If you’re looking at purchasing a truck to pull your new trailer, fifth wheel, or toy hauler, you might be wondering if you need a dually truck.
Or maybe you’re trying to replace an older truck with a newer model to haul farm equipment or a horse trailer. Is a dually truck your best option? Can you afford one?
We’re looking at the advantages of a dually truck and why its performance is so much better than a standard truck.
Let’s dig in!
What Is a Dually Truck?
A dually is a dual-rear-wheel truck (DRW). This means it has two rear wheels on each side, which increases stability on the road. A dually tends to have a wider body than standard trucks because the rear wheel wells extend further to cover the additional tires.
These DRW trucks also have a stronger rear axle, which means they’re capable of hauling and towing more than single-rear-wheel trucks (SRW).
Is a Dually Hard To Drive?
Driving a dually isn’t much different from driving a standard truck. The two main differences are the wider body and rougher ride.
Driving down narrow roads or in urban settings can be more difficult with a DRW truck because the rear wheel wells are wider. A dually is about one foot wider than standard trucks.
When the truck bed is empty and you’re not towing anything, the ride is also rougher than the ride in a standard truck. However, a dually is built to perform well when carrying heavy loads and not to provide a comfortable experience when driving around town.
What Are The Advantages of a Dually Truck?
Because of the additional rear wheels and stronger rear axle, dually trucks have increased payload capacities and towing capacities. If you’re looking to tow a fifth-wheel RV or transport ATVs in the truck bed, a DRW truck will give you more power and stability.
Many RVers will explain how much improved their driving experience is when towing with a dually truck compared to an SRW truck.
The enhanced traction with the additional wheels also makes hauling or towing easier. When your RV is stuck in the mud after heavy rain, you’re going to have a better chance of pulling it out with a 4-wheel drive dually.
When traveling through uneven terrain, a dually truck is also going to provide more stability. This is true not just for mud or dirt but windy conditions, also.
Your sway control is also greatly increased when towing a fifth wheel with a dually. This is why many RVers choose DRW trucks. The handling, control, and stability are better than SRW trucks.
One final pro to owning a dually truck is the decreased depreciation and increased longevity. Although you’ll pay more initially, these trucks will resell at higher values than standard trucks.
They tend to run longer and hold up better through the years. So you could purchase a ten-year-old dually with 200,000 miles on it and still expect it to have several years of quality life left.
What Are The Disadvantages of a Dually?
Although there are reasons to purchase a dually truck, there are also cons to consider. They’re more expensive than standard trucks. You can expect to pay thousands of dollars more when shopping for a new or used truck. However, as mentioned above, they do hold their value.
Dually trucks also tend to have decreased fuel efficiency because they have six wheels on the ground instead of four. They’re also heavier so the increased weight adds to the decreased fuel efficiency.
Along with the addition of two more wheels means more maintenance and more expensive repairs when you have to replace your tires.
Finally, a dually is wider than standard trucks, which means they’re more difficult to maneuver in downtown or urban settings. Pulling into a parking spot on Main Street is going to be much tighter.
The ride is also less comfortable than a standard truck, especially when not hauling or towing. You can feel a huge difference in the smoothness of the ride when the truck bed is empty. So if you’re just looking for a nice truck to get you from point A to point B, a dually may not be your best option.
Pro Tip: Join the debate on what truck is best for towing GMC vs Ram Towing.
Can A Dually Be 4 Wheel Drive?
Some dually trucks are 2-wheel drive and others are 4-wheel drive. When a dually is only 2-wheel drive, the tires in the rear are the ones that pull the vehicle and whatever is being towed. These trucks are usually less expensive, but if you ever get stuck in mud or sand, they aren’t going to be very helpful.
The 4-wheel drive trucks are going to have better traction. Both the rear and front tires pull at the same time. There are more points of contact on the ground pulling forward. These models will usually be more expensive.
What Is The Best Dually Truck?
Although many people will have their own opinions about which dually truck is the best, here are a few of the top choices. The Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD comes equipped with a Duramax turbo-diesel 6.6-liter V-8 engine and can tow up about 36,000 pounds. The payload capacity is around 7,500 pounds.
The GMC Sierra 3500HD model has similar specs. However, it also offers the option of an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission and a Prograde trailering system.
The Ram 3500HD also features a maximum towing capacity of around 37,000 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of around 7,600 pounds.
The Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks – both the 350 and 450 models – are some of the best-sellers because they offer superb hauling and towing power. They’re built with a Power Stroke turbo-diesel 6.7-liter V-8 engine, and the gooseneck tow rating for some trim packages is 37,000 pounds.
You’ll notice that the specs on all of the models are very similar. However, the bed length, cab length, engine type, and axle ratio all affect the maximum towing and payload capacities. So it’s important to do your research when shopping for a dually truck.
Pro Tip: You deserve the best of the best, so we uncovered The Best Dually Trucks for Towing in 2022.
How Much Does a Dually Cost?
This depends on the make, model, year, and condition of the truck. The fuel type – gas or diesel – will also affect the price. Diesel trucks cost thousands of dollars more than gas trucks. However, you’ll find more dually trucks with diesel engines than gas engines.
A used diesel engine dually less than ten years old with less than 200,000 miles will cost around $35,000 on the low end. Newer models with fewer miles can cost over $55,000 easily.
Brand new diesel engine dually trucks will start around $45,000 for basic, no-frills models. However, a 2022 Ram 3500 limited longhorn mega cab diesel engine dually truck will cost upwards of $80,000.
So the price varies tremendously based on the package, trim, and condition of the truck.
Are Dually Trucks Worth It?
The safety and maneuverability of a dually are important to consider when debating between a DRW and SRW truck. If you’re planning on towing your 18,000lb fifth wheel up steep mountain roads, it’s almost imperative that you buy a dually truck.
The increased stability on those curves and possibly windy conditions as well as the increased torque a diesel engine provides will make your drive safer and more enjoyable.
But you also have to consider what you can afford. Diesel engine 4-wheel drive dually trucks will be the most expensive option. Are they worth it?
For many people who need a heavy-duty truck, they are absolutely worth it. The maintenance and repair and initial cost might be thousands of dollars more, but the performance outweighs the con of expense.
What do you think? Is a dually truck purchase in your future? Drop a comment below!
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I have occasionally removed the inside rear wheels on dually trucks when not heavily loaded, to improve ride. Minimal improvement on fuel use. If one is willing to run on the inside wheels/tires [as the railroad trucks are set up] you can drive up on a 2×4 and remove the outside wheel without jacking. One must watch wear: mismatched pairs of tires will wear quickly. So many choices!