towing base plates

To tow a second vehicle with four wheels down, chances are you'll need to get towing base plates installed.

©iStockphoto/Tim McCaig

­Towing one vehicle behind another can be a great convenience. Maybe you're RVing and you want the family van along for sightseeing and errands. Could be you're delivering a new car to a loved one and you need a way to haul it with just one driver. In instances like these, there are a few key towing components you'll need to consider before hitting the road.

­For example, you need to decide how you want to tow the vehicle. You can tow it on a trailer with all the wheels off the ground (called four wheels up), you can tow it on a tow dolly that elevates only the front two wheels, or you can tow it with a tow bar and have all four wheels on the road (called four wheels down). Towing with four wheels down is the most popular way to haul a vehicle, but it comes with some important factors to consider. As discussed in other popular HowStuffWorks towing articles, different vehicles dictate how they can be towed. If you want to tow some makes and models with all four wheels down, you're good to go. Others, especially automatics, may need a lube pump to cool the transmission. But towing components that'll almost always have people headed to the store in order to properly tow their vehicles are base plates.

On the next page, we'll explore what towing base plates are, and why they can be so important for a safe tow.