Back in 2006, I decided that towing a car with a motorhome would be a good idea. I purchased a Vauxhall Corsa to tow behind the motorhome, using an “A Frame”. The “A Frame” equipment cost about £800 at the time and the tow bar for the motorhome cost about £300. The Corsa was towed to Italy, via France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, with only a couple of mis-haps. I shall mention these a little further on…
Later, I purchased my first tag axle motorhome and had a factory fit tow bar fitted. Again the Corsa was towed here and there, but only in the UK. The last two motorhomes have not been used for towing. Equally the newcomer will not be fitted with a tow bar.
Below, I list what I see as disadvantages of towing a car with a motorhome.
1) Shipping/channel tunnel costs – these were pretty much double the cost of the motorhome going “on its own” across the Eastern Channel.
2) MPG – there was a drop on the motorhome’s mpg, somewhere in the region of 5 – 10% worse on average when towing compared to not towing.
3) Tolls – these were higher overseas as the car on the “A Frame” was classed as a trailer. Also, the Swiss toll vignette was needed on both the motorhome and the “trailer”
4) It is pretty much impossible to reverse a motorhome with a car on the rear on an “A Frame”. I have seen it done on a video on the internet, but in my view it is not practical. This caused us bother in Obernai when we pulled up at the VVF leisure village thinking it was the Camping Municipal. We had to un couple and manoeuvre both vehicles separately.
5) The great “A Frame – is it legal or not debate” – that’s another subject altogether, and an area I did not wish to be involved in!
6) We had an incident in Belgium. We had stopped for coffee and when we tried to move off with the motorhome, we could n’t! The brakes on the Corsa were hard on. The wheels were cold though, so it must have happened with stopping. We had to uncouple and couple up once more before being able to go forward.
7) If you tow a car on a trailer, there is the question of “is there enough space on a pitch for a motorhome, possibly with awning, a trailer and a tow car?
8) The cost of the equipment, ie the tow bar, trailer or A Frame needs to be factored in.
9) Invariably, it was raining when we were uncoupling!
10) The tow car was absolutely filthy after being towed.
On the positive side, having the car available as a run about made local shopping and some sight seeing easier. However, as you can read on this webiste, we have been all over the place without a tow car. We do not “miss out” but not towing a car with a motorhome. However, we have on one occasion hired a car in Italy at low weekend rates. In the UK, some car hire companies will pick you up at a campsite and drop you off at the end of the hire period.
Towing a car with a motorhome – in summary
Some people will state “if you are going to tow, get a caravan” but towing a car behind a motorhome is not quite the same. The motorhome can be used without the car, whilst the caravan, unless sited on a seasonal pitch requires the use of a tow car. A motorhome towing a small car may be more stable in strong winds than a car and caravan combination. There is alas no real answer to the question of whether towing a car with a motorhome , it is down to the end-user. My advice is to research the subject, and it’s costs, carefully.