How to Tow With a Two-Wheel Tow Dolly

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A two-wheel tow dolly is a trailer with ramp fittings that assists transportation of vehicles to desired destinations. You secure a tow dolly to a tow vehicle, such as a pickup, and you drive the two front wheels of the vehicle to be towed onto the tow dolly ramp. Tow dollies that can tow full-size cars have wider vehicle tracks (the distance between the two front wheels) than those meant to tow small and midsize cars. Knowing exactly how to tow with a two-wheel tow dolly can prevent accidents.

Things You'll Need

  • Truck with a trailer light harness that you can connect to the tow dolly to power and control the tow dolly's brake lights, taillights, turn signals and side marker lights
  • Two-wheel tow dolly
  • Front-wheel-drive vehicle to be towed
  • Open the tow dolly's coupler locking device. For a lever-based, coupler, lower the coupler's lower locking plate. Seat the coupler lock on the truck's hitch ball. With the lever down, lock the coupler with the locking pin. For a hand-wheel-type coupler, tighten the hand-wheel of a hand-wheel coupler for locking. Tug this arrangement upward to check locking efficacy.

  • Plug the tow dolly's electrical harness into the truck's electrical pigtail.

  • Cross the tow dolly tongue's two safety chains, thread them through the truck's eyelet and append the hooks.

  • Align the attached tow dolly on level ground straight behind the truck. Straighten the tow dolly platform. Extricate the ratchet's safety pin to unroll the tow dolly's tire straps. Place them on the tow dolly fenders. Unfasten the tow dolly's locking pin to slant the tow dolly platform and ramps backwards.

  • Drive the vehicle onto the tow dolly up to the ramps' wheel stops and center the vehicle against the platform, away from the tow dolly fenders. Employ the vehicle's parking brakes and low gear/park mode.

  • Lock the automatically uplifted platform with its locking pin.

  • Tighten the ratchet's tire straps on the front wheels using the ratchet's handle. With the ratchet handle down, deploy the safety pins and clip to lock the strap.

  • Fetter the towed vehicle frames to the tow dolly platform chains. Discharge the towed vehicle's parking brake, straighten the steering, engage steering lock, remove ignition keys and lock vehicle doors.

  • Test-drive a short distance to make sure the attachments, safety chains and tire straps do not become dislodged. Repeat the safety check every five miles during the first travel hour and every 50 miles thereafter.

  • Increase the tow truck's speed gradually to highway speed to prevent the tow dolly from swaying and to prevent loss of vehicle control. Allow time for tow dolly movement while changing lanes, stopping and passing vehicles. Swing your tow vehicle wider in turns to allow room for the dolly and towed vehicle to turn; the tow dolly attachment's extra length and the fact that it does not follow the tow vehicle's exact path demand this technique. Drive slowly to reduce the vehicle's wind-resistance strain and to conserve fuel. Control tow dolly sway by slowing down, steadying the steering and applying trailer brakes only.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep safety chains limp enough to allow slight tow dolly, truck and towed vehicle movement during driving and turns.
  • If the tow dolly is wider than the tow truck, use an elongated side-view mirror to view rear and side traffic.
  • Vehicles must not be backed up onto the tow dolly.
  • Don't load towed vehicles with pets and belongings.

References

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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