If your vehicle’s broken down and you could do with a tow, ringing a mate to come and collect you using a towing dolly may seem like the perfect solution. Unfortunately, although a towing dolly can be a relatively cheap method of transport for an inoperable vehicle, its drawbacks mean it’s really an absolute last resort. Before opting for a towing dolly to carry your precious truck or car to its destination, read this first. Not only could your vehicle end up in even worse repair after a trip on the dolly, but it also may not even get to where it needs to go.
Take a look at five of the main disadvantages of using a towing dolly.
1. Your undercarriage, fenders, skirts and exhaust system will suffer
When your vehicle is transported on a professional tow truck, all the wheels are on the truck. When a towing dolly is used, the front tires are higher than the rear ones whilst the vehicle is being towed. For low-slung vehicles, this position can wreak havoc with skirts, fenders, bumpers and the undercarriage, as it rubs on the road during the tow.
2. Your vehicle may be too heavy
A standard towing dolly can hold a front-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle that ways 3450lbs or less. This means that something like a Mitsubishi Outlander or a Toyota Rav4 may well be too heavy of the towing dolly. Also note that towing dollies can’t tow rear-wheel-drive vehicles unless the drive shaft is removed – if you’ve got a broken-down BMW M4, a Ford Mustang or a Holden Commodore, for example, you will need to remove the driveshaft before the car can be towed on the dolly.
3. Lack of precision movement
Once your vehicle is hitched up on a towing dolly, reversing is nearly impossible. Towing dollies are very difficult to maneuver, even with a fairly strong vehicle pulling the dolly. This can mean that maneuvering the broken vehicle into a workshop, yard or similar is enormously challenging. It’s also a problem if your route involves situations where reversing may be necessary during the journey – a single-track road, for example.
4. Damaging the tires in contact with the ground
Whilst the vehicle is being towed on the dolly, only two wheels are in contact with the ground. This results in uneven forces being applied to these wheels, which can result in accelerated wear to the tires. In addition, the chassis is also put under unnatural strain, as vehicles aren’t designed to carry the majority of their weight on the rear axle.
5. Securing the vehicle
This is a big problem when using a towing dolly. On a tow truck, the wheels of the vehicle are usually securely immobilised using the hand brake. Because the wheels need to turn when a towing dolly is used, the hand brake needs to be disengaged. In addition, only part of the vehicle is on the dolly, so it’s most difficult to achieve total security. Unfortunately, it has been known for vehicles to break loose from dollies whilst they’re being towed.
If you have a small, lightweight vehicle that’s got front-wheel or all-wheel drive and a good bit of clearance between the undercarriage and the ground, a short tow with a towing dolly is realistic. For any other vehicle, particularly if you’re looking at towing a longer distance or will need to reverse into a garage on arrival, using a towing dolly probably won’t be suitable. In these circumstances, calling a professional towing outfit, such as Banjos Towing, is the best solution. They will have the right type of equipment, skills and tow vehicle to take your broken-down car or truck where it needs to go, quickly and safely.