Flat towing messing up balance and alignment?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

drisley

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Posts
297
We're in the middle of a trip from Florida all the way to the west coast and back. Currently sitting in Utah. I flat tow my Honda CRV and the balance and alignment were totally fine when we left Florida. Now, it pulls to one side and the steering wheel shimmies. Going to have to take it to a shop here in Moab to get the alignment and balance.

Would flat towing put enough stress on the vehicle to knock out alignment and balance after towing it 2,300 miles?

The car has also been seeing some mountain roads around here, and I did take it on the unpaved trail through Monument Valley (which is a stress on the vehicle). So, perhaps that is more of the culprit than flat tow. But, just seeing others experience.
 

johnaye

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2016
Posts
273
I have a 2008 CRV.  Well over 5000 miles towing with no problem.  Please post what the shop says went wrong.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,765
Location
Davison Michigan
I see several possible causes such as potholes in the street you might have "Missed" them with the motor home but not the Honda.

Another possible issue is when you take it in for alignment MAKE SURE they know you tow. Sometimes the settings are adjusted a bit for towing..

one more is accidently leaving the key in LOCK when you tow it in stead of OFF.
 

Arch Hoagland

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Posts
3,734
Location
Clovis California
I've pulled my Lexus RX300 about 50,000 miles with no alignment problem.

Haven't seen any posts stating alignment problems caused by towing so I think something else is the cause. 

Is your Honda steering wheel unlocked while you are towing? It has to be free to turn and you can check it in your rear view mirrors when doing a sharp turn you'll notice the toad's wheels are turned.
 

ArdraF

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,671
Another possibility is maybe you cut the corner too short on a right turn and ran over a curb, not with the motorhome but with the car.  That might be enough to knock it out of alignment.  Also, if you had a lot of side winds it might seem like it's out of alignment because it pulls one direction or the other but if you were to go the opposite direction it would pull the other way.  Do you have any tire wear that might indicate lack of alignment?  The steering wheel shimmy isn't normal so I'm glad you're having it checked.  Enjoy Moab while you're there although it's probably a bit on the hot side right now.

Do be sure to let us know what the shop says.

ArdraF
 

camperAL

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Posts
1,505
Location
Indiana
Hi Drisley and all,

I wonder if they went down I10 or some of the other really bad roads and it became mis-aligned from road conditions (or lack there of)??
 

wackymac

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Posts
676
Location
Ocala, FL
camperAL said:
Hi Drisley and all,

I wonder if they went down I10 or some of the other really bad roads and it became mis-aligned from road conditions (or lack there of)??
:)) :)) :)) :)) :))
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,434
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Would flat towing put enough stress on the vehicle to knock out alignment and balance after towing it 2,300 miles?
The short answer is Yes, it could have.  Flat towing doesn't automatically create a problem, but the dynamics at the front end of the towed car are subtly different under tow and an alignment that is fine under self-power may go wrong under tow. Caster is particularly important, and toe can be as well. An alignment value range that is workable under power may not be tight enough under tow. Similarly, a different tire tread pattern or a substantial change in weight distribution can have a long term effect. So can tow bar angle, which can lift or drag on the towed vehicle front end. 


Last, the toad could simply have hit a pothole somewhere along the way and upset the alignment.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
 

Old_Crow

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Posts
2,395
Location
Mammoth Lakes, California
John From Detroit said:
one more is accidently leaving the key in LOCK when you tow it in stead of OFF.

I did that with the Jeep for about 40 miles.  When I got to my destination, the sharp turn into the driveway finally broke the locking bar in the column.  I no longer have to worry about locking the wheel, no matter what position the key is in. 
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,765
Location
Davison Michigan
As I think it was Gary said. A pot hole. A Speed bump. road debris towing or not this can lead to problems. A pot hole a 22.5" tire will "Smooth out" a 16" tire may well get knocked about like you'd not believe.

Also when I have my car aligned I make sure the shop knows it is a part time trailer. Again Gary explained the settings that need to be adjusted.

FInally.. Check your tire pressure.. Yup. a low tire will cause it to pull. also can cause both oversteer and understeer (Depending on tire) I used to have one car that's how I knew to check 'em. a specific very dangerous curve it would feel "Strange" if a tire was low.  (Been like 40 years so I do not recall exactly HOW it felt strange).
 
Top Bottom