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Will Your Car Fit on a Tow Dolly

karkaddy2

KAR KADDY 460SS

While most manufacturers of a Tow Dolly attempt to maximize the utility of their product by sizing them to fit the largest number of potential vehicles, you must read the user’s manual to insure your vehicle fits within the Tow Dolly’s specifications. These specifications will include maximum vehicle weight, tire width measured from the inside and outside of the front tire (not tire track as specified by the manufacturer), and front bumper clearance angle, among others.

Your vehicle specifications are readily available on the brand’s website for your make and model or other websites such as http://www.nada.com.

If you have modified your vehicle from factory specification, you will need to take that into account.

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The pertinent specifications for my 2017 VW Passat towed vehicle from the http://www.nada.com website are as follows:

2017 VW Passat Specifications:

Wheels/Tires 215/60 R16 95T

DIMENSIONS       

Front Track  62.1 in    Rear Track  61.0 in

Maximum Vehicle Width  72.2 in                 Ground Clearance  5.4 in

WEIGHTS             

Curb weight 3274 lbs                         GVWR 4497 lbs

The Demco Kar Kaddy SS460 specifications are:

1. Vehicle-in-tow must not be wider than 76 inches at front doors to prevent damage to doors from contact with tow dolly fenders on turns.
2. Vehicle-in-tow must weigh no more than 4,800 lbs. Exceeding these limits may cause damage to tow dolly or vehicles. Vehicle-in-tow tire tread must fit on ramps without overhanging sides.

Tire tread width or body width of towed vehicle must not exceed 76” maximum outside to outside and tires 42” minimum inside to inside. 

Low hanging spoilers and air dams may be damaged by contact with tow dolly ramps when loading and unloading.

My calculations are as follows:

Vehicle Weight Passat max GVWR 4497 lbs < KK460SS max 4800 lbs.

Maximum Passat outside body dimension 72.2″ < KK460SS Max 76″ 

Tire Width Maximum, Front Track 62.1″ plus  8.5″ equals 70.6″ <  KK460SS max 76″.

Tire Width Minimum, Front Track 62.1″ minus 8.5″ or 53.6″ > KK460SS minimum 42″.

Tire tread width is calculated by using the Front Tire Track Width of 62.1″ as specified by the manufacturer which is measured from the center the front tires and adding one tire width (or two halves technically.) which is 215mm or approximately 8.5″.

Handling_TrackWidth

The Tire Size from the factory is 215/60 R16 95T. The 215mm represents the measurement depicted below.

EDUtire_dimensions_section-width

The last calculation is the Front bumper angle.

angle measurement

Using the Passat’s minimum ground clearance of the vehicle which is 5.4″.

The KK460SS Constant of 4.3. Therefor 4.3 X 5.4″ min ground clearance equals 23.2″. 

The tire patch to the front edge of the bumper in front of the tire must be closer than 23.2″

The measurement to the Passat front of the bumper is less than the calculated 23.2″ from the tire patch.

Other considerations.

There are operating recommendations that some regularly disregarded such as Max Speed 55 m.p.h and checking straps every 50 miles. Be that as it may, the recommendations and limitations should be reviewed and followed.

In the detail below there are some points. The ball coupler requires a 2″ ball with a hitch that has a minimum 5000lb towing capacity.

The Tow Dolly weights 615lbs. This 615lbs plus a Passat at GVWR of 4497lbs is 5,112 lbs. This is greater than 5000lb towing capacity of my RV. Therefor I cannot load the Passat to GVWR and tow it. It is prudent not pack your tow vehicle with large amounts of cargo. Especially do not load the trunk with heavy items. Heavy weight at the rear of the towed vehicle acts as a pendulum and, at best, will cause sway. At worst you may make YouTube in one of those “do not do this videos” when your towed whips around and passes you en route to a bad end.

The hitch ball recommended height measurement of 18″ is to the top of the hitch ball. Drop or rise is typically measured to the skirt of the ball coupler, so be careful to measure the ball height correctly when calculating drop or rise. I learned this hard way:-).

While my RV is considerably larger than the Passat, I have witnessed folks towing a vehicle much larger than the Tow vehicle. A very bad idea on several fronts.

Not only are you breaking the law and are subject to impound, your insurance is void when towing overloaded, your brakes are inadequate, the stability of this type of operation is comprimized. Operating overloaded is extremely unsafe for you and anyone around your vehicle.

There are some obvious points, center your vehicle on the ramps. The Tow Dolly wheels on the KK460SS model turn and will hit the side of your vehicle if you load the vehicle too close to Tow Dolly fenders. Center the vehicle up.  Having another person guiding you on the Tow Dolly is very helpful. 

If you must do it solo, use a GoPro or similar camera  with bluetooth capability stuck to the fender. The camera app on your smart phone, when connected to the camera, will show you the tire placement on the Tow Dolly clearly. Bright tape may help you estimate the proper distance from the edge of the Tow Dolly tire ramp.

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A couple of additional comments:

Lock the steering wheel and set the hand brake when your vehicle is properly placed on the dolly. If your steering wheel does not lock use the rope or seat belt material to immobilize the steering wheel.

Do not ever remove the hitch of theTow Dolly from Towing vehicle when loaded. Just look on You Tube for examples of why you never unhitch a loaded dolly. It gets ugly fast.

The tongue weight of a loaded dolly is 200lbs. Be sure that your hitch is properly sized.

Below are all some pertinent specifications for the Kar Kaddy 460 SS.

KK460SS – 8 ½’  WIDE AUTO TRANSPORT WITH BRAKES

  • Hydraulic surge brakes
  • Overall width – 101″
  • Overall length unfolded – 133″
  • Overall length folded – 67″
  • Tires – ST205/75R14 load range (C) BSW radial tire
  • Wheels – 14″ x 5.5-5″ Nickel Chrome
  • Weight – 615 lbs.
  • Axle capacity – 3,500 lbs.
  • Towed vehicle tread width – Min. – 42″, Max. – 76″
  • Maximum towed vehicle body width – 76″
  • eZ-Latch coupler rating – 10,000 lbs.
  • Total towed vehicle weight – 4,800 lbs.
  • GVWR (unit weight plus max. carrying capacity) – 3,500 lbs.

Secure ball coupler to 2” (5,000 lb. capacity) towing
vehicle ball only. Make sure that the hitch and the hitch
ball is in good condition and not rusted, loose or stripped.

Recommended ball height is 18” to the top of the ball.
Make sure hitch is locked down and secured with safety clip.
Criss-cross safety chains under tongue and secure to towing
vehicle frame.

Before loading (and unloading) towed vehicle make
sure platform and towed vehicle are in straight alignment.
Tow dolly must be completely and properly hooked up to the
towing vehicle. Towing vehicle must be larger and at least
1000 lbs. heavier than the Tow Dolly and towed vehicle
combined.

Drive vehicle onto the platform – front forward –
until tires touch the wheel stops at the front of each side of
the platform and the platform tilts to a flat position. Make
sure the car is centered on the platform. Towed vehicle tires
must fit in wheel troughs without overhanging sides. Engage
towed vehicle parking brake. Shift loaded car into “park”
and lock steering wheel with front tires in a straight position.
If the car does not have a locking steering column
the steering wheel must be tied securely with front tires
in a straight position.

TO UNLOAD towed vehicle. Never unhook tow
dolly coupler from towing vehicle, before unloading tow
dolly. Make sure that platform and vehicle are straight. Reinstall
driveshaft. Ensure that towed vehicle parking brake is
fully engaged, then unhook the towed vehicle safety chains,
and release the tie-down straps. N

Straps must be retightened after first 5 miles of travel.
Check straps every 50 miles thereafter to ensure they are
tight and not rubbing or fraying.

A loaded tow dolly tongue weight (approximately 200 lbs.) contributes to total cargo weight of tow vehicle. Tow vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum passenger/cargo load must not be exceeded.

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