A motorhome allows you to explore the country and enjoy a hot shower and a warm meal whole on-the-road or camping. While a motorhome is good at exploring and camping, it is not so good when you need to sightsee around town and on busy road. When you need to leave the motorhome at the camping site and see the town or go shop, a dinghy vehicle comes in handy.
Unfortunately, not all vehicles are flat-towable. Most GMC trucks and SUVs have the features that allow you to tow them. Can a GMC Terrain be dinghy towed?
Can a GMC Terrain Be Flat Towed?
You can flat tow all front-wheel and all-wheel GMC Terrain SUVs. If your SUV doesn’t fall in these two categories, you may have to go for after-market parts to make it flat towable, or you can go for another dinghy car.
For GMC Terrain vehicles that you can dinghy tow, you need to run their engine at the beginning of the journey and every six hours after. Running the engine for at least five minutes circulates the engine oil and ensures the engine and the transmission have enough lubrication to protect the parts. If you have the right dinghy towing equipment, connecting your Terrain will be easy.
How to Flat Tow GMC Terrain SUV
Before you buy the needed gear to flat tow your GMC Terrain, check the user manual on the towing section. The manual will list the procedure of flat towing the SUV. While the process is almost the same in most Terrain models, there may be slight differences that you need to note before dinghy towing.
To tow your SUV with all four wheels on ground, secure it behind the towing vehicle using a tow bar and other needed gear. Turn the car ignition ON or RUN and shift its transmission to Neutral. Twist the ignition key to ACC /ACCESSORY.
Next, turn off all accessories. If your battery is still connected while your SUV flat tows, it might drain, making it challenging to start the SUV after the journey. To ensure that this does not happen, remove fuse 32 from the fuse block in the instrument panel.
Failure to perform any of the steps above can damage your automatic transmission system. The main challenge with the automatic transmission system is oiling, which you can do by running the engine for five minutes before the journey and every six hours after the journey starts.
Note that, GMC Terrain doesn’t have a distance limitation, but it has speed limit of the 65 miles per hour while flat towed. Be sure to not to exceed 65 mph lest you damage the SUV.
When you are ready to disconnect the dinghy vehicle from the motorhome, set SUV’s parking brake and shift its transmission to Park (P). Turn off the ignition system and install the previously removed fuse 32 from the instrument panel.
Start the SUV engine and let it run for about three minutes before you drive the vehicle. Your vehicle will be ready for sightseeing or shopping or however you need to use it.
What Basic Equipment Do You Need to Tow a GMC Terrain?
Today, motorhomes are large. Even the smallest of them with 60-degree wheel cut still encounter difficulties negotiating corners in narrow roads. While these larger motorhomes bring more luxury when you go camping, they make dinghy towing a necessity.
Safe dinghy towing relies on the strength of the link between the towed vehicle and the coach. As such, you need to ensure that you have the best dinghy towing equipment. Some of the equipment you need include:
The hitch receiver is the part installed on your coach. Some coaches already have a hitch receiver installed, but for others, you may need an aftermarket receiver.
If your coach already has a receiver, ensure that its weight limit can accommodate your Terrain. If your receiver has a lower weight rating, you need to buy a stronger receiver. If the riding height of the towed vehicle and the coach do not match, you may need a drop receiver to make the heights match for an easy towing experience.
These drop receivers allow you to lower the vehicle riding height with between two and 10 inches. Once you have the right receiver, bolt it to the coach using at least grade five bolts.
Tow bars are the main mechanical link between the towed vehicle and the coach. These bars are available as self-aligning bars or A-frame.
A-frame tow bars are either solid or foldable. Some of these bars can fit specific baseplates and are for specific applications while others are universal to fit several applications. The foldable bars are more versatile than the solid ones.
While A-frames are strong for durable connections, they are huge and require a large storage space. They also require that you have a guide to help you with alignment.
Self-aligning bars are either connected to the dinghy or to the coach. Coach-mounted bars are more appealing as they sustain no damage when not in use. They are also easy to hitch as you do not need a guide.
There are some highly adaptable self-aligning tow bars that can fit the needs of several vehicles.
Baseplates are the towing equipment that attach to the towed vehicle. These baseplates are available for specific vehicle models. As such, you need to pick an exact baseplate for your GMC Terrain.
With baseplates, the installation process is different for most vehicles, so you have to check with your specific vehicle model. With a GMC Terrain, the installation process is simple as all you need is to screw the right baseplate under the front of your Terrain.
Some baseplates come with removable brackets, so you never have to unscrew them after the journey as long as you can eject the brackets out. This ensures that the baseplates do not stick out from the front of your vehicle.
In some GMC Terrain models, you may have to relocate the transmission cooler if one is present. However, in most cases, you will only need to screw the baseplate underneath the front of your SUV. Most of the two bars today integrate well with the exterior of your SUV so that you never have to try and mask them.
Note that, you need to have a secure link that attaches to the dinghy and moves under the tow bar and attaches to the hitch receiver. The safety chain, which is a requirement in all 50 states, should be long to allow the coach to turn without any challenges.
Which Other Equipment Do You Need to Flat Tow Your GMC Terrain?
Once you connect your dinghy to your coach, there are more accessories you need to make the connection complete. For starters, the coach and dinghy need to have an electrical connection. The lights of your coach and those of your dinghy should synchronize for safety on the road.
To connect the lights, you need a flat towing wiring harness. Most of these harnesses have a simple design that makes them ideal for plug-and-play connections. If you do not want to use a harness, you can go for magnetic towing lights.
You also need a braking system for the towed vehicle. In some states, a braking system is required as a safety measure for flat towed vehicles. Even if your state doesn’t require that you install brakes, you need to do it for your safety.
Your RV can stop the dinghy, but it will take longer to stop than it would if the dinghy has its own brakes. There are portable as well as permanent dinghy towing brake systems.
Your tow bars may need other accessories to make them complete. Some of these accessories include attachment tabs, safety cables, and tow bar locks.
Attachment tabs form the linking point between the baseplate receivers and the tow bars. They are in the form of metal tabs that allow you to link your towing accessories. Safety cables or safety chains connect the baseplate to the RV hitch loops to keep the two vehicles connected even if the tow bar breaks.
Tow bar locks replace hitch pins to make the RV towing setup more secure. This is ideal when you leave your vehicle parked and unattended.
What Happens If Your GMC Terrain is Not Flat Towable?
If you have one of these recent models, you can still flat tow it, but you need retrofit aftermarket parts. Rear-wheel drive models and some four-wheel drives require couplers that facilitate the disconnection between the transmission or differential and the driveshaft. You can find one of these kits for about $600 and installation takes about three hours.
In some automatic models, you need to fit a transmission lube pump. This pump circulates oil while the SUV is flat towed to protect the transmission system. Note that when you modify your SUV with these parts, your warranty may become void.
If you need to avoid modifications, you can opt for dolly towing. Dollies are heavy and bulky and they take up space in your camp. When using dollies, you need to consider their weight and that of the dinghy versus what the coach can handle.
A trailer will carry your SUV better than a dolly. However, the trailer takes up even more space at camp and it limits how much weight you can tow.
You can tow most GMC Terrain SUV models, but there are some you cannot tow. You need to check your user manual to understand which model is flat towable and which is not. Most new models (from 2018) and models with a different transmission system other than FWD and AWD are not towable.
If your model is towable, you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you do not damage any parts such as the transmission system. The manufacturer might require that you run the engine for five minutes during every refueling brake. Failure to run the engine will lead to unlubricated transmission system, which can lead to damage of parts.