Author Topic: Towing with a compact car?  (Read 18391 times)

fidgiegirl

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Towing with a compact car?
« on: April 02, 2015, 09:31:16 AM »
I have a wild hair to get a hitch on my Pontiac Vibe so I can do things like get free compost, haul in yard waste, pick up pallets for projects, haul bags of concrete, etc. with a small trailer rented up the street from UHaul.  There have been many times we've contorted ourselves to get a hold of a truck or shoehorned some item or another into my car with the hatch open when this arrangement would have done the job easily.  However, I am not sure my small car can handle it.  How can I know?  I need to review the manual, but is there anything to consider beyond that?

Thanks!

meyla

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2015, 09:40:06 AM »
My sister has a Vibe with a trailer hitch. I don't know the towing capacity, but we pull a 10ft expanded metal trailer behind it often. It has been used to move a broken riding lawn mower before without any problems. Most recently, we moved the contents of a storage unit to the dump using it (recliner, dining table and 4 chairs, 2 window AC units, various boxes of junk). I feel very confident that you wouldn't have a problem towing a trailer like hers with the contents you describe.

Le Poisson

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2015, 09:45:32 AM »
Unless your car has a notoriously weak frame/transmission, you should be able to tow a light trailer behind about anything.

I am a huge fan of compact trailers. If you have the construction skills of a one-armed gecko, you can get a couple planks to go across th etop and turn your trailer into a transporter of all things big and boxy like fridges, couches, etc. by having them overhang (not beyond legal minimums!). If you go to harbour freight, you can also pick up a pair of trailer lights on a magnetic base which you can then strap onto your load to make it more obvious if it is overhanging your built-in trailer lights.

Mini-trailers are available at Lowes for $350 - 500.  I picked one up in a yard sale for $250 about 15 years ago. I am sure mine pays for itself every 2 years or so. Some even fold flat against a garage wall for storage. If you want to get super fancy, you can build a canoe rack for it, then add on all sorts of other gizmos. Just be sure it stays as light as possible, and that it doesn't present too much extra windage (drag) behind your car.

A longer trailer is easier to reverse with. A smaller one easier to store. Some have remove able or extendable tongues to tackle both problems.

One thing to beware of pulling a trailer behind a small car - the trailer can 'wag the dog' . If your trailer is too heavy for your vehicle, it can set up a swinging momentum left and right (wagging). If this builds too much, the trailer can flip the car. This usually happens with poorly balanced loads, trailers that are too big/heavy for the car, loads with too much windage, or if the trailer's axle or wheels are improperly aligned or inflated.

fidgiegirl

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2015, 09:52:37 AM »
Thank you both!  I'll see what my husband thinks!  I think a hitch install is around $200, trailer rental is around $15/day from UHaul (we could get one from my parents to use, too, but long term storage on our urban lot is not something we're interested in), and we can use it for all kinds of things.  Further wisdom welcome!

hdatontodo

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2015, 09:55:52 AM »

BlueMR2

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 09:58:40 AM »
I don't know anyone doing towing with a Vibe, but it's essentially a re-badged Toyota, and I know a lot of people the successfully tow with small Toyotas that aren't rated for towing (and if they are, well above the rated capacity).  I personally wouldn't be afraid to try it, but I've got enough money set aside for brakes/transmission, etc should it cause premature wear/failure.

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 11:04:36 AM »

I have a Matrix (same car, but Toyota badge).   One thing I've noticed is the car is just REALLY lightweight in the front end.  It can get a little squirrley on wet pavement.  I'd be very careful adding any tongue weight on the back, as you're just going to lighten the front end even more.

fossilhog

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 06:27:47 PM »
One of the reasons my fiancee and I were considering a Vibe over the FIT is b/c it has towing capacity. I believe it's rated at 1500lbs for the 2007 which has the smallest engine. It should be fine for what you're wanting to do. Especially if it's not very frequent. Now that 1500lbs is everything that is loaded into your car+the weight of the trailer+what you loaded onto the trailer.
Also, be a good mustachian and get a trailer on craigslist if you can. They're pretty simple machines and you shouldn't have to pay too much for one.
Hope that helps!

otter

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2015, 02:54:34 PM »
Your Vibe is perfectly capable of towing a small utility trailer as long as you don't overload it. If you do a relative lot of towing and have an automatic transmission, it would be worth getting a transmission oil cooler installed. Other than that, I think you're fine.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 03:14:35 PM »

I have a Matrix (same car, but Toyota badge).   One thing I've noticed is the car is just REALLY lightweight in the front end.  It can get a little squirrley on wet pavement.  I'd be very careful adding any tongue weight on the back, as you're just going to lighten the front end even more.

I'll add that you'll need some amount of tongue weight to get the trailer to pull properly or else it will want to fishtail on you.  I usually load my trailer with the center of gravity just forward of the axle for around 50-100 lbs of tongue weight (500-1000 lb trailer load).  The rear suspension on the tow vehicle should not look noticeably compressed after attaching a trailer of this size.

ClaycordJCA

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 09:14:14 AM »
Have you looked into the price difference between renting a pickup and the trailer?  Around here, U-haul advertises pick-ups for local rentals at $20 a day.

kudy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 10:28:19 AM »
I would suggest researching online stores that sell hitches; I bought a hitch online, and very easily installed it myself.

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2015, 11:30:37 AM »
Yup same here.. I bought  hitch for my Dodge Neon (1000lbs towing capacity). Then bought a Harbor Freight 8 foot * 4 foot flatbed trailer with the 12" wheels. It was on sale for $200 at the time.

I have hauled up to 1200lb on it and up to 70mph (not with 1200lb on it of course)  and its very stable.

The hitch was bolt on and a bit of wiring for the tail lights and .. voila.

I have recently upgraded my Neon to a newer Neon and you can bet I swapped the hitch over.

Probably one of the most useful tools I have to be honest!.. The best part though is the stares and questions from folks who can't figure out why I don't have a truck.. Hmm year lets see my car does 35mph and occasionally does 25mpg towing a trailer... But you can't figure out why I don't have a truck that does 12mpg ALL the TIME!.. Oh and the 8*4 bed can get more gear on that you can in a standard truck bed anyway.

Towing trailers with compact cars is common in Europe where gas is well north of $5 a gallon.. People just don't have trucks mostly its just not feasible.



« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 11:36:51 AM by Exflyboy »

Le Poisson

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2015, 08:29:36 PM »
I would suggest researching online stores that sell hitches; I bought a hitch online, and very easily installed it myself.

This is sortof a yes/no thing. It never hurts to buy cheap and attempt the install on your own, but different cars have different requirements as far as hooking up the hitch goes. Some I have put in that were dead simple. 4 bolts. Almost scary. Other have involved removing sections of the exhaust, bolts that had to be fed through tubular members with fish-wires, and some that took drilling and tapping.

As soon as you bust open the package and look at the instructions you'll know if you're in over your head.

m8547

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2015, 11:01:42 PM »
I would suggest researching online stores that sell hitches; I bought a hitch online, and very easily installed it myself.

This is sortof a yes/no thing. It never hurts to buy cheap and attempt the install on your own, but different cars have different requirements as far as hooking up the hitch goes. Some I have put in that were dead simple. 4 bolts. Almost scary. Other have involved removing sections of the exhaust, bolts that had to be fed through tubular members with fish-wires, and some that took drilling and tapping.

As soon as you bust open the package and look at the instructions you'll know if you're in over your head.

You can download the instructions on etrailer.com before you buy it.

MikeBear

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2015, 01:33:33 AM »
I've typically installed my hitches myself. However with the one on my present car (2010 Mazda 3) a couple years ago I bought it online, and then I took it to the place that said they'd install it for $75. I then walked over to the movie theater that's in the next block over and watched James Bond's "Skyfall". When I got out, they were all done. I handed them their money and left. When I got home I climbed under the car, and checked it all over carefully.

Just make sure when you install it yourself, you use proper bolts/nuts of the proper strength. I once saw a mini-van's trailer hitch pull loose (bolt let go, and the hitch jack-knifed over) on one side while they were traveling 70 mph in the opposite direction from me on the other side of the expressway, and the Scotty trailer they were hauling LEPT into the air and literally exploded into confetti due to the stress! It was all quite exciting, but I was real glad it wasn't my hitch, and my ruined trip.

Slam

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2015, 07:49:58 AM »
I tow with my 2005 Vibe!  It's awesome!  When I was in college, I went to Uhaul and ordered a trailer hitch and a wiring kit (somewhere around $200 total).  A few days later I picked them up and took them home and installed the whole thing.  The wiring kit isn't too hard to install yourself, you basically splice into your blinker and brake light wires.  I store the wire in the spare tire compartment and when I need it, just pull it out and it hangs out the back door.  I can take and send pics if you're interested!  The hitch is literally just 4 large bolts.  The trick is to get the threads clean so they screw in smoothly.

This was all in preparation for my move to Gainesville, FL for an awesome summer internship I got at the University of Florida.  I stuck my Great Dane in the back of the Vibe and loaded up a small Uhaul rental trailer with all my materialistic crap, then I put a couple bikes on my roof rack and took off down the road on a 24 hour drive to the Sunshine State.

I always wondered why MMM's article about making a small car larger with a roof rack, didn't also recommend towing a small trailer.  I think it's the best thing ever.  Highly recommend!

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2015, 10:16:46 AM »
Here is a hitch kit for $100.. Includes all required hardware.

http://www.partstrain.com/store/details/Pontiac/Vibe/Hidden_Hitch/Hitch/2005/H2560958.html?source=productads&c_aid=43308810866&c2cid=13b1f648-f08b-4a71-a197-73cf5f5f8ecb

You then need a ball to match your trailer ( probably a 1-7/8ths or a 2").. for $10 or so.

Then a wiring kit for about $10 to 15".. using the flat 4 pin connector.

Both of the above need to match whatever is on your trailer of course.. DO NOT put a 1/-7/8ths ball on if your trailer is equipped with a 2" ball.. yes I have seen this done.

Always use safety chains.. all common sense.

Allow 2 to 3 hours under the back of the car if your not super experienced in doing this kind of stuff.. Make sure the bolts are tight.. How tight, if there is not a torque spec on the bolts have an experienced handy person put a hand on the wrench... Clean out the threads you screwing into, WD 40 is good for this.. a Tap of the correct size is best but a bit overkill unless you have one.

Contrary to popular belief, bolts rarely fail if they are over tightened, but that can fail if they are under tightened due to fatigue.. I'll save you the lengthy engineering explanation..:)

Enjoy

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2015, 04:46:32 PM »
I have a Matrix (same car, but Toyota badge).   One thing I've noticed is the car is just REALLY lightweight in the front end.  It can get a little squirrley on wet pavement.  I'd be very careful adding any tongue weight on the back, as you're just going to lighten the front end even more.

No and no.  The Matrix/Vibe are very front-heavy, as they are front engine, FWD vehicles with a few of them having a few extra pounds for the AWD.  They are still very nose-heavy.  Further, a properly balanced trailer will simply add more weight to the rear axle (tongue weight should be 5-10% of total trailer weight; you can confirm with a simple bathroom scale), it will not the the front any lighter.  There is something wrong with your car if you think it is squirrley, especially given how much Toyota tunes their cars for mind-numbing understeer.  It either has a bad alignment or worn tires, or both.

ender

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2015, 05:45:14 PM »
Most compact cars have some towing capacity.

We'll probably check this as an interesting fact for the next vehicle we buy, it's impressive how much most small cars can tow relative to their size. Be nice to get best of both worlds, find something which has decent towing capacity for a small car and still all the benefits.


Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2015, 06:03:24 PM »
Yes I have not seen one that has less than 1000lb capacity.. Which is quite a lot of weight.

My Wife's Mazda said "no towing at all" in the handbook but that is pretty rare.


Spork

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2015, 06:16:32 PM »
I have a Matrix (same car, but Toyota badge).   One thing I've noticed is the car is just REALLY lightweight in the front end.  It can get a little squirrley on wet pavement.  I'd be very careful adding any tongue weight on the back, as you're just going to lighten the front end even more.

No and no.  The Matrix/Vibe are very front-heavy, as they are front engine, FWD vehicles with a few of them having a few extra pounds for the AWD.  They are still very nose-heavy.  Further, a properly balanced trailer will simply add more weight to the rear axle (tongue weight should be 5-10% of total trailer weight; you can confirm with a simple bathroom scale), it will not the the front any lighter.  There is something wrong with your car if you think it is squirrley, especially given how much Toyota tunes their cars for mind-numbing understeer.  It either has a bad alignment or worn tires, or both.

Google has told me it's a common complaint.  It's fine on dry pavement.  It's fine on damp pavement.  It's not great with just the tiniest water layer to hydroplane.  Brand new high dollar, highly rated in wet tires make it better, but put a year on them and it's still not great.

Yes a properly balanced trailer adds very little tongue weight.  My intention was that you need to make sure you add very little tongue weight -- i.e.: buy the right trailer and load it correctly.  My manual specs the gross weight of the trailer, but not tongue weight, so I have no clue what the allowable weight is.  (If you look at hitches online, the ones I see have gross wt listed quite a bit above the manual.)

Le Poisson

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2015, 09:49:24 PM »
Yes I have not seen one that has less than 1000lb capacity.. Which is quite a lot of weight.

My Wife's Mazda said "no towing at all" in the handbook but that is pretty rare.

Depending on the trailer you have, half that capacity may be eaten up by the trailer itself. When overloading remember its the stopping that counts.

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2015, 10:03:59 PM »
Harbor Freight trailer weighs about 200lbs from memory.

Realistically the 800lb available net is a LOT of weight (remember I have towed 1200lb with a  Dodge Neon!)... more than you'd normally load. But you right you don't want a heavy trailer but the HF unit is rated for 900lbs capacity



marketnonsenses

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2015, 06:16:14 AM »
If you are going to rent the trailer why not just rent a Homedepot truck. they are like 20 for 90 mins.

ender

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2015, 06:42:38 AM »
Yes I have not seen one that has less than 1000lb capacity.. Which is quite a lot of weight.

My Wife's Mazda said "no towing at all" in the handbook but that is pretty rare.

Mazda Miata?

;)

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2015, 10:10:27 AM »
Yes I have not seen one that has less than 1000lb capacity.. Which is quite a lot of weight.

My Wife's Mazda said "no towing at all" in the handbook but that is pretty rare.

Mazda Miata?

;)

Haha.. no.. a '94 Protege.. which is surprising because the cer seemed a little heavier than my Dodge neon.

cautiouspessimist

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2015, 11:01:09 AM »
Yes I have not seen one that has less than 1000lb capacity.. Which is quite a lot of weight.

My Wife's Mazda said "no towing at all" in the handbook but that is pretty rare.

Mazda Miata?

;)

Haha.. no.. a '94 Protege.. which is surprising because the cer seemed a little heavier than my Dodge neon.

I have a Chevy Sonic, and it is also 'not recommended' for towing. It made me rather sad. I'm sure it would probably work out fine as long as I keep the loads light, but I'm going to wait until it's completely out of warranty before I risk it.

Le Poisson

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2015, 01:49:56 PM »
Yes I have not seen one that has less than 1000lb capacity.. Which is quite a lot of weight.

My Wife's Mazda said "no towing at all" in the handbook but that is pretty rare.

Mazda Miata?

;)

Haha.. no.. a '94 Protege.. which is surprising because the cer seemed a little heavier than my Dodge neon.

I have a Chevy Sonic, and it is also 'not recommended' for towing. It made me rather sad. I'm sure it would probably work out fine as long as I keep the loads light, but I'm going to wait until it's completely out of warranty before I risk it.

Me too - are you on the Sonic owners forum as well? Page 9-42 of the owners manual has the shortest trailering section I have ever seen.

"Trailer Towing

General Towing Information

The vehicle is neither designed nor
intended to tow a trailer.


pagoconcheques

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2015, 01:58:22 PM »
I think a hitch install is around $200

These are easy to install yourself.  Shop the hitch online first, then call local outlets and ask them to match the online price (shipping will kill the online deal, but don't tell the locals that).  Buy the hitch itself, a wiring kit, and a torque wrench if you don't already have one. 


Tami1982

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2015, 02:06:33 PM »
Following.  I also want to get a hitch set up for my HHR.

MikeBear

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2015, 02:39:25 PM »
MAZDA will not certify their vehicles for towing in the USA. That's simply for legal reasons. The exact same vehicles in Europe however, have listed tow ratings.

I had the same issue when I looked up tow ratings for my 2010 Mazda 3. That's when I found that out. I had a hitch installed anyway, and I'm not having any issues towing with it. I do however NEVER tow in Overdrive (5th gear), as that could ruin that gear. My Mazda 3 can be put into manual shift mode, and I use that to go no higher than 4th gear. The engine revs a little higher, but that keeps the lightly rated overdrive 5th gear safe from getting stripped out.

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2015, 06:28:45 PM »
MAZDA will not certify their vehicles for towing in the USA. That's simply for legal reasons. The exact same vehicles in Europe however, have listed tow ratings.

I had the same issue when I looked up tow ratings for my 2010 Mazda 3. That's when I found that out. I had a hitch installed anyway, and I'm not having any issues towing with it. I do however NEVER tow in Overdrive (5th gear), as that could ruin that gear. My Mazda 3 can be put into manual shift mode, and I use that to go no higher than 4th gear. The engine revs a little higher, but that keeps the lightly rated overdrive 5th gear safe from getting stripped out.

Explain why towing 5th will ruin the gear???

MikeBear

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2015, 08:21:16 PM »
MAZDA will not certify their vehicles for towing in the USA. That's simply for legal reasons. The exact same vehicles in Europe however, have listed tow ratings.

I had the same issue when I looked up tow ratings for my 2010 Mazda 3. That's when I found that out. I had a hitch installed anyway, and I'm not having any issues towing with it. I do however NEVER tow in Overdrive (5th gear), as that could ruin that gear. My Mazda 3 can be put into manual shift mode, and I use that to go no higher than 4th gear. The engine revs a little higher, but that keeps the lightly rated overdrive 5th gear safe from getting stripped out.

Explain why towing 5th will ruin the gear???

Well the overdrive gear for your transmission. It may be the 5th gear (or 6th in even newer cars), which in my case it is the 5th. In some older cars, it may be the 4th gear. It's a higher-speed gear used to increase gas mileage, and in most transmissions it doesn't have the strength of lower gears to safely pull trailer loads. Most owners manual will tell you to NOT tow using it. All my cars manuals have always said to not use it while towing.


Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2015, 08:46:11 PM »
Interesting, then that is definately a shortcoming in the design of that gear then. If the transmission is designed properly it should be capable of absorbing the maximum power of the engine. In fact as power = toque multiplied by speed.. and the gear is turning faster than the lower gears, it could be less strong than the lower gears and still do the job.

My guess is that as the car would never travel fast enough in 5th gear to reach the maximum power point of the engine, then they undersized the gear.

Its probably a moot point anyway as a heavy load on the trailer will probably prevent you using top gear anyway, lightly loaded trailers I doubt it will make any difference.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2015, 10:00:08 AM »
Many vehicles with automatic transmissions warn against towing with overdrive enabled.  No so much due to the "strength" of the gear as much as the power available in that gear.  With a sufficient load, leaving OD enabled can result in excessive shifting with every rise and dip in the road.  In an automatic I always leave OD enabled unless I notice excessive shifting.  In a manual, I leave it in the highest gear that can maintain my desired speed reasonably well provided I am on relatively flat ground.  If I am in the mountains, I will shift accordingly.

marketnonsenses

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2015, 10:34:01 AM »
This forum is so damn weird with it wanting to tow with small cars. Even the most frugal people I know in person would never do this. This is the only place I have ever seen that people want to tow with compact cars.

Slam

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #37 on: April 10, 2015, 10:46:23 AM »
This forum is so damn weird

Haters gonna hate.

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2015, 11:22:10 AM »
This forum is so damn weird with it wanting to tow with small cars. Even the most frugal people I know in person would never do this. This is the only place I have ever seen that people want to tow with compact cars.

Sounds like a uniquely American perspective.. Of course the rest of the World where towing with compact cars (heck even caravans) is a common occurance is plainly WRONG!

Oh my.. what you mean people in Europe don't have 6 litre V8's in 6000lb trucks????.. My God, how do they live?

Oh sorry I forgot.. America is only place where people know what they are doing.. Clearly that is true, yeah right...

In the mean time 1000lb on an 8*4 trailer behind my Dodge Neon works very well indeed.


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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2015, 11:32:28 AM »
Interesting, then that is definately a shortcoming in the design of that gear then. If the transmission is designed properly it should be capable of absorbing the maximum power of the engine. In fact as power = toque multiplied by speed.. and the gear is turning faster than the lower gears, it could be less strong than the lower gears and still do the job.

My guess is that as the car would never travel fast enough in 5th gear to reach the maximum power point of the engine, then they undersized the gear.

Its probably a moot point anyway as a heavy load on the trailer will probably prevent you using top gear anyway, lightly loaded trailers I doubt it will make any difference.
Disabling overdrive for towing isn't unusual for trucks - a transmission that is constantly gear-hunting will wear faster.

http://www.horseforum.com/horse-trailers/overdrive-off-when-hauling-29421/

Granted, we're talking about real towing here - not a few hundred pounds on a utility trailer.

marketnonsenses

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2015, 01:10:47 PM »
This forum is so damn weird with it wanting to tow with small cars. Even the most frugal people I know in person would never do this. This is the only place I have ever seen that people want to tow with compact cars.

Sounds like a uniquely American perspective.. Of course the rest of the World where towing with compact cars (heck even caravans) is a common occurance is plainly WRONG!

Oh my.. what you mean people in Europe don't have 6 litre V8's in 6000lb trucks????.. My God, how do they live?

Oh sorry I forgot.. America is only place where people know what they are doing.. Clearly that is true, yeah right...

In the mean time 1000lb on an 8*4 trailer behind my Dodge Neon works very well indeed.

Diesel engines and different trailer safety features. Brakes on trailers are more common if not mandatory in Europe. Far more highway speed driving in the US. Pulling trailers in south america is common but I wouldnt recommend any of their driving habits as safe. I will admit this is a very debatable topic. But I dont think it is entirely that Americans dont know they can tow with small cars, more that there are better options.

I really question if you are dicking with people about your Neon talk. I have 3 generations of my family that worked for Chrylser and none of them would drive a used Neon. They are all frugal people too. I dont know anyone who thinks Neons are good cars. If I saw someone on the highway towing something with a Neon I would steer as far away from them as possible.

Exflyboy

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2015, 02:56:09 PM »
Well lets see..

I am a transplant from the UK where motorway speeds are tolerated up to 90 mph. I used to own several rally cars and competed often at local clubman event (means I can drive a car sideways on a dirt road at 80mph). I have also pulled trailers with compact cars half my life.

I moved to the US in '97

As to the Neon I have a 97 model I bought new and I just rebuilt the engine and manual transmission on a 99 Model I now own. Both have been perfectly reliable (although the engine harness had some melted wires on the 99 model which is a common problem, but easily fixed as I had the motor out anyway).

So no I'm not kidding when I say I have been delighted with my Neons.. Heck I drove them 80miles a day both ways for 18 months, I put the later comfy seats in them, the manual transmissions are rock solid and they handle pretty well (see my qualifications above to make that claim).

Maybe I got lucky but you wouldn't get me to give up mine.. Oh and 36mpg too!

I have pulled my trailer at 70mph.. not once did it step out of line or get "tail wagging the dog" on me.

Trailer brakes are certainly NOT mandatory in the UK.. we never had them, and my folks hauled a trailer on vacation every Summer while I was growing up.. There simply isn't the money there to be running big rigs over there, so you make do with what you have.

In my extensive experience I can tell you its a perfectly plausible solution.. Except Maybe if you get get hit by a ridiculously oversized truck or gas guzzling SUV most probably.

Now.. would I argue a compact car is the best thing for hauling a heavy load?.. of course not, we have an F250 that my Wife pulls a horse trailer at 7mpg.. But heck, for a few sheets of plywood etc etc the Neon with a trailer is a perfectly good tool.

Oh and we never owned a diesel engine in the UK either.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 02:58:24 PM by Exflyboy »

fidgiegirl

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2015, 03:58:29 PM »
LOL, I hadn't checked in on this thread in a few days, didn't know I had caused such a ruckus.  :)

Sibley

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Re: Towing with a compact car?
« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2015, 07:20:20 PM »
I used to have an 07 Vibe. I looked into putting a hitch on it, and it does work. I also have seen Vibes and Matrixes with hitches. My research did indicate that you can't tow anything particularly large or heavy.

My Vibe was a scrappy little car. I miss that car! It got crunched a couple years ago :(