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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Tow Vehicle (TOAD)

With a motorhome, when you arrive at your campground, there are some ways to get around to sight see and visit attractions. You can pack up and drive your motorhome around, you can walk, bike or even rent a car.

For many motorhome owners, the best option is a tow car, towed behind the motorhome and affectionately called a "TOAD".

The car can be pulled behind either on a tow dolly or with a towing bar leaving all the car's wheels on the ground.

Some cars must be towed on a dolly due to their transmission designs, others can be towed with all wheels on the ground, but with special devices installed to protected the transmission, such as an external transmission fluid circulation pump or a drive shaft disconnect unit that allows the drive rear wheels to turn but the transmission does not.

The "Holy Grail" of Toads is a vehicle that can be pulled on its wheels with no modifications and the choices are many. Motorhome magazine publishes an annual towing guide listing vehicles that can be pulled with the blessing of their manufacturers.

We chose a vehicle that could be towed with all wheels on the ground, a 2003 Honda Element AWD.

We purchased it new in 2003 and had Road Master towing brackets installed, the can easily be removed when not towing the car.  We also have a Road Master tow bar that we leave permanently attached to the motorhome, locked to the tow hitch.  We now have 112,000 driven miles and another 30,000 plus towed miles on it.  We maintain it strictly according to Honda's recommended service intervals and have the transmission fluid changed every 25,000 miles.  It has been a great vehicle, shows very little wear and tear and we expect to get many more trouble free miles out of it. 

The Element has AWD and an automatic transmission.  It gets about 24 MPG on the highway and is good for on road and light off road driving, like a hard packed beach or unimproved dirt roads.  You won't find use driving in deep mud or doing any rock crawling.  It's not a Jeep, it's much more refined! ;c)

It has a roomy interior.

The doors open wide for easy entry.

The rear seats fold down or can be removed entirely.  We use that feature to carry two special items we'll discuss in another post.

Lots of room for four people, lots of cargo or one other family member...


Zoe, the Wonder Dog!  (As in, " I wonder where she ran off to this time?")  She loves riding back here when we go out and about and begs to go with us.

The Element tows well, you don't even notice it behind the Journey going down the road.  It looks good back there and even matches the paint scheme on the motorhome!

As you get to know us, you'll start to understand we love humor and try not to take life too seriously.  So you'll understand why we came up with this license plate for our toad:


  1. Thanks for your towing explanation. Do you use a braking system too? LOVE the pic of Zoe!

    Right now we take a Honda Helix up on a back rack of our motorhome. Not sure if we are going to tow or not. We have a towable Saturn and a tow bar setup from the previous owners but just never did it yet.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  2. Hi Karen,

    First, I've been reading your blog for some time now. Great title!

    We are still mixed on which braking system to use, they all have their good and bad points. Leaning toward the Brake Buddy type, interested in the new BLue Ox unit that has a self contained battery. Seen alot of folks that have had dead batteries after a day of towing with a BB.

    Zoe is an English Foxhound, a pound rescue. We figure she is about 10 years old, not sure.

    Thanks for adding us to your blog favorites! ;c)