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Towing Equipment Cost


How Much Does Towing Equipment Cost?

 
low costTrailer Hitch: $50-$2,500average costTow Dolly: $1,000-$4,500high costCar Trailer: $2,000-$20,000+

A tow bar, tow dolly or car trailer are all options for do-it-yourself towing. Whatever method is used, the vehicle doing the towing must have an adequate maximum towing capacity and must be fitted with the correct trailer hitch. HitchInfo.com provides an overview[1] of different towing components, including maximum towing capacities for different categories of vehicles. For information about hiring a tow truck service to transport a broken-down vehicle, see How Much Does Towing a Car Cost.

Typical costs:

  • Tow bars that pull the towed vehicle along on its own wheels start at $30-$60 for relatively lightweight models for emergency use; cost $80 -$250 for more rugged models; and can be $400-$2,100 or more for permanent installation of a heavy-duty model.
  • Also called a car dolly, a tow dolly is a mini-trailer that raises just the front wheels of the towed vehicle off the ground. These can cost $1,000-$4,500. Renting a tow dolly typically costs $40-$60 a day, but many national rental chains only rent tow dollies with their own rental trucks, not to be towed by a customer's vehicle.
  • For a car trailer, which lifts the entire vehicle up on a wheeled trailer, an open model with no roof or solid sides can cost $2,000-$10,000 or more; and an enclosed car trailer (solid walls and roof, typically with a rear ramp) can be $6,000-$20,000 or more. Renting a car trailer can cost $65-$200 or more a day, depending on the size and type of trailer, and the number of days rented.
  • A standard rear-mounted receiver ball trailer hitch that bolts to the tow vehicle's chassis can cost $50-$700 (depending on materials, towing capacity and ball size) but averages $200-$500 including installation. A fifth-wheel hitch (using a king pin and mounted in the pickup bed) can cost $500-$2,500, depending on towing capacity, whether it's customized to fit a specific vehicle model, and if installation is included. A gooseneck hitch (a ball receiver mounted in a truck bed) can cost $200-$800 or more, depending on towing capacity and type of vehicle, and whether installation is included.
Related articles: Trailer Hitch, Tow Bar, Tow Dolly, Towing a Car

What should be included:
  • Whether equipment like a spare tire or a winch is considered standard or an option at an additional cost varies by manufacturer. Ask specific questions about what is included in a quoted price. Safety chains are legally required when towing; ask if they're included.
  • Whichever towing equipment is used, all the equipment -- tow vehicle, trailer hitch, tow bar, tow dolly, car trailer, etc -- is rated based on the maximum amount of weight it can tow. Class I can tow up to 2,000 pounds; Class V, up to 12,000 pounds. All the equipment should be matched in terms of towing capacity. HitchInfo.com explains how to determine what towing capacity[2] is needed.
  • All trailers or towed vehicles must have lights and other standard safety equipment; TowingWorld.com lists towing laws[3] by state.
Additional costs:
  • Most trucks, vans, SUVs and RV made since the mid-1990s are prewired to use an electronic trailer brake controller. These typically cost $40-$200. If the tow vehicle is prewired, a controller easily plugs into the wiring system. If not, installation costs can add another $100-$200 or more, depending on the vehicle. Some companies include the cost of installing a brake controller in the hitch installation price.
  • A breakaway kit (typically a battery, a breakaway switch and wiring) designed to stop a towed trailer or vehicle if it breaks away from the tow vehicle can cost $10-$40.
  • Generally, collision insurance on the tow vehicle does not provide collision insurance on the towed vehicle; additional coverage may be needed.
Discounts:
  • For those with strong mechanical skills, Circle Track magazine explains how to build an open car trailer[4] for $300 plus the cost of wheels.
Shopping for towing equipment:
  • Tow bars and tow dollies are available from RV dealers and construction trailer dealers, and from some truck rental companies. Search for RV dealers through the National RV Dealers Association[5] or GoRVing.com[6] .
  • Trailer prices are often negotiable. CorvetteFever.com provides guidelines[7] for buying a car trailer, including reasons for using either an open or enclosed trailer.
  • New and used car trailers for sale are listed online at TrailerShopper.com[8] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.hitchinfo.com/index.cfm?event=viewpage&contentpieceid=5144
  2.  www.hitchinfo.com/index.cfm?event=viewpage&contentpieceid=5146
  3.  towingworld.com/towinglaws.cfm
  4.  www.circletrack.com/howto/78218_building_race_car_trailer_part_1/
  5.  www.rvda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Dealer_Info&template=/DealerSearch/Custom/dea...
  6.  www.gorving.com/where-to-find/dealers
  7.  www.corvettefever.com/techarticles/corp_0606_car_trailers/pricing_options.html
  8.  www.trailershopper.com/browse-9-0.html
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