Want To Tow A Camper With A Lease? What You Need To Know

Towing a camper seems like an easy thing to do. Attach a hitch to your car, connect the camper, and away you go. However, when you are leasing your vehicle, there are several other things to consider before even attempting to attach the tow bar. 

Check your agreement for any specifics before adding a tow bar, as not every agreement allows it. You want to consider the vehicle’s towing capability and the type of hitch you will need. Lastly, check the user manual for instructions on installing the hitch to avoid unnecessary issues.

The most important thing to do when leasing any vehicle is to check the agreement for all directions and specifications on what you can and cannot do. Using a leased vehicle to tow a camper is no different. Consult your leasing agreement and even reach out to the leasing company if you have any questions about attempting to install a tow bar yourself.

Can You Tow a Camper with a Leased Vehicle?

Car towing a trailer on a road in Iceland

The short answer is yes; you can tow a camper with a leased vehicle. However, there is more to consider, whether you simply can and if you should.

Towing anything with a car, leased or not, involves adding a tow bar and hitch and connecting the two units. But if you have a leased vehicle, there are more factors to consider other than the physical how to do it. 

Factors to Consider Before Towing a Leased Vehicle

Leasing a vehicle of any kind isn’t for the faint of heart. You may think you’re controlling monthly payments while actually ending up losing out an an opportunity for equity in the vehicle. However, some people want to do this, specifically, to avoid a steep down payment and longer-term commitment.

Maybe you’re more interested in leasing a car temporarily, just for a week or month while you haul a camper around. Those leases have similar complications. So, basically we are talking about all kinds of leasing vehicles to tow with here, whether it’s your daily driver or a special case to haul a camper or something like it temporarily.

Consult the Leasing Conditions

When looking to tow with a leased vehicle, most companies don’t have a problem with it. They understand it’s a regular part of many people’s lives.

However, you don’t want to assume anything and risk getting penalized for going against your lease terms and conditions. So, consult your leasing conditions before doing anything and save yourself sizable fines and repair fees. 

Read User Manual Before Adding a Tow Bar

When you have leased a vehicle, you want to ensure you added the towing package to your lease. Unfortunately, this isn’t always included and if you know, or suspect, that you will need towing services in the future, then have this added to your car. This will allow the towing capacity to increase by roughly 1,500 pounds. 

Also, many companies don’t take kindly to you installing these tow bars since it requires holes to be drilled into the vehicle. Therefore, only the leased company should install a towing bar for you.

Even if you know how to install a tow bar, it is always recommended that you read the user manual before attempting so. You want to install the tow bar as it’s strictly recommended, so you don’t get penalized by the leasing company for going outside their guidelines and regulations. 

Common Towing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are several mistakes that people tend to make when looking to tow something, but they are easy to avoid if you know what they are and how to avoid them. 

Buying the Wrong Class Hitch

Car hitches come in classes from one to five. Class one has a trailer weight of 2000 lbs, matching a car’s chassis size. It’s considered an entry-level hitch. Class five, on the other hand, is for trucks and heavier loads that reach up to 20,000 lbs. 

Generally speaking, the following classes are suited for their corresponding vehicle types.

  • Class 1: Passenger cars
  • Class 2: Sedans
  • Class 3: Pickups, minivans, and SUVs
  • Class 4: SUVs and large pickups
  • Class 5: Heavy-duty commercial trucks

Incompatible Hitch with Your Car

Sometimes certain cars just aren’t suited for a tow hitch. You should always check your owner’s manual for this information, as there should be a section for trailer weights and towing.

Alternatively, you can always contact your dealer and provide your chassis number so they can provide this information. 

Generally speaking, sports cars, small mini and micro cars, small engine cars, and fully electric cars are not suited for a towing hitch.

Buying a Poor Quality Aftermarket Hitch

Aftermarket tow hitches need to be certified to be safe to use. However, using one requires you to drill holes into your vehicle’s trunk floor or chassis, which doesn’t usually go over well with leasing companies. This wilful damage could cost thousands of dollars to rectify.

Another problem with aftermarket hitches is the wiring socket loom. Modern cars use computers to run the engine and electrics.

For instance, a standard vehicle has dozens of control units that manage different functions. These control units are very sensitive to change, and any wiring or signal could interfere with their ability to communicate with one another. 

The problem begins when aftermarket hitches come with basic wiring looms designed to splice into the existing car wiring. This then affects the signals and can cause the control units to malfunction, which aren’t cheap to replace.

Removing the Hitch Before Lease Surrender

Removing the hitch sounds like a good deed before giving over your car. The problem with this is that modern cars often have specific instructions requiring cutting a section from the rear plastic bumper to accommodate the swan neck. 

Usually, this is so low on the bumper that you wouldn’t notice the hole. However, on some cars, the whole can be rather large and cost quite a bit to fix.

Can You Tow with Any Leased Vehicle?

No, not every vehicle can be used to tow a camper. Many new cars are fitted with electronic mileage centers, which usually don’t allow an undertow operation. Therefore, if you drill holes into your car or modify the leased vehicle that enables you to tow, you are doing wilful damage to the car. 

That being said, most vehicles can be outfitted to tow, though it is always vital you check with your leasing company and the terms and conditions of your agreement. 

When wanting to tow a camper, the last thing to consider is whether the car can even pull that weight—determining that weight depends on the type of car, the towing package it has, and the weight and model of the camper. 

For example, large trucks can only tow bigger campers; other camper models require a truck bed to hook over. Therefore, ensuring your car can pull your camper before outfitting it with a tow bar is essential. 

Car towing a trailer on a road in Iceland

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