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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Toad car" options for motorhome owners

Got a motorhome but no "toad" car arrangements yet? Here's a possibility to throw into the mix: Instead of your own toad, how about a rental car? We listened to some reasoned discussion among RVers and what we gleaned may help you.

With rental car services flung out around the country, it's usually easy to find a rental car. Many immediately suggest Enterprise, because, after all, their motto is, "We'll pick you up." And sometimes, they do. Other RVers reported being calling Enterprise only to be told they'd have to come and get the car themselves. Or worse, the RVer who got picked up all right, but when it came time to return the car and get a free ride back to his rig found out he was up the creek without a ride.

Still, you may want to weigh the costs in. If you already own a car that you'd like to take with you, you'll need to factor in a few costs. If you can't tow the car "four-down," and then need a dolly, you'll have to add the costs of a tow dolly. If you can tow "four-down," you're well advised to equip the toad car with a braking system and the associated wiring. And if you don't have the toad car already – well, factor in the cost of a vehicle as well. So, how often would you need to rent a car? If it's a frequent need, the cost of setting up to tow your own car, even buying a car, might soon be a pay-off when compared to rental costs.

Incidentally, if you've a Costco member, be sure to check the Costco Travel website. We rented a car for a week, drove it over 3,000 miles, and in the end, it cost just a bit over what it would have cost us to drive our own car the distance when we factored in how much less we had to pay for fuel with the econo-car we rented with the Costco discount.

But what if you've got other plans for your motorhome's towing capacity? Some RVers have big fish dreams and want to tow the boat behind. There's only room enough for one tow at a time, so what then? Compare the cost of car rental to that of boat rental near your favorite fishing hole.

Other factors that tend to weigh in favor of your own tow car? It's always with you in case your motorhome breaks down and you need a lift. There's less hassle in locating a car when you need it – one RVing couple said on a four-day vacation to a hot vacation spot, even with an advance car rental reservation, they could only get the rental car for two days of their visit. They added, "It was a long way to pack in groceries, too!"

Some RVers told us they've just simply adapted their RV lifestyle to a small Class C motorhome that they can, "park nearly anywhere," and never worry about it.


  1. Perhaps we are simply oddballs, but it never occurred to us to purchase a NEW car to tow, or a NEW towbar and supplementary braking set-up.

    We purchased a 10 year old inexpensive, lightweight hatchback that was towable 4 down, a used Alladin towbar, baseplate and braking system on ebay and didn't spend over $3000.

  2. "...If you can't tow the car "four-down," and then need a dolly,...". Not always, some cars can't be towed on a dolly either. A car trailer is a way to tow any car that will fit and is within the capicity of the trailer and towing vehicle.

  3. We spent the first 4 yrs (9 month trips) renting from Enterprise if we needed a car. Never missed much as most RV parks are very close to the places we wanted to see. Went 12 months a year (real full time) in 2011 and hooked up a "toad." Between the dog needing to get to a Vet (candy anyone), cutting ribs and as the tray falls I stab my leg, glue (instead of eye drops) in my wife's eye - I think you get - the car is a great comfort in case of an emergency while your motor home is all set up.

  4. He drives the Motorhome and I drive the car.


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