Taking your vehicle with you on a RV trip is a convenient way to travel. Many RVers do that with their cars and trucks and love it. The new Ford F-150 Lightning is a great utility vehicle with lots of features, and it would be great to take it with you on the trip, but unfortunately, you will need to take some extra precautions when you do. So to answer if you can flat-tow the Ford F-150 Lightning…
No, you cannot flat tow or dolly-tow the new Ford F-150 Lightning since it is an electric vehicle and because of its internal design. The way the drive train is designed, rotating the wheels via towing also spins the motor that can damage it and potentially cause it to overheat.
The only safe way to tow a Ford F-150 Lightning is on a flatbed trailer. Any other towing method runs the risk of serious damage to the motor. The rest of this article will discuss why you can’t flat tow the new Ford F-150 Lightning, and what alternatives are available.
Safely Towing Behind A Motorhome
|Truck||Dolly-Tow||Flat Tow||Flatbed Tow|
|Ford F-150 Lightning (EV)||NO||NO||YES|
|Ford F-150 (ICE)||YES||YES||YES|
Can You Dolly-Tow a Ford F-150 Lightning?
Dolly towing the Ford F150 Lightning is ill-advised because of the way electric vehicles different from gas-powered vehicles.
The reason some gas-powered vehicles can be dolly towed is because the wheels can spin independently of the motors. In an internal combustion vehicle, the engine turns the transmission, rotating the differential that provides torque to the wheels.
When you put an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle in Neutral, the clutch plate is disengaged from the engine such that the wheels can rotate freely without feeding energy into the motor.
Because electric cars like the Ford F-150 Lightning don’t have a transmission system (Does The Ford F-150 Lightning Have a Transmission?), instead relying on electric power for the RPM, the wheels cannot be disconnected from the motor; thus, rolling the vehicle spins the motor, too. Read more about the Ford F-150 Lightning motors here.
Over a period of time, static energy and heat energy can build up in the motor, causing it to overheat.
If the wheels on the car are forcing the system to run at a high RPM without the car running, the damage done can be devastating.
Can You Flat Tow a Ford F-150 Lightning behind a Motorhome?
When you go traveling in your motorhome, it helps to bring along a smaller vehicle to get around town. Unfortunately, flat towing the new Ford F-150 Lightning is not a safe option either for the same reason: the drivetrain is not disconnected when an EV (Electric Vehicle) is shifted into Neutral.
As such, the same concerns that apply for dolly towing are also present for flat towing. Ford themselves specifically note that the F-150 Lightning does not offer four-wheel-down towing capacity or dolly-tow capability.
Ford does provide one exception in the event of an emergency. If the vehicle becomes inoperable without access to trailer or flatbed equipment, then the safest way to tow the new Ford F-150 Lightning over a short distance is four-wheel-down and meeting the following conditions:
- The vehicle must be facing forward.
- The vehicle must be in Neutral with “Neutral Tow” selected.
- The towing vehicle must operate at a speed no greater than 35 mph
Even while doing so, Ford recommends that you don’t flat tow the F-150 Lightning for more than 50 miles.
How to Properly Tow a Ford F-150 Lightning behind a Motorhome
The only safe way to tow the new Ford F-150 Lightning is on a flatbed or a trailer. Indeed, the safest way to tow any vehicle is via a flatbed or a trailer.
As such, if you want to take your Lightning with you while you’re traveling in your motorhome, then you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure your motorhome is equipped with the right towing rig.
As a note, you’ll also want to check ahead at the places you’re planning on visiting during your travels; different campgrounds have different weight restrictions and length restrictions for motorhomes and trailers.
Motorhome Towing Capacity
The first thing you need to consider in order to safely tow a Ford F-150 Lightning—any vehicle for that matter—behind your motorhome is whether your motorhome is capable of pulling a trailer. Not every motorhome can manage a trailer, and not every motorhome can manage different vehicle weights.
The latter concern is particularly relevant to the Ford F150 Lightning, since it is extremely heavy at over 8,000 lbs.
While some motorhomes already come decked out with the required towing equipment, some motorhomes will require you to purchase and install a suitable tow modification. Others still are not suitable for towing full-size vehicles altogether.
As a general rule, your motorhome will need to be at least Class B+ to tow a heavier vehicle like the Ford F-150 Lightning. Of course, you should review your owner’s manual to see your individual motorhome’s towing capacity and weight limit.
Make sure to check your motorhome’s lights and brakes are in good working order. With proper preparation, towing a Ford F-150 Lightning behind a motorhome can be a great way to travel and explore.
It’s not enough to ensure that your motorhome is up to the task; you also need to make sure you get the right trailer or for towing.
To properly load and secure your Lightning onto a trailer, it’s important to ensure that both the size and the carry capacity of the trailer are adequate for towing. The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is over 230 inches long, 100 inches, and weighs 8,250 pounds. Make sure to take these factors into consideration before purchasing a trailer. Read more about the Ford F-150 Lightning weight here.
There’s a lot that goes into loading the flatbed trailer properly, and the method for safely loading the truck can differ greatly depending on what kind of trailer you have.
The owner’s manual for your trailer and motorhome are your main resources to indicate what vehicles can safely be loaded onto it and the safest appropriate method to do so.
The first step is to ensure the trailer is level and the ramps are securely attached. The vehicle should be driven up the ramps onto the trailer bed and positioned in the center, making sure it is straight and not leaning to one side. Having someone help you during this process is greatly helpful.
Once the vehicle is on the trailer, it should be secured with at least four tie-down straps, one for each wheel. These straps should be tightened so that the vehicle is held securely in place, but not so tight that it causes damage. To ensure that the vehicle remains stable while traveling, it should be loaded as low as possible and the weight should be distributed evenly on the trailer bed. It is also recommended to check the load and tie-downs periodically during the trip.
Final Thoughts About Flat Towing The Ford F-150 Lightning
The new Ford F-150 Lightning cannot be flat towed or dolly towed safely due to its design as an electric vehicle. The connectivity between the drivetrain and the wheels cannot be turned off, and as such, rotating the wheels without the car’s engine being on can have damaging effects on the vehicle as a whole, especially the motor.
If you need to tow your Ford F-150 Lightning, then the safest way to do so is by using a flatbed or a trailer.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.