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Old 08-19-2016, 05:19 AM   #1
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Speedometer reading of towed vehicles.

Please tell me if this is correct. (or not)

I am thinking that:

Any car flat towed will register the towed miles.

A rear wheel drive car on a dolly will register the towed miles.

a front wheel drive car on a dolly will not register the miles.

I have read about lube pumps for towing. When are they required or desirable?

Thanks, Ken
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ag&Au
Any car flat towed will register the towed miles.

A rear wheel drive car on a dolly will register the towed miles.

a front wheel drive car on a dolly will not register the miles.
I've been having similar thoughts, however, the miles being registered may depend on how the odometer is setup.

If it is done electronically (hall-effect sensor instead of a gear with a cable) it is possible that miles may not accumulate because the key is off (e.g. not powering the dash).

Some front wheel drive cars may also register miles if they use the rear wheels for the odo--granted I think almost all cars have the odo sensor in the transmission.

I know neither our C-Max nor our Escape have registered any extra miles while being towed on our dolly. They both are front-wheel-drive.
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:11 PM   #3
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Most vehicles today have electronic speedometers & most will not register miles with the key off, not in start position.
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Old 08-19-2016, 03:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Travelin' Texans View Post
Most vehicles today have electronic speedometers & most will not register miles with the key off, not in start position.
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Old 08-19-2016, 03:53 PM   #5
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Flat towing my Jeep with the transfer case in neutral does not record miles.
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Old 08-19-2016, 05:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ag&Au View Post
Please tell me if this is correct. (or not)

I am thinking that:
Any car flat towed will register the towed miles.
A rear wheel drive car on a dolly will register the towed miles.
a front wheel drive car on a dolly will not register the miles.
I have read about lube pumps for towing. When are they required or desirable?

Thanks, Ken
And the answer is of course... 'It depends...'

My Jeep flat towed with transfer case in neutral does not register miles whether battery connected or not... I'd expect this behavior in any vehicle towed in 'transfer case neutral' as the transmission sees nothing.

For a flat tow without 'transfer case neutral' - the transmission will see movement - and may need something disconnected or a lube pump to keep it happy.
Old mechanical odometers would record mileage if driveshaft is in place. Newer electronic versions may not.

A rear wheel drive on a dolly would likely need to have the driveshaft disconnected (or possibly lube pump) for any length towing...
Old mechanical odometers would record mileage if driveshaft is in place. Newer electronic versions may not.

A front wheel drive car on dolly should not record mileage.

A lube pump may be required when the vehicles drive wheels are on ground and transmission is engaged (even in neutral)... The transmission counts on the engine rotating to drive lubrication - and typically not driven when the 'tail is wagging the dog' (driveshaft only turning...)
The lube pump forces the lubrication.
The need for it should be reflected in the owners manual (under recreational towing) - or perhaps aftermarket locations if they provide pumps for vehicles the manufacturer says not to tow with drive wheels down...
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Old 08-19-2016, 06:55 PM   #7
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odometer reading

I tow a 2006 PT Cruiser turbo convertible. Flat-towing does not register miles for my car. JamieGeek is correct that all vehicles act differently, and some may indicate miles while others may not. I installed a Remco tranny lube pump, which is required for this car to lube the tranny while flat-towing. It has worked flawlessly for several thousand miles towing. I am happy with the performance of the Remco product. The Remco website will tell you if your car needs a tranny pump or not for flat-towing. I checked about a dolly to tow the car, which would have saved the expense of the Remco tranny pump and the related wiring, but stowing the dolly while at the campground can be a problem with some parks. If the site is too small for the coach, car, and dolly you must store it elsewhere in the campground. Many, but not all campgrounds and RV parks have such storage areas, but some places like the Keys, campgrounds have very limited storage space. One aspect of flat-towing I have discovered, is that towing in this manner does put extra stress on the steering components of the car. I had to replace the lower control arms, and re-align the front end twice in 3000 miles of towing. The car has 70,000 miles, so it is likely these repairs would have been needed whether flat-towed or not. Not a bad trade-off, really. I imagine the extra stress comes from the fact that steering is reversed, the car is steered from input from the tires, not controlled by the steering wheel. Steering is non-powered, and forced by the coach. In any event, I find flat-towing works well for us.
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:59 PM   #8
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Thanks a lot to everyone. It was kind of what I was expecting to hear.

Here is what prompted my question:

We haven't decided yet whether or not we want to tow a vehicle. Our first trip was about 10 days ago and only 4 days long. We found that our motorhome is short enough that not parking is not too inconvenient. So we just ran around in it. Unhooking and taking off from the campground was quick and simple. However we will probably want to go some places where even the small moho will be inconvenient, and probably some roads I don't want to subject the moho to.

So I went to RV trader and looked at the towed vehicles. I was amazed to see most of then were what I consider very high mileage.. I figured they must be towed mileages, but I guess I will have to research that on an individual basis.

Ken
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Old 08-20-2016, 02:03 AM   #9
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We have towed a 2002 Miata for 10 years and over 50K miles, they don't show on the odometer. No extra pump or disconnect. We had it wired for brake and turn lights, and I mounted a brake system in it. FIxing a car to tow is pricey if you don't use it a lot.
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:17 PM   #10
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I tow a 2013 Scion tC - 6 speed and have to have the key in the ACC position, however no towed miles are regstered.
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:09 AM   #11
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I have a 2010 Subaru and it does not register the towed miles.

However, for some reason, the 2016 Subarus are not towable according to the Motorhome listing. It is thought to be a CYA thing.
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:35 PM   #12
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I believe there are many vehicles that are towable, some requiring mods to do so, that may not be listed in the Dinghy Towing Guide - they leave out any vehicle where flat towing may void the manufacturer's warranty.
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:18 AM   #13
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I have towed a dingy behind a motorhome both ways, on a car dolly first then went to a flat tow setup with a Saturn cause I thought it would be much simpler. I was wrong. I now prefer using a car dolly. Setting up the flat tow cost more than buying a car dolly once you add up the cost of the tow bar, base plate, wiring and braking system. The car dolly comes with surge or electric brakes. The labor required to setup a car flat towing or on a dolly to me is comparable. The only issue with a car dolly might be storage on a camp site. The other advantage to a car dolly is you can use it for other non-RVing applications. A front wheel drive car on a car dolly will not register miles.
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:29 AM   #14
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My 2014 Honda CRV does not record towed mileage 4 wheels down. I have 32k miles and just had the trans serviced. Probably towed it @ 2000 miles with no issues.
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:09 AM   #15
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Once again, the answer to the question of dolly or flat tow depends on the answer to several other questions. You can find plenty of discussions about this on other RV forums like iRV2 with a simple search. It's different strokes for different folks!

No surprise that you see high mileage on most of the vehicles for sale that are set up to be towed. Once you have spent the money to set a car up for towing, you are likely to keep it for a lot of miles. We kept our last one for 10 years!

You might check the other RV forums for classifieds as well as Craigs list and e Bay. Look for a dolly, or a used baseplate to fit a lower mileage car you want to tow, and brake units.
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:30 AM   #16
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I had 2 tow vehicles.. Suzuki requires automatic 4wd with transfer case to flat tow. The 93 also required manual hubs.

1st was 93 Sidekick, transfer case in neutral, trans in park. It registered mileage when towed.
2nd is 2008 Grand Vitara, electronic selector neutral, trans in park does not register miles.
(Suzuki no longer sells vehicles in the U.S. but they are excellent toads if you can find used)
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:01 AM   #17
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i flat tow a 2016 5 sp 4wd jeep patriot and miles don't add up.
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Sunshine View Post
We have towed a 2002 Miata for 10 years and over 50K miles, they don't show on the odometer. No extra pump or disconnect. We had it wired for brake and turn lights, and I mounted a brake system in it. FIxing a car to tow is pricey if you don't use it a lot.
I have been researching what and how I will tow behind our MH for over a month. It actually does come down to what Mr Sunshine said, "fixing a car to tow is pricey if you don't use it a lot".

We have decided to keep our Sorento and just pick up a tow dolly. For some trips we will be just pulling a light weight motorcycle trailer instead, but at any rate we would only probably tow a vehicle 3,000 to 5,000 miles a year.
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