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Old 09-13-2017, 08:39 PM   #1
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Flat tow question

Does the car being flat towed suffer any extra wear and tear? We have a 2017 Ford focus (owner's manual says it can be flat towed). Husband is afraid of excess wear and tear. Wants to use car trailer instead. I worry about storing a car trailer at campgrounds. Thanks for your input?
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:53 PM   #2
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Probably no more wear and tear than driving it. Btw, it does accumulate miles on the Odometer when flat towing. I hear it does not when using the dolly. Down side of the dolly is you've got to find a place to store it when camped. Good luck!
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:04 PM   #3
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My Focus does NOT accumulate mileage when flat towed. 2015 with manual transmission.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTraveler View Post
Probably no more wear and tear than driving it. Btw, it does accumulate miles on the Odometer when flat towing. I hear it does not when using the dolly. Down side of the dolly is you've got to find a place to store it when camped. Good luck!
Negative Ghost Rider.

To the OP, so take your choice:

wear and tear on the Focus, or:
wear and tear on a trailer.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:25 PM   #5
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In my opinion the trailer would be a huge hassle to deal with after unloading the car. Unless you already have a trailer & want to save the expense of tow bars & equipment then flat tow is the best option. Most all new cars have electronic speedometers, meaning unless the key is in the start/run position no miles will register on odometer.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:47 PM   #6
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The 'wear and tear' from flat towing would be primarily additional miles on tires and brakes... I keep track of towed mileage myself (rounded to thousands) just to be aware.)

Cars without a 4WD transfer case (and I would think more so automatics) - may accumulate 'mileage' to transmission fluid changes...

I would NOT expect to see miles reflected on the odometer of any current vehicle... The ignition is typically OFF.

Dolly tow takes any wear away from transmission/front tires - but still accumulates mileage on rear tires (again not reflected on odometer)

Trailer eliminates all wear on vehicle - but adds the need to register, store (home and campsite) and maintain...
Some limits on what you can tow based on tongue weight (10-15% of tailer weight should be on tongue).
Could argue it 'adds' wear to the MH from the heavier tow... but not sure how to quantify...
Not knowing what coach you have - but would guess the RV costs 2-4 times more than the Focus??

Pick your poison...
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:05 PM   #7
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Do you really want to crawl under your tow vehicle and deal with a HEAVY tow dolly?

It cost me $3000 to flat tow (equipment). I sold my tow dolly for $1000, so I am out $2000 and would do it again in a minute to eliminate the ware and tear on ME!
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:01 PM   #8
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After reading about the fun that comes with trailering a car: I fell pretty happy about our decision to put our Spyder in the garage of our 29H...
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:07 AM   #9
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Your odometer should not show towed miles, at least my HHR does not. As far as wear, you will of course continue to wear tires and suspension components while towing, just as you would driving. Brakes will wear, rate somewhat depends on how you have your braking system set up. You may see some additional wear on the front tires and front end components, as you will be dragging the toad around corners, etc. but nothing that can't be managed. I towed for over 10 years, but not so much now with the Gemini, since its so light. I decided against using a dolly, just didn't think I needed, yet another thing with wheels to maintain and do something with at RV park sites, most can't accommodate a toad and a dolly on your site, though some can.
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:35 AM   #10
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Thank you all!
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Old 09-15-2017, 01:35 PM   #11
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Flat tow question

Now that I think of it I've been towing in the wrong key position (start/run). I'll check the odometer in the acc position next time I tow.
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Old 09-16-2017, 12:09 PM   #12
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I have a 2016 Ford Focus, automatic, but have used a dolly and switched to flat tow. Flat towing it much easier and has not added miles to my odometer. I can get it hooked up to tow in under 5 minutes and don't have to keep checking the straps and chains like I had to when I used a dolly.
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Old 09-16-2017, 02:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTraveler View Post
Probably no more wear and tear than driving it. Btw, it does accumulate miles on the Odometer when flat towing. I hear it does not when using the dolly. Down side of the dolly is you've got to find a place to store it when camped. Good luck!
NO, electronic odometers do NOT register miles when towing. I've towed my '14 Fiesta over 90,000 miles with no issues(tires would be the only thing to keep your eyes on) and drove it another 60,000. Still running fine. My new-to-me '14 Focus has been towed over 2,500 miles and driven 3,000 miles with no issues.

Both of these models of Ford cars are about the easiest vehicles to tow. Put in Neutral and tow.

(I do use a 12v battery cut off under the hood to minimize 12v draw while towing, and to be able to remove the key from the ignition when in Neutral)
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Old 09-16-2017, 02:43 PM   #14
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If you tow a 4WD or a standard / manual transmission, it does not register miles! I had a 2012 Ford Fiesta that I towed over 10,000 miles and the dealer said the struts were going cause of it - but the steering was perfect and I did
not notice it and when I called the dealer on the wear - he changed his story to they were starting to leak and when they get worst I will notice it more. I never did change the struts and no oil was noticed on the ground. So my decision, no extra wear from flat towing - only your tires.

I am towing a 2013 Infinit G37 now and after driving to Florida twice and LA once, no extra wear only for tire wear - no problems.

Btw, it does accumulate miles on the Odometer when flat towing.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:03 PM   #15
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TurnerFarm, can I ask what brand/type of brake system you chose? So confusing on what to buy and where to have it installed.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:00 PM   #16
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I've been flat towing my CR-V now for 6 yrs. No additional brake wear (except on the MH) because I don't have a auxiliary brake system on the toad. Considering one this year before I hit the Rocky Mtns.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:49 PM   #17
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TurnerFarm, can I ask what brand/type of brake system you chose? So confusing on what to buy and where to have it installed.
Flat tow a Jeep Wrangler automatic. It does not accumulate miles when being towed. The only wear of concern is mileage on the tires. Brake wear is minimal as the Jeep brakes only operate if you are braking hard with the motorhome. I use all Blue Ox equipment - baseplate, Alpha towbar, Patriot brake. Very easy set up and hook up. I had mine installed at a Trailer/RV repair place. I located them doing a dealer locate from the Blue Ox web page.
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