What is a Dually Truck?

Jessica Choksey | Jul 01, 2020

A dual rear-wheel truck (DRW) – often referred to as a dually – is a heavy-duty pickup truck with two rear wheels on each side, allowing more road contact and width for greater stability, balance, and traction while driving. Chances are you have been behind one of these widebody vehicles on the road and noticed its brawny stance and muscular fenders. 

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Dually Truck

With four back wheels instead of two, and a stronger rear axle, a dually truck can handle a larger amount of payload weight and offer more towing capacity compared to its standard single rear-wheel (SRW) pickup truck counterparts. For example, a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD V-8 turbo-diesel (DRW) truck can haul 2,215 more pounds and tow 5,500 more pounds than its SRW version. Add a gooseneck hitch to both trucks and the dually out-tows the standard version by a remarkable 14,000 pounds.

Most dually trucks are also equipped with bigger, stronger brakes for additional stopping power, as well as heavy-duty shocks and springs for greater capability to tread uneven terrain and rough driving surfaces.

Dually Truck Usage

Due to their higher towing and payload capacities, dually trucks are commonly used in construction to tow heavy machinery and carry building materials. Their ability to safely haul substantial loads makes them a logical choice for builders, contractors, and material suppliers.

Away from construction sites and commercial operation, dually trucks are often used to tow large trailers for boats and horses over extended distances. Many of these trailers can weigh 20,000 pounds or more depending on their cargo. 

And in the RV arena, families who enjoy the outdoors may utilize a dually to tow a large fifth-wheel camper or multiple motorized recreation vehicles (i.e. four-wheelers, motorcycles, jet skis). A standard pickup truck may be able to handle some of these items, but not with the same level of surefootedness. The power and stability of a dually truck can inspire confidence and allow the ability to pull large or weighty loads in a more controlled manner.

Dually Truck Pros and Cons

Compared to standard pickup trucks, dually trucks have clear performance advantages such as increased maximum towing and payload capacities, enhanced traction in dirt or mud, and greater stability and sway control when trailering, especially in windy conditions or while driving on curvy roads. These characteristics make these trucks ideal for specific applications.

However, consumers should also weigh the disadvantages of dually trucks when considering a purchase. From a price standpoint, a dually can cost $900 to $2,000 more than its SRW counterpart. Also, due to weight and friction, six wheels on the ground operate less efficiently than four. This decreased fuel economy means a higher cost of ownership.

Another detractor is the difficulty to park and maneuver the vehicle on small streets due to the wider and heavier body designed to accommodate the extra wheels. And a dually truck typically offers a less comfortable ride experience, particularly when it is not hauling or towing a load. Standard SRW pickup trucks are a better choice to double as family vehicles due to the smoother and more compliant on-road feel.

Lastly, and most obviously, is the cost to replace six tires instead of four. This is another added expense that accompanies the dually ownership experience.

Dually Truck Choices 

Unlike shopping for standard SRW pickup trucks, there are a limited number of dually truck models to choose from in the marketplace. 

There are four mainstream offerings; eight if you count the advanced versions of each model. These include the:

Each model delivers its unique array of features and each has its own range of towing and payload capacities. The right truck is dependent on the buyer’s individual needs and driving style. Like with any vehicle purchase, product research and test drives are highly recommended.

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