Which Should You Pick Between A Car Trailer And A Tow Dolly?

Written By admin | Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Which Should You Pick Between A Car Trailer And A Tow Dolly?

Moving but need to transport your car along with you? Opt for a car carrier for interstate car shipping and for cars that have more weight than what a tow dolly can handle.

When it comes to shipping your car to a new destination, choosing the cheapest option is not always the wise decision, because you will be compromising a lot in the process.

So, ensure that you check your needs strictly and choose accordingly. You might be thinking about whether you should rent U-Haul’s tow dolly since it is among the cheapest ways to ship a car, but you still want to know your other options.

Choosing whether to rent a tow dolly or a car carrier will be your biggest choice to make. These two DIY car transport methods are not as expensive as hiring a professional auto shipping company but need a bit more work than just driving the vehicle yourself.

So, tow dolly or better car carrier? To make a comparison of the two methods of car shipping, we’ve added information on the two options including important differences between both.

Car Trailer or Tow dolly? Which one is better?

How does car trailer work? This is a 4-wheeled car carrier that lifts and holds your car off the ground. It enables you to transport the car while it is completely on the trailer (with all four wheels off the ground surface), so the car you are towing will not have much wear and tear. U-Haul mentioned that this option is perfect for towing most compact, sedans, and coupes cars, together with heavier/larger cars since the highest capacity for the U-Haul auto shipping is 5,290lbs.

How does tow dolly? This tows your car with only its front wheels in the dolly while the rear wheels are on the ground. U-Haul stated that the tow dolly is made for fast, convenient load and unload for many front-wheel-drive vehicles. Whether your car can be towed on a U-Haul tow dolly or not is dictated by many factors which include your car’s weight, distribution of the weight from the front to the rear, together with the length, width,h, and vehicle’s ground clearance.

PROS CONS
Tow Dolly Affordable Not ideal for cars over 3,450 lbs
Ideal for short distances Increased wear and tear
You are with your car at all times Increased fuel consumption
Safety issues
Not ideal for long distances
Towing trailer Door-to-door service Requires skill and practice
A safer option than a dolly Extra costs such as food, accommodation, and extra fuel increases the cost
No wear and tear

Knowing the Differences between Tow Dolly and Car Carrier

Comparing the pros and cons of both options, let’s discuss the differences between them. This will provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of which option best matches your needs. We will be measuring them based on these factors:

1. How they work:

A tow or car dolly is a 2-wheel trailer that will lift your car’s front wheel only. The rear wheels are still on the ground as you tow your vehicle using a tow dolly. On the contrary, a car carrier or a shipping carrier comes with four wheels and it will lift the whole of your car off the ground.

2. Cost:

The cost of renting car trailers is higher than that of tow dollies. Even though many factors determine costs, such as the duration of time you are renting, the shipping distance, and the existing need for equipment, you can prepare to pay much more for a car carrier than a tow dolly. However, the price is still cheaper than hiring a professional auto shipping company to transport the car for you.

3. Setup efficiently:

Attaching your car to a tow dolly can be so complicated, especially if this is your first time. You need to ensure that the drive wheels are so secure to prevent accidents. This is very important since when you tow a car using a tow dolly, you can’t match the emergency brake to hold the car in position. The setup is so complicated when you are towing a rear-wheel drive. There may be a need for you to remove the driveshafts because of issues with front clearance. You may then go for flat towing to have a more efficient setup.

4. Vehicle compatibility:

A tow dolly is perfect for most vehicles that have front-wheel drive and some all-wheel-drive vehicles, four-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive vehicles. There are also particular weight limits so it would not be ideal for towing heavier cars. A car trailer, on the contrary, can haul heavier cars like trucks and modified vehicles. The carrier company will just make some modifications to hold your vehicle weight. For example, if the car is heavier, they will lower the number of vehicles being transported by the trailer for that trip so it doesn’t pass the weight limit.

5. Weight capacity:

One other important difference between the two transport equipment is vehicle compatibility and the number of weights each of them can take. In total, car trailers can accommodate heavier-weight shipments and can transport larger vehicles. The car trailer from U-Haul has the highest weight of 5,290 lbs. While tow dollies on the other hand are not built to accommodate huge, heavy vehicles. This method of transporting vehicles is better made for lightweight cars. For example, the tow dolly from U-Haul can only hold the highest capacity of 3,900 lbs. with a rear-wheel-drive car and 3,450 lbs. with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

6. Driving:

Car trailers can be conveniently transported than tow dollies. While practice is needed to tow anything behind your vehicle, trailers come with two features that simplify this:

  • A trailer allows you to reverse, but a tow dolly doesn’t.
  • Trailers have brakes, but they are absent in dollies.

When talking about loading, unloading, and driving, it is easier to maneuver car trailers than tow dollies.

Pro Tip

Allow someone to take care of the work: if you prioritize convenience, we recommend you pick one of the best car shipping companies to ship your car for you.

A Better Option between a Car Trailer and a Tow Dolly?

Your Scenario Our Recommendation
Cost matters the most Tow Dolly
Convenience is my priority. Car trailer
I want to reduce wear and tear on my cars. Car trailer
I’m nervous about driving while towing a vehicle behind me. Car trailer
I’m traveling within the same state. Tow Dolly
I’m traveling to another part of the nation. Car trailer
I don’t have a large car to tow. Tow Dolly
My car doesn’t come with front-wheel drive. Car trailer

FAQ about Car Trailer or Tow Dolly

No. A tow dolly (or car dolly) is a 2-wheel trailer that will only lift your car’s front wheels. The wheels at the back are still on the ground as you haul your car using a tow dolly. A car carrier, on the other hand, is a 4-wheel trailer that will lift your car above the ground.

A tow dolly is the cheapest method to tow your car. Based on the number of days you need to rent a tow dolly, the cost is half as costly as a car trailer, as seen in a quote gotten from U-Haul.

Yes, you can usually buy a tow bar from your rental provider. Tow bars are in different sizes and attach to your towing vehicle’s tow hitch.

The cost of a U-Haul car tow dolly is $180 daily (excluding gas costs). Trailer from U-Haul costs around twice that amount ($350 daily).

The cost is around $1,500 to transport a car inside an enclosed trailer as mentioned on move.org. Costs start from around $820 to haul a small car to a few hundred miles to $2,040 to haul a huge truck to another part of the nation.

You can simply tow any type of car you want using a flat tow trailer. The major limitation with this method is that the work needed to load up will be much. Flat trailers are larger than dollies and will need much towing capacity.

Would you rather go with an Auto Shipping Company?

Luckily, we can help. You just have to supply your auto shipping request to get different car transport quotes from our numerous licensed and insured auto shipping partners. We’ll consider the place you are moving to; the model, make, year, and condition of your car(s); and your preferred date of the move to compile your free estimate. All the car transport quotes contain auto shipping costs and more information about the standards of each company.

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