The SRW vs DRW Difference (Towing, Ride, Traction, Mpg, Snow)

Sometimes more is better and sometimes less is better. When it comes to coffee, less sugar is better than more. When it comes to trucks 2 axles may be better than 1. Which way you go will depend on the type of trailer you want to tow.

Different vehicles, different purposes. The dual rear wheel (DRW) is better than the single rear wheel (SRW) when it comes to heavy weights. But the SRW is better when it comes to driving through the snow. It is a comparison you need to analyze carefully to get the right vehicle for you.

To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can make the right decision for you and the RV you want to tow. Buying the right vehicle is vital for a good trailer towing time.

What Are DRW And SRW?


This is one thing you have to get used to if you read any RV discussion forums. The members there like to use shorthand when talking to each other and when you are not up on the vocabulary, then you won’t understand what someone is referring to.

DRW is short for dual rear wheels and SRW is short for single rear wheels. What those words refer to is the number of axles you have on the rear of your truck. It only takes common sense that the extra axle is there to help you carry or tow more weight.

Which one you will buy will depend on your preferences and what kind of towing and hauling you are going to do. Both systems have their good and bad points and both are better than the other in certain circumstances.

Are SRW And DRW Axles The Same?

Yes and no. The yes part would be that the axles work the same, have similar designs, and all other parts related to axles. Those parts though would also be part of the no answer.

What separates the two axles is that the DRWs will be bigger and heavier than the SRW. The reason for this is that the former is designed to carry heavier weights than the latter.

This is the biggest difference between the two axles. While an SRW can be rated to tow up to 18,000 pounds and carry roughly 3000 to 3500 pounds in the bed, the dually will go to 21,000+ pounds and carry more payload weight.

Dually is the slang term for DRWs and as far as we know there is no slang term for the SRW.

DRW vs SRW Axle Width

We do not have the exact measurements in front of us at this time but the DRW axle is going to be 6 inches wider than the SRW. The reason for this difference is again the weight it is rated to tow and haul.

However, the SRW is thicker than the CC (Cab & Chassis) with the latter being the narrowest of all three axle options. But that is when you measure from the wheel mounting surface to the wheel mounting surface.

It seems that it is possible to put an SRW single axle in a DRW truck but you cannot do the reverse. The wheels may stick out about 3 inches further from where the SRW wheels would normally sit using an RW axle.

To do the reverse you would need adapters and spacers to make the swap work.

What's The Difference Between SRW And DRW?


Aside from the fact that the DRW axles are bigger and heavier, the only real difference between the two would be the amount of weight you could tow or haul. The DRWs are designed to tow and haul heavier weights. That is why they are generally bigger and stronger than an SRW axle.

There have been reports that the DRWs do not handle as well as the SRWs and snow is supposed to be an element they do not perform well in. But that has not been confirmed and with a sandbag or two, the DRW may handle quite well in snow.

Then the biggest difference you will find is that the DRW will have trouble finding a parking space. They are just too wide for the average shopping center parking spots and some campgrounds.

Fuel efficiency will be another difference as the SRW is supposed to get better gas mileage than the DRW.

DRW vs SRW Off-Road

The DRW is the one you want when you are traveling down a lot of rural, unpaved roads. It seems that they have better traction in mud, snow, grassy roads, and more.

The reason for this is that the DRW has more contact with the ground and they are more stable with their wider design. However, the SRW is the one to have when you are sticking to paved roads.

With the DRW you can even out your load better and distribute any items that may throw off the balance of the truck A better weight distribution helps provide more stability making it the better truck to drive over rough terrain.

Also, the DRW is considered the safer vehicle to drive over the SRW. But as a daily driver, it is often better to go with the SRW as you do not have as many obstacles when you are driving in the city.

SRW vs DRW Towing Capacity

The amount of weight you can tow with either axle design depends on the model, the engine under the hood, and the tow rating found in the owner’s manual.

For example, if you own an F350 with a diesel engine and have a single rear axle, your truck should only be rated to tow 18,000 pounds. Put a second axle on the same vehicle and motor, you should be able to tow up to 21,000 pounds.

If you use a gooseneck hitch, you should be able to tow even more weight. Keep in mind this is just one example and you should check your manual to see what your model and engine can tow.

Every brand of the truck, trim model, and so on may have different ratings so double-check to see what the vehicle you are interested in buying can do with a trailer. Just make sure not to load too much weight.

SRW vs DRW For The Fifth Wheel


This is not so much about axles but weight capacities. As you know by now, the weight of the trailer is not the only factor when it comes to towing. You have to factor in payload weight, passenger weight, tongue weight, and so on before you can tow anything.

Both vehicles would be good to tow a 5th wheel trailer as long as the total weight of all those factors is under the stated tow rating for each vehicle. One owner is comfortable towing 15,000 pounds with his SRW, even though it could to more weight.

Remember you do not have to max out the truck and always tow at the limit. Find what weight is good for you and the truck and stick with that. Being well under the weight limit is a safety habit that is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Pick the trailer that fits your needs and is under the tow rating of both vehicles and you should be fine no matter which model you use.

SRW vs DRW For a Truck Camper

This category will depend on the type of roads you will be driving and the size of the camper you will be hauling. When we write these words, we are using the word camper to mean the slide-in models that were popular back in the mid-20th century and not a trailer.

The trailer would fall under the same information as the previous section. The traditional camper is a bit different. But the principle will still apply. The DRW would be better in this situation as it is wider, more stable, and can travel off-road better than the SRW.

You have more payload capacity in the DRW than the SRW plus, you can distribute the weight better due to the wider size. Traction should be good as well as you will have 4 wheels instead of 2 on the ground.

Plus, with a DRW you can handle a bigger traditional camper than the SRW.

SRW vs DRW in Snow

As you may have noticed, we have seen points of view on both sides of this issue. One party has read that the DRW is not very good in snow and avoids using them because of where they may live.

The other side of the issue states that the DRW is better than the SRW in the snow. One owner who used his DRW in the snow said that all he had to do was put a couple of heavy sandbags over the axles and he had no problems.

Your experience may be different and that could be the fault of the type of tires you place on the DRW axles. It is not always the fault of the axles if you are having trouble navigating snowy roads.

SRW vs DRW Mpg


This is a category that the SRW will win without any doubt. It is the better of the two when it comes to fuel mileage. The SRW will routinely get around 18 mpg +/- depending on road conditions, towing or not, and how you drive.

DRWs are said to get far lower than that result and you can expect at least 1.5 mpg less than the SRW. But mileage numbers are usually given by the manufacturers after testing their vehicles under ideal conditions.

These numbers are just to give you an idea of what to expect when you drive either vehicle. There are just too many factors involved to provide accurate figures. The best that we can say is that the SRW will be better in this category than the DRW.

Some owners will report higher numbers traveling at higher speeds when towing a heavy trailer but take those results with a grain of salt.

DRW vs SRW Ride Quality

According to many owners, and that is the best source of information for this category, the DRW wins hands down. It is supposed to be the better of the two vehicles for ride quality. It is a more stable vehicle which contributes to the quality of ride you get.

Part of the reason is that the DRW is going to be heavier than the SRW and it won’t be bounced around as much as the SRW will be. One owner said to test drive an SRW over an icy road and you will know why the DRW is better.

But this does not mean those SRW owners are not getting a good quality ride out of their vehicles. It just means that upgrading to a DRW is an upgrade in ride quality.

DRW vs SRW Traction

The DRW is the superior vehicle to the SRW in this case as well. It is the better vehicle when you want or have to get off paved roads. The DRW is heavier and handles the rougher terrain far better than the SRW can.

Also, you have a wider truck that makes the vehicle far more stable than the SRW. That stability provides a better quality and safer ride than you would get from the SRW.

But we will suggest that you take both out for a test drive and see if you can spot the difference between the two vehicles. The SRW may have better traction on paved roads but not everyone drives paved roads all the time.

Can You Convert An SRW To a DRW?


This is a possibility but there are some complications involved that may not make it a great idea. For looks, it is okay as you would need minimal parts, like a spacer as well as longer studs to make it work.

But if you want to tow or haul heavier weights and use the SRW as a DRW weight-wise, then you have to change quite a few components to heavier and stronger parts.

Those parts would be the springs, axle, and brakes. Also, this swap may be better if you used a dually rear end with the same ratio as the front. Talk to qualified mechanics on this topic as they will have the experience and knowledge to make sure you get the right parts and put the new axle in place correctly.

How To Make an SRW a DRW

As you have just read, this project is more than slapping an extra axle in place and driving off into the sunset. You may also need to change the front axle to a dually front axle.

If you don’t, then your truck will look weird but your handling, etc., will not change. You will need the front dually spacers in the front if you want to keep the SRW axle.

The SRW and DRW axles are basically the same except for the wheel hub and rotor. As for the work, it is basic mechanics work taking nuts and bolts off, removing parts, replacing those parts with better ones, and putting the nuts and bolts back on

F350 SRW To DRW Adapter

The recommended outlet for buying adapters is Arrow Conversions. These are supposed to be the best options available. We are just not sure of their price at the moment. However, their price may be compatible with the price we saw at another adapter outlet.

Those prices ranged from $400 to $2500 depending on what you want and what brand of truck you own.

What's Better SRW or DRW?


This is going to be a matter of preference as both axle options are better in some categories than others. If you are not concerned so much about mpg, then the DRW will be the best for ride quality, towing, hauling, and off-road traction.

If mpg or parking is important to you then the SRW would be best as it gets better gas mileage and can park just about anywhere. The brand and model of either will play a role in this debate as well.

Some people prefer GM and vice versa or GM to Chrysler and vice versa. The one that is best will be the one you like the most and does the job you want without hassles.

Some Final Words

People like the DRW because of the way it looks. It is a cool looking vehicle that turns the eyes of men when they see it driving down the road. Usually, owners like them because they want to tow their heavier trailers without having any trouble.

The DRW is best for towing heavy trailers but the SRW is no slouch either. It will do a good job with heavy trailers and be available when you want to park and explore the area you are camping in.

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