Are you looking to tow a car with a Class B camper van but wondering if it can handle the weight? Is it safe? Well, we answer all of your questions and give you everything you need to know about towing a car with a Class B camper van.
However, before we jump into the cargo carrying capacity for your next trip, let’s discuss what a Class B motorhome is in the first place.
What is a Class B camper van?
There’s a good chance you’ve seen these types of campers on the road already, but maybe you didn’t realize it was a Class-B motorhome. That’s alright because we’ll explain what they are.
A Class B camper van is a type of recreational vehicle (RV) characterized by its small size and maneuverability. These vehicles are typically smaller than other types of RVs and feature amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, sleeping areas, and storage compartments.
They are popular choices for weekend trips, camping excursions, and longer vacations due to their easy handling capabilities and relatively low cost.
Some models can even be fitted with features such as water tanks, solar panels, and extended roof racks to extend the vehicle’s functionality.
Factors to consider when determining if it can tow a car.
Before safely towing a car or other vehicle, you must know how much your Class B motorhome can tow.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
The GVWR is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can safely handle, including its own weight plus passengers and cargo. This is important to consider because if you exceed this number, your motorhome will be overloaded, leading to dangerous driving situations.
For example, if you have a Class B motorhome with a GVWR of 5,000 pounds, it would not be safe to tow anything heavier than 2,500 pounds. That’s because the vehicle’s own weight and the cargo should not exceed the GVWR.
But there’s more to the rating than just the GVWR. There’s also the maximum towing capacity.
Maximum Towing Capacity (MTC).
The MTC is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can safely tow. This number is always less than the GVWR, and it depends on a few factors, including the type of hitch you are using, engine power, and even your driving experience.
So if you have a Class B motorhome with an MTC of 4,000 pounds, you can safely tow a vehicle that weighs up to 4,000 pounds.
With that in mind, most sedans and small SUVs weigh around 4,000-5,000 lbs. So for this example, you might be able to tow your car.
Types of towing hitches, safety considerations, and limitations.
There are several different ways to tow a car behind class B motorhomes. These range from a simple bumper hitch to a more robust fifth-wheel flatbed setup.
Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is crucial to understand the limitations of each before making a decision.
Dinghy Towing (tow dollies).
Dinghy towing is the most straightforward way to tow a car behind your motorhome. It is also the most common and least expensive option.
In dinghy towing, you attach the car’s front axle directly to the motorhome’s bumper hitch with a tow dolly or platform and secure it with safety chains. This method cannot damage either vehicle since the car’s front wheels are not in contact with the road. However, the rear wheels are on the road.
The only downside to this method is that it can be labor-intensive, as you must secure the tow dolly and safety chains each time you attach a vehicle. Furthermore, this type of towing cannot be done at high speeds as wind resistance can cause swaying or even flipping of the car.
This method of towing a car behind a class B motorhome is similar to dinghy towing except that the car’s wheels are actually in contact with the road. This allows you to drive at higher speeds, making it ideal for longer trips.
However, it also comes with risks as both vehicles will wear and tear as they move along the road. Additionally, you will need a tow bar that can be attached to the car’s frame and the motorhome’s bumper hitch.
The last of our methods is an enclosed or flatbed trailer. This involves loading the car on a flatbed trailer that is then attached to the motorhome.
It is the safest and most secure way to tow a car behind your motorhome, as it is entirely off the ground.
However, it is also the most expensive option, as you must buy or rent a flatbed trailer. Additionally, you will need a trailer hitch that is compatible with your motorhome, which can be challenging to find.
No matter what type of towing you choose, it is important to consider safety first. Before hitting the road, ensure all safety chains, hitches, and other components are securely attached and tested for strength. Also, use caution when driving, as speeding can cause swaying and instability.
Finally, always check your local laws and ordinances to ensure you comply with the rules of the road. The laws will vary from state to state, so if you’re crossing state lines, know their laws.
With these considerations in place, you can safely tow a car behind your class B motorhome.
Vehicles that can be towed.
While a Class B motorhome is excellent for towing vehicles and can tow just about any car size, some cars and vehicles are easier to tow.
Towing a sedan.
A small car like a sedan is an excellent option for those with Class B motorhomes. Since most sedans weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds, they are fairly easy to tow and fall within the weight limit of the maximum towing capacity of most Class Bs. Rarely will you see a small sedan or smart car exceed the towing capacity of a Class B motorhome.
Another great thing about these small cars is that they’re easy to park and maneuver when you’re in a tight campground.
Small SUVs such as the Honda CR-V or Toyota Rav4 are also good options for those with Class B motorhomes. These vehicles generally weigh around the same as a sedan and can easily be towed in almost any condition. That’s why you see many Class B RVs and other motorhomes hauling Jeeps or Rav4s. They’re small enough to tow, but easy to get around town.
Most larger SUVs will exceed the motorhome’s towing capacity, but regardless they’re still an option for some. If your Class B is rated to tow 8,000 pounds or higher, you may be able to safely tow a large SUV such as the Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition. As always, check the manual of your motorhome before attempting to tow any vehicle that can exceed its capacity.
Choosing the right size camper van.
If you don’t already have a Class B RV, then you might be in the market for a camper van.
To determine the right size of a camper van, you’ll need to consider the size and weight of your towed vehicle and how much cargo you plan on taking on your camping trips.
Examples of Class B RVs and their tow capacities.
When you’re looking for a Class B RV, it’s important to consider the towing capacity of the vehicle. Here are a few examples of Class B camper vans and their towing capacity.
The towing capacity of the Winnebago Revel is 5,000 pounds. This makes it perfect for towing small cars, SUVs, and even small trailers. Sure, it’s on the smaller side compared to some other Class Bs, but it more than makes up for its size with its sleek design and modern features.
Airstream Interstate 19
The Airstream Interstate 19 has a lower towing capacity than most other Class B RVs. Its tow capacity is 5,000 lbs, so you’re limited to smaller cars with a total weight below 5,000 lbs including the tow equipment.
This luxurious RV has a towing capacity of 8,900 lbs which means is can safely tow most cars and SUVs. For example, a large SUV such as the Ford Excursion weighs around 7,700 lbs. With a weight like that, you can put the towed car on a flatbed and still tow it.
Considerations before towing: cost, installation of hitches and wiring harnesses, and legalities.
As we mentioned before, towing a car behind your Class B RV is entirely possible. However, you should still take into consideration the cost and installation of hitches and wiring harnesses.
Installation of towing equipment.
Depending on the vehicle you plan to tow, it could cost from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000. This typically includes the cost of the tow hitch and hitch ball, the car hauler itself, the installation of the brake controller to control the electric brakes, and wiring for the brake lights.
Legalities of towing from state to state.
In addition to this, make sure that you research the legalities of towing in your state.
Some states have specific laws and regulations when it comes to towing vehicles, so make sure you understand them before getting on the road.
For example, some states may require that you install a breakaway safety device on the vehicle to protect it in case of an emergency.
It’s also essential to ensure that your insurance coverage is up-to-date if you plan on towing, as some policies will not cover towed vehicles or trailers.
Pros and cons of having a motorhome tow a car.
While towing a car can be beneficial in certain situations, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
For instance, when you tow a vehicle behind your RV, the gas mileage will suffer due to the extra weight you carry. This means that you’ll have to fill up more often and spend more money on fuel. Of course, some models are more fuel efficient, but when you have 6,000 lbs behind you, that’s considerable drag.
In addition, you’ll have to be extra careful when driving. The the towed car adds more length and width to your overall vehicle making it more challenging to handle. The increased weight will make it more difficult to stop as well. Sure, the active brake assist or braking system will help offset that, but it’s a consideration.
Overall, though, towing a car behind your Class B RV can provide additional storage space and convenience for long trips.
And when you get to your destination, you don’t have to disconnect all of the hookups to your RV. You can head to town for some essentials with your tow car and leave your Class B at the campground.
As long as you follow all safety precautions and make sure that the towing capacity of your motorhome isn’t exceeded, towing a car can be a great way to get the most out of your camper van. Stay under the maximum weight, and you should do just fine.
One final motorhome towing tip!
Have an experienced mechanic inspect your Class B RV before towing and ensure that all of the necessary safety features are in place. They’ll also ensure you’re not over the maximum weight for your motorhome.
This will help ensure that you and your vehicle stay safe on the road.