Towing A Car On A Dolly

tow dolly

There are a few different situations where having a towing car on a dolly will reduce stress and make life a little bit easier. Have you ever had to call a tow truck because you were broken down on the side of the road? Maybe it seemed routine but ended up costing an arm and a leg.


Maybe you just need a good way to get your car across the country behind your camper. Driving both seems like a waste of mileage and gas! Pulling your vehicle behind your trailer doesn’t have to be dangerous or difficult. Let’s look at some common questions that relate to using a tow dolly!

Is It Safe To Tow A Car On A Dolly?

Yes! Car Tow dollies include chains, straps, and brakes that will allow your car to make it to its next destination safely. If you properly secure your vehicle and use it correctly, towing a car on a dolly is actually safer than a traditional trailer. Tow dollies have fewer components, so there is less to maintain and affix to your vehicle. 

What Gear Should The Car Be In When Towing?


You will either need to be in 1st or neutral when towing a car on a dolly. The gear that your car needs to be in will be determined by the type of transmission your car has and the drivetrain. Here are the five situations you may run into when towing your car on a dolly. 

  • Automatic Front Wheel Drive – In this situation, the front two wheels should be off the ground and on your tow dolly. This will leave the back wheels free to rotate on the road. You can leave your vehicle and park, and begin towing. 
  • Manual Front Wheel Drive – The front wheels should be off the ground again with this situation. The only difference here is that we recommend towing in 1st gear if your car is manual. 
  • Automatic Rear Wheel Drive – Rear-wheel drive automatic cars should have the driveshaft disconnected. Then you can put it in any gear while also keeping the front wheels on the tow dolly. 
  • Manual Rear Wheel Drive – Rear-wheel drive manual cars can leave the driveshaft connected as long as it is in neutral with the rear wheels on the tow dolly. 
  • All Wheel DriveAWD cars should not be used on a tow dolly. In extensive circumstances, just make sure you disconnect the driveshaft. 

Towing A Car On A Dolly: Loading

If you are ready to begin loading your car, check out this helpful video to see how to properly get your car on the dolly.

Loading A Non-Running Car

tow dolly for a car

If your vehicle is not running, simply put it in neutral and push it into the appropriate spot on your tow dolly. Then, follow the standard steps of loading a car on a tow dolly. 

What Cars Can You Tow With A Dolly?

You can tow a lot of different vehicles on a tow dolly. The best way you are going to be able to tell if your vehicle can be towed this way is by checking the owner’s manual for more information. The main factors that determine whether or not you can use a tow dolly are:

  • Weight
  • Drivetrain
  • Wheel Width

Here are the main car makes we have seen on tow dollies in the past:

  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Nissan
  • Ford

As long as you check the manual, you should be good to go. Never assume your car is fine to tow on a dolly. 

Can You Tow Electric Cars On A Dolly?

We do not recommend using a tow dolly for electric cars. Using a flat trailer like a car hauler is much safer for the car in this case. 

Do Car Dollies Need License Plates?

tow dolly license plate

Check with your local state registration, but commonly, car dollies do not need license plates. It is good to check because your tow dolly may need to be registered. 

Renting VS Purchasing A Car Dolly

towing a car on a dolly

The first question you want to ask yourself is: Can your car be towed on a dolly? The second is, are you okay with calling a tow truck? If you want to make sure that you never need to depend on towing companies, a tow dolly may be a good purchase for you.

A tow dolly also allows you to know what you are spending. Towing companies can be notorious for charging you an arm and a leg to simply move your car. You then will not need to pick it up at an inconvenient destination.

You will also need to think about the use you will get out of a tow dolly. If you only use it 3-5 times in years of owning it…is that worth it to you? Tow dollies are less expensive than trailers and can come in handy in a pinch.

If you’re still unsure whether to purchase a tow dolly, consider a rent-to-own plan. This plan allows you to get the dolly right away and pay for it over time.

How Much Weight Can A Tow Dolly Hold?

towing any car on a dolly

Most tow dollies have a weight limit between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. Make sure to check the weight of your vehicle in conjunction with the weight capacity of your tow dolly.

Can I Tow A Car On A Dolly Backwards?

tow dolly for a car

Yes, you can. While towing a car on a dolly is possible, it is not always recommended. It is important to know that RWD cars are the only ones that will need this in the first place. You are also going to want to lock the steering wheel and disconnect the driveshaft before attempting this. 

How Fast Can I Drive With A Tow Dolly?

Keep your speed at 55 MPH or under when driving with a tow dolly. The most straightforward answer as to why this is important deals with the safety of yourself and others. Traveling at a higher rate of speed will cause your haul to drift from side to side. The more drifting that happens, the more accident potential you can find yourself in.

Is Towing A Car On A Dolly Good For Long Distances?

tow dollies

Towing a car on a dolly can be perfectly fine for long distances, but there is some concern for longevity. There are some companies that would advise against a tow dolly for long distances. In our opinion, you can use a tow dolly for longer distances as long as it is well-maintained. 

Keep in mind that you will have two wheels on the road at all times when traveling. These wheels may need to be rotated after the trip or discarded for new ones. 

Is A Tow Dolly Better Than A Car Hauler?

tow dolly vs car hauler

A tow dolly is neither better nor worse than a car hauler. They are created for the same purpose but for different reasons. A car hauler is more expensive and will generally be used more than a tow dolly. If you are purchasing a car hauler, you will probably be hauling many more cars than most other people.

Tow dollies and car haulers are both great options! Finding what is best for your situation is going to be what makes one better than the other. How heavy are your vehicles? How much will you need to haul them?

Tips For Towing A Car On A Dolly

help with towing a car on a dolly

Here are five starter tips before you begin towing your car on your new dolly.

  1. Double Check Your Car Tires’ Position
  2. Limit Weight In The Backseat Of Your Car
  3. Test Lights
  4. Check Straps & Chains
  5. Drive Onto The Dolly On A Flat Surface

Laws Around Towing A Car On A Dolly

Just like with anything, there are a few laws around using a tow dolly (specifically on the highway) that we need to pay attention to. It is important to mention that you can use a tow dolly on all U.S. highways, but there are a few pertinent laws to remember when driving. For a comprehensive list, check out the regulations of your local state.

Tow Dollies In Bowling Green, KY

master tow tow dolly

Ready to start towing a car on a dolly soon? Our custom and in-stock tow dollies are ready for you! Request a free quote to let us know your weight needs, or simply check out the ones already on our lot! We have trailers in stock that are ready for purchase, or you can choose our rent-to-own trailers for a more budget-friendly option! Let us know if you have any questions that we can help with. We can’t wait to hear from you!