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Old 10-23-2011, 07:56 PM   #1
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Brakes on a tow dolly

I have a master Tow dolly that I pull behind our 2008 Bounder. The car is a Hyundai sonata (total weight 3500 lbs). By law Do I need a braking system, since I currently don't, and have not had any issues!

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Old 10-23-2011, 08:02 PM   #2
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I think it varies from State to State, but I'm often wrong!
Hopefully this'll bump you to the "active" column and somebody who knows more will chime in...

Good luck...


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Old 10-23-2011, 08:09 PM   #3
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Several states require brakes for anything over 2000 lbs. At 3500 lbs, brakes will give you a margin of safety regardless of the law. I like surge brakes, have had them on a couple different boat trailers. They worked very well and were very simple. No controller to install in the tow vehicle. Just hook up and go.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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The legal question is one part and the safety question is the other. Legally you you do need them in many states at the 2000lb+ level, however it probably will never be an issue (meaning you will never be stopped for it) until such time that something happens and it's deemed that brakes would have prevented it. If you feel safe driving without them chances are you'll be ok...but if you ever replace that dolly I'd be looking for something with brakes.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:41 AM   #5
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We had a sonata on a tow dolly until I upgraded to a malibu. The brakes are a definite plus. when stopping, you're tow dolly wants to keep going forward. hard on the MH brakes. on more then one occasion I was glad to have them when braking on the highway. safe travels
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:17 AM   #6
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Regardless of state laws, I'd have a braking system. And honestly a tow bar and brake system in the tow vehicle is even better and safer. 4 wheels braking is better than 2.
There's a link somewhere (I can't remember where sorry) but it was about a class A diesel with a tow vehicle that was in a bad accident where the driver's wife was killed. He wasn't speeding and on a panic stop on a pile up, he clipped the back end of a semi trailer. It was determined if he had the braking system on the tow vehicle, he would have stopped a few feet before hitting the trailer.
I know the stuff is expensive and sometimes a hassle. But just that one incident is all it takes. For me, I don't need a near death experience to know it could happen.
Sorry if this comes off as preachy.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:36 AM   #7
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I had a Master Tow without brakes and my current Master Tow with surge brakes. I could definitely tell the difference when towing our Rav4. My original dolly had problems with lights so the dealer offered me another with the surge brakes, which I originally wanted anyway.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ToddGaddy View Post
I have a master Tow dolly that I pull behind our 2008 Bounder. The car is a Hyundai sonata (total weight 3500 lbs). By law Do I need a braking system, since I currently don't, and have not had any issues!
Both Ford and Workhorse recommend brakes on anything being towed that weighs over 1,500 lbs. They both also state that the brakes on the chassis are rated for the GVWR not the GCWR. Even if you're under the GVWR and the object being towed weighs over 1,500 lbs brakes are recommended.

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