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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!
My family and I have a 2019 Atlas and we’re in the process of buying a travel trailer. With all the weight requirements considered we are ready to make the move, and have been advised to purchase a WD hitch however, VW advises in the manual to “Never” use a WD hitch with the vehicle. Now we’re stuck.
I have no experience with towing and owning a travel trailer. Can anyone provide recommendations for an alternative? My main concern is sway. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there.
Thanks all!
 

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I am right there with you.
I have a 4,000 lb trailer and it drives really nice with the weight distribution hitch (WDH).
I too read in the owners manual not to use a WDH, I think the issue is since the Atlas frame is a "unibody" construction,
no chassis the body sits on, you run the risk of bending your car frame if you use a WDH.

I did meet another Atlas owner at the dump station and he had a WDH on his trailer and I was asking him about it and he said he had not had any issues.

I think the underlying issue is despite the VW ads that the Atlas is a tow vehicle, it really is not.

I think pulling a single axle feather weight would be ok or get a pop up tent trailer.
Something with a dry weight of 2500 lbs +/-

I have been kicking around getting "air bags" for the rear axles, but have not found anything at the moment.

Then I have been looking at getting a truck to tow with....
 

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IMO like you have said its just not a tow rig for any kind of heavy/regular use. could it tow a smaller/lighter trailer a few times a year..sure..if i planned on going camping/using a trailer more than say 3-4 times a year though id have gotten something I know could do it something like a Tahoe,Expedition,Durango,Grand Cherokee,Pathfinder .. now if your towing a feather light/ultralight trailer thats say between 2500-4000 lbs then i dont think youd have a issue with your Atlas. if its the V6 Atlas. remember dont think that the 5K weight rating for the V6 means go get a trailer that weighs 4700 lbs dry and you will be fine..thats why I think for the Atlas the sweet spot for towing is between 2K-3.5K then you can load it with the stuff you need for a adventure and still be under the max weight.

For example something like the Forest River Wolf pup 21' would be perfect as it comes in at almost 3K even

I would just want to keep my loaded weight well under the 5K max.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am right there with you.
I have a 4,000 lb trailer and it drives really nice with the weight distribution hitch (WDH).
I too read in the owners manual not to use a WDH, I think the issue is since the Atlas frame is a "unibody" construction,
no chassis the body sits on, you run the risk of bending your car frame if you use a WDH.

I did meet another Atlas owner at the dump station and he had a WDH on his trailer and I was asking him about it and he said he had not had any issues.

I think the underlying issue is despite the VW ads that the Atlas is a tow vehicle, it really is not.

I think pulling a single axle feather weight would be ok or get a pop up tent trailer.
Something with a dry weight of 2500 lbs +/-

I have been kicking around getting "air bags" for the rear axles, but have not found anything at the moment.

Then I have been looking at getting a truck to tow with....
Ahhh so **** frustrating. We purchased this vehicle specifically because we eventually wanted to get a travel trailer. VW can’t even give me an explanation as to what my options are. Not happy about this at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
IMO like you have said its just not a tow rig for any kind of heavy/regular use. could it tow a smaller/lighter trailer a few times a year..sure..if i planned on going camping/using a trailer more than say 3-4 times a year though id have gotten something I know could do it something like a Tahoe,Expedition,Durango,Grand Cherokee,Pathfinder .. now if your towing a feather light/ultralight trailer thats say between 2500-4000 lbs then i dont think youd have a issue with your Atlas. if its the V6 Atlas. remember dont think that the 5K weight rating for the V6 means go get a trailer that weighs 4700 lbs dry and you will be fine..thats why I think for the Atlas the sweet spot for towing is between 2K-3.5K then you can load it with the stuff you need for a adventure and still be under the max weight.

For example something like the Forest River Wolf pup 21' would be perfect as it comes in at almost 3K even

I would just want to keep my loaded weight well under the 5K max.
Absolutely. The trailer we want to buy is 4400 packed and fully loaded - 470 tongue weight. Right within the weight specifications and now we’re stuck with not being able to tow with a WD hitch because if we do it will void our warranty. I’ve been told we can look at air bags and anti sway bars but the air bags are limited to 1000 lbs? I don’t know anything about this stuff at all and it’s very discouraging. We may just have to pass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yep so after some serious digging and contacting a million people it’s looking like I will have to purchase rear air bags and anti sway bars. Everyone that knows anything about vehicles and the VW atlas has said that you absolutely can NOT tow anything with a WD hitch. It will void your warranty, can damage your vehicle, and even worse, cause a major accident and harm your most precious cargo - your family, and not to mention the safety of others on the road. Im glad that there are other options and we can still go through with the purchase of this trailer.
Thanks for your feedback guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yep so after some serious digging and contacting a million people it’s looking like I will have to purchase rear air bags and anti sway bars. Everyone that knows anything about vehicles and the VW atlas has said that you absolutely can NOT tow anything with a WD hitch. It will void your warranty, can damage your vehicle, and even worse, cause a major accident and harm your most precious cargo - your family, and not to mention the safety of others on the road. Im glad that there are other options and we can still go through with the purchase of this trailer.
Thanks for your feedback guys.
I will also post the solution and what we end up going with, along with a review of our travels
 

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Absolutely. The trailer we want to buy is 4400 packed and fully loaded - 470 tongue weight. Right within the weight specifications and now we’re stuck with not being able to tow with a WD hitch because if we do it will void our warranty. I’ve been told we can look at air bags and anti sway bars but the air bags are limited to 1000 lbs? I don’t know anything about this stuff at all and it’s very discouraging. We may just have to pass.
If I was thinking of using ANY vehicle i owned/was buying or thinking of buying as a tow vehicle the first question out of my mouth would have been. We/I have a X,Y,Z trailer can i tow this with this vehicle. especially if your not sure. nothing wrong with not getting something because it doesnt fit what you can do. Sometimes you just have to go with a different option.
 

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If I was thinking of using ANY vehicle i owned/was buying or thinking of buying as a tow vehicle the first question out of my mouth would have been. We/I have a X,Y,Z trailer can i tow this with this vehicle. especially if your not sure. nothing wrong with not getting something because it doesnt fit what you can do. Sometimes you just have to go with a different option.
But that is just it - based on Quin's trailer specs - the Atlas is rated to pull their trailer.

Back in 2019 was advertising the Atlas as a "tow" vehicle. The ads showed the Atlas towing an Airstream....

Put a set of Air bags on your atlas and hit the road!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If I was thinking of using ANY vehicle i owned/was buying or thinking of buying as a tow vehicle the first question out of my mouth would have been. We/I have a X,Y,Z trailer can i tow this with this vehicle. especially if your not sure. nothing wrong with not getting something because it doesnt fit what you can do. Sometimes you just have to go with a different option.
I bought the vehicle two years ago, and told them I wanted it specifically because I had planned to buy a travel trailer at some point in the future. Will I be able to two one with this vehicle? Paid for the tow package and was told I could tow anything up to 5000 lbs. so I bought the vehicle.
 

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But that is just it - based on Quin's trailer specs - the Atlas is rated to pull their trailer.

Back in 2019 was advertising the Atlas as a "tow" vehicle. The ads showed the Atlas towing an Airstream....

Put a set of Air bags on your atlas and hit the road!
Then sue VW I guess....I just know when i think "tow vehicle" stuff in the VW category doesnt make my list. Now I dont tow either...but I know if I was thinking :towing a 5K trailer..my list starts with stuff like Durango, Tahoe, Expedition, ..and i always take into account weighted vs bare weight thus i know if I have a vehicle that can tow 5K I dont want a 5K trailer..I want a 4Kish trailer as I know with water,gear,supplies quickly my trailer is over 5K(if its already close to 5K) I dont know anything about hitches though and what youre talking about there..I have a Subaru Forester with a paltry 1500 weight rating so I know it cant tow a trailer worth having...so all it tows is a trailer with a kayak on it...

With my wives Atlas id be willing to put a 3,500-3,700 (dry weight) trailer behind it and know it will get the job done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
But that is just it - based on Quin's trailer specs - the Atlas is rated to pull their trailer.

Back in 2019 was advertising the Atlas as a "tow" vehicle. The ads showed the Atlas towing an Airstream....

Put a set of Air bags on your atlas and hit the road!
On it! But as a lesson learned, to anyone going through a similar situation…..you cannot use a WD hitch with VW Atlas!!!!!
Thanks for the help
Everyone
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Then sue VW I guess....I just know when i think "tow vehicle" stuff in the VW category doesnt make my list. Now I dont tow either...but I know if I was thinking :towing a 5K trailer..my list starts with stuff like Durango, Tahoe, Expedition, ..and i always take into account weighted vs bare weight thus i know if I have a vehicle that can tow 5K I dont want a 5K trailer..I want a 4Kish trailer as I know with water,gear,supplies quickly my trailer is over 5K(if its already close to 5K) I dont know anything about hitches though and what youre talking about there..I have a Subaru Forester with a paltry 1500 weight rating so I know it cant tow a trailer worth having...so all it tows is a trailer with a kayak on it...

With my wives Atlas id be willing to put a 3,500-3,700 (dry weight) trailer behind it and know it will get the job done.
Thanks for the feedback. The trailer weighs 4400 full. 3100 dry.
The Atlas has a 5000lb tow rating. I think I’m ok weight wise. It’s the hitch that I am seeking guidance on. Thank you
 

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I bought the vehicle two years ago, and told them I wanted it specifically because I had planned to buy a travel trailer at some point in the future. Will I be able to two one with this vehicle? Paid for the tow package and was told I could tow anything up to 5000 lbs. so I bought the vehicle.
Ok i guess i dont understand then so why cant you then tow up to 5K......now i realize you cant get a trailer that weighs 5K and think I can tow that you need to take in account loaded weight not bare..but ..im missing something I guess. Cant you just use some other hitch? i guess thats my confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok i guess i dont understand then so why cant you then tow up to 5K......now i realize you cant get a trailer that weighs 5K and think I can tow that you need to take in account loaded weight not bare..but ..im missing something I guess.
It’s not the weight of the trailer that I am having an issue with, it’s the recommended weight distribution hitch that cannot be used with the atlas. I created this thread in search of solutions and recommendations for alternatives to a weight distribution hitch. Like I said my trailer full weight will be 4400 lbs - not too much over the 80% of the max capacity recommendation you stay at to tow safely and efficiently.
Sorry if this post was confusing! It’s looking like my solution will be rear air bags and anti sway bars.
 

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It’s not the weight of the trailer that I am having an issue with, it’s the recommended weight distribution hitch that cannot be used with the atlas. I created this thread in search of solutions and recommendations for alternatives to a weight distribution hitch. Like I said my trailer full weight will be 4400 lbs - not too much over the 80% of the max capacity recommendation you stay at to tow safely and efficiently.
Sorry if this post was confusing! It’s looking like my solution will be rear air bags and anti sway bars.
no re-reading it I guess i understand now.. I just didnt understand why a certain hitch and not the tow weight was a issue that was all. I couldnt tell if the complaint was now you cant tow a trailer or you couldnt use the hitch..its just the hitch issue now i see,,yup id just do your alternative. Somehow my mind turned it into why is this person complaining they cant haul 5000 when they shoudl be able to..i somehow thought Volkswagen lists 5K as the weight but then they told you you cant pull 5K..my bad sorry..its just the hitch and I see that now..
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
no re-reading it I guess i understand now.. I just didnt understand why a certain hitch and not the tow weight was a issue that was all. I couldnt tell if the complaint was now you cant tow a trailer or you couldnt use the hitch..its just the hitch issue now i see,,yup id just do your alternative. Somehow my mind turned it into why is this person complaining they cant haul 5000 when they shoudl be able to..i somehow thought Volkswagen lists 5K as the weight but then they told you you cant pull 5K..my bad sorry..its just the hitch and I see that now..
No worries at all! My wording was probably confusing as I am very new to all of this with zero experience. I appreciate all the feedback. I will post whatever solution I come up with for any others that run into this problem. Sure is a major disappointment with the Atlas. I have been super happy with the vehicle until now - I specifically purchased this vehicle as I live VW. I traded in my Tiguan because I wanted to be able to tow a small travel trailer.
 
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