What Truck Can Be Flat Towed?
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Flat towing a truck is the easiest way to get them places aside from just driving them. That’s why it’s a shame that a lot of trucks can’t be flat towed nowadays.
Any truck with a manual transmission and four-wheel drive can be flat towed. Most trucks with automatic transmissions need to be constantly lubricated, which makes using them while the truck isn’t running a good way to destroy them. However, some automatic trucks have been designed to be flat towed.
But what specific trucks can you flat tow, and is it possible to get a modern truck that you can take with you on a trip in your camper as easily as your old one?
What Trucks Can Be Flat Towed?
If a truck has a manual transmission and FWD, then it can be flat towed by putting the truck into neutral gear and hooking it up to your camper. The manual transmission is important because if you can’t put the transmission into neutral you can end up causing serious harm to the vehicle over the course of a trip.
This means that most older trucks can be flat towed so long as you have FWD. But what about newer trucks? Increasingly, most vehicles have automatic transmissions that can be seriously damaged by flat towing.
What Automatic Trucks Can Be Flat Towed?
A good example of an automatic vehicle that can be flat towed is the Ford Ranger. Any Ford Ranger that has either 4×4 or 4×2 can be flat towed. In order to determine whether your Ford Ranger can be flat towed by looking in its manual. Other flat tow-able Ford vehicles that can be flat towed include the Ford F-150.
The 4X4 Chevy Silverado is another automatic truck that you can flat tow. Why can these specific vehicles be flat towed and not other automatic vehicles?
It’s all about whether the vehicle’s transmission is equipped to self-lubricate when the vehicle isn’t running. Many automatic vehicles do not have this capability, since they aren’t really designed to do that.
Of course, with all of these vehicles it is critical to 1) remember that 2WD vehicles cannot be flat towed and 2) you always need to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual before flat towing it. And then check it again. And then have someone else check it. The owner’s manual is the definitive answer as to whether a vehicle can be flat towed or not.
Aftermarket Products To Facilitate Flat Towing
You can make a vehicle that cannot be flat towed flat towable by installing aftermarket parts, but this can potentially cause serious damage to the vehicle. Most RV dealerships and repair centers carry these kinds of parts, which include decouplers and lubrication pumps.
However, if you are currently deciding what truck to buy and you want a truck that can be flat towed, you should just buy one that can be flat towed instead of counting on aftermarket parts to do the job. It’s easier, probably cheaper, and most importantly less likely to destroy your truck.
Alternatives To Flat Towing
Chances are you’re in a position where flat towing seems like a bad idea. fortunately, it isn’t the only way of moving a truck without driving it. Unfortunately, you probably can’t just pack your truck up on top of your camper like you would a kayak. So what do you do?
The first option you have is to tow the truck in a trailer. This can be a good option for you if you already have a trailer that you own or have the budget to buy a new one. However, trailers can be expensive to purchase and more importantly a lot of work to use.
They may even be too heavy for your camper to tow when combined with the weight of the truck depending on what kind of trailer you get, which rightfully scares a lot of people off of the idea.
The more realistic alternative for flat towing is a tow dolly. Flat towing and tow dollies are both different kinds of dinghy towing, which is a blanket term for any kind of towing that has the RV pulling a car while any part of the car is on the road.
A tow dolly will lift two of the truck’s wheels off of the road, making it ideal for trucks that have two-wheel drive. As with flat towing, you need to make sure that the truck’s transmissions are set up to handle dolly towing before you actually tow it. However, if it is then this is a great way to get your truck where it’s going without doing as much work as putting it into a trailer.
You could also forgo the camper and drive your truck to the place you’re trying to go, but that does seem like it would negate the point of having gotten a camper in the first place, which would seem a lot less like solving the problem than just giving up.
How To Flat Tow A Truck
Flat towing a truck isn’t actually all that complicated, but in order to actually do it, you’ll need a tow bar, a base plate, an RV hitch, a towing harness, a braking system, and a few other things. Fortunately, none of these things are that hard to come by or use. Unfortunately, you will need all of them.
The tow bar, the base plate, the towing harness, and the RV hitch are all parts of the mechanism that attaches the two vehicles. The tow bar and the base plate will attach to the car while the harness will link the tow par to the RV hitch. If you’ve done everything right that should stick the two together like two things that are stuck together.
The braking system is a little different. Your car probably already has brakes, but think about what would happen if the RV stopped and the car failed to brake. Bad news huh. The system you install will basically have to detect when the RV is braking and tell the car to do the same to prevent accidents.
Fortunately, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the braking system installed, so as long as you make sure to get one you should be fine.