Best Car Dollies: Move Your Vehicle Around with Ease
The best dollies to give you control over the vehicles in your garage
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Have a car that needs to be moved around your garage? Car dollies, also called car skates, are a reliable option. They act as four-wheeled skates for your tires, allowing you to move a car freely and smoothly wherever you want or need. In this piece, we’ll show you some of the best car dollies on the market today.
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy a Car Dolly?
- Freedom. The main reason for buying car dollies is the freedom to move old and modern cars to wherever you need them to be. This can be useful regardless if you’re a single car owner or a professional mechanic.
- Strength. A car dolly can be one of the most reliable tools in your garage. Usually rated for around 1,500 pounds each, the best car dollies are tough enough to stand up to the weight of a normal car for years.
- Different Movements. Using a set of dollies as you work allows you to move your car in many different ways without using the steering wheel or braking system. For example, two dollies will allow you to pivot the front or back of the car; four will give you complete, free 360-degree motion.
- Versatility. Most car dollies are ready to handle vehicles and wheels of all types, including front-wheel drive and rear-wheel vehicles. Heavy-duty models can be loaded up with vehicles ranging from a small Miata to a Ford F-150. Lightweight options are great for smaller cars.
Types of Car Dollies
Hydraulic car dollies are an all-in-one tool. They have a pedal attached to a built-in hydraulic jack that pumps the car into the air for you. This is a great option if you’re looking to save yourself some time and effort. However, this convenience has a catch. The price is usually significantly higher than standard models.
Standard car dollies are the more basic option. You have to jack the car up separately before you can place it onto the dollies. Standard dollies are a good choice if you won’t be using them often, or if you’re looking for a more affordable option. The lack of a built-in jack significantly drives the price down when compared to hydraulic models.
Top Car Dolly Brands
Mostly famous for their drywall tools, Pentagon Tools also makes some solid dolly sets. Founded back in 2006, they make some very well-reviewed skates. Their best-known model is the 5060, a tough, decent-capacity standard set.
LiftMaster is no stranger to toughness. Founded in Oak Brook, Ill., the company has been around since 1967. Known for their garage accessories, LiftMaster has made a name for itself in the dolly game with their tire skates.
Red Hound Auto
If you’re looking to buy from a company focused entirely on cars, this one should top your list. In business for more than 30 years, Red Hound makes incredibly tough, solid car products and accessories. Dolly-wise, the Red Hound Tire Skate set is top-notch.
Car Dolly Pricing
- $50-$150: Mostly standard models, you can find sets of two or four in this range, but the quality will vary. These models usually feature an all-metal design with ball-bearing wheels.
- $150-$250: Mostly standard dollies with a few hydraulic options as well, two- and four-dolly sets are common here. These models often have a sturdier construction, with smoother wheels and better convenience features.
- $250 and above: Almost entirely made up of hydraulic options, models here usually have higher weight capacities for larger, heavier vehicles.
It is important that you don’t exceed your dollies’ weight capacity. This can lead to instability or failure, putting both your car and your safety at risk. Naturally, the higher the weight capacity of the dolly, the wider the range of vehicles it can hold. If you’re going to be moving heavier vehicles, this is a key feature.
Some dollies come with brakes for some or all of the wheels. This is an extra level of security for you and your car. While unlikely, losing control of a dollied car while moving it can be a hazard. Brakes come with most models, but not all.
Toughness is the name of the game here. Ideally, you’ll want the surface, wheels, and hardware of the dolly to use a hard material like steel. This quality increases both the performance and longevity of the dolly.
Some dollies come with handles or straps for easy transportation. This can be helpful if you’re moving them between car shows, garages, or other spots often. Many can also be used for objects other than cars, like furniture.
- When and where you’ll use a set: Consider how you intend to use a set of dollies. If you’re a mechanic needing a set for 30 different cars per week, you will have different needs than a casual user. As a professional, you may be inclined to pick up a hydraulic set to save time. Casual users, however, can usually get by with just a standard set and a good jack.
- Set quantity: This, again, comes down to how you’ll be using your skates. You may be able to pivot a car with two dollies, but four will give you 360 degrees of freedom.
Best Car Dolly Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Car Dolly Tips
- When moving your car freely, a partner/spotter is always a good idea. They can help keep you safe and away from hazards like walls and debris.
- Never tow a car with dollies. For RVers, a tow dolly or four down (four wheels on the ground) is the best way to go to pull a car while RVing. The four-wheeled, free-skating design of car dollies is too unstable to handle a towed vehicle.
- Make sure you’re working within the confines of your dollies’ weight limit. Most dollies are rated at 1,500 pounds each.
- Keep your dollies off of the floor when not in use. They can create a trip or slip hazard. Keep them stacked in a corner, hung up on a wall, or stored on a rack to cut down on clutter.
- When using a hydraulic jack, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and movement. These can be different for every model.
Car Dolly FAQs
Q: Should I get hydraulic or standard car dollies?
A: Built-in hydraulic jacks are a convenience feature. The job can be done without them, using a standard jack. This choice boils down to whether the time and effort you can save with hydraulics are worth dropping a few more dollars. Take a moment to think about how and how often you’ll use your dollies in a typical year or so.
Q: Are no brakes a deal breaker?
A: Not a total deal breaker, but a huge factor. A car placed in a stable position with no brakes will likely stay this way. However, brakes give the vehicle extra stability.
Q: How much do brand names matter?
A: While brand names can give you a general sense of quality at times, it’s more about the specs. Some dollies can outlast and outperform well-known brand models, so you should judge each model on its own.
Car dollies are useful and versatile tools. They can be helpful anywhere from a professional shop to your own garage.