Towing Cars and Motorcycles

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  • Post last modified:February 18, 2021

When it comes time to tow your vehicle, you have multiple towing options to choose from. But the one question that will narrow down your decision is this: What kind of vehicle are transporting? Towing options for cars can differ from methods of towing motorcycles.

Options for Car Towing

When you’re towing a car you can use either a tow dolly or a car carrier. No matter which method you use, avoid the temptation to store items in your car. Towing equipment has specific weight restrictions, and you don’t want to risk overloading.

A tow dolly is an option if your car has front-wheel drive. While the dolly holds the car’s front tires in the air, the back wheels roll along the ground.

A car carrier, on the other hand, suspends the entire car on a platform, so none of the wheels touch the ground. This is a common choice for long-distance moves.

Options for Towing a Motorcycle

There are three primary methods of towing a motorcycle, and each comes with a few pros and cons.

Towing Cradle

Typically the least expensive way to tow a motorcycle is with the use of a towing cradle. Here’s what to expect when using this simple method:

  • It doesn’t require a ramp because you load it at ground level
  • A cradle links the motorcycle’s front wheel to a hitch.
  • The motorcycle’s back wheel rolls along the ground as you travel, similar to a towing dolly for a car.


The most common way to tow a motorcycle is with the use of a flatbed truck from businesses such as McLain’s Towing. Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re thinking of using a flatbed:

  • Motorcycles must be loaded onto a flatbed via a ramp.
  • A flatbed tows the motorcycle upright, relying on a motorcycle rail, wheel chock, straps, and other securing features for stability
  • Due to the amount of open space available on a flatbed, you might be able to transport multiple motorcycles at the same time, but you’ll need to consider the towing capacity.

Two-Wheel Trailer

If you don’t plan on hauling additional items but you don’t want to use a simple towing cradle, a two-wheel trailer is an effective middle ground between your previous options. Two-wheel trailers tend to have the following characteristics:

  • As is the case with a flatbed, you’ll need a ramp to load the motorcycle onto a two-wheel trailer.
  • Some trailer models fold up for easy storage once you’ve reached your destination.

Weigh your options carefully and always research the specific capabilities of your towing equipment.