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  1. Default Road Trip from Minnesota to Gainesville, FL- Worried about the Smoky Mountains!

    Hi there! My boyfriend and I are going down to Gainesville, FL for the summer and we are going to have a trailer and hitch with us. His car is just a small Ford Focus, and we are a little nervous about the Smoky Mountain area! The main reason is because my mom broke down near Nashville once and Chattanooga once with a U-Haul truck towing our car!

    We're a little torn because we also don't want to have to travel hours out of our way! I'm looking for a little advice on if our little car will be able to tow the small trailer up those mountains!

    I've never driven through them, and we are thinking of taking I-65 and then I-75!

    Thanks I really need the advice,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default good reason

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    People tend to worry about mountains too much, but in your case I really think you do have good reason to be concerned. A small car like the Focus really isn't built to be towing at all, and you really need to try to keep the strain to a minimum.

    I think the route I would look at taking is going over to Montgomery (via either Dothan or Athens), up to Nashville. Then rather than continuing up I-65 which will take you into the heart of Chicago traffic (just as bad as mountains in your case), I would take I-24/I-57/I-74/I-39 up through Illinois, joining I-94 at Madison.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Check Its Rating

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As near as I've been able to discover, in the most recent years (2008-2010) the Ford Focus has NOT been rated for towing. In prior years it got a minimal towing capacity rating of 1000 pounds. That really is not a lot, particularly when you shouldn't be trying to tow the rated maximum for long distances, through heavy traffic, or over mountains. Also, there's the problem of a hitch. Do you already have one installed on the car? What class is it? What I'd really suggest you do is go to both your local Ford dealer and a trusted mechanic and ask them what they think of using this car as a tow vehicle, and what alterations might be necessary for what you have in mind.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I think Michael gave you very good directions - for a return trip! The best way from Montgomery into FL is US-231 through Dothan to I-10.

    With that said, towing is probably a no-go with the Focus. The smallest enclosed trailer that U-Haul has (4x8) is 850 pounds empty. They have a 4x7 open trailer, but even that is 630 pounds empty. I'd seriously consider either renting a small U-Haul truck and tow dolly, or rent a van one way and drive both vehicles. If both of you are under 21, that's going to be a problem. The smallest U-Haul truck that you can get for a one way move and can tow a car with is the 10 foot box van.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default corrections

    Good catch on the backwards directions. Obviously, just reverse them. I actually took that exact same route on a trip down to Florida last year.

    I will say that one nice thing about UHaul is that they do allow 18 year olds to rent, even one way.

  6. #6

    Default Check with U-Haul first


    I'd cut to the chase and check with U-Haul and/or other rental agencies before assuming you'll even be allowed to rent a trailer to be towed with the Focus. The last 2 times I rented from U-Haul, they required that you ID the intended tow vehicle before even booking the reservation and they required the agent confirm the vehicle which showed up to pick up the trailer matched that which was booked. They then made me sign a form saying I'd only tow the trailer with the previously twice-identified vehicle. Fairly serious about limiting liability for poor matches between tow and towed vehicles. I suspect the other major agencies are the same.


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