Originally Posted by Tfryman
I keep shaking my head at this "cost difference". How much does a new tow dolly cost? Northern Tool has one for $1100 but you can spend up to $2500 for one.
I equipped my 2016 Chevy Sonic for flat tow with:
Roadmaster Base Plate -$345
Roadmaster Taillight Wiring Kit - $56
Reese Tow Bar - $82
Curt Safety Cables W/Hooks (2 Sets) - $40
MaxxHaul 5000 Lb Adjustable Drop Hitch - $30
Total Cost - $553
Now this doesn't include a braking system, but neither do the cheap tow dollies. Before we head out over the mountains I'll add the Roadmaster InvisiBrake Supplemental Braking System
for $900 which will put the total at $1453.
Also the above prices don't include labor, but that's the advantage to always doing things yourself, not to mention you know the system better and you know the quality of the work done.
Part if the price difference is base plates - the brand you choose and the car you have will vary the prices - in some cases considerably... Based on weight, structure of vehicle - there are different requirements...
Brakes cost $1000... whether you go portable or permanent... many don't do the install of a permanent system themselves and can add a few hundred...
The big variable is the towbar - you used one for about $110 (towbar+hitch) - can easily spend $1000 here too.
What you have works for you - that's great...
But I think $3000 is more typical of the investment I have seen people make to flat tow.
I chose a permanent brake system - had it installed (more due to timing of an upcoming trip with need to tow) - and chose a more expensive towbar to provide additional ease of hookup/disconnect in any strange position I might find myself in... Right choices for me in my mind - but certainly cost more.
Had an uncle that towed a wrangler for about $100... Cheap towbar attached to d-rings on bumper, and lights (no base plate - no brakes) Would I do that? no... (cept I would make use of the d-rings instead of base plate if my Jeep had suitable bumper) but it worked for him.
As a percentage of the RV cost - towing is relatively cheap... either way.
Eventually will be setting up new car for towing (Explorer being delivered next week) - it can be towed either way - it will be getting its own Invisibrake, base plate, and lights - and of course share the towbar with the Wrangler so we have a choice of vehicles to take depending on circumstances.)