One of the benefits of owning a Class C RV is that it can tow a car or toad behind it. This adds to the list of things you can do once you reach your destination. But you’ll need to make sure your RV is rated to handle the weight of the vehicle you want to tow.
Why Tow a Vehicle Behind Your RV?
- Avoid the hassle of packing up your campsite if you need to run into town for supplies.
- Drive your toad to any nearby attractions or parks—no need to find parking for a motorhome
- Save gas on local trips
- Embrace the “spoke and wheel” setup—use your motorhome and campground as a basecamp and take your toad to explore all the area has to offer
If you’re ready to try a toad with your motorhome, here are the questions you need to ask to make sure you’re towing safely.
What is Your Class C’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)?
Your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the total weight your motorhome can hold. Along with other towing and rating specs, it can be found on your vehicle identification label (a sticker on the inside of one of your door casings) or in your RV owner’s manual.
When looking at GVWR, you’ll need to include your vehicle weight, the weight of everything in your motorhome (don’t forget water weight, occupants, and everything you’re bringing for your trip), and the hitch weight of your tow vehicle.
Even if your Class C is rated to tow more than your toad you can’t exceed your GVWR with everything listed above.
What Is Your Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)?
Also found on your vehicle identification label is your Gross Combined Weight Rating, which is the maximum total weight of everything in your setup.
Unlike GVWR, this doesn’t just include the hitch weight of your toad. It includes the full weight of both vehicles, everything carried in both vehicles, and the hitch components connecting both vehicles.
In other words, it accounts for everything traveling down the road with you. This total needs to stay below your RV’s GCWR rating to make sure your motorhome’s chassis can handle all that weight.
What is Your Class C’s Tow Rating?
This rating is pretty straightforward. How much weight can your motorhome pull?
The important point here is that all the ratings we’re covering need to be considered. If you’re under your maximum towing capacity, but exceeding your GVWR or GCWR, you’re still unsafe.
Always err on the side of caution and come in under your RV’s weight ratings. Your braking system is only designed to handle a certain amount of weight and exceeding that amount puts you and everyone else on the road around you in danger.
For a more complete breakdown, check out our guide to understanding weight ratings in recreational vehicles.
What is the Weight Rating of Your Hitch System?
Every component of your hitch system will also have a weight rating. Ensuring your hitch is rated for the weight of your towed vehicle and RV is a vital link in the chain of safe towing.
This can include things like the hitch itself, tow bars, and even the pins that hold everything together. Hitch components are typically categorized in classes according to the weight they are rated to handle safely.
For more information on hitch types, check out our complete guide to hitch and tow basics.
Can Your Toad Be Towed Wheels Down?
Finally, a question that doesn’t involve math!
Some cars can’t be towed with all four wheels rolling (also known as flat towing). This can damage the transmission and other components. Here are some examples of popular vehicles for flat towing:
- Jeep Wrangler JL and JK
- Ford F-150
- Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee
- Chevrolet Equinox and Colorado
- Honda CR-V
But before you tow with any wheels down, consult your car’s manual. If you don’t have the ability to tow with wheels down, using a platform trailer or tow dollies are your best options—you’ll just need to add the weight of that trailer to all your calculations.
So How Much Can Your Class C RV Tow?
Check your vehicle identification label or owner’s manual to understand your RV’s towing capacity and weight ratings. All makes and models are different. You’ll find models that can only tow up to 3,500 pounds and others that can handle as much as 40,000 pounds.
It’s going to depend, in large part, on the RVs chassis, engine, and hitch components. On average, class C RVs can tow approximately 8,000 pounds. But this is an average amount of weight and not a standard across all class C makes and models.
In addition to consulting your owner’s manual, use our towing guide to calculate how much your class C RV can tow safely!
Safety is the most important thing when it comes to towing any vehicle. Make sure you’re within the ratings of all your vehicles, and you’ll be good to go!
What make and model is your Class C motorhome and how much can you tow safely? Share in the comments below!
Tucker Ballister is a Technical Content Writer for Camping World and a lover of the open road. You can check out more of his adventures and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.