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Moving cross country and need to tow my car

edited December 2011 in General Discussion
I have a 2008 VW Rabbit and I need to tow it from Boston to Portland, OR. Trucks are very expensive so I am looking to save a few bucks. I would like to use a tow dolly rather than a full car trailer. My car has 80k miles. Should I be worried about wear and tear or damage with the two wheel dolly? Is the trailer better for the car?
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Comments

  • What does your owner's manual say about towing the car? And for how long?
    Since it's FWD, it might be ok to tow it, but it'd be best to actually drive it or flat bed it.
  • edited December 2011
    With a fwd car, I agree that it should be ok to tow with no problem. Be sure and drive exta carefully if you have never towed before. You may not be able to see the car as you tow behind a moving truck. Check often.
  • You might check with moving companies. Some will put partial loads together and this helps save on the cost. This may take a little more time than hauling the load yourself or getting a firm load and unload date, but it will save money. If you have books, these can be shipped by freight at a low rate. Also, decide what you really want to move. It rarely saves to move appliances this distance. You may find by selling any appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer, going the partial move route by what you really want to take, shipping books by freight, you can drive your VW to Portland and be money ahead.
    If you do decide to rent a truck, reserve it quickly if you are going before Christmas. Many businesses rent trucks around this time of year to make Christmas deliveries.
  • I agree with Triedaq. A family member is moving from Florida to Ohio and recently found a partial load deal with a moving company for $800, including movers carrying the furniture to the truck. She'll just drive her car when she's ready to go. And, the flat rate and mileage charges are only part of what renting a truck costs: figure a big truck, pulling your car, will average somewhere around 6-8 mpg. Figure 3,000 miles at 8 mpg = 375 gallons * $4/gallon for diesel = $1500 just for fuel alone.
  • If you use the car "dolly" the front of the car is off the road and on the dolly. If loaded properly the front wheels don't spin and therefore no danger of harming the auto trans. What is your tow vehicle? You will use more fuel towing the car and you might need to use magnetic brake lights attached to the car for safety.

    If for some reason someone can't stop and hits you from behind, they will hit your car and likely push it off the dolly and into the truck. A good hit will damage the rear, and likely the front of the car. If you don't have full insurance coverage this could be a financial disaster. Things to contemplate as you look at your options.

    Towing the car behind a U-Haul type truck on a dolly will increase your fuel costs and risks. You are driving an unfamiliar truck with about an extra 15' extended onto the back. You'll need to watch it on corners, in parking lots, and backing up will be all kinds of fun.
  • Will it fit INSIDE the truck?? Fill the car full of "stuff", find a loading ramp or dock you can use and drive the car into the truck...Climb out the window..Yes, yes, I know U-haul frowns on this but.......
  • Yikes! U-Haul (and probably the other brands) don't have tie downs in their trucks that are strong enough to hold a car down. If the truck's driver got in a bad enough front end collision, the car would fly through the truck's cab!
  • I actually knew a couple that moved from Indiana to California and loaded one of their vehicles, a Yugo, into the U-Haul truck. I didn't think that a Yugo would be worth the effort, but apparently they did. Both of these people were college professors--does that explain it?
  • Well if you are planning on driving the truck into a bridge abutment you probably should not do that..
  • At u-haul, the difference in price between the dolly and the full trailer is less than 20 bucks. Given that, and given that the full trailer has brakes while the dolly does not, and also the full trailer has your car completely off the ground and more protected from stuff flying off the underside of the truck (rocks, pieces of the pile of junk they call a truck, etc) I'd go with the full trailer myself. The dolly will work, but the trailer is better.
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