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Old 05-14-2022, 11:57 PM   #1
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Flat tow vs Tow dolly

Okay members, we are planning on getting a Class A soon and I wanted to ask which is better I have been doing a search, but I wanted you guys to tell me the pro's and the con's.
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Old 05-15-2022, 02:50 AM   #2
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I went round and round with flat tow vs dolly tow last year vs aluminum car trailer. Finally decided on flat tow. First off, we had a Subaru Forester (not flat/dolly towable... the reason for considering aluminum trailer) and a F-150 (flat towable but too much weight). A tow dolly was cheaper and does not require any wiring modifications to the towed vehicle and towbars for the tow vehicle, but then when not traveling it sits around the property somewhere and I did not like the idea of strapping the tires to the dolly.
Saw a lot of people trailering their vehicles when we were out west and, again, no wiring/tow bars required, just have to watch the weight, and again, when not in use the trailer needs to sit around somewhere. Tying the vehicle down to the trailer was acceptable to me. You can also backup a trailer, not so with a flat tow or dolly tow.
Finally decided to flat tow, which meant getting another vehicle. We decided on a Nissan Versa S w/manual tranny. Found a 2020 with 2000 miles on it, factory certified. BTW, when we went to look at the vehicle, it was already wired for flat tow...BONUS! So all I needed was Blue Ox tow bar/brake system (RVi) set up.
We have made several trips towing the Versa, the ease of hooking/unhooking, no dolly of trailer to store at home, does it for me.
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Old 05-15-2022, 08:15 AM   #3
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Flat tow. Blue Ox.

Tow dolly too clunky.

Easy to setup even my 15yr old can do it. Along with black/grey tanks, electric and water hookups, lol!

Train ‘em young!
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Old 05-15-2022, 10:45 AM   #4
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There are vast numbers of previous threads on this topic that can be found using the search feature or try Google and you will find a number of informational pieces on the Internet about the differences.

My biggest reason for flat towing was avoiding dealing with another “vehicle” that needs to be unhooked, stored and lugged around. It takes me about 15 minutes to hook or unhook the Wrangler. It won’t be that fast or easy with a dolly.
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Old 05-15-2022, 11:09 AM   #5
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There are pros and cons for sure with either choice. For me, I purchased a tow dolly with surge brakes early on primarily because the toad I planned to use I didn't plan on keeping, and with a dolly you can easily tow different toads (primarily front wheel drive toads) and not incur additional costs because you switched toads.

On the other hand, I purchased a Chevrolet Colorado which I plan to keep for a long time, therefore the cost of the flat tow setup would not be a cost that I would have to pay out again for a long time.

Outside of what I shared above, flat towing is a better experience, although for me I can put a car on the dolly and securely strap it down in about 15 minutes as well so I wouldn't make the choice simply to save a few minutes as other pros and cons are more significant, at least in my experience. ~CA

One other thought to share, be sure that you check into the specifics for whatever vehicle you plan to tow, some cannot be dolly towed, some can't be flat towed, however I suspect all could be trailer towed.
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Old 05-15-2022, 12:02 PM   #6
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There are pros and cons for sure with either choice. For me, I purchased a tow dolly with surge brakes early on primarily because the toad I planned to use I didn't plan on keeping, and with a dolly you can easily tow different toads (primarily front wheel drive toads) and not incur additional costs because you switched toads.

On the other hand, I purchased a Chevrolet Colorado which I plan to keep for a long time, therefore the cost of the flat tow setup would not be a cost that I would have to pay out again for a long time.

Outside of what I shared above, flat towing is a better experience, although for me I can put a car on the dolly and securely strap it down in about 15 minutes as well so I wouldn't make the choice simply to save a few minutes as other pros and cons are more significant, at least in my experience. ~CA

One other thought to share, be sure that you check into the specifics for whatever vehicle you plan to tow, some cannot be dolly towed, some can't be flat towed, however I suspect all could be trailer towed.
When you calculate setup/take down time I would include hooking up the dolly and unhooking at the destination as opposed to pulling the Jeep into position, attaching the tow bar and electrical, taking the Jeep out of gear all of which I would think would be less time than messing with the dolly then hooking up but I have never done a dolly so canít compare. In any event this is another, which tires, which oil, which wax questions. Personal preference.
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Old 05-15-2022, 12:11 PM   #7
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Thank you guys for your comments, so on the flat tow what all will I need and what will be the price of a good tow dolly? I just want to go the best route so far I’m leaning toward the flat tow.

I have watch some YouTube video and what I gather is that you have to drill some holes into your bumper, I wouldn’t want to drill holes in my wife 2020 Lincoln Aviator, lol. Thanks again guys so tell me what will I need to do a flat tow and which company is good, I’ve heard that Blue Ox is a good one and NSA?
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Old 05-15-2022, 12:18 PM   #8
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When you calculate setup/take down time I would include hooking up the dolly and unhooking at the destination as opposed to pulling the Jeep into position, attaching the tow bar and electrical, taking the Jeep out of gear all of which I would think would be less time than messing with the dolly then hooking up but I have never done a dolly so canít compare. In any event this is another, which tires, which oil, which wax questions. Personal preference.
It also depends on your campsite. A pull through site is certainly faster for a dolly vs a non-pull through site as you can leave the dolly connected to the RV in most cases. In that scenario, just two straps and two chains and one or two pins on the dolly to pull for the ramps, drive off and then when finished drive back on and reverse the procedure which is fast enough once you have done it a few times.

For a person who lacks a lot of strength (even like myself after surgeries on both shoulders), there are certainly more challenges with a dolly if you have to remove the dolly from the hitch and push it uphill, if that was needed such as with an uphill back in camp site. I always avoided those sites whenever possible and using the dolly.

Time to connect or disconnect is not the biggest factor in the choice (imo), it is more of whether or not you (any RV'r) plans to keep the toad long enough to justify the towbar setup on the toad, if so, flat towing is the way to go. When actually towing though, I haven't noticed a lot of difference when using my dolly for my Chev Sonic or flat towing my 4x4 Colorado, they both tow similarly. ~CA
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Old 05-15-2022, 12:25 PM   #9
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Thank you guys for your comments, so on the flat tow what all will I need and what will be the price of a good tow dolly? I just want to go the best route so far I’m leaning toward the flat tow.

I have watch some YouTube video and what I gather is that you have to drill some holes into your bumper, I wouldn’t want to drill holes in my wife 2020 Lincoln Aviator, lol. Thanks again guys so tell me what will I need to do a flat tow and which company is good, I’ve heard that Blue Ox is a good one and NSA?
Are you sure you can even flat tow, or dolly tow your Aviator?

page 331


Recreational Towing
You cannot recreational tow your vehicle
with all wheels on the ground because
vehicle or transmission damage may occur.
We recommend towing your vehicle with all
four wheels off the ground such as when
using a car-hauling trailer. Otherwise, you
cannot recreational tow your vehicle.

https://www.fordservicecontent.com/F...US_06_2019.pdf

~CA
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Old 05-15-2022, 05:57 PM   #10
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I have watch some YouTube video and what I gather is that you have to drill some holes into your bumper, I wouldnít want to drill holes in my wife 2020 Lincoln Aviator, lol. Thanks again guys so tell me what will I need to do a flat tow and which company is good, Iíve heard that Blue Ox is a good one and NSA?[/QUOTE]

There is a lot more involved to install baseplates for flat towing than drilling some holes. Like was stated elsewhere, you first need a vehicle that is flat tow capable. Do a google search for Dinghy tow guides. If the vehicle you have is indeed flat towable, then you can look for the correct baseplate on blue ox, Demco, or roadmaster's websites. After finding the base plate you need/want there are instructions that can be viewed (and probably videos) to help you determine whether you are capable of installing yourself or will need to have someone else do the work. For several reasons I've stuck mostly with Jeep Grand Cherokees..they fit my general likes & needs for a vehicle, they have no restrictions as far as speed limits or starting the engine requirements, have not needed pulling fuses (not sure on newer models), weigh less than 5k lbs etc. Also very important to me was, the base plate install was something I could handle..No sawing of metal, however from 2014 and up, you must remove the entire front bumper facia, and may include some electrical connections/windshield washer tank etc. Tools that I found necessary besides assorted socket wrenches, are a rivet gun for plastic rivets (not the standard pop rivet gun), torque wrench, good drill and drill bits. Of course you can have a an RV dealer install which will probably double the cost of what you can buy the base plate for. I prefer to do myself not only to save money, but knowing for sure that all the bolts have been torqued correctly and loctite applied etc...I've done several, but I still work slowly and carefully so even on my 2018 that I have now, it took me probably 6 hours or so. Installing a tail light kit will take a few hours as well...not the easiest thing to do routing the wires under the vehicle from the back to front without a lift, but it is doable. You can also go with the magnetic lights, but I got tired of putting them on and off (running the wires thru windows/under the hood). Lastly, not every version of a specific make/model is flat towable. For instance on the Jeep Grand Cherokee it has to not only be a 4 wheel drive, but a 4 wheel drive with a transfer case that can be put in neutral which I believe are the quadradrive II and the quadratrac II. Most standard transmission vehicles will probably work, but most automatics will not and those that will are very specific models, sometimes with very specific features. All that being said, I used a dolly for a couple of years when I first started rving 25 yrs ago, but would never go back. When we are traveling and stop even for one night, I usually want to take the car for food/shopping or something and it's so easy with the tow bar, only a couple of minutes. Not to mention if you ever get into a situation where you have to back up..it has happened to me probably 4 times in about 150K miles over the years, so much easier to unhook the car, than to unstrap tires, roll the car off, unhook the dolly, then reverse the process etc...especially if its sunny and 95 degrees out...no fun...Good luck, but I encourage you to do a lot of research before deciding what's best for you.
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Old 05-15-2022, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigav View Post
Are you sure you can even flat tow, or dolly tow your Aviator?

page 331


Recreational Towing
You cannot recreational tow your vehicle
with all wheels on the ground because
vehicle or transmission damage may occur.
We recommend towing your vehicle with all
four wheels off the ground such as when
using a car-hauling trailer. Otherwise, you
cannot recreational tow your vehicle.

https://www.fordservicecontent.com/F...US_06_2019.pdf

~CA

We was talking about getting a little cheap car, maybe a 2019 RV4 or something similar but thank you for letting me know, I haven't gotten that far yet.
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Old 05-15-2022, 06:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Paul P. View Post
I have watch some YouTube video and what I gather is that you have to drill some holes into your bumper, I wouldnít want to drill holes in my wife 2020 Lincoln Aviator, lol. Thanks again guys so tell me what will I need to do a flat tow and which company is good, Iíve heard that Blue Ox is a good one and NSA?
There is a lot more involved to install baseplates for flat towing than drilling some holes. Like was stated elsewhere, you first need a vehicle that is flat tow capable. Do a google search for Dinghy tow guides. If the vehicle you have is indeed flat towable, then you can look for the correct baseplate on blue ox, Demco, or roadmaster's websites. After finding the base plate you need/want there are instructions that can be viewed (and probably videos) to help you determine whether you are capable of installing yourself or will need to have someone else do the work. For several reasons I've stuck mostly with Jeep Grand Cherokees..they fit my general likes & needs for a vehicle, they have no restrictions as far as speed limits or starting the engine requirements, have not needed pulling fuses (not sure on newer models), weigh less than 5k lbs etc. Also very important to me was, the base plate install was something I could handle..No sawing of metal, however from 2014 and up, you must remove the entire front bumper facia, and may include some electrical connections/windshield washer tank etc. Tools that I found necessary besides assorted socket wrenches, are a rivet gun for plastic rivets (not the standard pop rivet gun), torque wrench, good drill and drill bits. Of course you can have a an RV dealer install which will probably double the cost of what you can buy the base plate for. I prefer to do myself not only to save money, but knowing for sure that all the bolts have been torqued correctly and loctite applied etc...I've done several, but I still work slowly and carefully so even on my 2018 that I have now, it took me probably 6 hours or so. Installing a tail light kit will take a few hours as well...not the easiest thing to do routing the wires under the vehicle from the back to front without a lift, but it is doable. You can also go with the magnetic lights, but I got tired of putting them on and off (running the wires thru windows/under the hood). Lastly, not every version of a specific make/model is flat towable. For instance on the Jeep Grand Cherokee it has to not only be a 4 wheel drive, but a 4 wheel drive with a transfer case that can be put in neutral which I believe are the quadradrive II and the quadratrac II. Most standard transmission vehicles will probably work, but most automatics will not and those that will are very specific models, sometimes with very specific features. All that being said, I used a dolly for a couple of years when I first started rving 25 yrs ago, but would never go back. When we are traveling and stop even for one night, I usually want to take the car for food/shopping or something and it's so easy with the tow bar, only a couple of minutes. Not to mention if you ever get into a situation where you have to back up..it has happened to me probably 4 times in about 150K miles over the years, so much easier to unhook the car, than to unstrap tires, roll the car off, unhook the dolly, then reverse the process etc...especially if its sunny and 95 degrees out...no fun...Good luck, but I encourage you to do a lot of research before deciding what's best for you.[/QUOTE]


Okay, I get it, it look like that flat towing is going to be better, the DW and I talk about getting another small car, but I don't know what she have in mind so this is why I'm doing a search, over the internet and here also. Thank you for your comment this is what I need to take into account.
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Old 05-15-2022, 06:52 PM   #13
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The 1st issue is ALWAYS can your vehicle actually be flat towed? The transmission...

I tow with dolly. Purchased used for $900. Hookup time was an hour 1st time, generally about a 1/2 hour now. Dont ever get in a hurry hooking up flat or dolly, bad things can then happen.

Something important for me is a dolly can be backed up, dont ever want to be put into a situation where I can NOT back up.
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Old 05-15-2022, 07:09 PM   #14
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I have being thinking also that I probably pick up a tow dolly off of craigslist, I might have to get a tow dolly at first and if we down the line change then go with the flat tow. I'm familiar with the dolly tow from go to the Uhaul and renting one.
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Old 05-15-2022, 07:22 PM   #15
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I have being thinking also that I probably pick up a tow dolly off of craigslist, I might have to get a tow dolly at first and if we down the line change then go with the flat tow. I'm familiar with the dolly tow from go to the Uhaul and renting one.
Note that dollies come in different widths; be sure to ensure your vehicle fits the dolly.
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Old 05-15-2022, 08:27 PM   #16
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Thank you, first I guess that I have to see what kind of car or suv that we are going to get.
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Old 05-21-2022, 01:20 PM   #17
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In addition to all the reasons already listed for flat towing, I can say that I have personally seen the aftermath of TWO cars coming off a tow dolly during a hard stop and hitting the back of its towing RV in the last five years. One parked next to me at a campground and one on the side of the Interstate. And I have used a tow dolly several times moving back-and-forth across the country back in my Army days.
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Old 05-21-2022, 02:48 PM   #18
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Looks like they stopped the guide in 2020.

Here is 2020’s…

https://images.goodsam.com/newmotorh...yGuide2020.pdf
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Old 05-21-2022, 02:59 PM   #19
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Okay members, we are planning on getting a Class A soon and I wanted to ask which is better I have been doing a search, but I wanted you guys to tell me the pro's and the con's.
This is a very old debate question.


I didn’t read all the other responses because I don’t have to.


After Dolly towing for four years with a very bad bad condition and then switching to flat towing for three years, I can tell you, please learn from my mistakes!


The only thing attractive about Dolly towing is the ability to tow any front wheel drive car, and it’s fairly reasonably priced to get into the set up. Having said that, I traded in my 2013 Toyota Highlander AWD, for 2014 Honda CRV, 2WD, with very low mileage. Took me eight months to find one in “like new” condition, but definitely worth the search.


now I use a foam pad, get on my knees to connect and disconnect with ease!, and I don’t have to worry about storing that stupid tow dolly. And if you’re worried about affording a flat tow setup, do it the way I did, put it all on Paypal Credit, pay it off over time, with no interest!


Oh yeah, and if you ever gets stuck in a situation where you need to disconnect your toad car, you’ll be so glad you’re flat towing!


P.S. sold the tow Dolly for $600 less then I paid for it new. I got my moneys worth, not to mention the valuable le$$on!
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Old 05-21-2022, 03:00 PM   #20
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In addition to all the reasons already listed for flat towing, I can say that I have personally seen the aftermath of TWO cars coming off a tow dolly during a hard stop and hitting the back of its towing RV in the last five years. One parked next to me at a campground and one on the side of the Interstate. And I have used a tow dolly several times moving back-and-forth across the country back in my Army days.
Have you ever seen a flat towing toad disconnect from the tow vehicle? I have, and there are quite a few youtubes as well. Point being, anything being towed (trailer, dolly, or flat toad) needs to be carefully checked before and during any towing, safety chains are a must, and while not everyone agrees, brakes are very useful to have on the toad. ~CA
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