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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, I'm brand new to this forum, but this looks like a great place to have a few questions answered. My husband and I will be relocating from Spokane, WA to Nashville, TN in the middle of January. We are looking to make the move in one cross-country trip with few belongings and have a couple of towing options available. In discussing our ideas with friends, we have gotten some mixed advice...some warn that we will surely burn the transmission on the Rav doing such a long trip, others say that as long as we go slow, we should be fine.

Here are a couple specifics...
We have a 2010 Rav4 V6 Sport with CURT Class 3 Trailer Hitch 13149 (and accompanying ball hitch, wiring harness) installed. The Rav has 75,000 miles, new all season tires and up on current maintenance. From my understanding, this vehicle can tow up to 3,500 lbs; we would come close to that figure in both of our options.

We are looking to tow our 2011 Corolla LE (curb weight 2,800 lbs) using a U-Haul tow dolly with the Rav and load a handful of boxes with personal belongings. If we do this option, we will not bring any furniture.
-or- alternatively, we could tow a 5' x 8' U-Haul Cargo Trailer loaded with furniture and personal belongings. To me, both options seem about even in terms of weight and stress on the Rav.

Trip details...
The route itself will be weather-dependant, we will decide just before we head out based on forecast.
Route 1: Taking I-90 is 2,100 miles...approximately 5 days, driving 8 hours each day at 50mph
Route 2: If the snow on I-90 is bad, we will drive through Oregon to I-5 and take I-40 East...approximately 7 days, driving 8 hours each day at 50mph. This route is over 2,800 miles.

We are both familiar with winter driving, however, neither of us have experience driving/pulling a trailer. I'd love any advice or helpful suggestions that might help us make a few decisions.
Thanks! :)
 

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no way I would tow a car 2800 or 2100 miles. No way I would be towing with a Rav4. Too, too, much stain on the car and transmission. And do not like towed car doing such long of a trip. Towed car are not made for that type of use.
Moving a car 1300 miles, I shopped around and found a company that put it on a trailer for $300 because they were going within 50 miles and had space for another car on the car trailer.
I have also heard of people hiring drivers to do one way trips.
If you damage the transmission it will cost you a few thousand. And if you do not have a towing package on your Rav4--that makes it clear that it is not even a consideration for towing.
 

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silly question. why not drive both car and rav4 down?

youll be able to get more stuff in both and distrubte the weight..?

get a couple cheap walkie talkies. could be fun!
 

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The V6 RAV4 is designed for towing as you mentioned, 3500 lbs. maximum towed weight and remember to include the weight of the dolly. Toyota does say that if towing more than 600 lbs. trailer brakes are required, and with the amount of weight which you intend to tow having trailer brakes is a vital safety factor. If you tow the Corolla will need to follow Owner's manual instructions about towing with drive wheels on the dolly and not on pavement. If towing a U Haul trailer the tongue weight of the loaded trailer also has to be considered. If you follow the towing instructions in the Owners Manual you should be OK, especially towing at 50 mph and not at, for example, 80.

Edit: I forgot to add that to tow 3500 lbs. the factory Towing Prep. Package must have been installed on your RAV.

Some of our members also with V6 RAVs and towing experience likely also will have input.
 
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Not all V6 RAV4s had 3500 lbs towing capacity. You need to make sure yours has the "Tow Prep Package" (window sticker code: TO) which came with a bigger radiator and transmission cooler, among other things.

If it doesn't have that package, the V6 RAV4 is only rated to tow 2000 lbs.

This is a great post to show you how to verify whether or not yours has the Tow Prep package:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/92062-finding-used-rav4-tow-package-how-can-i-identify-2.html#post934801

Remember: Towing isn't just about pulling, it's also about STOPPING, which can get particularly tricky if mountains are being crossed.

IMPORTANT: Whether or not you have the tow prep package, in order to be compliant with the tow rating Toyota requires all trailers whose total weight (trailer plus cargo) is more than 600 lbs to have trailer brakes. I gather that will NOT be the case if you tow the car on a dolly.

Ultimately the RAV4 isn't much more than a Toyota Camry with some more ground clearance and an all wheel drive system for added traction, plus added interior cargo volume and a little vehicle weight, of course. If you think of it that way, you should be pretty safe.

I suggest you seriously consider driving both cars and maybe getting a small trailer for the RAV to carry some things, ideally a trailer with brakes (even if it just has working surge brakes).

.
 
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drive both cars...put uhaul trailer hitch on Corolla... tow 900 lbs with Corolla...
and the rest with rav4...

just a suggestion
 

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We are looking to tow our 2011 Corolla LE (curb weight 2,800 lbs) using a U-Haul tow dolly with the Rav and load a handful of boxes with personal belongings. If we do this option, we will not bring any furniture.
-or- alternatively, we could tow a 5' x 8' U-Haul Cargo Trailer loaded with furniture and personal belongings. To me, both options seem about even in terms of weight and stress on the Rav.
Two questions.
If you dolly-tow the Corolla how do the "furniture and personal belongings" get there?
If you tow the 5' x 8' U-Haul Cargo Trailer how does the Corolla get there?
 
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How about shipping your stuff using Uhaul U-Box and drive the RAV4 and Corolla. Driving a huge box trailer is no fun for 7 days. I once did this over 25 years ago with a small car from Vancouver to Toronto with a 4x7 U-Haul trailer which is a distance of 3000 miles. Long distance heavy towing is hard on the car so even if you save some money in the short run the wear and tear will probably exceed your savings down the road.
 

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How about shipping your stuff using Uhaul U-Box and drive the RAV4 and Corolla.
Yep, since they must have a plan for the furniture if they towed the Corolla, that's what I was going to suggest too. Could also check with U-Ship.com.
I've driven the section of the I-90 they'd take and there are two issues - some big grades to pull between Spokane and Coeur d'alene and driving 50 mph thru Montana and S. Dakota where the speed limit is 80 mph isn't gonna happen.
IMO, it's a beautiful area for a trip so why spoil it with worry about towing especially when one mistake can be disastrous, not even to mention the wear on the RAV4.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
silly question. why not drive both car and rav4 down?

youll be able to get more stuff in both and distrubte the weight..?

get a couple cheap walkie talkies. could be fun!
We were really trying to to avoid driving both at the same time so that we could switch off driving...5-7 days driving in the middle of winter sounds exhausting and dangerous to do without getting a break, but it sounds like we might just have to make that work haha
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Not all V6 RAV4s had 3500 lbs towing capacity. You need to make sure yours has the "Tow Prep Package" (window sticker code: TO) which came with a bigger radiator and transmission cooler, among other things.

If it doesn't have that package, the V6 RAV4 is only rated to tow 2000 lbs.
Wow! Good to know. I will definitely double-check to see if ours has the Tow Prep Package...when we purchased this vehicle a couple years back, we had specifically been lead to believe that this would be a good vehicle for towing...but, you can't always trust car salesmen, of course haha!

Two questions.
If you dolly-tow the Corolla how do the "furniture and personal belongings" get there?
If you tow the 5' x 8' U-Haul Cargo Trailer how does the Corolla get there?
1. They don't...we'd be getting rid of everything heavy in that case...bringing only several boxes full of clothes and some basic household goods.
2. If we towed a trailer, we had considered coming back in the springtime to get the Corolla, which, is not ideal as it would be helpful to have two vehicles when in Nashville.

Yep, since they must have a plan for the furniture if they towed the Corolla, that's what I was going to suggest too. Could also check with U-Ship.com.
I've driven the section of the I-90 they'd take and there are two issues - some big grades to pull between Spokane and Coeur d'alene and driving 50 mph thru Montana and S. Dakota where the speed limit is 80 mph isn't gonna happen.
IMO, it's a beautiful area for a trip so why spoil it with worry about towing especially when one mistake can be disastrous, not even to mention the wear on the RAV4.
haha, the "plan" for furniture if Corolla is towed is to dump all of it...sell/donate etc.
We've heard multiple horror stories about driving I-90 in the middle of winter...most everyone have told us to avoid that stretch at all cost (whiteout blizzards without warning etc.). I don't think 80mph would be safe when snow is on the road.
 

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You know it doesn't even have to be snowing to get white out conditions, all you need is enough wind and snow blowing about. Remember you are not the only ones on the road, a lot of trucking companies put their newest drivers on those northern routes because the drivers with seniority won't do it. Personally, I would take I-40, better to go the longer route and live to tell about it.
 
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You know it doesn't even have to be snowing to get white out conditions, all you need is enough wind and snow blowing about. Remember you are not the only ones on the road, a lot of trucking companies put their newest drivers on those northern routes because the drivers with seniority won't do it. Personally, I would take I-40, better to go the longer route and live to tell about it.
Yikes! That's a scary thought...new truck drivers and possible zero visibility. The I-5 to I-40 route adds a couple days, but your'e right, I'd rather make it to our destination alive.
 

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Plus, you can stop off and see the Grand Canyon, Sedona, AZ, the museum at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM to name a few attractions along the way. Drive safe and enjoy your trip.
 
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roadtripkaty: This has been an interesting thread. While not a "tower", may I offer my opinion based on everyone's input?
I'd go with the "driving two cars" plan and ditch the towing. If you still have lots of stuff to pack, remember that one person in each car opens up the passenger area for packing. If you still need more room, perhaps a rooftop carrier on the RAV would work. I know it reduces gas mileage, but so what?
Just make sure all maintenance is up to date on both cars....transmission fluid, coolant, brakes etc.
Above all, have a safe trip and good luck in your new home.
 

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Hi, Katy, and welcome to Rav4 World. I'll share some experience I had with towing this summer. I have a V6 with the tow package and trailer brakes, and pulled a teardrop trailer for maybe 1500 miles or so on a pleasure trip to New Mexico. It was a vacation, but I was surprised to find out how much stress towing added to a long trip. DL175 touched on this point, and I can attest he is correct.

I can't imagine towing 8 hours a day, and day after day, for that long a distance. The extra concentration and responsibility had me whipped after about 5 hours. I wouldn't take the risk of towing with a Rav4 without a brake controller. Consider the liability you would be exposed to if you didn't have one and were involved in an incident of some kind.

I hope my experience helps you in your decision. FWIW, I would not do what you described in the first post.
 

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If you still have lots of stuff to pack, remember that one person in each car opens up the passenger area for packing. If you still need more room, perhaps a rooftop carrier on the RAV would work. I know it reduces gas mileage, but so what?
Seems to me they'd rather drive one car so why not have the other, the Corolla, delivered by a driveaway service and drive the RAV4 themselves? But I'd definitely nix the rooftop carrier since the fuel penalty is pretty stiff for the relatively small extra cargo capacity. I'd use a hitch carrier instead. But even better would be a small, maybe 1,000 lb capacity flatbed trailer, with the load weatherproofed and kept low out of the wind. With the V6 you probably wouldn't even know it's there. Mileage penalty and therefore extra strain on the RAV4 would be minimal.
 
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Hi, Katy, and welcome to Rav4 World. I'll share some experience I had with towing this summer. I have a V6 with the tow package and trailer brakes, and pulled a teardrop trailer for maybe 1500 miles or so on a pleasure trip to New Mexico. It was a vacation, but I was surprised to find out how much stress towing added to a long trip. DL175 touched on this point, and I can attest he is correct.

I can't imagine towing 8 hours a day, and day after day, for that long a distance. The extra concentration and responsibility had me whipped after about 5 hours. I wouldn't take the risk of towing with a Rav4 without a brake controller. Consider the liability you would be exposed to if you didn't have one and were involved in an incident of some kind.

I hope my experience helps you in your decision. FWIW, I would not do what you described in the first post.
Great Post On topic ! Love the real first hand experience ! I too vote for driving both cars and not towing ! Love the idea of walkie talkies or some way to communicate between the 2 vehichles ! Good luck in what ever you choose !
 

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Seems to me they'd rather drive one car so why not have the other, the Corolla, delivered by a driveaway service and drive the RAV4 themselves? But I'd definitely nix the rooftop carrier since the fuel penalty is pretty stiff for the relatively small extra cargo capacity. I'd use a hitch carrier instead. But even better would be a small, maybe 1,000 lb capacity flatbed trailer, with the load weatherproofed and kept low out of the wind. With the V6 you probably wouldn't even know it's there. Mileage penalty and therefore extra strain on the RAV4 would be minimal.
I like the idea of "drive one, ship one" but I have no idea what that would cost. I personally would never allow a stranger to drive my car across country, but wouldn't mind putting it on a carrier.
 
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