Car Towing vs. Shipping on a Trailer

Car Towing vs. Shipping on a Trailer
Published on May 1, 2022

If you need to transfer your car from one place to another, there will be multiple choices. Some people choose to drive their vehicles, but this option isn’t always available for many reasons, like long-distance, health issues, or even not wanting to expose the car to environmental elements like rain and dust.

Auto transport companies offer two effective methods: car towing and car shipping. These two terms might sound similar, but there is a considerable difference between them in many aspects. This article will help you learn about the two transport methods to decide which one is the best for you.

Introduction to Tow Dolly and Trailer

Tow Dolly

It is a vehicle that tows the cars keeping the car’s front wheels on the dolly and the back wheels on the ground, which allow an easy and quick load and unload process. It is helpful in many situations. For example, it can be used in emergencies if your car suddenly stops or breaks down.

Car Trailer

It is a carrier that lifts and loads cars on its board, so the whole car body is off the ground. There are two types of shipping on trailers:

Open auto transport

The transported vehicles will be exposed to the outside elements. This type of shipping is easier to find, as most companies support it, and the cost is relatively low.

Enclosed auto transport

It costs more than the method mentioned above, and you have to be prepared to pay good money to get this service. But it is definitely worth your spending; with complete protection for your valuable vehicle, your mind will be at ease during the shipping process.

Differences between Car Towing and Shipping on a Trailer

  • Transporting method: the primary difference between car towing and shipping on a trailer is the way to carry the cars; a tow dolly lifts only the front two wheels while the other wheels are left on the ground. The vehicles moved by trailers won’t suffer from any damage related to the pulling process; they will also have a far safer trip than tow dolly since the latter does have some swaying problems at high speeds.
  • Cost: all services costs vary depending on travel distance, the car model, and the used method. However, Car trailers cost more than towing. 
  • The difficulty: both methods require a considerable amount of experience to apply, but tow dollies are more challenging to use; it is not possible to reverse while using a tow dolly because the rear wheels of a transported vehicle must remain on the ground. On the other hand, car trailers are easier to move around.
  • Weight capacity and distance: another essential difference is the weight each method can handle. In particular, car trailers can carry heavier weight and transport larger vehicles. Meanwhile, a tow dolly is designed for lightweight cars. Suppose you want to move a large or heavy vehicle that a tow dolly can’t handle. You have to use car trailers. They are also more suitable for long-distance travel. But if you are looking for an easy, low-cost way to move your car for a short distance, then it is better to go with car towing.
  • Availability: car towing is often available 24/7; you can get the service the minute you call for a pickup. It is the best choice for those who don’t want to wait or like to do things at the last minute. In addition, car trailer services might take a few days to arrange; you have to schedule your travel plan with the shipping company a few days or weeks in advance.
  • Collectible cars: it is worth mentioning that car shipping is the best choice for expensive car transport. It offers an enclosed auto transport service that provides complete protection against all external elements. Remember that the vehicle’s back wheels will spin while towing like they would do when you drive, which can cause some damage to your car wheels and is the last thing you want to happen to your luxurious or classic car.
  • Insurance: Shipping companies offer insurance in case something unexpected happens. These companies can keep their service prices relatively low with enclosed trailers because they usually transport multiple vehicles.

What Option is the Best for Me?

The answer to this question relies on you. Many significant factors determine what transportation option is the best for you. When it comes to time, it may be challenging to find an available car trailer to move your automobile if you are in a hurry since it takes companies some time to schedule shipping activities. On the other hand, towing services are affordable. The distance is also essential; towing isn’t suitable for long-distance journeys. The car model, brand-new and collectible cars are advised to transport using car trailers- enclosed ones to be specific. Another factor to consider is the budget.


Unlike shipping on trailers, many people are familiar with car towing as a moving method; even if it takes quite longer than towing, shipping guarantees that your car will be safe and won’t suffer from wear or tear. However, if you are still puzzled and can’t decide what method to go with, it is good to contact a trustworthy shipping company and ask for recommendations. You can also refer to the car transportation company to find out more about what options are better for your case. Tempus Logix has a team of experienced consultants who’ll help you choose what works best for your car cost-effectively.

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