While traveling, many people want to keep their cars along so that they don’t have to always pack up while going for a small visit around the camp. A tow dolly is a small two-wheel trailer. It keeps the front wheels of your vehicle off the ground. As most of the vehicles nowadays are front-wheel drive, hence it saves it from the front-wheel drive and no mileage is added up to the meter. Renting a tow dolly usually costs from $40 to $60 per day, depending on many things, like:
- If the trip is one way or two way.
- Location of the trip.
- If the tow dolly will be dropped off on the same site from where it was picked up.
The rental cost also varies with the rental company you choose. The option of buying a tow dolly is always there. The final buy cost may vary from almost $1,000 to $4,500, depending on many factors like:
- Towing capacity
- Quality of material
- Size of the tow dolly
- Brakes type
- Lighting facility
The tow dolly usually has tie-down straps and safety chains. It requires at least two people to load a car. Watch a demonstration video before loading it to have an accurate idea of the mechanism.
Things to consider
While choosing your preferred tow dolly type, the following things must be kept under consideration:
- Some types of tow dolly have electric brakes. You can install a brake controller in your motorhome when you are ready to leave.
- There are models that have surge breaks in them. These do not require any additional installation and are sensitive enough to detect the load shifting when you slow down to stop.
- By installing wiring in the towing car, tow lights could be applied to the rear of the vehicle and could be controlled by the motor home.
- A removable light bar can also be used by attaching it to the rear of the towed car.
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- While choosing the brakes and lights, you have to pick something that takes into account both cost and convenience.
- The type of frame also matters. The frames are either bolted or welded. The welded ones are more secure and strong, while with the bolted ones you have to check every now and then if the bolts are right in place during the journey.
- The last but not least, read the tow dolly manual carefully. It is for your own safety. Follow the precautions to remain safe.
- Always check the weight capacity of the two dollies before buying. It should be more than your need but never less than what you’d require. Consider the weight of the tow dolly along with the vehicle to be towed. You should never exceed the weight limit provided of the tow dolly.
- Make sure that the vehicle to be towed fits on the tow dolly before paying for it. Try to have a short drive with the vehicle fixed on it, if possible.
- As the tow dolly is smaller in size, it takes less space as compared to a trailer. It can be even kept under an RV. Some manufacturers provide a design that allows the folding of the two, to acquire even lesser space.
- It doesn’t need any kind of modification to be made in your car and requires less time for preparation to tow the car.
- Most of the tow dollies have their own braking system. Loading and unloading is also very easy.
- They are more convenient and cheaper than other trailers.
- Tow dolly can also be used for other purposes during camp, like carrying rubbish, garden supplies, firewood, and other things.
- If you have more vehicles than drivers, you can tow one with the tow dolly.
- If one of the family members is stuck with a broken car on the road, the other may go and get them on the second vehicle using the tow dolly.
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Guidelines to be followed
The tow vehicle should be larger in size than the vehicle being towed. Generally, it required being 750 pounds heavier than the vehicle in hand.
The towing laws are different depending on the state. Some states require them to be licensed. The department of motor vehicles provides you with the details of these requirements. The limitations of the state may include the speed, size, capacity, as well as length of towing situations.
Insurance companies also have different rules, depending on state laws. Therefore always check with them before making a decision.
- The steering wheel of the vehicle must be locked, before being towed.
- All-wheel, four-wheel, or rear-wheeled drives’ shafts must be disconnected and removed as well.
- Read the manual carefully before starting to use a tow dolly. It has many small but important things to be taken care of during the process.
- Make sure to hook up the towing vehicle before you load it. Also, it should always be facing towards the tow dolly because if the engine is on the backside, the weight can cause the vehicle to sway dangerously.
- Avoid sharp turns or there is a chance of collision between the two vehicles.
- No people should be sitting in the towed vehicle.
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- Mid or rear engine mounted vehicles could not be towed by tow dolly.
- Weight is another limitation with the tow dolly. It carries relatively less amount of weight as compared to other trailers.
Should the average working Joe get a Tow dolly?
There are a lot of disadvantages to towing a car using a tow dolly. Hooking up a car into tow dolly is more complicated as compared to a trailer. Emergency brakes cannot be used and you need to take out the driving shafts while traveling. Wear and tear chances are high for the back wheels of the vehicle left on the ground. More weight is being put on the rear wheels, hence the longer the journey is, the higher will be the chances of damage to the tires. A major problem with the tow dolly is that it doesn’t allow you to back up your vehicle. If you want to reverse, you’ll have to unhook the towed vehicle and move it, then unhook the dolly and move it. Trying to reverse in the built setup can cause lots of damage to vehicles. Although there are a lot of cons to using the dolly, fact that it is cheaper than trailers and depending on the situation, easier to use and carry, it can be a good idea to get one, especially if you’re not in the business of towing cars on a daily basis.