Motorhome on the Hook

Are you having "one of those days" and you need to make the call to have your motorhome towed? Without adequate roadside assistance coverage finding an appropriate tow company can be difficult and costly.

How it Works

When contacting your roadside service provider it helps to have an understanding of how it all works and why it may take longer than you feel it should, especially when you're stranded on the side of a busy freeway. Be patient and remember that the person you are talking to is simply a coordinator working within a potentially restrictive framework. That person may also have little or no knowledge of RV types, size or requirements. He or she is dependent upon the information you provide.

When you call, the operator must then contact a towing service that is both available and willing to accept the job at a discounted price. The process of finding a tow service can take time when multiple tow companies have to be contacted. Then, when a tow service is contracted for the job, they will send out equipment based upon the information they were provided about your rig and your location.

If they were not provided with the correct and adequate information, they may be unable to do the job, putting you back to where you started.

Making the Call

Before contacting your roadside service provider, or a towing company if dealing direct, write down the following information.

  • A description of your vehicle

    • RV type (class)

    • Year, make, model and colour

    • Length of the RV and its current estimated weight

    • If it is an air brake vehicle, identify it as such.

    • If it is a tow vehicle with a trailer, identify it as such.

  • Your location

    • Your current street address and GPS coordinates

    • Your direction of travel and if on a freeway, the last exit/entry you passed.

    • A description of your parking locations, such as on the shoulder, in a pull-out, etc.

    • Indicate any pertinent weather or traffic conditions such as heavy rain or heavy traffic flow.

  • Situation description

    • Provide an overview of the problem, such as a power train failure or flat tire.

    • If it is a problem that may be repairable, provide all known parts information such as tire make, model and size.

  • Other pertinent information

    • If there is any pertinent information the tow company should be aware of. As an example, if the disabled vehicle is towing, what is to happen with the trailer. This may require a second tow vehicle.

Others do not know what you know, they only know what you tell them.

Provide the operator with an overview and your request then methodically provide all the above information, confirming it has been recorded and will be passed on to the tow service.

Waiting for the Tow

It may take a while to find and dispatch the right tow service — try to be patient and locate yourself out of harm's way. It is unrealistic to expect a reliable time estimate at this time, before finding an available tow service. Request the operator to call you back with the name and contact information for the dispatched tow service as well as a time estimate.

While waiting, make preparations for the tow or roadside service.

  • Turn on your hazard warning lights, even if parked away from traffic. Be safe and make finding you easier.

  • Pull as far as possible from active traffic.

  • Try to keep your rig as level as possible and accessible to the tow vehicle.

  • If you are parked close to traffic flow, put out warning triangles and/or flares.

  • If your position leaves you vulnerable, call 911 and request assistance.

  • When all the above is complete, take photos of your location, each side and end of your vehicle and any pertinent damage. This will be helpful if further damage occurs.

Know the Tow

The rescue vehicle may be a tow truck with a hook (wrecker) or it may be a flatbed. This will be determined by your vehicle type and size, the tow distance and services currently available. Prepare ahead of time and learn what is needed and appropriate for your RV.

  • Motorhomes equipped with air brakes often have an airline connection near the front. Carry an extra connector for this to ensure the tow truck can connect.

  • Large DP motorhomes can only be towed from the front. Do not allow them to tow by the rear as this places an overload on the front axle.

  • In some cases, the drive shaft may be disconnecting. Ensure the shaft to u-joint connection is marked to maintain balance when reconnected.

  • If you feel the tow vehicle is inadequate for the job, question the tow operator and if you are still uncomfortable, request a different recovery vehicle.

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