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Old 08-16-2011
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Car to tow Laser and Trailer

Firstly, I apologize if this has already been discussed, but I didn't see anything too similar when I did a search.

As the title says, I'd like to know what sort of car would be capable of towing a Laser dinghy on a trailer.

The issue is, is that I currently drive a small car (1.5L Mazda Protege 5 speed manual) which the owner's manual says is not rated to tow anything. From reading other forums/web pages, I've gathered that towing with a small car is (obviously) not ideal, but can be done for short/medium distances (say within 2-3 hours), and that people in Europe tow dinghys with small(er) cars quite often (which aren't rated to tow anything in the US but have a tow rating in Europe).

I have the option to upgrade to a larger car, but I would rather stick with my Protege. If I shouldn't tow with my Protege, what other cars would be more capable? It seems as though most of the other cars I've looked at (Subaru Impreza/Outback, Audi A4, Volkswagon Jetta, etc.) tend to either have relatively poor gas mileage (around 20 mpg) for daily use and/or high maintenance costs.

Thanks for time and help.
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Old 08-16-2011
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In my humble opinion, you could tow a Laser with a tricycle.

I don't know if you'd be able to find a hitch setup for your vehicle though. I have seen hitches on the back of Smart cars if that's any consolation.
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Old 08-16-2011
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I think you will find that your protege has neither the suspension nor brakes to tow much of anything, and may not have a "frame" with which to attach a hitch.

That being said, people do tow, regardless of the manual, dealer, etc. I would expect a drop in mileage, as well as some wear to the driveline.

All the best
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Old 08-16-2011
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You could tow it for sure with the Mazda. A friend towed his with a Honda Civic.

There is a class 1 hitch available (didn't know what model year you have, so I put in 2000) here :

Class I Receiver Hitch 11043 [11043] - $141.14 : The Hitch Store

I fitted one of their hitches to my Jag XJ8 and it was solid as a rock.

The one thing I'd worry about in a small auto car is overheating the transmission, but yours is manual so no problem there.

The Laser with trailer probably weighs 400lb? Less than 2 large adults. Definitely well under the 20% of the car's weight.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Thanks for all the quick replies.

I hadn't considered the suspension yet, but I was hoping the 400lb trailer wouldn't weight it down too much like MarkSF said.

For future reference, what other (small-ish) cars would be able to tow small dinghies and also don't cost a fortune to maintain and fuel?
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Old 08-16-2011
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I push my laser on its dolly two blocks down the street to the boat ramp. I also push it the 50 yards up the boat ramp and road leading to the ramp. I think any kind of car could be used.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theuselessone View Post
Thanks for all the quick replies.

I hadn't considered the suspension yet, but I was hoping the 400lb trailer wouldn't weight it down too much like MarkSF said.

For future reference, what other (small-ish) cars would be able to tow small dinghies and also don't cost a fortune to maintain and fuel?
Normal tongue weight is 10% of the trailer, so that would be 40lb. I think the suspension will cope with that. I assume you regularly put heavier things than that in your trunk.

Frank Dye towed his Wayfarer the length of the UK regularly with a Renault 4 with 50hp. So the answer is ANY car that you can get a hitch for will tow the boat.

Let's not start a discussion about which CARS are cheap to maintain and easy on fuel.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Let's not start a discussion about which CARS are cheap to maintain and easy on fuel.
My apologies, point taken. Thanks all for the help.
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Old 08-16-2011
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400lbs for boat and trailer? My capri 14.2 was maybe about 600lbs, so 400 seems high for a laser. I towed my capri with a 2005chevy malibu (max tow 1000#). So I think you'd be fine. Cheapest place to have rig it up for you is uhaul (out the door pricing installed for less than you can usually buy the hitch for).

I wouldn't load up the boat much... and take lots of stops to cool the engine. make sure your brakes are up to snuff. You'll be fine... Hell I saw a crazy guy with a car carrier towed behind a corolla (they are #1500 empty).

I got picture of the corolla if I can find it.
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Old 08-16-2011
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I'd tow a laser with my now defunct 69 convertable bug, with a 60 hp Aircooled motor!

If you can get a hitch loae properly on what you have, a 100 lbs boat and trailer in the 100-150 range SHOULD have no issues towing the trailer to and from home, even across the state etc.

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