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What Equipment Do You Need to Flat Tow: 5 Essentials

what equipment do you need to flat tow

Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing or four-down towing, lets you tow a vehicle without using a trailer or dolly. This towing method allows you to reach your destination in your regular car. However, you'll need the proper equipment for successful flat-towing adventures.

First and foremost, you’ll need a reliable tow bar that connects your vehicles. Then, you’ll require a base plate kit to securely attach the tow bar to your vehicle's frame. Proper tow bar wiring and a supplemental braking system are needed to maintain safe stopping distances.

As part of this article, we'll explore the essential equipment of flat towing, sharing with you the knowledge needed to navigate this exciting endeavor. Keep reading to find out what and why each item is essential.

What Equipment Do You Need to Flat Tow as a Roadside Service Successfully?

If you're considering flat towing your vehicle, you'll need a few essential pieces of equipment. These include:

  • Tow bar

  • Base plate kit

  • Supplemental braking system

  • Safety cables

  • Tow bar wiring

Let’s have a look at these elements:

1. Tow Bar

Towing bar is essential for securely and stably connecting your vehicles. It is the linchpin of your flat towing setup, providing a crucial link between the two vehicles.

When selecting a tow bar, consider various factors to ensure a safe towing experience. One key consideration is the weight capacity of the towing bar, which should be compatible with your vehicles.

Also, you must ensure that the tow bar is compatible with your tow vehicle hitch receiver. Different styles and designs are available in tow bars, so choose one that suits your specific needs and preferences.

2. Base Plate Kit

A base plate kit is a vehicle-specific component that attaches to the front of your towed vehicle, providing anchor points for securely connecting the tow bar arms. Select the appropriate base plate kit for your dinghy's make and model to ensure a secure connection.

When selecting a base plate kit, consider compatibility with your dinghy's make and model, ease of installation, and durability. Also, some base plate kits may require modifications to your dinghy's front bumper or grille area.

3. Safety Cables

Safety cables are essential for flat towing because they serve as a backup connection in case of a tow bar or hitch failure. These cables are designed to provide additional security during the towing process.

They act as a fail-safe mechanism, preventing complete separation between the tow and the towed vehicle. These cables are typically made of durable materials such as steel or aircraft-grade nylon, ensuring their strength and reliability.

When attaching safety cables, it is important to cross them under the tow bar to create a cradle-like configuration. This helps prevent them from dragging on the ground and causing damage.

4. Tow Bar Wiring

Use a tow bar wiring kit to ensure your RV's lighting systems synchronize with your towed vehicle. This essential equipment ensures that the lights on your dinghy work with those on your RV, allowing other drivers to see your intentions on the road.

The tow bar wiring kit includes all the necessary components to establish a seamless connection between both vehicles' electrical systems. It typically consists of connectors, wires, and adapters specifically designed for towing.

5. Supplemental Braking System

Supplemental braking systems are an essential piece of equipment when towing a vehicle behind your primary vehicle. This braking system applies brakes to both the towed and tow vehicles simultaneously, allowing for smoother and more controlled stops.

This is especially important when towing heavy-duty vehicles or traveling on steep inclines. By reducing braking distances, these systems greatly enhance safety on the road. Also, they help minimize wear and tear on both vehicles, prolonging their lifespan.

However, if you forget to configure your car as a hauling vehicle with this equipment, a professional towing service in San Jose can keep your journey on track. With their expertise, experience, and fast response times, you can trust them to be there for you when you need them the most.

What You Need to Know Before Flat Towing

What You Need to Know Before Flat Towing

Before you embark on flat towing, there are a few key points you need to be aware of:

1. Vehicle Compatibility

Not all vehicles (specifically based on transmission systems) can be flat towed without modifications, so check your owner's manual and manufacturer's guidelines before flat towing yours.

Some vehicles are designed with the necessary components and structure to be safely flat towed, while others may require additional equipment or modifications. These modifications could include a transmission lube pump, axle or drive-line disconnect.

2. Weight and Towing Capacity

Also, you've to determine the weight and towing capacity. Exceeding these limits can have serious safety implications and cause damage to your RV's towing components.

To ensure a safe and smooth tow, know your RV's and the dinghy's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR represents the maximum weight each vehicle can safely carry, including passengers, cargo, and any additional equipment.

3. Legal Requirements

To ensure compliance with local regulations, familiarize yourself with flat towing laws in the states or provinces you plan to visit. Each jurisdiction may have its own requirements regarding the types of vehicles that can be flat-towed behind an RV.

What makes a vehicle flat towable?

To make a vehicle flat towable, you'll need a vehicle equipped with a manual transfer case that can be put in neutral regardless of the wheel drive. This means the vehicle should be able to disengage the power from the transmission and wheels, allowing it to be towed without causing damage.

However, this towing method should not be used if your vehicle has an automatic transmission or a stuck gearbox. You must follow different towing techniques when you cannot put the second vehicle in neutral.

What speed should you flat-tow?

Maintaining a safe speed while flat towing is important, ideally not exceeding 70 MPH. This is crucial for both your vehicle and the one being towed. Exceeding this recommended speed can put additional stress on the towing system and increase the risk of accidents.

Also, going over 70 MPH may also cause excessive heat buildup in the transmission, potentially leading to damage or failure.

Gather Essential Equipment for Flat Towing When You're on Wheels

Flat towing can be a convenient way to transport your vehicle but it requires the right equipment and knowledge. You'll need tow bars, base plate kits, safety cables, tow bar wiring, and supplemental braking systems to keep your towed vehicle safe and minimize risks.

Before flat towing, check if your vehicle is flat towable and adhere to the recommended speed limits for towing. Following proper procedures and using the right equipment can help minimize transmission damage during flat towing.

So, invest in proper equipment and stay safe while exploring the world on wheels.

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