Ask a Trooper: What are the guidelines for towing vehicles?

Published 8:09 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson


Question: If I rent a properly licensed and lighted tow dolly from a rental company, can I tow a non-running vehicle that is not licensed (no current plates) and not insured? Do I need tail lights in addition to the dolly lights?

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Answer: A tow dolly is used to tow a vehicle behind a recreational vehicle or other larger vehicle. It has two wheels, an axle and a tow-hitch and is generally designed to tow a vehicle forward facing.

The following criteria must be met in order to tow a vehicle using a tow dolly:

• The vehicle you are using to tow the dolly must be properly registered, insured and legal to tow the non-running vehicle (hitch, weight ratings, etc.).

• The dolly must have the required lights and reflectors.

• If the non-running vehicle extends beyond the dolly, it must be equipped with at least two tail lamps on the rear.

You may want to talk with your auto insurance agent about insuring the non-running vehicle. Although the towing vehicle has insurance coverage, it might not apply in case of crash.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.