Though I have never had either, I would think a pro would be the dolly would have brakes and you wouldn't have the expense or hassle of hooking up a braking system on the vehicle.
a con might be that it is another thing to maintain and buy plates for.
Just my thoughts.
You don't buy plates for a dolly. But the largest pro for me is that I can tow just about any front wheel drive car. I even used it to take a car to the shop using my PU truck, and saved my folks a tow bill once when they broke down. It's handy and not just for camping. For tow bars other than perhaps a bit easier to hook up and they fold out of the way I almost think that a dolly is far more practical. There are far more cars that can be towed on a dolly than there are 4 down.
I run a 10k# ratchet strap around the tow hook on the car. Nice and easy and right in front. Not sure about other cars but the Jetta's tow hook screws right in front under the bumper. Easy.
Yes, tow hooks are great! We use a dolly, and use the tow hooks on front of towed vehicle, also. Dolly towing a vehicle is much easier if the vehicle has tow hooks on the front.
I (permanently) attached two large chains to our dolly, each of which get attached to one of the front tow hooks on towed vehicle, with a large clevis hook. This makes hitching up MUCH easier, and eliminates the 'con' several people mention about having to crawl around underneath it.
I do have to drop down to one knee to attach the straps, but thats the lowest, 'dirtiest' I get.
..As already said, 4 down vs dolly towing, there are pros and cons with either choice. Sometimes the vehicle you are towing will dictate which way you have to go with this (as it sounds may be the case for the OP here).
As Effy and I alluded to here, there are also ways to 'mitigate' the cons to using a dolly. Getting a vehicle thats ready to tow 4 down without any modifications mitigates the big 'cons' to 4 down towing as well.
I think most people ultimately end up towing 4 down, because of how much easier it is. We probably will one day, too.
Will & Angela
2 children that love camping, Stephen & Allison
2012 FR Georgetown 351DS on F53 (V10) Chassis Our Rig
One of the nice things about a dolly is its versatility. We have a VW diesel Rabbit (55mpg) that we can put on the dolly; or the DW's Kia Optima; or the Jeep I want to get. No changes to the car, no expensive plates to buy, no finagling the brake system. Just drive it up, connect it and go.
We have often used the dolly to rescue kids and grandkids stranded because of breakdowns, too.
You can tow virtually all front-wheel drive cars with a dolly as well as the great majority of vehicles with manual transmissions. No modifications required.
When we bought our DP we drove the Kia 250 miles with the tow dolly dragging along behind it, then hooked the dolly up to the DP and towed the Kia home.
The dolly has brakes and lights already.
There are cons to every system but the dolly is very versatile... if you want versatility.
- Can be used with vehicles that are front wheel drive without modifications to the vehicle.
- You can back up the coach with the dolly. Very difficult if not impossible with four down toad.
- Dollies are available with surge braking and brake away stopping capability.
- Dolly can use to move a disabled vehicle rather than having to call a wrecker.
- More stuff at the camp site and at home you have to consider.
- Additional state registration and plates required for dolly.
- Weight of dolly and vehicle could exceed limits coach can support such as a coach with 3500 tow limit.
- Can takes a bit longer to prep.
If you have a car/truck already that can be towed four down then get a tow bar, if not get a dolly. I wouldn't advise replacing a vehicle that you already have, and is paid off, just to get something you can tow four down.
2006 Hurricane 31D aka 'Moby' the Whale
FCC(SW) US Navy Retired 1980-2003
Stella my Navigator
Bogart the All American RV Dog
Cocoui waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge