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Old 01-17-2019, 12:37 PM   #1
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Flat tow verses tow dolly

Back again for more advice. I purchased a fiat 500 to flat tow and now am considering a tow dolly with electric brakes instead of prepping the fiat to the tune of around $2500 to $3000. Iím looking for all of your opinions and expertise of those who have done both and which do you prefer and why. Thanks again in advance.
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:58 PM   #2
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I flat tow a Smart. I initially wanted a dolly to minimize modifications to whatever I tow, but further investigation led me away. I found several sources said same thing.....if you load extra gear in a vehicle on a dolly...you will have swaying instabilities. Thatís what I read.....
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Old 01-17-2019, 04:44 PM   #3
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Advantages of a dolly:

1. It can be less expensive than outfitting a car for flat towing, depending of course on the hardware you select in each scenario.

2. You can back up (with extreme care). You can't do that when flat-towing a car--it can damage the car's suspension.

Drawbacks of a dolly:

1. Substantial tongue weight. Are you sure your Interstate can handle it? Run the numbers. A car towed "four down" has no tongue weight other than the weight of the towbar--maybe thirty pounds.

2. The possibility of trailer sway, as toskeysam mentioned. As far as I know, this can't happen when flat-towing a car. I flat-towed a Honda Fit and a Subaru Forester for a total of nine years and never experienced a hint of sway.

3. When you pull into a campsite, you need room for your motorhome AND your car AND your dolly. Many campsites don't have the extra space needed for the dolly, so you'll be limiting where you can stay.

4. Extra width when on the road. The dolly has to be a couple feet wider than your car. That limits your maneuverability on city streets, gas stations, etc.
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Old 01-17-2019, 05:07 PM   #4
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I don't think backing a dolly is a good idea or even safely possible.
https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-...w-dollies4.htm

Unhooking a dolly and the car on it to backup is more work than just hooking a car being flat towed. The other problem with a dolly is trolling it when not using it, either at home or at a camp site.

Flat towing might be more expensive, but gives you more flexibility IMHO.
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Old 01-17-2019, 05:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Flat towing might be more expensive, but gives you more flexibility IMHO.
I have been able to very carefully back my flat-towed smart a short distance when I have been blocked and can not pull out forward. In every case, the smart was square behind me and I had to use no or little correction on the wheel. The backup camera helped me a lot. The most I ever had to back was about 20 or 25 feet.
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Old 01-17-2019, 05:43 PM   #6
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"I don't think backing a dolly is a good idea or even safely possible."

Thanks for the correction, Mike. So that brings my list of advantages down to one: lower cost.
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toskeysam View Post
I flat tow a Smart. I initially wanted a dolly to minimize modifications to whatever I tow, but further investigation led me away. I found several sources said same thing.....if you load extra gear in a vehicle on a dolly...you will have swaying instabilities. Thatís what I read.....


Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toskeysam View Post
I flat tow a Smart. I initially wanted a dolly to minimize modifications to whatever I tow, but further investigation led me away. I found several sources said same thing.....if you load extra gear in a vehicle on a dolly...you will have swaying instabilities. Thatís what I read.....

Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
I don't think backing a dolly is a good idea or even safely possible.
https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-...w-dollies4.htm

Unhooking a dolly and the car on it to backup is more work than just hooking a car being flat towed. The other problem with a dolly is trolling it when not using it, either at home or at a camp site.

Flat towing might be more expensive, but gives you more flexibility IMHO.


Thanks
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:11 PM   #10
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Tow Dolly

You can tow your Fiat, my Nissan, your spouse friends car, a rental, etc etc etc with a tow dolly. Fully interchangeable, and cheap with magnetic or suction cup lights
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:10 PM   #11
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Did a lot of study this fall. Looks like we will never need, but it's an interesting delima to consider.

IMHO, The answer is to flat tow. Four wheel braking is better than two wheel braking. If you want to dodge the flat tow braking sustem and tow bar, get a light weight trailer.


https://www.trailex.com/products/pc/...7031-17p43.htm

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Old 01-20-2019, 12:15 PM   #12
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...The other problem with a dolly is trolling it when not using it, either at home or at a camp site. ...
Oops -- "trolling" it should have been storing it. didnt notice my mistake until today - too late to edit.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:17 PM   #13
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We don't bring a toad but have a Kar Kaddy SS tow dolly and the ramps fold up and the tongue also folds so I can store it behind my mid/large sized car in a standard length garage.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:47 PM   #14
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We sold our 3rd AS in late 2016 and bought a 2017 45' Thor Tuscany. Our original plan was to tow dolly our Hyundai Sonata Hybrid so we tried it with a U-Haul dolly on our maiden trip from Indiana to Utah. What a pain! We agree with the other posts here as it will be personal preference, but for us losing the dolly was the way to go. We traded the Sonata in for a Fusion Hybrid, DURING THE TRIP!, and went the 4-down route.
For us, the Blue Ox set up with base plate and braking system was about $2500, including installation. And we don't have that dolly to put away everytime we camp.
We did it both ways and 4-down was the way to go for us! Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
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