VIDEO: Is Your Tow Vehicle Safe?

Posted In: Airstream, Blog, Towing

Recently, we saw a fellow towing a 31-foot Airstream Classic with a minivan.

The Classic is the heaviest Airstream model. The 31-footer weighs about 10,000 pounds.

Does this seem like a wise combination to you?

A friend recently send me a photo of someone towing a 25-foot Airstream with a Saturn sedan. Wow, towing a 25-footer with a Saturn? I am impressed — and concerned.

Without running a numerical analysis, I’m immediately concerned about the stability of that rig. I don’t know the exact wheelbase and weight of the Saturn, but one must wonder how the rig handles on a windy day. What about the braking distance?

A secondary issue is the impact & wear upon the transmission of that tow vehicle. Would you want to buy that Saturn? I suspect the transmission is toast. This is why you should have an inspection performed when buying a used vehicle. But back to the more pressing issue of SAFETY…

Towing recommendations factor in a margin of safety for adverse conditions. If you are MAXING OUT the capacity of your tow vehicle, there’s little to no margin of safety when things go wrong. Suppose the wind picks up, or you have to make a sudden emergency maneuver. That’s when the combo gets dangerous. Accidents happen. People get killed. There’s much gnashing of teeth!

Just because something is possible, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Those old images of people towing Airstreams with bicycles are not meant to be taken literally. 😀

I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here. To me, choice of tow vehicle is a safety issue. I want people to enjoy camping safely. You know, “arrive alive” and all that jazz. Pushing the limits of a tow vehicle / RV combination might seem fine. It might work 99% of the time. Then the 1% happens, and it becomes a disaster.

Think about it this way. Suppose you have to make a sudden lane change at 70 MPH on a steep downhill grade in a stiff cross-wind? Would you feel safe? You want to be in complete control of your rig at all times.

Please make certain your tow vehicle can SAFELY handle whatever RV you choose.


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