Towing With a Dolly Vs. Flat Towing: Which Is Better?

If you’re interested in an RV, you’ve probably already thought about how you’ll get around once you set up camp. Will you use your RV to go shopping? Or will you be pulling a second vehicle with a wheeled cart? Many people choose the latter because it’s more convenient that way.

But then you have another decision to make. Which type of towing is best? Is flat towing or dolly towing the better option for you?

Read on to learn more so you can make the best decision. It often comes down to personal preference and vehicle capabilities. Let’s dive in!

Which motorhomes can tow a vehicle?

Motorhomes have hitches that can tow a vehicle. Class As and Class C typically have towing ratings of 5,000 to 10,000 pounds, depending on the motorhome.

It is safe to attach a dolly to the back of an RV and tow a second vehicle as long as you stay within the towing limits set by the RV manufacturer.

Many towable RVs have trailer hitches that are not designed to tow another vehicle. These can usually only accommodate bike racks or cargo beds. Towing a vehicle behind a trailer or fifth wheel is not recommended. In addition, towing three vehicles is illegal in many states.

What vehicles can be towed behind a mobile home?

You can tow many types of vehicles behind a motorhome as long as the vehicle and towing equipment remain under the maximum towing capacity of the motorhome and the towing capacity of the hitch.

However, when towing with a dolly, you cannot tow a rear-wheel drive vehicle unless it has been converted. This is because the two rear wheels roll on the road while the two front wheels remain raised and secured to the dolly. So you need to disconnect the drive shaft.

If you want to tow a vehicle, the list gets much shorter. Since towing requires disconnecting the transmission and disabling the steering lock, four-wheel drive vehicles and SUVs are the preferred and most common options.

You can’t tow just any vehicle. For this reason, many Jeep brand models are towed, but not many Hondas.

Why would a camper tow a second vehicle?

If you’re traveling in an RV, it can be difficult to get around once you set up camp. You can rent a car or use services like Uber, but few are likely to pick you up from a remote campsite.

And many people prefer to have their own vehicle. They can drive to the grocery store without packing their entire RV. They can drive to a national park without waiting for an Uber driver to pick them up. Having a second vehicle makes life more convenient.

What is towing with a dolly?

Towing with a dolly requires a device (the dolly) that attaches to the rear trailer hitch of a motor home. Then the two front wheels of the vehicle are placed on the dolly, and the two rear wheels drive on the road.

Therefore, as mentioned earlier, you cannot tow a rear-wheel drive vehicle unless you disconnect the drive shaft.

What is flat towing?

Another type of towing is flat towing. The difference is that all four wheels touch the road and turn while driving on the highway.

Because this method requires the wheels to turn without the vehicle being turned on, your vehicle’s transmission can be severely damaged if you tow a vehicle that does not have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

As mentioned earlier, you must have a transmission disengage and a steering lock override to safely tow a vehicle.

Remember: Does towing a car get you extra miles? Let’s take a look!

What are the advantages of towing with a dolly?

Sometimes the choice is simple when it comes to deciding between towing with a dolly and flat towing. If you don’t have a vehicle that you can flat tow, you will need to use a dolly.

Sometimes you can also lift all four wheels and tow with a trailer. Below are the advantages of towing with a dolly.

Can tow any vehicle

Since you can only tow certain vehicles, a dolly opens up new possibilities. With a dolly, you can tow virtually any vehicle. If you don’t want to pay for expensive modifications to be able to tow your vehicle, towing with a dolly may be your only option.

No modifications required

Unless your vehicle has rear-wheel drive, you do not need to make any modifications.

On the other hand, for spot towing, modifications are required. These modifications also depend on the vehicle. So if you want to tow two different cars – one during a camping trip and another at a different time – you will need to modify both vehicles for towing.

Simple vehicle change

Since you don’t need major modifications to pull a dolly, you can take a Jeep Wrangler one weekend and a Toyota Camry the next.

The vehicles remain attached to the dolly and do not require a base plate kit, trailer hitch, cables or other equipment needed for towing vehicles. So you can easily change your car from one camping trip to the next.

No extra miles for older vehicles

Older vehicles without an electronic odometer will rack up extra miles when towed. If you have an older vehicle and don’t want to do extra miles, you can tow it with a tow truck.

With only two wheels touching the road, your car will get less wear and tear. This means less damage to your tires and axles.

What are the disadvantages of towing with a dolly?

Despite the advantages, towing with a dolly is not for everyone. There are some disadvantages that you should consider before buying a tow dolly.

You need to store large equipment

One of the biggest drawbacks of towing with a dolly is finding a place to store your equipment.

Whether at a campsite or at home, you have to put it somewhere. That can take up a lot of space in a small campsite or garage. It can also be bulky and difficult to transport for some people.

A motorhome pulling a boat with a dolly

Longer body

Flat towing is easy to set up. Even one person can do it. However, this is not the case when towing with a dolly. It takes a little longer to get the vehicle on the dolly and securely fastened.

While this shouldn’t stop you from towing with a dolly, it’s important to know this ahead of time so you can allow enough time before you leave.

Reversing not possible

If you are towing a second vehicle behind a motorhome, you cannot reverse. This applies to both level towing and towing with a dolly. You will potentially damage the vehicle and equipment.

So if you get into a jam and have to make a three-point turn, it’s a disaster. You have to unhitch the vehicle, turn the RV around, and then put everything back in place.

Remember: Can you break the world record for the fastest trailer hitch? Click on the link to see what the record is!

Can be more expensive than flat towing

Depending on how much you spend on a tow truck, this method can be more expensive than flat towing.

However, if you need to make modifications because you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, this job can also be very expensive. Unhitching the driveshaft is not a DIY job, so you should leave this to a mechanic.

If you’re only making a few trips, you might want to rent a tow truck for a few hundred dollars. A new car can cost between $3,000 and $4,000.

Which is better: towing with a dolly or flat towing?

There is no right or wrong method of towing. It depends on what is best for the vehicle and for you. You can tow any car, but not always the same way. So always check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to make sure you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations for towing.

Having a vehicle that you can tow will increase wear and tear on the vehicle, but it will be easier to maneuver and hitch. Also, there is no large equipment in the way at the campsite.

However, if you choose to tow with a dolly, you don’t have to worry about modifications and can change vehicles from trip to trip.

So which is better for you? Towing with a dolly or flat towing?

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