Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Dinghy Towing: Tow Dolly VS flat tow
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 > Tow Dolly VS flat tow

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Posted: 09/10/19 02:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 2013 Toyota RAV4 FWD that I believe can be towed with the use of a tow dolly. The RAV ("for us") is just an ok car, it doesn't live up to expectations, but that is another topic.
Is it better to flat tow VS tow dolly, for you that have experience with either or both methods please give your opinions.
If I decide to flat tow I will more than likely look for a Honda CRV 2014 or older. The other choice may be a, later model Ford Edge v6.
I will be towing it with my 2006 F 350 DRW hauling a Lance 1130 cab over camper.
All opinions are welcome, thank you


Wheaton IL

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Posted: 09/10/19 03:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

lots of dolly vs flat posts on as well as the archives.

in a nutshell...

- you first need to calculate the total amount of weight you can safely tow. with a dolly you need to include the weight of the dolly in that calculation.

- one less set of wheels to deal with at the campground.

- easier to hookup and disconnect in the rain

- virtually no tongue weight on the hitch.

- but you do have a larger selection of vehicles to choose from. that's about the only positive that i can see.

we flat tow and recommend it.

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& MaggieThe Wonder Beagle


Blythewood, SC

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Posted: 09/10/19 03:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have only flat towed and won’t do any other way. I agree 100% with the above but in addition:

- you do have to add a towbar to every car you will flat tow so changing cars could be pricey. Just went through that.

- the number of cars that can be flat towed is decreasing. Not sure how going electric will affect.

Tom Wilds
Blythewood, SC
2016 Newmar Baystar Sport 3004
2015 Jeep Wrangler 2dr HT

K Charles


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Posted: 09/10/19 04:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Of you change cars you only need to get a new hitch for the new car. The to what will work with most any car. The hidden hitch is so cheep I just set up my pickup so I can tow ether that or my car.
Two pins, two cables and a wire plug, that is all you need to book up or unhook. Nothing to pick up, move, or carry.


I-80 and I-55

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Posted: 09/10/19 08:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we first started in the MH we towed with a dolly. That lasted about 1 1/2 years and we went to flat tow. Will never go back. Changing cars required buying new base plate. Everything else carried over.

BTW Love our Edge.

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Near St Louis, MO

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Posted: 09/10/19 08:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've tried both ways and prefer towing 4 down.

You can do your research here at Motorhome Magazine's Dinghy Towing Guide........y have archives going back several years

I soon tired of dragging the tow dolly around. And heaven forbid, you get to a spot where you need to drop the car to turn around. My first venture into towing 4 down required a driveshaft disconnect back in the mid 80s and I'm still using it today when I tow my Aerostar. When I tow my HHR, all I have to do is pull a fuse, put the transmission in neutral and leave the key is the ACC position. The cost of equipping your towable car for towing can be a lot if you can't attached the bracket, wire the brake lights and setup a braking system yourself.

Neither the tow dolly or your 4 down towed can be backed up more than a couple of feet without causing damage so that's toss-up. Don't do it and be safe!

Don Ford
2004 Safari Trek 31SBD (F53/V10 20,500GVW)
'09 HHR 2LT or '97 Aerostar MiniVan (Remco driveshaft disconnect) for Towed vehicles
BlueOx Aventa II Towbar - ReadyBrake Inertia Brake System


Huntsville, AL, USA

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Posted: 09/10/19 08:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would only consider Dolly towing as a temporary option. If you have a need to tow different vehicles on a regular basis, it is a viable option. Most, including us, find it much more convenient/expedient to flat tow.

We sold the motor home several years ago and we've recently re-entered the RV market with a travel trailer. But when we had our motor homes, we researched both and decided the convenience of flat towing was definitely our preference.

Research equipment options to understand the pros and cons of each brand and type of tow bar set up.

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1986 27' Allegro
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Tucson, AZ & NW Chicago Burbs, IL

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Posted: 09/11/19 06:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


We use a dolly, and have for about 13 years.

With a dolly, you don't a baseplate installed or a special wiring harness, which can run $1000 or more just to get it set up.

You won't need to spend $1000 or more on a supplemental brake.

If you tow once or twice a year, the dolly is a good option to consider. If you're out at least one week per month year round, flat towing is probably cost justified.

  • 2005 Winnebago "Minnie" 31C (was a three-time Jayco owner)
  • 2012 MasterTow Dolly pulling a 2003 Jeep Liberty (had Ram 2500 CTD, Dodge Durango, Honda Odyssey...)
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Posted: 09/11/19 07:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

if you are going to flat tow, be sure to check the owner's manual for approval/instructions. that is the only valid source, not third party.


Billings, MT

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Posted: 09/11/19 11:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMO, there is no "better" or "best", there is only what YOU are willing to do, and what YOUR vehicle requires.
we towed our PT Cruiser on a dolly from Billings to Chattanooga and back. We did not experience much of what the naysayers and doomsayers tend to say.
we tow our Jeep Wrangler four down, and don't experience much of what the doomsayers and naysayers say. For instance, if anyone mentions using a fixed arm adjustable width Reese towbar ($165 at Walmart), there will be many negative comments, the first of which will be "You can't hook it to the motorhome by yourself, you WILL need help!" UMMM... Golly... I do that frequently, no problem.
Just keep in mind that there may be a huge difference between what others say can't be done, and what YOU can do!
Another "for instance" (aimed at me); if you want an inexpensive non-steering dolly, go for it. Personally, I will never own one. I want king pin steering (Demco KarKaddy, expensive) or a turn-table steering (American Car Dolly, Mastertow, etc., comparatively inexpensive).
Regardless of which way you go, there are many used ones available, often at half the price of new.
Good luck.

2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Daily Driver: '06 PT Cruiser Turbo
Toad: '05 Wrangler Unlimited
Toy: 1999 Dodge QC LWB, Cummins, Auto, 4X4
Other toys: 2 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 ATVs.
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"

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