The simplest way to tow a car behind your RV is with a flat towing system called dinghy style towing. RVers will often flat-tow a vehicle to park the RV, set up slide-outs, awnings, etc., and then have a separate vehicle for short trips around town sightseeing or shopping.
It is essential to understand that not all vehicles are towable in this style because the shape of the vehicle’s mechanicals, including its wheelbase length and width, will affect whether or not it can be successfully towed.
Can a Lexus GX 460 Be Flat Towed – Yes and No
In stock form, Lexus does not offer a model of the GX 460 that can be flat towed dinghy style. You would have to get a car utility trailer where all four wheels of the GX 460 are on the trailer and off of the ground.
Like some other automakers, such as Jeep with the Jeep Wrangler, the Lexus brand does not engineer its cars for flat towing.
In recent years the off-road community has started liking the GX 460. When customized with aftermarket parts can be a competent off-road vehicle with very comfortable creature comforts within the cabin.
Why Can’t You Flat Tow a Lexus GX 460?
In years past, more vehicles could be flat towed than are today; this is mostly due to how many vehicles had a manual transmission that would enable you to dinghy tow them.
The increase in automatic transmissions in nearly every vehicle and the near demise of manual vehicles has truly limited the choices for what vehicles can be flat towed.
The Lexus GX 460 has an automatic transmission, a standard full-time four-wheel drive (you cannot place the GX 460 into a two-wheel drive). According to manufacturer recommendations, all automatic vehicles from both Lexus and Toyota are not four down towable.
Can You Make Your Lexus GX 460 Be Able To Be Flat Towed?
So now that we have determined a GX 460 is not flat towable in the stock form, let’s discuss if it can be modified to flat tow?
Install a Lube Pump
You can add an aftermarket lubrication pump to make the Lexus flat towable. A lube pump draws transmission fluid from its pan and then distributes it within the transmission. Again this isn’t recommended by Lexus so it should be done by a professional and at your own risk.
An electronic monitor near the driver is standard on more advanced lube pumps. The driver can check the pump’s operation via the screen on the monitor.
A professional should be hired to install the lube pump; if the lube pump is not installed correctly, you may void its warranty and damage your vehicle.
One Possibility – Disconnect The Driveshaft
The other option is to carefully disconnect the driveshaft with a driveshaft disconnect kit to disconnect the transmission system.
The disadvantage of using a disconnect kit is that it disables the car’s mileage accumulation when towed. The kit will put the transmission in park mode, and miles will not record on the odometer.
Disconnect kits are designed for all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive automobiles. They are simpler to install than lube pumps but still done by a professional.
Will Modifying My Lexus GX 460 To Dinghy Tow Void My Warranty?
If you do not want to void your GX 460’s warranty, you need to avoid lube pumps and transmission disconnect kits.
These aftermarket add-ons will void your warranty. Lexus clearly does not want the GX 460 flat towed and modifications, when made will void the manufacture warranty of any damage that the modifications could have caused.
With that said warranty considerations are tricky, technically to void the warranty the dealer has to prove that the modifications are what caused the failure. People commonly think it will void the whole warranty, which isn’t the case, if the dealer does determine the modification caused and issue the vehicle owner will only be on the hook for the replacement of parts associated with that failure. For example, if you add an aftermarket lift and your automatic windows break the window motor will be covered under warranty because the modification and part failure are unrelated.
Essentially, modifications open up a window for Lexus to place the blame squarely on the modification and it is hard for you to prove otherwise.
What Options Do You Have?
It would help if you opted for a trailer/car hauler since you don’t want to risk voiding your vehicle’s warranty on heavily modifying the vehicle only to allow you to flat tow.
Car haulers generally have double axles, and ample tie-down points that are are heavy enough to handle the weight of your GX 460.
When shopping for a trailer, you need one that can support the weight of a GX 460. Lexus GX 460s weigh 5,130 pounds in curb weight (stock without gear and/or modifications).
Remember, when towing your GX 460 your RV will take longer to stop due to that added weight of the trailer and GX 460. Leave ample distance to account for these added stopping requirements.
Electric Vs. Surge Brakes On Car Haulers
Brakes on car haulers are either electric brakes or surge brakes.
When you have electric brakes, your tow vehicles will need a brake controller; the brake controller will allow your tow vehicle’s breaking to adjust the trailer’s breaking. The controller can also be used to break more aggressively when in extreme or emergencies.
The trailer’s natural momentum is used to operate the brakes in a surge brake system if you have surge brakes. The trailer pushes against the hitch and compresses a hydraulic cylinder; as you step on the brake in your towing vehicle and slow down, the car hauler will slow down as well as you apply more significant pressure to the vehicle’s brakes, the amount of force applied to the trailer surge brake system increases.
If your car hauling trailer has surge brakes, you may not need a brake controller (be sure to consult your RV and trailer manufacturers’ recommendations).
If your trailer is equipped with electric brakes, you’ll need a brake controller. A brake controller allows you to use your motorhome’s brakes also to activate your trailer’s brakes, rather than depending on the pressure of the trailer against the hydraulic cylinder in a surge brake system.
Don’t forget; you’ll need ramps if the hauler doesn’t come with them (some do). You’ll also need tie-down straps to secure your GX 460 to the trailer.
Trailer Towing May Not Be The Ideal Alternative
Trailering will help you keep your warranty intact, but it is not an ideal option if I am honest. Your motorhome tow setup needs to be strong enough to handle the weight of the GX 460 and the trailer vs. flat towing, where you can subtract the trailer’s weight.
The more weight your tow with your motorhome will cause it to consume more fuel and make it more challenging to navigate tighter areas, for example, narrower streets in a city.
What Are The Most Popular Vehicles That Can Be Flat Towed?
Be sure to check the owner’s manual of your specific vehicle, but the following vehicles should be able to be flat towed.
Jeep Wrangler JL and JK
Jeeps are probably one of the most popular vehicles that can be flat towed, drive down any highway, and you will surely see motorhomes flat towing Jeeps.
Chevy Colorado’s can be flat towed if they are 4×4 models that can be put into neutral; Chevy does not recommend flat towing 4×2 models.
According to Honda, you can flat tow a CR-V as long as you do not exceed 65 mph; if you do exceed 65 mph, you risk damaging the transmission.
In summary, Lexus is one of the automakers whose vehicles are not dinghied towable, including the GX 460. I do not recommend modifying your vehicle to make it dinghy towable as this will likely void aspects of your warranty, increase the wear on your vehicle and increase things from an expense perspective.
We have provided some recommendations immediately above, personally, I would look into getting one of those vehicles that are easier to flat tow with minimal or no material modifications.