Tips for Safely Using Your Tow Dolly

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With the holiday season upon us, RV owners are taking to the roads to see the sights and enjoy all the natural splendor that the nation has to offer.

Out of sheer convenience, you may consider bringing your car along with your RV, and there’s no better way than with car dollies. If you’re not familiar with how to use a tow dolly, here are some tips to ensure your safety on and off the road.

Loading and Unloading

Before you load your car onto your tow dolly, make sure the dolly’s coupler is properly attached to the towing vehicle’s ball mount. Make sure that you are using the right hitch ball. Secure the locked coupler using a pin or clip. Cross the safety cables to form a saddle to prevent the coupler from making contact with the road while you’re driving. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine proper height for the hitch ball.

Pre-Trip Checklist

Before you head out each day with your tow dolly, perform these simple checks:

  • Adjust tire pressure to manufacturer recommendations. You don’t want a blow out when you’re on vacation.
  • Make sure the wheel bearings and hubs are adjusted and properly lubricated.
  • Tighten the wheel lug nuts to manufacturer specifications
  • Properly tighten all nuts and bolts on all parts of your dolly. Don’t tow a car behind an RV with loose or damaged hardware.
  • Secure the coupler to the ball mount, checking manufacturer instructions for tightness.
  • Make sure all of the lights are working properly.
  • Release the towed vehicle’s parking brake once it is properly secured to the dolly.
  • After about ten miles of travel, check the tie-down straps and readjust as necessary. Check again every 100 miles or so afterwards.
  • Don’t back out the tow dolly with a vehicle on it.

On the Road

Once you’ve performed your pre-trip check, you’re ready to hit the road, right? But driving with a dolly isn’t the same as cruising in your car. Some general tips for driving with a tow dolly:

  • Again, do not try to reverse with the tow dolly loaded. This can potentially damage the tow dolly and the towed vehicle.
  • Make your turns much wider than you normally would. Avoid sharp turns and u-turns. Turning too sharply will cause the towed vehicle to come in contact with the fender of the dolly, damaging both.
  • Drive at a safe, reasonable speed, keeping in mind that dollies are sometimes wider than the vehicles towing them.

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