Should You Use a Car Trailer or a Tow Dolly

Should You Use a Car Trailer or a Tow Dolly

Shipping a car can be a scary experience! Can you imagine entrusting your precious vehicle to a random person? Of course not. If you don’t want other people to transport your car, your only other option is to do it yourself. But there are many things to consider before you take on this task, such as choosing between using a car trailer or a tow dolly. 

Worry not, since everything you need to know is here. Below are some considerations to make on whether you should use a car trailer or a tow dolly.

A Basic Comparison

The first thing you should learn about is the basics. You have to familiarize yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of each method. Basically:

  • A car trailer has four wheels and holds your vehicle by lifting it off the ground. There are many types including flatbed trucks, open-air, enclosed cargo carriers, gooseneck, snowmobile, etc.
  • On the other hand, a tow dolly is a two-wheeled carrier that only lifts the front wheels of your car. It’s basically half of what a trailer is. The rear wheels of the vehicle will be touching the ground during transit.

While these two may look different, both of them serve the same purpose: to bring your vehicle from point A to point B.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s time to discuss the car trailer first.

Pros and Cons Of Using A Car Trailer

Popular trailer types for DIY transport include flatbed trucks or U-Haul trailers. A flatbed is a trailer fitted with a bed that lowers to the ground. U-Haul trailers are cheaper but can still do the job right.

Some advantages of using a car trailer include:

  • Safety: When shipping a car, your vehicle’s safety is a top priority. The last thing you would want to happen is for it to sustain any damages, get scratches, or wear the tires down. A car trailer eliminates these risks by making your car a passenger instead of transporting itself.
  • Flexibility: Since a trailer won’t require a car to run, you can hoist any vehicle on it as long as it meets the size and weight capacity.
  • Faster: With a trailer, you can go faster on highways.
  • Road condition isn’t an issue: Bumpy roads, muddy roads, dusty roads, and others will never be a problem.

As for the cons:

  • Cost: Considering all the benefits and security that come with a trailer, it’s understandable for it to be more expensive than a tow dolly. Renting one from U-Haul starts at about $120, depending on the dimensions of the carrier.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Tow Dolly

Tow dollies are great for DIY movers on a budget. While it cannot beat car trailers in most aspects, there are instances where using one is favorable.

Some reasons why you should consider it include:

  • Cheaper: The first and most significant reason that makes tow dollies great is their affordability. Compared to a trailer, U-Haul rentals start at around $95. 
  • Great for short distances: If you only need to move to a nearby city or a neighboring town, tow dollies are sturdy enough to hold your vehicle for the entire journey.

Now, for the cons:

  • Takes longer to set up: Contrary to a trailer where you have to hoist the car on top, a tow dolly involves a complicated process. You have to ensure that the wheels are correctly attached, and you may have to remove the drive shafts for clearance.
  • Wear and tear: This should be obvious. Since the rear wheels will be running during the trip, it can wear the tires out. The worst-case scenario is a clearance issue causing your car to get dragged and sustain damages.
  • Complex maneuvering: Driving a tow dolly can be challenging for beginners. The weight of the car makes turning difficult and backing up almost impossible. This also prevents you from speeding up to avoid swaying the towed vehicle.

When To Use A Trailer Or A Tow Dolly

Ultimately, it all depends on your needs and budget. If you’re running tight on cash, a tow dolly isn’t that bad of an option. However, you might have to reconsider if you’re transporting a classic car, for example. It’s a fragile vehicle that will suffer from harsh road conditions during transit. Remember that cheap isn’t always the best. Sometimes, it’s worth spending more on quality and peace of mind. 

That said, here’s one final tip:

Consider Hiring a Professional Shipping Company

It’s understandable if you want to do things yourself and save money. However, you might end up doing more harm than good to your vehicle. Professional carriers exist for a reason—to smoothly, swiftly, and safely transport your car to its destination. While it’s true that you’ll pay more than renting a tow dolly or a trailer, you also get peace of mind, insurance, and less stress in exchange. Lastly, please do more research before making a final decision and find a trusted car transporter near you.

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