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Car Dolly Towing Tips

If you’re planning to transport a vehicle, using a car dolly is a safe and reliable option. However, towing a vehicle can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to provide you with essential car dolly towing tips to ensure safe and hassle-free transportation of your vehicle.

By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can confidently tow your vehicle using a car dolly and avoid any potential mishaps that could damage your vehicle or put you and other drivers on the road at risk.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose the right car dolly for your specific needs
  • Properly prepare your vehicle before loading it onto the car dolly
  • Follow safe towing practices to ensure your own safety and that of other drivers on the road
  • Maintain your car dolly to ensure its longevity and optimal performance
  • Troubleshoot common issues that may arise during towing

Understanding Car Dollies

Car dollies are an essential tool for towing vehicles, especially for long distances. They act as an intermediary between your vehicle and the tow vehicle, allowing you to transport your car without having to drive or put unnecessary mileage on it. But what are car dollies exactly? Let’s take a closer look.

Types of Car Dollies

There are two main types of car dollies: tow dolly and wheel dolly. Tow dollies are the most commonly used type and are designed to tow a car with its front wheels off the ground. They usually come with a pair of ramps that you can use to load and unload the car.

Wheel dollies, on the other hand, are designed to carry the entire weight of the car, lifting all four wheels off the ground. They are less commonly used and are typically only used in certain situations, such as when towing a car with a completely flat tire.

How Car Dollies Work

Car dollies work by allowing you to tow your vehicle behind another vehicle without having to drive it or put unnecessary mileage on it. The car is loaded onto the dolly, with the front wheels (or all four wheels, depending on the type of dolly) elevated and secured to the dolly using straps or chains. The dolly is then attached to the tow vehicle using a tow hitch, allowing you to safely tow the car behind the tow vehicle.

It’s important to note that not all vehicles are suitable for towing with a car dolly. Before towing your vehicle with a car dolly, make sure to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual and ensure that it is safe to tow your vehicle using this method.

Choosing the Right Car Dolly

Choosing the right car dolly is crucial for a safe and hassle-free towing experience. There are a few important considerations to keep in mind when selecting a car dolly:

  • Weight capacity: Make sure the weight capacity of the car dolly you choose can accommodate the weight of your vehicle. Exceeding the weight limit can damage the dolly and make towing unsafe.
  • Tire size compatibility: Check if the car dolly is compatible with your vehicle’s tire size. A wrong tire size can cause uneven wear and damage to the tires.
  • Braking system: Choose a car dolly with a reliable and effective braking system. This is essential for maintaining control and stopping the towed vehicle safely.

Additionally, you should also consider the type of car dolly that suits your needs. There are two main types available:

  • Traditional Car Dollies: These dollies are the most common and are suitable for towing front-wheel-drive vehicles.
  • Swivel Car Dollies: These dollies have a swiveling platform that can accommodate all types of vehicles, including rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive.

Consider all these factors before choosing the right car dolly for your towing needs. A well-informed decision can make towing hassle-free and ensure the safety of your vehicle.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Towing

Before hitting the road with your car dolly, it’s crucial to properly prepare your vehicle for towing to ensure a safe and smooth experience. Here’s a comprehensive vehicle towing checklist:

  • Remove any loose items from the vehicle, including personal belongings and removable parts.
  • Check the tire pressure on both the vehicle and the car dolly, ensuring they are at the recommended levels.
  • Make sure the vehicle is in park and the emergency brake is engaged.
  • Turn off the engine, and remove the key from the ignition.
  • Secure any loose parts of the vehicle such as mirrors or bumpers that could detach during transportation.
  • Ensure that the steering wheel is locked into place to prevent movement while being towed.
  • For vehicles with low ground clearance, use car ramps while loading the vehicle onto the car dolly to prevent the front bumper from getting damaged.
  • Refer to the owner’s manual for any specific instructions or precautions for towing your vehicle.

Once your vehicle is prepared for towing, it’s important to properly secure it to the car dolly. The process involves:

  1. Backing the car dolly up to the front of the vehicle and aligning the dolly’s ramps with the vehicle’s front tires.
  2. Slowly driving the vehicle up the ramps and onto the dolly, ensuring that the front wheels are properly aligned with the dolly’s front wheels.
  3. Placing the vehicle in park and engaging the emergency brake.
  4. Strapping the front wheels of the vehicle to the dolly using the provided straps, ensuring they are tight and secure.
  5. Double-checking that the steering wheel is locked into place and that the straps are tight and properly secured.

By following these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is properly prepared and secured for towing, ensuring a safe and stress-free transportation experience.

Loading and Unloading the Vehicle

Loading and unloading your vehicle onto the car dolly can seem daunting, but with the proper technique and considerations, it can be done safely and efficiently. Proper alignment is essential to prevent any damage to your vehicle, the dolly, or other vehicles on the road.

Before loading your vehicle, ensure that the car dolly is properly attached to the towing vehicle and that the dolly’s tire straps and safety chains are secure. Once the dolly is ready, position it directly behind the towing vehicle with the ramp facing up towards the rear of the car.

Loading vehicle onto car dolly

Slowly drive your vehicle up the ramp and onto the car dolly. Make sure the tires are centered on the dolly and that they are tightly secured with the tire straps.

When unloading your vehicle, it’s important to reverse the loading process by positioning the car dolly behind the towing vehicle and lowering the ramp. Slowly drive the vehicle down the ramp and off the dolly, ensuring that the car is aligned and balanced throughout the unloading process.

By following these steps, you can ensure proper alignment and a safe loading and unloading experience.

Towing Safety Tips

When towing a vehicle with a car dolly, safety should always be your top priority. Follow these towing safety tips to ensure a smooth and trouble-free towing experience:

1. Practice Safe Towing Practices

Before hitting the road, make sure you have the proper equipment and have thoroughly inspected your car dolly and vehicle. Always maintain a safe speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Avoid sudden braking or accelerating as this can disrupt the balance of the dolly and cause damage to your vehicle.

2. Know Towing Speed Limits

It’s essential to understand the towing speed limits and regulations in your area. In general, the maximum speed limit for towing a vehicle with a car dolly is 55 mph in the United States. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your local authorities to confirm any specific speed restrictions applicable in your area.

3. Check Your Tire Pressure

Before setting off, make sure to check the tire pressure on both the dolly and your vehicle. Proper tire pressure is crucial for stability and balance during towing. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct tire pressure levels.

4. Secure Your Vehicle

Make sure your vehicle is securely fastened to the car dolly using appropriate straps and chains. Double-check all connections before hitting the road, and make sure the vehicle is properly aligned on the dolly.

5. Be Vigilant When Turning

Turning with a car dolly can be challenging, so it’s important to be extra cautious when navigating turns. Avoid making sharp turns, and take turns slowly and carefully to avoid any sudden movements that may cause the dolly or your vehicle to tip over.

6. Understand the Braking System

Most car dollies are equipped with their own braking system, which makes it easier to stop the dolly and vehicle when necessary. However, it’s important to understand how the braking system works and how to apply the brakes effectively without causing abrupt or sudden stops.

7. Observe Your Surroundings

When towing with a car dolly, always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Watch out for any obstacles or hazards on the road, such as potholes, bumps, or uneven surfaces, which may affect the stability of your dolly and vehicle.

By following these towing safety tips, you can ensure a safe and hassle-free towing experience with your car dolly. Remember to prioritize safety, maintain your equipment, and observe towing speed limits to avoid any accidents or damage to your vehicle.

Maneuvering with a Car Dolly

Maneuvering with a car dolly can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time. Turning with a car dolly requires extra caution, as the dolly’s steering is directly connected to the towing vehicle. It’s important to remember that the car being towed will also turn, so make wide turns to avoid any collisions.

Backing up with a car dolly can also be tricky. It’s best to have a spotter to assist you and to use small, slow movements to prevent the vehicle from jackknifing. Always keep an eye on the car being towed and adjust your movements accordingly.

Proper alignment is crucial when maneuvering with a car dolly. Always make sure the car is centered on the dolly before securing it in place. If it’s misaligned, it can cause the dolly to tilt, resulting in damage to the vehicle and the dolly itself.

Remember to take it slow and steady when maneuvering with a car dolly. It’s better to take extra time than to risk an accident. With practice, it will become easier to navigate turns and backing up with a car dolly.

Expert Tip:

When turning with a car dolly, use your towing vehicle’s side mirrors to monitor the position of the car being towed. This will allow you to adjust your turns and avoid any obstacles on the road.

Section 8: Maintaining Your Car Dolly

Proper maintenance of your car dolly is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Regular inspections should be conducted to identify any problems before they become serious.

One of the most important things you can do to maintain your car dolly is to keep it clean. Road grime, dirt, and debris can cause damage to the dolly’s components if left unaddressed. After each use, take the time to clean your car dolly thoroughly.

In addition to cleaning, lubricating the dolly’s moving parts is another crucial maintenance step. This will help prevent rust and ensure smooth operation.

It’s also important to regularly inspect the dolly’s tires for proper inflation and wear. Replace any tires that show signs of damage or excessive wear.

When storing your car dolly, it’s best to keep it dry and covered to protect it from the elements. Store it in a secure location, away from moisture and direct sunlight.

Creating a regular car dolly maintenance checklist can help you stay on top of maintenance tasks and ensure your dolly is always in optimal condition. Don’t neglect the maintenance of your car dolly, as it can lead to costly repairs or even accidents. Proper maintenance will ensure a safe and hassle-free towing experience.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While towing with a car dolly can be a safe and easy experience, there are some common issues that may arise. It’s important to understand these issues and know how to troubleshoot them to ensure a hassle-free towing experience.

Tire Blowouts

One of the most common issues while using a car dolly is tire blowouts. This can happen due to the uneven distribution of weight on the dolly or low tire pressure. To avoid this issue, make sure to inspect the tire pressure before starting your trip and maintain the recommended pressure levels. If you do experience a tire blowout, safely pull over to the side of the road and replace the tire.

Vehicle Not Aligning Properly

Another common issue is when the vehicle doesn’t align properly on the dolly, leading to instability and potential damage to the vehicle. To avoid this, make sure to load and secure the vehicle onto the dolly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you notice any alignment issues while driving, safely pull over and adjust the vehicle’s position on the dolly.

Brake Malfunctions

Brake malfunctions can also occur while using a car dolly. This can happen due to dirty or worn brake components. It’s important to regularly inspect and clean all brake components to ensure they are functioning properly. If you do experience a brake malfunction, pull over to the side of the road and safely inspect the brakes before continuing.

By understanding these common car dolly issues and knowing how to troubleshoot them, you can ensure a safe and stress-free towing experience. Always prioritize safety and take the necessary precautions to avoid these issues before hitting the road.

troubleshooting car dolly issues


Congratulations, you now have the essential knowledge and guidance to tow your vehicle using a car dolly with confidence. Remember to always prioritize safety by choosing the right car dolly for your specific needs, preparing your vehicle correctly, and following safe towing practices.

Recap of Essential Tips

  • Understand the different types of car dollies available and how they function before choosing the right one.
  • Consider factors such as weight capacity, tire size compatibility, and braking systems when selecting a car dolly.
  • Follow a comprehensive vehicle towing checklist when preparing your vehicle for towing.
  • Load and unload your vehicle with precision to avoid any damage by following the step-by-step instructions.
  • Maintain proper towing safety by following regulations and guidelines and checking tire pressure regularly.
  • Learn how to maneuver with a car dolly by following expert tips on turning and backing up safely.
  • Properly maintain your car dolly by following the maintenance checklist, including regular inspections and lubrication.
  • Refer to the troubleshooting tips to overcome common car dolly issues that may arise despite taking necessary precautions.

By following these car dolly towing tips, you can ensure a safe and hassle-free towing experience in the United States. It’s important to remember that every towing situation is unique, so don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if you’re unsure about anything. Happy towing!


What are car dollies?

Car dollies are devices used for towing vehicles. They are typically designed with two wheels and a platform on which the front or rear tires of a vehicle can be secured.

How do car dollies work?

Car dollies work by allowing the non-driven tires of a vehicle to roll freely while the other tires are being towed. This ensures that the wheels of the towed vehicle do not incur any damage during transportation.

How do I choose the right car dolly?

When choosing a car dolly, it is important to consider factors such as weight capacity, compatibility with the tire size of your vehicle, and the type of braking system you prefer. These considerations will help ensure a safe and secure towing experience.

How do I prepare my vehicle for towing?

To prepare your vehicle for towing, you should check and adjust tire pressure, remove any loose objects from the vehicle, and secure all doors and windows. Additionally, it is important to consult the owner’s manual for specific instructions on towing your vehicle.

How do I load and unload my vehicle from a car dolly?

To load your vehicle onto a car dolly, ensure that the dolly is properly aligned and balanced. Slowly drive the front or rear tires onto the dolly, making sure they are properly secured. To unload the vehicle, reverse the loading process, ensuring that the vehicle is safely removed from the dolly.

What are some towing safety tips?

When towing a vehicle with a car dolly, it is important to obey speed limits, maintain proper tire pressure, and regularly check the towing equipment for any signs of wear or damage. Additionally, familiarize yourself with local towing regulations to ensure compliance.

How do I maneuver with a car dolly?

Maneuvering with a car dolly requires careful consideration, especially when turning and backing up. Always follow wider turning angles to prevent the dolly from hitting curbs or other objects. When backing up, use a spotter to guide you and move slowly to ensure proper control.

How do I maintain my car dolly?

To maintain your car dolly, regularly inspect the tires, wheels, and braking system for any signs of wear or damage. Lubricate any moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer and store the dolly in a clean and dry area when not in use.

What should I do if I encounter common car dolly issues?

If you encounter common car dolly issues such as tire blowouts, brake failures, or alignment problems, it is important to remain calm and follow the appropriate troubleshooting steps. This may include replacing damaged parts, adjusting tire pressure, or seeking professional assistance if needed.

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