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To tow or not to tow (and ship instead)

I have a 2000 2-door Honda civic that I need to get from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest. My questions are:

  1. Which will do more damage to the car, towing a small trailer or being towed behind a Uhaul truck?
  2. If neither of these are a good idea, anyone have recommendations for companies that ship cars across country?


I wouldn’t use the Civic to tow anything cross country. You will need a dolley to tow the Civic to get the front wheels off the ground, I think U Haul rents them. Up to you whether you’re comfortable driving a rental truck while towing a vehicle.

I agree with all Tex has to say. Even if you could make the trip successfully, the low weight a Civic can tow w/o problems, long and short term isn’t worth the trip and any more could age the drive train and make it less safe. When towing with a small fwd compact it doesn’t take much more than 800 lbs and “windage” at highway speeds to start wishing you had found a better way.

I would not attempt to tow anything across the country with a Civic.

Towing the Civic behind a rental truck, with the front wheels on a dolly, as Texases suggested, will not hurt the car. Have you ever towed anything before?

Nope, haven’t ever towed anything before, or driven anything much larger than a Civic. It seems like I should at least look into shipping the car at this point. If anyone has suggestions for reliable and inexpensive ways to do that, please let me know!

If it’s not a lot of stuff, ship it (UPS, etc.) and drive the Civic.

If you need to move any serious amount of stuff, you shouldn’t even try it with the Civic. If you’ve never towed before, I also recommend against a dolly, and put out a vote for a proper car trailer. You can even tow that behind a pick-up, if you like, and still store stuff inside the Civic for a bit more room.

I moved from FL to ND this way, towing our Jetta behind our 4Runner (V6, no less). Not one problem, and we took a lot of stuff with us…enough to live on for 3 months until we found a house and had our real “stuff” delivered. As my wife works in Human Resources and I’m in IT, we both need lots of nice clothes, and I also took some computers with me so I had both toys and tools for the trade with me. Plus, if you’re moving, there are things the moving companies won’t move for you. I had to tote those myself.

My wife still likes to say she has “1800 air miles” on the car. :slight_smile:


Try Pods or a similar company. They deliver a big crate, you fill it, they pick it up, and deliver it wherever you want. Then you can drive your Civic and enjoy the trip.

I too suggest that the best way to accomplish your goal is to rent a U-Haul truck, a dolly, and tow the Civic with the drive wheels on the dolly.

Shipping car can be pretty expensive, it might be a lot cheaper to ship the stuff instead as suggested by texases. If you have enough stuff to justify a large U-haul or Penske truck, then towing the Civic will be easy. Those rental trucks use a lot of gas, so a small truck might cost more than a shipping company.

BTW, look for a shipping company, not a package delivery company like UPS. Watch out for moving companies though, so many of them have become scam artist lately.

One last thing, is the stuff you are shipping worth the cost to ship. Get rid of anything that costs more to ship than would cost to replace at the other end, and anything that you never use.

Ship your stuff, moving companies will drop off a container in your driveway and pick it up when you’ve filled it. Then deliver it to your destination.

Drive the Civic (after checking it over) and enjoy the trip!!!

Towing with a U-Haul or your Civic will be a hair-raising and very stressful experience for you, since you are new to either method.