so it’s crucial to be safe.

Thinking of living full-time in an RV? 

Before you sell everything you own and say goodbye to city life, you’ll agree it’s smart to find out the pros and cons of living full-time in an RV.

That’s what a recent article of mine is about. In it, I shared the pros and cons, looked at whether RVs are ideal for long-time living, and explored what it’s like to live in an RV full-time. I even revealed whether it’s legal to live in an RV.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you tow a motorhome with a regular hitch?

When it comes to towing a motorhome, using a regular hitch may not be suitable for all situations.

The towing capacity of a regular hitch is typically limited, and motorhomes are generally larger and heavier than standard trailers. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the specific weight and size of the motorhome before attempting to tow it with a regular hitch.

In some cases, smaller Class B motorhomes or lightweight trailers may be compatible with a regular hitch.

These motorhomes are generally designed to be more compact and lighter, making them suitable for towing with a regular hitch. However, it’s crucial to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure that the regular hitch has the necessary weight capacity to safely tow the motorhome.

On the other hand, larger Class A or Class C motorhomes typically require specialized towing equipment and hitches. These motorhomes often have a higher weight and may exceed the towing capacity of a regular hitch. Using an improper hitch can lead to safety hazards, such as excessive stress on the vehicle’s suspension or braking system.

It’s recommended to consult the motorhome manufacturer’s guidelines and consult with a professional to determine the appropriate towing equipment for your specific motorhome. They can provide guidance on the towing capacity, hitch type, and any additional modifications or considerations necessary to safely tow the motorhome.

Ultimately, the decision to tow a motorhome with a regular hitch should be based on the specific weight and size of the motorhome, as well as the towing capacity of the hitch. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and ensure that the towing equipment is appropriate for the motorhome’s requirements.

What is the best way to tow an RV?

The best way to tow an RV is on a large flatbed trailer towed by a professional towing company with experience and liability insurance to ensure everything goes smoothly.

That doesn’t mean you can’t DIY it with a large-capacity pickup.

But it’s riskier if you haven’t done it before. At the very least, I wouldn’t try and tow it any farther than the nearest repair show.

But let’s look at all the things to consider.

Weight

This is arguably the most vital consideration in towing an RV.

But it’s not as simple as it seems. In fact, there are 6 different types of weight that are relevant. They are curb weight, dry weight, gross vehicle weight rating, tongue weight, gross trailer weight, and towing capacity.

Towing capacity: The maximum amount of weight a vehicle can tow. The exact figure can be found in the owner’s manual of the vehicle.

Tongue weight: The weight that a fully loaded RV exerts on the towing vehicle. Ideally, it should be 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight (GTW).

Curb weight: The weight of the vehicle without passengers or cargo.

Dry weight: The weight of the vehicle without passengers, cargo, or fluid.

Gross trailer weight: The total weight of the trailer, including the weight of what is inside.

Gross vehicle weight rating: The maximum total safe weight of the vehicle. It’s the dry weight plus the weight of anything in or added to the vehicle.

Now, let’s check out another key criterion.

Tow vehicle essentials

The towing vehicle that would be adequate should have the following: hitch receiver, electric connector socket, ball mount kit, and brake controller.

The hitch receiver is the central point of connection between the RV and the truck (or any other adequate towing vehicle). It’s a square metal tube centered in the rear, under the vehicle. It’s included in all factory-installed packages.

The electrical connector socket is located near the hitch receiver on your tow vehicle. It is a female socket.

There are two common types, one has 4-pin, while the other 7-pin.

It allows your truck (or any other tow vehicle) to communicate with your RV’s electrical system, including the brakes and lighting. It’s also included in all factory-installed packages.

The ball mount kit connects the truck’s hitch receiver to the RV. It consists of a trailer ball, a ball mount, and a hitch pin.

The brake controller allows the towing vehicle’s brake pedal to communicate with the RV’s electric brakes. When you stop or slow down the towing vehicle, it allows your RV to stop or slow down at the same time.

Adequate tow hitch

An adequate hitch has the right strength and maximum weight capacity (how heavy an RV it can support). They are four types of ball-type hitches:

  • Class I: Light duty up to 2,000 lbs.
  • Class II: Moderate duty – up to 3,500 lbs.
  • Class III: Versatile/mix between 3,500 & 6,000 lbs.
  • Class IV: Heavy-duty between 10,000 & 12,000 lbs.

After determining the right class of tow hitch, the next thing is to choose one that is compatible with your tow vehicle’s hitch receiver.

Towing an RV is a bit more involved than driving it on its own. There’s the need to be more careful because the added load exerts a lot of pressure as you drive. So, you’ll have to drive slowly.

How do you pull a motorhome out of the mud?

When your motorhome gets stuck in the mud, getting it out requires a careful approach to avoid causing further damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely pull a motorhome out of the mud:

Assess the Situation

Before attempting to pull the motorhome out, assess the depth and consistency of the mud. If the mud is extremely deep or the motorhome is excessively stuck, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

Prepare the Area

Clear any loose debris or obstacles around the motorhome that could impede the towing process. This includes rocks, branches, or any other items that may interfere with the recovery.

Use Traction Aids

If the motorhome has lost traction, use traction aids such as sandbags, plywood, or traction mats to create a solid surface beneath the wheels. This will provide a better grip and improve the chances of pulling the motorhome out.

Engage Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

If your motorhome is equipped with 4WD, engage it before attempting to pull it out. This will distribute power to all four wheels, providing better traction and increasing the chances of freeing the motorhome from the mud.

Use a Tow Strap or Chain

Attach a strong tow strap or chain to a secure point on the motorhome, such as a tow hook or frame. The other end should be securely attached to the towing vehicle. Make sure the connection is strong and properly fastened.

Apply Controlled Towing Force

Slowly and steadily apply towing force from the towing vehicle. The driver of the towing vehicle should gradually accelerate while the motorhome driver maintains light pressure on the brakes to prevent it from sliding further into the mud.

Assess and Repeat

Assess the progress after the initial attempt. If the motorhome hasn’t budged or the wheels are still spinning, reassess the situation and consider adjusting the towing technique or seeking professional assistance.

Remember, it’s crucial to prioritize safety during the towing process. If you’re unsure about any step or encounter significant resistance, it’s recommended to consult a professional tow service for assistance.

How much does it cost to get a motorhome professionally towed?

The nationwide average cost of professionally towing an RV, assuming a distance of fewer than 20 miles, can vary depending on the class of the motorhome. Here’s a breakdown of the average costs for towing different classes:

Class A Motorhome:

The average cost to professionally tow a Class A motorhome for a distance of fewer than 20 miles is around $250 to $350. Class A motorhomes are larger and heavier, requiring specialized equipment and expertise for towing.

Class B Motorhome:

The average cost to professionally tow a Class B motorhome, also known as a camper van or conversion van, for a distance of fewer than 20 miles is approximately $200 to $300. Class B motorhomes are smaller and lighter than Class A motorhomes, resulting in relatively lower towing costs.

Class C Motorhome:

The average cost to professionally tow a Class C motorhome, commonly referred to as a mini-motorhome, for a distance of fewer than 20 miles is typically around $225 to $325. Class C motorhomes fall in between Class A and Class B in terms of size and weight, which influences the towing costs.

It’s important to note that these figures are average estimates and can vary depending on factors such as the towing company, location, additional services required, and any specific circumstances. For longer distances or additional services like winching or recovery, the costs can increase.

If you require professional towing services for your RV, it’s recommended to contact local towing companies to get accurate quotes based on your specific motorhome, towing requirements, and location.

They can provide you with detailed information about the costs and any additional fees that may apply.

Should you tow a broken motorhome yourself or hire a tow company?

When faced with a broken-down motorhome, you may find yourself debating whether to tow it yourself or hire a professional tow company. The decision ultimately depends on several factors and considerations.

Towing It Yourself:

Towing your broken motorhome yourself can be a tempting option, especially if you have experience and the necessary equipment. It can save you money and provide a sense of independence. However, before opting for this approach, consider the following:

  • Legal requirements: Ensure you are familiar with local laws and regulations regarding towing. Some jurisdictions have specific requirements, such as towing endorsements or weight restrictions.
  • Safety concerns: Towing a motorhome can be challenging, particularly if you lack experience or the right equipment. It’s crucial to assess your towing capabilities and consider the potential risks to your safety and that of other road users.
  • Potential damage: Improper towing techniques or equipment can lead to further damage to your motorhome. Consider the value of your vehicle and the potential costs of repairs if something goes wrong during the towing process.

Hiring a Tow Company:

While towing your motorhome yourself may seem like an appealing option, there are several advantages to hiring a professional tow company:

  • Expertise and equipment: Professional tow companies have the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment to handle towing large vehicles like motorhomes. They are trained to safely secure and transport your motorhome without causing additional damage.
  • Convenience and peace of mind: Dealing with a broken-down motorhome can be stressful. Hiring a tow company allows you to offload the responsibility to trained professionals, giving you peace of mind and saving you time and effort.
  • Insurance coverage: Reputable tow companies typically carry insurance that provides coverage for any potential damage that may occur during the towing process. This can provide an added layer of protection for your motorhome.

Ultimately, the decision to tow your broken motorhome yourself or hire a tow company depends on your level of expertise, the availability of suitable equipment, and your comfort with assuming the risks and responsibilities involved.

Considering the safety, potential damage, and convenience factors, hiring a professional tow company often proves to be the more reliable and prudent choice.

RV Breakdown || Getting Towed

Conclusion

In the article, we explored if it’s feasible to tow a motorhome with a pickup truck and how to tow a Class A RV.

But we also found out if you can tow a motorhome with a tow bar. We looked at how to tow a Class C RV, and we concluded by exploring the best way to tow an RV.


I also have to point out that I am an experienced RV owner, and I’ve driven Class A and Class C RVs many times. However, I have never been a tow truck driver, and I have never towed a motorhome. So, my content should not be construed as professional advice. If you need your motorhome towed, you should seek the advice of a qualified professional in your area.


Image by Tyler Clemmensen from Pixabay and Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay and Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

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