To tow or not to tow - that is the question

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Lisa McFadden, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. Lisa McFadden

    Lisa McFadden New Member

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    Ok, so I read all the threads on towing trailers, and I am not sure. Apparently one can tow with a Prius, but Toyota says not to, people do it anyways, and there is a concern about long, steep climbs. We have been living in northern Canada for the past three years, and it's time to go home to the States. We brought some stuff - mattresses and bicycles when we came here and acquired new stuff. We'd never recuperate the cost of our items if we tried to sell them. Renting a Haul Truck and towing the Prius is $2000 vs renting a trailer and hitch assembly would be $500.

    We have a 2004 Prius with 70k miles. That car slows down precipitously on climbs even when there is nothing attached to it. From having done the drive a bunch of times, there is one winding, steep road in Cape Breton in Nova Scotia that is likely to pose the most problems.

    Even the small U-Haul utility trailers are pretty heavy, up to 1000 lbs. I have looked for a lighter used trailers, there aren't any. Selling the car here and buying a truck is really complicated.

    I am also looking into attaching as many racks as possible to the car, a cargo box on top and a cargo carrier on top of the car. Any advice would be appreciated.
     

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  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    If you're doing this as a one time deal to move all your belongings it's dangerous. And while I've towed all kinds of stuff with my Prius each load is different and the heavier the load the less control you have over the car. So I always recommend slowly building up to heavier loads until you realize what's too heavy and unsafe and never haul that much again.

    In your case, that's not an option... If I were you I'd start shipping stuff home before you leave and buy a roof rack and hitch haul so you can haul as much as is safe without a trailer and then find a place to store the other stuff till you come up with a plan later in the year to bring it home. I bet that will be way cheaper than $2K and not much more than $500.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i would skip it all and pay a mover. although, a 2004 isn't worth much if you blow it up. it would be inconvenient though, stuck somewhere in the middle of canada
     
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  4. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    You said "we". Do you have more than one legal driver in this household?

    If so, how much would it cost to rent a truck just big enough to carry your stuff (less whatever can be packed inside the Prius), without any towing accessories? It seems this ought to be cheaper than equipping to tow the Prius. One driver drive the truck, the other drive the Prius.

    As for crossing Kelly's Mountain, a look at a map suggests that there are alternate routes without this climb and descent. Do they have equivalent problems?
     
    #4 fuzzy1, Jan 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  5. Lisa McFadden

    Lisa McFadden New Member

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    There is the option of moving our stuff and my car to BC, where we will be going soon after returning to the US. It's expensive but still affordable. But, then I don't have my car in the US, and I am facing all my stuff being in BC which is even farther from where we live in Maryland.

    It's my 14 year old son, our unlicensed dog, and me. Only one driver, sadly.

    That's a good idea. But I still have to cross Cape Breton and there are mountains that have to be crossed. The only thing I could emotionally handle towing would be a very light aluminum trailer and pack it with clothes. That might work. But all the trailers I can buy here are super heavy.

    This makes a ton of sense. At one point, I had this idea to rent a utility trailer from UHaul for a day and drive it around town, which is all climbs and hills, and see how that goes, but I am inferring a day of practice with an unloaded trailer won't be enough. I think I am going to follow your advice, ship stuff that has sentimental value, load up the Prius with valuable items too large to ship, and try to sell the rest of the items. Thanks for your input.
     
    #5 Lisa McFadden, Jan 23, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2021
  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    That's the $2K price she already mentioned... Driving a uhaul or other brand of rental truck one way is very expensive and driving one way to another country is even more expensive. And Bisco's suggestion of hiring a moving company to handle it will be even more expensive than that. Besides, it's just stuff... Doing without for a while to figure out least expensive way to get it home is likely lowest price without towing.
     
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  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    The car has a ~1000lb payload however you distribute it- that's what the brakes are built to safely stop.

    You're describing a load considerably above that limit.

    I tow with my Prius, but I'm strict about the load math: I'll rent a 400lb trailer and put a 400lb lawn tractor on it to take it in for repair, my own body weight fills the remaining allowance, so the rest of the car must remain empty for that trip.

    If you fill every bit of the car, strap on bikes and boxes and more you'll be overweight before even hooking up the trailer.

    I hate to break it to you but I think you might have some unrealistic ideas about the actual costs of relocation. Letting go and replacing your stuff at the destination isn't cheap but it's still (almost always) the cheapest.
     
  8. Lisa McFadden

    Lisa McFadden New Member

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    Exactly.
     
  9. Lisa McFadden

    Lisa McFadden New Member

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    The plan was to either use a trailer or strap on bikes and boxes, not both. Although I saw this guy who did both with a 3rd Gen, but I am not skilled in towing, and I don't think my 2004 could handle it. It slows down to a 40/35 miles per hour with two light ppl in it on hills. I agree that I need to sell as much of my stuff as I can and try to stuff the rest in and around the car.
     
  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I took that price to include a dolly and lighting and any other necessary towing equipment, and possibly a larger truck to hold and handle the entire load. I.e. was there any meaningful savings to deleting all the towing equipment and possibly downsizing the truck?
    I was a licensed driver at that age. But it wasn't honored across most state borders, let alone an international border. And it was an area without anything resembling the urban density that your journey will pass through. At least then. With greater density now, the age requirement has been boosted.
     
    #10 fuzzy1, Jan 23, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  11. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    Sounds like a sound plan. We got to meet one PriusChat member on a trip to HI. Also got into contact with one member who actually lives nearby. Hopefully you can take a break and meet some along your journey.

    Safe journey!

    moto g(7) power ?
     
  12. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    If it has the original hybrid battery forget about that. I used to rent a 8 foot open motorcycle trailer all the time. Its heavy but the smallest you can rent.
    It hammers the battery and the regen brakes are non existent. And I’m a flat lander. Any mountains forget it you won’t make it over.

    your in trouble to begin with on a very low mile 2004 that does not bode well for the hybrid battery prius g2 battery does best if driven a lot high miles every day.

    should be an exciting drive. Make sure you have AAA.
    Change the oil use Mobil 1 5-30 and check it every morning before starting the car. Keep it at the fullline always,
    Hope you have fresh inverter fluid too. Take the top plastic cover off the top of the rad there’s a rad cap there check the coolant level. Leave the screws off that cover it’s trapped tight when the hood is closed the overflow tank is useless to gauge level of coolant. Any mountains make sure hybrid battery is full before starting up turn on the heat full hot.

    good luck let us know. It’s tough little car but will quickly reveal how well you have taken care of the car tune wise,
     
  13. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Times have changed... When we were kids we couldn't wait to start driving and getting our license was a huge opportunity to head out on the open road. Not so much these days. The world is much more crowded and too many kids have grown up being stuck in traffic and watching their parents get stressed out about it so they see no joy and freedom in being able to drive in the way we once did.
     
  14. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    There is no Toyota Warranty remaining on any Gen 2 Prius, so you are not invalidating anything by towing at this point. (If you had a warranty then Toyota's opinion would matter some)

    As others have said, babying it will be kinder than a death march.
    Trail of Tears - Wikipedia
    Bataan Death March - Wikipedia

    Last time I moved, I wrapped a computer in my clothing and left everything else.
     
    #14 JimboPalmer, Jan 24, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  15. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Kids have smartphones now, pushing aside cars as a means to keep in social contact with their friends and peers. And much less expensive too.
     
  16. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yep... And it's way more fun to sit around and party with your friends while playing near real life like video games. That's way different than the 80's when our idea of a fun evening was finding someone who was 21 to buy us beer and then when we were done drinking we'd race our crappy cars down the mountain. It's a wonder we survived doing that so often.
     
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