Tow Dolly License Requirements

by Richard Ludwig
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Tow dollies are used by RVers trailering a smaller car to be used at their next destination, hobbyists picking up a classic car to be restored or many other reasons for needing to transport a vehicle from one place to another. Tow dollies are hitched to back of a car, truck or RV and intended for the purposes of towing another vehicle. California, like all states, define a tow dolly as a vehicle where the "front or rear wheels of the towed motor vehicle are mounted, while the other wheels of the towed motor vehicle remain in contact with the ground."

License Requirments for Tow Dollies

In many states a tow dolly does not need to be licensed and tagged, but many require that the tow dolly be titled and registered. The car being towed must be licensed as its wheels come into contact with the pavement. Each state's department of motor vehicles addresses tow dolly license requirements.

Driver License Requirements

All driver's with a standard operator's license, in many states called a Class E license, can use a tow dolly. If you are towing for commercial purposes, or towing large weights, a commercial driver's license may be required.


Tow dollies do not need separate insurance policies. They are covered under the towing vehicle's general liability insurance. But the vehicle that is being towed must have its own insurance coverage.

Tow Dolly Brakes

Whether a two dolly is required to have an auxiliary braking system depends on how much weight is being towed. For most cars and light trucks, usually those under 5,000 pounds, tow dollies do not need a separate braking system.


Tow dollies are not required to have lights. The vehicle being towed must have operating brake lights that are engaged when the towing vehicle's brakes are depressed.

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