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Toad hookup checklist

This checklist was written specifically for hooking up a towed vehicle (toad) that is being towed with all four wheels on the ground (all4d), and for the collapsible style of tow bar that is stored on the rear of a motorhome. Such tow bars are manufactured by Roadmaster and Blue Ox. Towing a vehicle with two wheels on a dolly, or all four wheels on a trailer would require a different checklist.

Having a pair of leather work gloves available can help prevent finger damage and keep your hands clean. Also, having a second person to help would make things easier, although many solo motorhomers manage to do this alone. A second person also allows you to check each other to ensure a step hasn't been missed, or something done incorrectly.

Depending on the make/model of your toad, your tow bar and baseplate:

  • Drive the toad up behind the motorhome, ensuring that you stop with the toad in line with the motorome and the toad wheels straight (not cocked to one side).
  • Extend the tow bar, insert the brackets, insert and lock the pins.
  • Some toads require that a fuse be removed for towing. Check your owner's manual.
  • Attach breakaway cables or chains.
  • Connect the breakaway switch, if you have one.
  • Hook up the auxiliary brake system. See the article in our library on various types of auxiliary braking systems.
  • Connect the umbilical cord for rear, brake and turn signal lights on the toad.
  • Perform your vehicle-specific towing preparation per the owner's manual. In the case of the author's Suburban, we merely press buttons on the dash to put the toad electronic transfer case in neutral.
  • Check that toad parking brake is off, twice.
  • We remove the toad ignition key, but your owner's manual may specify a different procedure (e.g. turn the key to "acc" to unlock the steering).
  • Lock the toad.
  • Have the motorhome driver turn on rear, brake and turn lights, while I stand behind the toad and check that they work.
  • Before driving off, do a walkaround, checking that everything looks OK.

Unhooking is generally the reverse of this list, but may require some adjustment. Try to stop on level ground, not on a slope, and try to ensure the motorhome and toad are in a straight line. All of these considerations will help eliminate tension or compression on one or both arms of the tow bar that would make it difficult to unhook.

One caveat: Do not allow distractions by well-meaning or curious bystanders; Such distractions can cause you to miss a critical step.