When the time comes to find the right car tow dolly for your adventure, you need to take a long look at the type of brakes for the dolly. You have two options: disc vs drum brakes. Determining the type of brakes for your tow dolly doesn’t have to be challenging. Let’s take a look at both types of car tow dolly brakes, the pros, and cons of each, and determine which type is best for your tow dolly in this blog post from Car Tow Dolly.
The Legal Requirements for Brakes
Before you can use a tow dolly, you need to have brakes. They are required for legal tow dolly usage in all 50 states in the United States and in Canada. There’s no way around it; brakes are a must on any type of tow dolly. If you ever want to sell your dolly in the future, having brakes will make it easy to sell. Roughly eight out of every 10 tow dollies sold are sold with brakes.
Disc Brake Tow Dolly
If you choose to go with disc brake tow dolly brakes, you should know that these brakes can be used in a hydraulic system. Disc brakes have the following positives:
- 4 times more efficient than drum brakes
- Cool faster than drum brakes
- Significantly lighter than drum brakes
- Do not need to be adjusted
- Resist brake fade
- One moving part
- Longer lifespan
- Easy-to-replace friction pads
- Easy-to-access caliper for cleaning
- Can self-adjust to prevent uneven braking
- Rust, dirt, and water will not impact braking
- Less sensitive to prematurely locking up
- Lower cost of ownership during the life of the tow dolly with brakes
- No scheduled maintenance is required (changing brake fluid or adjusting the brake shoes)
- Braking is proportional even when traveling at lower speeds
- If you choose electric brakes, the system can be programmed to apply the correct braking pressure based on the overall weight of the load being towed
More Stopping Power
When comparing car tow dolly brakes, disc brakes have more stopping power than traditional padded brakes. This means that they have more power to effectively stop heavy loads being hauled. So, if you are towing a large truck behind your RV, you shouldn’t have to worry about it stopping in the same amount of time as the RV.
Pressure is Applied Evenly
As you dig deeper into the comparison between disc brakes and drum brakes you will find that disc brakes apply pressure more evenly than drum brakes. What does this mean? When pressure is applied to brake rotors it is done so evenly so that the rotors do not wear down unevenly. At the same time, these brakes allow each wheel to feel the same amount of pressure. When each wheel experiences the same amount of pressure it helps prevent the dolly from overturning.
Repair, Replacement, and Cleaning Are a Breeze
You will find that disc brakes for a tow dolly are a breeze to repair, replace, or clean. Since the system is one piece, the caliper, you won’t have to worry about disassembling multiple parts to clean or repair another part. A disc brake system is very easy to inspect and can be removed and put back onto the car tow dolly in a matter of minutes. On top of it all, you will be putting much less stress on the brakes of the towing vehicle than if you were to use drum brakes on the tow dolly
Drum Brake Tow Dolly
Not sure if disc brakes are the best option for your tow dolly with brakes? Let’s examine drum brakes for your tow dolly. Drum brakes are an older type of brake compared to disc brakes. Drum brakes have many disadvantages when compared to disc brakes for a tow dolly with brakes. Some of the disadvantages of choosing drum brakes over disc brakes include the following:
- Brake fade occurs more often (lose their effectiveness or stopping power)
- Vibrate when braking due to distortions of the drums
- Retain more water than disc brakes
Drum brakes are still a popular option for tow dollies because they cost less than disc brakes. The reason for this is that they cost less to make and are lighter. Drum brakes take a lot more money, time, and effort to maintain, repair, or replace. If you have to replace just a spring, you will need to remove the wheel, hub, cap, and seal to do so. On top of it all, you will likely need to repack the bearings too.
Even though a drum brake system is a more affordable system at the onset, you will wind up spending more money on this type of system in the long run than if you go with disc brakes for your tow dolly with brakes.