How To Load A Non Running Car On A Tow Dolly In 5 Minutes

When your non-running car gets stuck alongside the corner of a road then think about the tow dolly. Unlike flatbed trailers, it won’t eat up that much space again, simple to use.

A tow dolly is normally easy to apply when you drive your car towards it. But when it comes to the non-running car then it is not similarly feasible. On the other hand, you should have personal experience to shift your non-running car onto the surface of it. 

So, first off, you should come to know about how a tow dolly works. Afterward, you should learn how to load a non running car on a tow dolly. We will try our best to put all the essential information on how to load a non running car on a tow dolly.

So let’s grasp this article. 

What is a Tow Dolly Used For?

A tow dolly is a piece of lightweight equipment greatly advantageous to park or move your car. It is popular because of its easy-to-use application. The best part of it is the resting place where the rear wheels will remain.

On the other hand, the rest of the wheel on the back will allow the car to move on to its desired destination. 

So, obviously, you have already come to know that a Tow Dolly is used for vehicle recovery work. Thanks to its design and updated modification that you can easily onboard your vehicle without installing the two hooks.

On the flip side, it ensures faster detachments compared to any flatbed trailer. Hence the loading and unloading of a car both processes are smooth. 

Types of Tow Dolly

Tow dolly has two different types, the first one is mounted to the front wheel along with the central pivot dolly. The second one is positioned at the central pivot that will make your vehicle in tow sways. 

The first one is pretty common nowadays and it works like the car’s front wheels. By the way, this kind of tow dolly is safe to use when you are a newbie. The reason is simple, it facilitates your car with lesser chances to hit and avoid any risks.

The second one works for the back of your car wheels somewhat not easy to on-board one’s car, especially the non-running car. 

Preparation Stage Before How To Load A Non Running Car On A Tow Dolly

Before getting started with the tow dolly, let’s get to learn how to use this amazing equipment. The anatomy of a tow dolly really helps a car for loading and unloading during an accident. However, a tow dolly has some limitations as well. 

But, today most cars easily get on it. But still, we should let you know what a tow dolly offers to load or unload a car. 

Here you will go: 

#1: First off, a tow dolly will only allow a vehicle to load whenever it has a minimum 42-inches distance between the two of the inside tire tread. The outside tire tread would be a maximum of 76 inches. 

#2: Since you will bend your car with a tow dolly, you should know how the tire straps work. The first tire straps come to fit 13 inches of the tire and the remaining are a good fit for 14 and 15 inches. For the large tire, you will need to purchase it further as it won’t include while buying a tow dolly. 

#3: You should know that the rear or mid-engine type vehicles are not feasible or towable at all. 

#4: Having the locking steering wheel is a must when you think about towing your car. 

#5: For non-running vehicles, always consider loading the towed cars along with the front wheels only. 

Note: Before proceeding with any towing work make sure you will read the manual of your tow dolly. 

Quick And Easy Way to Load Your Non Running Car on a Tow Dolly

First off, unbox your tow dolly, read the manual, and finally sort out the following checklist

Tow Dolly Checklist:

  1. Wheel nuts
  2. Fenders
  3. Tire pressure
  4. Wheel nuts
  5. Coupler
  6. Frayed wiring & safety chains
  7. Crackled welds
  8. Loose bolts
  9. Worn straps

When you are done, then finally follow the step by step processes on how to put a non-running car on a tow dolly

Before Loading Your Vehicle

  • First thing comes first, raise the coupler lever and then place it to the tow ball
  • Lower the coupler lever and lock it there
  • Insert the locking pin to secure the lock
  • Attach safety cables to the tow vehicle and the emergency break away cable
  • Connect all the electrical components 
  • Finally check out all the turn signals are operating properly

Some Important Factors Which You Can’t Avoid While Loading a Vehicle

If you have come to know everything is okay while setting up your tow dolly, then park the car on level ground, meanwhile also shut down the engine.

Put your hands on the coupler first and tighten it to the optimum level. Afterward, the clamp should rest below it and to do so all you need to do is to close the hitch ball. 

After Loading Your Vehicle

We’ve already told you about the safety chains. So bend it well from left to right using the S-hooks. By the way, the rubber retainers will help a lot to do so. 

  • Raise the ratchet handle to the fullest extended position 
  • Unroll all the inside straps of it
  • Now on, put down this ratchet handle again
  • Look out the dolly fender and lay the straps inside the fender
  • Carry on the process on the other sides as well
  • Make sure the tow dolly surface remain straight and tilt down the surface
  • Finally, use a lever to push your vehicle upward and put the rear wheels on the tow dolly


How do you load a car that doesn’t run on a trailer?

Loading a car that doesn’t run on a trailer is simple. For starters, block the wheels first. Try securing a pulley to the car front with a strong cable. You can also try rope if it is rigid enough. Attach the front end of your car to the tow vehicle and the other to the trailer. Now drive and go wild. 

Should the car be in neutral on tow dolly?

We recommend you completely switch off the ignition, not even keep the car in neutral mode. Here, keeping the engine in neutral mode is not enough to avoid any accident. 

Can I use car tires on a tow dolly?

We suggest you use any trailer tires as it comes with robust and thick sidewall. Therefore, the car can easily handle the vertical load. The front platform won’t face any bad consequences whenever you use such ST tires. 

Can you tow a car backwards on a tow dolly?

Technically, you can. However, don’t keep the front wheel unlocked. Otherwise, your car won’t stay in place and go nuts all over the road. We don’t want that to happen, right?

How do you secure a car to a tow dolly?

There is no rocket science on how you should secure the tow dolly to a car. The best thing you can do is, go with a strap and tie it firmly to the car axle. You can also use a chain, but it may leave scratches on the car. Finally, switch off the trailer completely and don’t tow the car backward.


We know when a parked car gets stuck for hours a tow dolly would be a real help for you. But considering the facts on how to load a dead car on tow dolly, things won’t be that easy to push it and get on the tow dolly.

Apart from the tow dolly, you will need a lever to push your vehicle and we have shared the hacks in our article to help you.

Don’t forget the entire task is not risk-free at all, so check out the manual first of your tow dolly and avoid all the risks. 

Note: If your true struggle is with hydrolock, then our simple guide to prevent hydrolock with cold air intake will be helpful for you.

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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