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Need occasional towing - but don't want to pay for high MPGs

We just bought a 20’ sailboat. Boat & trailer weigh approx 2000 lbs. We have 2002 Sable & 2003 Taurus w/owners manual towing capacity of 1200 lbs. Could we tow the boat 4 x/yr approx 10 miles w/o wrecking engine or trans? We’ve been looking to trade 1 vehicle for SUV, truck or mini-van - but all seem to have significantly higher MPG than our cars.

No, you cannot. Your drivetrain, suspension, chassis (unibody)…nothing on your car is designed to pull that much weight. Ever.

Thanks! Any thought on good MPG vehicle with occasional towing?

The ability to tow a 20 foot boat and high MPG are not mutually compatible. Why not just get an older beater truck to have around for tasks like this? It’s probably cheaper to buy a $3000 truck than invest in a new vehicle that will guzzle gas and hardly ever serve its original purpose.

I also like this idea. If you get a good used beater pick-up, you’ll find all kinds of weekend duty for it besides the boat. Especially if your a home-owner.

A man just needs a truck… Yes, get a beater, preferably a very common, basic model, i.e., easily diagnosed, easily repaired with parts available everywhere.

If it is only 4 x per year maybe you could rent a truck or vehicle that could tow it…

Check some of the other posts recently. Just yesterday I read here that folks are selling Suburbans for about one tenth of what they sold for a year ago. You don’t need something that large, but the point is that trucks ae selling at a deep discount. Check out the newspaper on Sunday. Also look at used truck stock at dealers in your area. Most of them will have a web site with an inventory. Another possibility is a used car auction. The ones near me have a dealer lane and public lane. You can only bid on trucks in the public lane. I know several people who have gotten cars this way that they were please with, even after a few years. These vehicles are off-lease or excess dealer stock (used) and usually sell for well below Blue Book.

Passed by local GM dealership yesterday and a brand new Suburban had “$10,000 off” in bright green stickers on the front windshield.
For the beater truck, look for a v6 Ford Ranger and an aftermarket transmission and oil cooler for it.

If I asked here if my little VW can tow 2000 lbs, I am confident that the answer would be a loud NO! from everyone who cared to answer. The truth is that I have towed over 2000 lbs with my little VW on flat terrain. Not very far and not very fast but it did it with no problem. Getting going was no problem but stopping certainly was with that much weight and I would quickly be in trouble if a traffic emergency appeared in front of me that required a quick stop or evasive steering.

If I were to tow 2000 lbs. only 10 miles and only 4 times per year, I would do it with a Sable/Taurus but would want trailer brakes to help with stopping rather than buy another vehicle to license, store, insure and maintain for so little use.

Towing any size trailer with any vehicle has risk associated with it regarding driving safety. Tow slowly with a long view ahead to anticipate problems before they can affect you.

Another, safer option is to hire someone with a suitable vehicle for this occasional task. Ask at a trailer or mobile home outlet. If it cost a hundred bucks per tow, that would be much less expensive than buying another vehicle, a gas hog at that!

Many marinas will tow and launch your boat for you for a minimal charge. The ones around me in Eastern Ontario charge around $30 to pick up and launch a boat.

Good gas milage and and towing 2000 ibs are not mutually excussive. A 4 cylinder Tacoma (even older used) gets over 25 mpg hw in 2wd (not towing of course) and can easily handle the weight. I would move a 3500 ibs+ pontoon boat 2 to 4 times per years with compact trucks at their limit. I woulldn’t touch anything close to 1K with fwd. The added tongue weight makes them them handle dangerously and is very hard on drive train. Exceptions might be AWD 6 cyl RAV 4 and Subarus which have a higher rating.

Compact 2 wd 4 cyl PU is up your alley. Avoid American (chev/GMC) trucks if you want economy.

By the way…as a sailor too, what class boat is it ?

[b] Rent [/b]

Minivan. If you choose wisely, you’ll have the towing capacity, room for all the extras you’ll need for a day on the water, AND reasonable fuel economy when you’re not towing.

Joseph has the right answer. RENT!! Why would you BUY a gas sucker, you aren’t going to use regularly. Calculate purchase price, annual tax, insurance, maintenance! Try renting a truck or cargo van w/ a hitch from Enterprise and look at the value.

A minivan is a poor substitute. It’s a compromise that might work okay for infrequent towing, but you’ll likely need to spend money on a trans cooler. A minivan is still, just a car with a big cabin, and an undersized engine and undersized brakes for REAL towing.

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