Flat Tow vs. Dolly Tow

  All articlesPosted on RV Lifestyle, RV Safety

If you are planning an RV trip in the near future, one of the questions you might be asking yourself is if you should bring an additional vehicle for shorter trips from your camping sight. If you are unable to drive a secondary car, another option is to tow your vehicle behind your RV. The next question you might be asking is how best to tow your vehicle: Flat or Dolly. Below you will find the basic differences and the benefits and limitations of both types of towing.

Flat Tow:

Flat tow often refers to the ability to put your vehicle completely up on a flatbed trailer. This way none of the tires of your towed vehicle will be wearing on the road as you drive. However, flat tow can also refer to what is called a four-wheel-tow, meaning all four tires of your vehicle will be on the surface of the road as you drive. Essentially, Flat Tow means that all of the wheels of your vehicle being towed are doing the same thing – not moving at all and up on a trailer or rolling on the road behind your RV.

Some of the benefits of doing a Flat Tow on a trailer are that your tires are not wearing the whole trip, you’ll have some extra packing space, and depending on the size of the trailer, you could bring more than one vehicle! The main downside is that you need to be sure that your trailer is properly attached, your vehicles are properly loaded and secure as you drive, and when you reach your destination, the trailer will need somewhere to go in addition to your RV.

The benefits of the Four-Wheel-Tow option avoid the need for additional space for the trailer upon reaching your destination and makes for easy unloading of the vehicle; simply detach your car and off you go! However, with this type of towing your vehicle will get the additional wear and tear of the drive as all four tires will be in motion. Additionally, not all cars are able to be towed this way, so check the link here to see if your vehicle is compatible with this type of tow.


Dolly Tow:

Similar to the Four-Wheel-Tow, the Dolly Tow is an option that leaves the back two wheels of your vehicle on the road while the front two are propped up on a small trailer. This option is great for front-wheel drive vehicles, which are the majority of vehicles on the road these days.

Some of the benefits of this type of tow include the use of a much smaller trailer than the flat tow, so storage at the campsite is more manageable. Also, any left over space on the trailer can be used for additional packing space. Some of the downfalls of this type of towing are the cost of the trailer itself, licensing laws that apply, and backing in this type of trailer can be a bit tricky. Remember, if your vehicle is in rear-wheel drive, this type of towing will not work for you!


As you plan your RV trip, keep in mind that sometimes the safest option can be to have a second driver drive a second vehicle if necessary. If a second driver doesn’t fit into your plans, then take some time to look into the previous towing options and do some additional research to see which is best for your traveling needs! There are various resources available but always remember to consult your RV’s Owner’s Manual and check that your towing capacity can manage whichever method you choose. Happy travels!

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