If you’re an owner of a Class A or Class C motorhome, you’ve probably considered towing a separate vehicle. There are different ways to go about this.
Flat tow, use a towing dolly, or use a trailer. A towing dolly is a great option that doesn’t require special modifications to your vehicle and gives you the option to tow different vehicles during different trips.
Let’s look at what exactly an RV dolly is and answer a few questions for travelers. Let’s dive in!
What Is It?
If you want to bring along your car on your next road trip or camping adventure, you’re going to have to figure out how to transport it. Will you have a second driver? Will you flat tow? Many RVers choose a third option: using an RV towing dolly.
Most cars aren’t made to flat tow, so if you’re not going to have a second driver, then you’ll need to find a towing dolly to pull your car behind your RV. These dollies attach to the rear of a motorhome. Your car sits on top of the dolly and attaches with straps. Then your motorhome tows it wherever you go. Because of the high towing capacity and huge torque of motorhomes, they make safe towing vehicles. You don’t use towing dollies with towable RVs.
An RV dolly is a two-wheeled trailer that carries the front wheels of your car while the back wheels remain on the road. No mileage will accumulate on the odometer since the drive train remains still. This also means your car won’t have the wear and tear that driving it down the road with a second driver would cause.
Is It Better to Flat Tow or Use a Dolly?
Flat towing, which is towing with all four wheels down on the road, can be cheaper depending on the type of modifications needed. There also isn’t a huge piece of equipment to store once you’re at your destination. However, as mentioned above, most vehicles can’t be flat towed.
If you flat tow a car that’s not constructed for such towing, you risk damaging the transmission. So for many travelers, there really isn’t an option. They have to use a dolly to protect their vehicle and transport it safely.
Some people also believe flat towing causes more wear and tear on the vehicle. Others choose to use a dolly even if their vehicles can be flat towed because they want to switch out vehicles. Flat towing setups are for a particular vehicle, which means modifications.
Pro Tip: There’s a lot to know before you tow! We uncovered Is It Safe For You to Tow in Overdrive?
How Much Is a Tow Dolly for a Car?
A basic dolly will cost between $1,500 and $2,000. A premium towing dolly that might have galvanized steel or folding capabilities could cost closer to $2,500. The type of braking system on the dolly will also affect the price. Various models have electric brakes, disc brakes, and surge brakes.
Of course, there are always good used options that could save you hundreds of dollars. You could also rent a dolly if you don’t plan on using it that often. Uhaul offers this service for about $45 per day.
What Cars Can Be Dolly Towed?
You need to know the towing capacity of your towing dolly. You also need to know the weight of your vehicle. Make sure you’re not putting too much weight on the dolly. The size of your vehicle and not just its weight is also important to know.
The width from tire to tire needs to fit safely onto the RV towing dolly. Your vehicle also needs to be front-wheel drive.
Many cars can be dolly towed. From smaller vehicles like a Chevy Aveo or Mini Cooper to pick-up trucks like a Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma, there are lots of options. Even minivans like a Honda Odyssey or Chrysler Pacifica can be mounted to an RV towing dolly. Make sure the combined weight of the dolly and the vehicle doesn’t exceed the motorhome’s towing capacity.
Can I Use It for Long Distance?
You can use a towing dolly for long-distance travel, but it’s best to limit long trips. Many RVers travel with a tow dolly but keep an eye on their miles. The more miles you travel, the more wear and tear your rear tires experience. Because of this, it’s also a good idea to rotate your tires frequently to make sure the wear and tear stay evenly distributed among the four tires.
Pro Tip: Where will you tow your RV to? If you’re gonna hit the highway, find out Is Interstate Towing Harder or Easier?
How Fast Can You Go With a Tow Dolly?
Stay around 55 mph when towing a vehicle. There are plenty of RVers who don’t follow this suggestion. You might see a Newmar motorhome rolling down the interstate at 70 mph with a Toyota Prius on the back. However, it’s safest to maintain a speed of 55 mph. U-Haul even sets it as the maximum speed if you rent a towing dolly from them.
Will It Damage My Car?
An RV towing dolly won’t damage your car any more than driving it down the road. The problem with towing a vehicle with the front wheels lifted is the extra wear and tear on the rear wheels. That shouldn’t be a major issue if you rotate them regularly.
Using a towing dolly is actually better for your vehicle than having a second driving and following behind as a chase car. Instead of having all four wheels on the ground and racking up miles, only two wheels are down, and the odometer doesn’t change.
Can You Backup With a Tow Dolly?
You cannot back up with a towing dolly. You shouldn’t back up a motorhome while towing anything. If you end up in a problematic situation and have to turn around or back up, you’ll need to unhook the dolly, maneuver the motorhome to where it needs to go, and then reconnect it.
If you’re using an RV GPS or following the driving route of several apps, you shouldn’t run into very many sticky situations like this. But it’s certainly possible.
Are Tow Dollies Safe?
Having a tow dolly with an extra vehicle makes for a much more enjoyable experience once you arrive at your destination. You can make a quick trip to the grocery store and go into downtown urban settings with no problems.
The vehicle will fit into regular parking spaces and down narrow streets. It’s much harder to navigate a motorhome in these situations.
RV dollies are safe and pretty easy to use once you get the hang of the setup. It’s cumbersome to detach and find a place to store the dolly at your campsite, but you acclimate to the process once it becomes part of your routine. You might want to consider spending more money on a folding dolly, too.
So have you started researching RV towing dollies? How will having that separate vehicle enhance your adventures on the road? Tell us in the comments!
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