2013 Dodge Dart: Can You Tow It Behind a Motorhome?
June 12, 2013
You can tow any car behind a motorhome if you bring a trailer. But motorhome aficionados rightly consider trailers to be a pain in the butt because they represent extra towed weight and a storage problem. They'd much rather tow the car on its on wheels with a simple tow bar in so-called four-down or "dingy" fashion.
Easy is the watchword here. Motorhome touring is supposed to be fun. A dinghy vehicle can be quickly unhooked and driven around on side trips while the motorhome sits parked with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode.
Of course there are mechanical implications for the car involved.
What does this mean for the 2013 Dodge Dart? Can you tow one of these with a motorhome?
Yes and no. Page 484 of the owner's manual (available online in pdf form) is essentially a chart that lays out the Recreational Towing capability of the Dart.
Manual transmission: yes. And there are no restrictions on distance or speed, so long as the latter is "legal". Of course, the gear lever must be in neutral and the ignition needs to be in the accessory position (ACC), presumably so the steering is unlocked.
Automatic transmission: no. I should also say we're out of luck, because our Dart has an automatic. From an engineering standpoint there are two fundamentally different automatics in the Dart lineup, though. But both are equally affected.
One is a traditional automatic that comes with the base engine. The second is a dual-clutch automated manual transmission or DCT. That's what we have. There are two clutches within, but to the layman this is an automatic because there is no clutch pedal, no manual rowing of a shift lever. Turns out it's an automatic from a dinghy towing point of view, too, with even more potential for damage than a true automatic.
That much was half-expected, I suppose, but then it gets weird.
The chart goes on to say that dolly towing, the sort of half-trailer that puts the front wheels in the air, is not allowed in any case; the restriction is the same for manuals and automatics alike. This sort of warning is typically reserved for all-wheel drive machines, but the Dart is strictly front-drive. I have no explanation for this.
So the Dart is only good for flat-towing in manual transmission form. Automatics need not apply. Those who like tow dollies need to look elsewhere.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @11,211 miles