EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: I just don't get it  (Read 1931 times)


  • ---
  • Posts: 141
I just don't get it
« on: December 20, 2016, 04:24:06 PM »
Why do RVers use dollies and towbars? It's so hard on both vehicles tires and stability. A trailer is specially designed for pulling. RVers and UHaul renters are the only people I know and see that use towbars and dollies everybody else trailers their vehicles. what am I missing? 


  • ---
  • Posts: 354
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 04:33:46 PM »
Only assumptions on my part, but maybe cost of the trailer and finding a spot to park it when not using it. Probably more reasons, but just the first couple that came to mind.
2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali. 6.6L Diesel. 4x4
Arctic Fox 22G.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 63630
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 04:34:51 PM »
That a trailer is more hassle than even a dolly?  Not the actual trailer towing, of course, but moving/storing and parking at many campsites. Also, that the weight of a trailer plus the vehicle would exceed the tow capacity of most gas-chassis coaches, whether Class C or A.

I also don't see that towbars and dollies are so hard on anything. Harder than an enclosed cat trailer, I'm sure, but not so terribly hard in absolute terms.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 46018
  • Celebrating 25 years of The RV Forum online.
    • RV Forum web site
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 04:43:48 PM »
Gary beat me to it, but I'm not sure what there is to "get".

Many towed vehicles are designed to be flat towed, and many coaches are designed to tow such a vehicle.

I can't speak for owners/users of tow dollies, but we've observed numerous such owners struggle with the dolly on arrival at a campground. Folks who put their car (completely) in/on a trailer usually need to rent a second site to store the trailer.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 06:03:59 AM by Tom »
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.


  • ---
  • Posts: 4582
  • Western KY for now.
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 04:56:26 PM »
The truth is that MOST motorhomes are designed to tow, some as much as 10,000# or more.  It is absolutely NOT hard on the RV unless you are overloaded, but that is a different issue.

RV folks like to have a car at their destination to use for local transportation.  They must take it along to travel.  Some cars can be "flat towed" with a tow bar, which causes absolutely no excess wear and tear on the car.  In fact, there would be MORE wear if the car were driven instead of towed.  Manufacturers in fact approve of flat towing on some vehicles.  ABSOLUTELY NO DAMAGE TO THE VEHICLE other than tire wear.

Some cars can be flat towed IF an auxiliary part is added, like a transmission pump.  Again, this is approved by the manufacturers.
In both cases above, the warranty is not affected by flat towing, so it MUST be okay.

Flat towing is MUCH more convenient than trailer towing.  No need to load a car, tie down the car, hitch up the trailer, chains and wiring.  No need to find a place to store the trailer when camping.  You reduce the weight being towed by the weight of the trailer.  Flat towing is much preferred over trailer towing.

Some Front Wheel Drive cars can not be flat towed.  For these, it is often preferred to use a tow dolly over buying a different car!  Dollies can be used on most FWD cars, so trading cars requires no new equipment.  While flat towing is preferred, dolly towing is much preferred to trailer towing.  Cars are easier to load and secure.  The dolly is MUCH lighter than a full trailer.  Dollies are much easier to store when camping.  Again, for cars approved for dolly towing, it will not void your warranty.   It does not damage your vehicle.

Some vehicles can not be towed four down or dolly.  This is true of many AWD and RWD vehicles.  Note many 4WD can be flat towed.  These cars will need a full trailer.

I ran a non scientific survey last spring.  Of 20 RVs with a vehicle in tow, 15, or 75% were flat towed.4 or 20% were dolly towed.  ONLY 1 or 5% was on a trailer with 4 wheels up.  These folks put MANY miles on these cars each year.  If they were damaging the car in ANY way, they would not do it!

My question to you is why do I want all the extra weight and hassle when it is clearly not needed.  Where did this bad data come from?
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 04:59:20 PM by grashley »
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.


  • ---
  • Posts: 479
  • Larry and Margo With Ami the Chi-cha
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 04:59:54 PM »
Well, my Class C has a 3500 lb towing capacity. A trailer capable of holding a useful car would take up more than half that capacity, leaving my with a very tiny automobile, and all the hassles mentioned above to deal with.

2000 Itasca Sundancer 430V
2007 Saturn Vue

"The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so."


  • ---
  • Posts: 56
    • RF "Farkle" Projects
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2016, 05:10:19 PM »
And don't forget added hitch weight of a trailer on the GVW of the MH. Flat tow adds no hitch weight and a a dolly might add very little.
South of Boston
2006 Dodge 2500 Diesel
2011 Forest River Grey Wolf 19RR
Whole bunch of motorcycles


  • ---
  • Posts: 4222
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2016, 05:53:37 PM »
And just to add one more item to the list of reasons not to trailer: No additional registration, inspection, etc., needed. :)
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate


  • ---
  • Posts: 2296
  • Retired USAF, Retired Auto Instructor Dade Cty Sch
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2016, 06:23:49 PM »
It all boils down to keep it simple. If you can flat tow why go through the hassle of a dolly or trailer.
2009 Bounder 36B, 2014 Honda CR-V, various grandchildren when school is out. KG4LHS
2014 Honda CRV Toad,
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Toad


  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7945
  • Central IL
Re: I just don't get it
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2016, 08:41:14 AM »
Why do RVers use dollies and towbars? It's so hard on both vehicles tires and stability.

It is?  How so?  I dolly-towed cars several times with our first motorhome, and never experienced vehicle tire damage or loss of stability as a result.  Once accustomed to the loading/unloaded procedure, the dolly was fairly quick to utilize and could be easily stored (light enough to be moved by hand) underneath the rear end of my motorhome while camping.

what am I missing?

Car haulers (trailers) do have some advantages, but generally result in additional cost, increased effort to use/maintain, lack of convenience, increased storage needs, and additional weight to be towed.

Any other questions?  ;)
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 08:42:54 AM by scottydl »
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012