Towing our Mazda 3
We couldn’t imagine not having our car while RVing. Not only does it get around 40 mpg compared to 8 in the Sunseeker but the accessibility to epic locations is the deal breaker for us. After all, what is the point of traveling the country if you don’t get to see the good stuff? We moved so quickly on getting the RV that we didn’t think about pulling the car until after it. In preparation for the trip we would work every day at our regular jobs and then I’d be up until 12-2am working on doing research and preparing for the trip. One night my heart sank because I read an article that you can’t “flat tow” a Mazda 3 because it would ruin the front end. Then I found out there are only certain vehicles that you can flat tow which is why you mostly see Jeep Wranglers being pulled behind. Manual rear wheel drive required.
I didn’t have it in me to tell Danielle that night and I vowed to find a solution quickly to present instead of this bad news that we may have to buy a jeep. I went to work the next day and my friend Jeremiah explained how it’s an easy fix, you just need to get a car dolly. I didn’t have a clue what that was so I googled it and found a company called “The USA Trailer Store” who had one and they happened to have a location in LA, I was ecstatic (thanks Jeremiah)! I called the company, spoke to a rep and got all the answers I needed. Then it was time to shop around. Danielle and I searched the internet for “deals”. What we found is nobody beat the price of the USA Trailer Store. We also were a month away from our trip and didn’t have a way to get the trailer we picked up the RV but they were able to ship it when we needed it for pickup.
Turns out you can pull most cars with a tow dolly. After leaving the Richards we made a stop in Orange County at Danielle’s work (Brandrep) and picked up our Mazda which was in Newport Beach. We dropped our Honda off at the Richards because Mary and Bill were absolutely amazing enough to keep our car on their property and we can’t thank them enough! Once we got to the trailer store the GPS put us on a wild goose chase in Compton!
The store closed in 20 min, it was friday night and they were about to close for the weekend and we couldn’t find the place! It was crunch time, I LOVE crunch time. I parked the RV (illegally but safe) and ran down the street to where the GPS was telling us it was. Shore enough, it was hiding in the back of a business park. I ran up out of breathe, knocked on the locked door and luckily they were still there (I forgot to mention I was calling and texting with no response haha). I had to run back to the RV (workout #2 on the trip) pull an impossible U-Turn and zipped in.
They had some young kid explain how to set up and use the Tow Dolly. I forget his name, I wish I had it cause I would let the company how great of a job he did. I told him I have NO experience with this so treat me like a 3rd grader, he did. He walked me through the process and I wish I youtubed it cause anyone who buys this thing can follow his directions. We had to run to the local auto parts store to grab something for the trailer lights and then I loaded it up. A lot of people told me you won’t notice pulling a car behind you as far as acceleration and braking, they were right. I was blown away at how much power this RV has, you don’t feel the 3k pound car!
Now it was time to zip up through the 5:00 rush our traffic in Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. LA was amazing to break me into driving this beast, if you can drive through rush hour in Los Angeles, CA on the 405 you can drive ANYWHERE!
Does your Mazda 3 have an automatic or standard transmission?
Hey Jim, it has an Automatic which is why we went with the Tow Dolly rather than flat towing it.
have not bought the car yet..It is a standard transmission..can we tow it behind our motorhome?
You’ll have to check because each car is different. Many cars with automatic transmission can be towed on a dolly.
Thank you for the posts with all this great info. What size motor in the RV works best?
Long live the Mazda 3!!! Ours is a skyactive GT hatch. Love it!
DJ & BJ
Nanoose Bay, B.C.
Hey DJ & BJ! Thanks for the kind words. We’re not sure which motor is best but I would bet all models come with a pretty solid motor. We pull our 5th wheel with a chevy 3500 dually.
All front wheel drive vehicles can be towed on a tow dolly. In the case of a manual (stick shift), when you load it on to the dolly, you shut it off and leave it in gear. Me personally, I would leave it in first gear. Never set the parking brake because only the rear wheels lock.
Rear wheel drive and four wheel drive (4×4) vehicles can be towed by a dolly, but that requires the removal of the driveshaft (rear driveshaft on 4×4). And for the most part, they will weigh more that what the tow dolly is rated for.
All wheel drive vehicles, such as Subarus, can’t be towed by a tow dolly.
Awesome information! Thanks.
Do you lock your steering wheel when towing. We’re driving across the country in the morning with our 3 behind a Penske truck. It has push button ignition and doesn’t seem to (after trying and an extensive internet search) be able to lock the steering wheel.
I have a manual transmission 3 and just acquired my own Sunseeker. I’m also from Southern California (Los Angeles area). Safe adventures!
Motorhome magazine’s annual dinghy towing guide is an excellent resource for RVers on vehicle towing.
Awesome, thanks for sharing! Great resource.
thank you for sharing this information with us. we are very glad to inform you that it is very useful for us.
I was thinking about this earlier and it is a good timing that I saw this topic
Noticed this thread is from 2018 and no one commented on the towed vehicle having some sort of “braking system” connected to the RV’s brake or truck (for a 5th wheel) brakes. Does this need to be done prior to towing a car behind your RV???
What a fantastic post! This is so chock full of useful information. I can’t wait to dig deep and start utilizing the resources you have given me.