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Old 08-30-2018, 01:18 PM   #1
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Is AWD/4WD Really a Requirement as a Tow Vehicle?

Is AWD/4WD Really a Requirement as a Tow Vehicle?
I've been towing RV's most of 40 years and can count on one hand the number of times that I truly needed AWD/4WD while towing.
So is it really worth the initial added cost to purchase a AWD/4WD and the reduction in overall mpg, stiffer ride and harder to get in and out of?
So how many of you that don't go off road, tow with what FWD or RWD tow vehicle and wished they had AWD/4WD and for what reasons?
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Old 08-30-2018, 01:25 PM   #2
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In our world, it certainly IS a requirement. We wouldn't be able to get home without it. All our cars and trucks are AWD/4x4 vehicles. The technology is so good now, I don't see why not. Our F-150 was actually too soft of a ride, and I stiffened it up with new shocks, Hellwig helper springs, and a Hellwig anti-sway bar. My wife's CRV ( granted NOT a TV ) is AWD, doesn't have a stiff ride, is easy to get in and out of, and gets 30MPG. I don't buy many of the negatives you stated, especially with the newer vehicles.

I've needed 4x4/AWD ability in the strangest of places, on-road.

It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

And, I really don't like having to call a tow truck.
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Old 08-30-2018, 01:29 PM   #3
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Our first tow was an F150 with 2wd. We thought it was sufficient until one January traveling down I29 from SD to MO we hit a lot of snow, I had no snow tires and really worried when I thought I felt the rig start skidding a few times, especially when passed by semis doing 70-80mph while I was between 45-50.

Two years ago we bought a new F150 4wd and not only have snow tires on for the winter but have used the 4wd both towing and not. Twice I've had uphill campsites into which I could not have made it without the 4wd.

Yes the extra weight does cut down the payload weight and worse gas mileage but overall I am glad we have 4wd now.
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Old 08-30-2018, 01:32 PM   #4
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I had to back down a hill ( towing a tent trailer with my Subaru Loyale wagon ), put the vehicle in 4x4 and take another run at it. Not sure what I would have done if I didn't make that graveled hill that led to the campground.
Many vehicles ( including AWD and 4X4 ) run mainly in front wheel drive with assistance from the rear when required. Towing a trailer makes it more critical that the rear wheel become engaged.
Probably few of us go "off road", but many go "off maintained pavement".
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Old 08-30-2018, 02:01 PM   #5
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How about this thread. Why 4X4 vs 4X2?
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Old 08-30-2018, 02:17 PM   #6
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You know, better to have and not need. I never got a big thrill out of being stuck but always enjoyed pulling people out who were. Never charged a dime. Loren
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Old 08-30-2018, 02:53 PM   #7
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i have been glad i had it when i needed it.
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Old 08-30-2018, 03:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeCamp View Post
Is AWD/4WD Really a Requirement as a Tow Vehicle?
I've been towing RV's most of 40 years and can count on one hand the number of times that I truly needed AWD/4WD while towing.
So is it really worth the initial added cost to purchase a AWD/4WD and the reduction in overall mpg, stiffer ride and harder to get in and out of?
So how many of you that don't go off road, tow with what FWD or RWD tow vehicle and wished they had AWD/4WD and for what reasons?
We live in the mountains of Vermont and drive in the snow and mud so in our case yes it is a must. My truck is my daily driver. I also have needed to use low range and/or 4wd to get the camper parked a few times due to either steep or slippery approaches. If you do not foresee these type of driving situations then no you do not need 4wd/AWD to pull a trailer. So I guess my answer is IT DEPENDS. There is certainly a penalty in MPG to haul around the extra drive shafts etc.
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Old 08-30-2018, 03:50 PM   #9
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OK, You all convinced me. What was I thinking! Should have know better not to have even asked the question. I do remember the times that I really did need 4WD and was so glad I had it!
Thanks,
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Old 08-30-2018, 04:49 PM   #10
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I spent the last 4 years towing my Escape 19 with a fwd GMC Acadia without a problem. I just replaced it with an AWD Highlander. The AWD came with a few extras I liked. Also, when it comes time to sell, I expect the AWD will boost the resale a bit. Like others have said, if that time comes where the AWD helps out, I won’t regret having it.
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Old 08-30-2018, 04:53 PM   #11
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OK, You all convinced me. What was I thinking! Should have know better not to have even asked the question. I do remember the times that I really did need 4WD and was so glad I had it!
Thanks,

I suspect we are all accomplices.
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:03 PM   #12
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No comment. Still glad that I ordered 4x2 on my new truck.

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Old 08-30-2018, 05:05 PM   #13
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I say better safe the sorry when drivering up to ones favorite trout fishing spot
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:39 PM   #14
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And then you have where I live. Almost every house has a big 4x4 truck parked out front because it's to big to park in their garages. Quite a few are diesel or 3/4 ton and the gas version often have loud exhaust. These pampered beast live out their lives hauling their single occupant to work. All on pavement, heaven forbid a spec of mud touch them or anything ever go in the bed. No towing, no snow or mud ever.
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:54 PM   #15
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On a new F 150 the 4 X 4 option is an additional $3400.00 plus tax and additional title and value fees for the annual license; it weighs approx. 262 Lbs more and decreases gas mileage by AT LEAST 1 mpg although I assume calculating the difference while towing a trailer, especially up a mountain pass, there is a somewhat larger decrease in mileage as well as less power available to the two drive wheels. With an Eco Boost engine you get Eco and or Boost with the boost part sucking up a lot more gas especially towing a trailer, 262 Lb. additional drive train and friction up a mountain pass or just a hill. Any new Ford F 150 comes standard with Traction Control, Anti Sway and Anti Lock Brakes; the payload and trailer packages provide a heavier duty differential, a transmission oil cooler and the tow/haul mode helps provide engine braking on long downhill grades. Also, in Colorado at least, the state is pretty good at plowing the roads during and after snow storms. (Gotta get those snowboarders to the mountains regardless of the weather.) Also, if possible, I try to avoid driving whenever the road conditions are bad. Granted, I am retired and many times during my misspent youth I drove in conditions when I shouldn't have but I have less need to do that now. Still, last March I spent a cold and snowy night in my 5.0 TA at the Walmart parking lot in Avon, CO because Vail Pass was closed to traffic. (Thank you Walmart!!!) Which brings up another argument. A 4 X 4 might be more helpful but if the roads are closed due to bad weather why is it needed? My bigger complaint is that I drove past Glenwood Springs trying to push it to get home when I could have stopped there and soaked in the Hot Springs Pool.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:09 PM   #16
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I have four-wheel-drive ( and can lock it in ), but when it snows, I stay home. Insurance companies have a habit of assigning blame 50/50 in white hell conditions. Easier if I'm not on the road.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by wetzk View Post
And then you have where I live. Almost every house has a big 4x4 truck parked out front because it's to big to park in their garages. Quite a few are diesel or 3/4 ton and the gas version often have loud exhaust. These pampered beast live out their lives hauling their single occupant to work. All on pavement, heaven forbid a spec of mud touch them or anything ever go in the bed. No towing, no snow or mud ever.
😂 Worked with a guy whose big 4x4 went through itís entire life carrying nothing bigger than a beer cooler and spent every snow storm in the garage when he drove his parents car. Couldnít get salt on his under carriage 😱
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:39 PM   #18
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Hi: All... Just go out and try to find a used 4X2 pickup!!! They're all 4X4's. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 08-30-2018, 08:41 PM   #19
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... and decreases gas mileage by AT LEAST 1 mpg although I assume calculating the difference while towing a trailer, especially up a mountain pass, there is a somewhat larger decrease in mileage as well as less power available to the two drive wheels...
I would assume the opposite. The additional drag of 4WD is due to extra shafts moving in bearings and extra gears meshing, but that drag is dependent on speed and doesn't get worse due to higher applied power. Some power transmission inefficiency is in the tires, and four driven tires are more efficient than two tires driven harder, plus two tires just dragging. Audi tested and proved this many years ago with their original Quattro system; maybe someone should do systematic testing with a current pickup (although this is not a practical thing for an individual to do).
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Old 08-30-2018, 09:22 PM   #20
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Once again, dif'rnt strokes. Of course locale of ownership is a factor as well as whether you are likely to be travelling where you might want 4X4- yet there is another consideration. If your vehicle is normally FWD then the AWD option makes more sense than if your TV is normally rear wheel drive where tongue weight is on the traction wheels. Have never needed 4◊4 for the way we camp(or ski for that matter).
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