When it comes to towing a pickup truck behind a motorhome, pickup trucks can be flat towed. However, not all trucks are equally suitable for this method.
As J.D. Power explains, "Most automatic transmissions require lubrication while the car is moving. When a car is being towed, the engine isn’t running, which means the lubrication pump will not be able to lubricate the transmission parts."
Some are designed for easy flat towing, while others may require additional setups. This guide lists the pickup trucks you can flat tow to make your next road trip less of a hassle.
Flat-Towable Pickup Trucks for Easy Travel
Flat towing a pickup truck behind a motorhome is a practical choice for many travelers. Here are some top picks that are known for their towability:
Before you decide to flat tow a pickup truck, ensure your motorhome's specifications allow for it.
Setting up your truck for flat towing and using approved equipment will ensure safety and compliance with manufacturer warranties.
In the next sections, we will get into the specifics of flat towing, preparations needed, and essential safety measures for a hassle-free journey.
The Ram 1500 shines as a robust choice for adventurers keen on flat-towing their trucks. Notably, the 4WD models excel in this domain, offering freedom from speed or distance limitations.
The vehicle is ready for towing when it's in park, with the four-wheel drive transfer case set to neutral, ensuring a hassle-free towing experience.
Recent models of the Ram 1500 may lack a manual transmission. However, the 4WD variants offer notable flat-towing features for a seamless towing experience.
For those who prefer manual transmissions, exploring the HD Ram 2500 & 3500 models could be a worthy consideration.
A unique aspect of the Ram 1500 is its rear coil springs, which promise a smoother ride across varied terrains, distinguishing it from other half-ton trucks.
Models from 2010 to 2023 are favored for flat towing due to features like rear coil springs that enhance the ride quality.
The Ram 1500 has a reputation for reliable flat-towing. It remains a top choice for those looking to tow their trucks on various adventures effortlessly.
The blend of a smooth ride and the ability to flat tow without restrictions makes the Ram 1500 a solid choice for the road ahead.
Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger
The inherent features of the Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger make them top choices for flat towing.
Their design not only caters to your daily driving needs but also stands up to the demands of towing, ensuring a smooth, hassle-free experience on the road.
The Ford F-150 is designed for towing. Models from 2012 or earlier are particularly suitable for flat towing when equipped with a manual shift transfer case. The manual shift transfer case allows for safe and efficient towing.
Additionally, installing a tow bar rated for the weight of your vehicle is essential. Connecting the electrical system of the tow vehicle to that of the Ford F-150 enables control over the lights and brakes of the F-150 while being towed.
The Ford Ranger is compact and tow-ready. The Ford Ranger allows for an easy transition to neutral mode via steering wheel controls, preparing it for flat towing smoothly.
Both the Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger emphasize 4WD models for flat towing, as 4WD provides added stability and control.
The compact yet sturdy build of these trucks lends itself well to towing needs. Their size is manageable for everyday use while also being tough enough to handle the demands of flat towing.
Each comes with features aimed at simplifying the flat towing process, making them worthy considerations for anyone looking to tow with ease.
The Jeep Gladiator is known for its flat-towing capabilities, making it ideal for your adventures.
It comes in both automatic and manual transmissions, suiting different drivers' preferences. Below is a detailed breakdown of its towing attributes and standout features.
The Gladiator boasts a remarkable towing capacity of up to 7,650 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,600 pounds, making it ready for a variety of towing tasks.
Whether automatic or manual transmission, the Gladiator is ready for flat towing, offering a range of options for different owners.
They have a fold-down windshield feature, enhancing visibility and fresh air during off-road drives. Removable doors and open-air top options provide a sense of freedom and make every journey with the Gladiator enjoyable.
The Jeep Gladiator meets flat-towing needs, boasting features that outdoor enthusiasts will value.
Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD
If you're considering a robust GMC or Chevrolet truck, look into the Silverado or Sierra HD models. Both are equipped for flat towing, though they have a notable curb weight ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 pounds.
When planning to hitch them behind your motorhome, considering their curb weight is crucial. It's important to check your motorhome's manual to verify its towing capacity before choosing these trucks for your adventures.
These trucks are apt for flat towing, with a preference for 4WD models. While it's unclear if a low gear is required, it's confirmed that setting your transfer case to neutral is a step toward safe towing.
Their substantial towing capability, paired with the correct setup, can pave the way for many adventurous journeys.
The Chevrolet Colorado, a mid-sized pickup, is adept at flat towing behind Class A or C campers.
Its ability for flat towing is highlighted by a towing capacity that reaches up to 7,000 pounds, making it a reliable choice for pairing with larger motorhomes.
However, it's prudent to consult the user's manual for the specific model and year of the Chevrolet Colorado to confirm its flat towing suitability.
The combination of stable handling, a comfortable cabin, and fuel-efficient engines makes the Chevrolet Colorado an ideal choice for daily commutes.
It's especially useful in busy towns where power and ease of navigation through various driving scenarios are crucial.
The Chevrolet Colorado meets daily commuting needs well. It also has flat towing capability.
Its substantial towing capacity makes it a practical choice. This is especially for those planning to tow it behind a motorhome for adventurous expeditions.
Can Toyota trucks be flat towed?
Flat-towing Toyota trucks is generally not recommended. While some models with manual transmissions can technically be flat-towed, it's still not advised due to transmission and lubrication issues. Your best bet is to use a dolly trailer or a flatbed.
Opting for a dolly or flatbed can increase travel costs. You'll need to factor in the price of the trailer, along with the truck and motorhome.
Though Toyota offers vehicles like the Land Cruiser and 4Runner that seem perfect for towing, their automatic transmissions make them unsuitable for flat towing.
What Is Flat Towing and How Does It Work?
Flat towing, also known as "four-down towing" or "dinghy towing," is a way to tow a vehicle with all four wheels on the ground. This is often done with pickup trucks pulled behind RVs.
A tow bar links the truck and the RV. This lets the RV move the truck. It's a top pick for RV owners who want a second car for short trips.
Not all trucks can be flat towed. Some have special needs for transmission and oil. Always check the maker's rules to see if your truck can be flat towed.
If you're wondering about other vehicles, you might be interested in whether you can Flat Tow A Buick Encore.
Is Flat Towing Bad For Pickup Trucks?
Flat towing can wear out your truck's drivetrain if the truck isn't made for it. If not well-oiled, automatic transmissions can be at risk during towing. Flat towing is handy and cheaper than a trailer, but it can wear out your truck faster.
To keep from harming your truck's transmission, follow the maker's rules. Stick to speed rules and be careful on bumpy roads or in hot weather.
Bumpy roads and hot weather can speed up wear on both your RV and truck. Flat towing is easy and cheap but needs you to follow safety rules and truck specs to lower risks.
How to Prep a Truck for Flat Towing
Getting your truck ready for flat towing needs key steps for safety and less wear. Here's a quick guide:
Consult Owner's Manual: First, read the owner's manual for your truck. Find out if you can flat tow it and learn any special steps.
Install a Baseplate: This is where your tow bar hooks on. Make sure it fits your truck model.
Check Transmission Fluid: Check the level of the transmission fluid. Add more if your truck needs extra oil for towing.
Disconnect Drive Shaft: If you have a rear-wheel drive truck, you might need to unhook the driveshaft to save the transmission.
Install a Tow Bar: Hook a tow bar to the baseplate. Make sure it's tight and safe.
Connect Brake System: Some states need an extra brake system for the towed truck. Check if it works with your truck and RV.
Check Lights and Signals: Hook up all needed wires so the brake lights and turn signals work on the towed truck.
Test Drive: Take a short test drive before you go. Make sure all is good.
Inspect and Secure: Look over all links before each tow. Make sure all is tight.
Follow these steps for safe and easy flat towing. Check the manual and think about expert help for hard parts.
Differences Between 4x2 and 4x4 Trucks for Flat Towing
Your truck's drivetrain type, either 4x2 or 4x4, affects how well it can be flat towed. 4x2 trucks usually have automatic transmissions that can get damaged when flat towed.
4x2 trucks have fewer towing choices. A tow dolly is often advised to lift the wheels off the ground. 4x2 trucks are easier to set up but have safe towing limits.
4x4 trucks, mainly those with manual transfer cases, are better for flat towing. They let you put the truck in neutral, which cuts the risk of harming the transmission.
4x4 trucks can be flat towed on different kinds of ground. No matter the drivetrain, stick to the maker's rules for speed and how far you can tow.
Both 4x2 and 4x4 trucks might need extra gear such as baseplates and tow bars. In short, 4x4 trucks are more flexible and better for flat towing than 4x2 trucks.
For the most accurate info, check your owner's manual.
For more options, you may also want to know if you can flat tow a Subaru Outback.
Making the Right Choice for Flat Towing
Choosing the right pickup for flat towing doesn't have to be complicated.
Whether you opt for a 4x4 for more rugged terrains or a 4x2 for simpler setups, the key is to know your needs and consult your owner's manual.
Safety and preparation are crucial, so make sure to follow all guidelines and use approved equipment. Happy towing!
Do you flat tow your truck? Let us know what you use below!