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Car Towing Safety Preparation and Driving Tips

Car Towing Safety | Preparation and Driving Tips

Car towing is something car drivers must be prepared to do when their car conks out in the middle of a highway or for towing the car to another town while providing assistance to another driver at some point in their life.

You may consider it to be very basic, just call the tow truck company if your car insurance covers it and be done with it. However, if you don’t have insurance, it can cost you up to $125 for an average 5 to 10 mile tow if you are lucky to find a garage that is nearby.

Towing becomes easy if you are towing your own car with an SUV or another heavy duty vehicle. Know about the size and weight of your car; have the right equipment at hand, and know there are rules and regulations regarding towing, which depends on the state you are in.

Being prepared beforehand is essential if you want to tow or get towed, so keep a few types of equipment in your car at all times.

Towing a car with a manual transmission system

  • Tow straps or tow bar are the safest options, but can only be used for towing
  • Approved tow chains with hooks (generally car towing requires a chain grade G30, G70, or G80)
  • A heavy-duty nylon tow rope of 3 strands is good for towing and for vehicle recovery—for example, to get a stuck car out of a ditch

Towing a car with an automatic transmission system

  • A car dolly is required for towing the car whether it is a front-wheel or rear-wheel drive.
  • For all-wheel transmission; the drive-shaft has to be disconnected before the car is towed on all fours on the ground and you will need a mechanic for that purpose; or
  • The four-wheel-drive can be flat-bed towed on a flat-bed truck as all wheels must be off the ground.

Driving tips for the drivers doing the towing and getting towed

  • The distance between the cars should not exceed 4.5 meters
  • Tie a neon orange or yellow flap to the tow rope or chain so other drivers can see it clearly
  • Place “On-Tow” sign on the back of the vehicle getting towed
  • The towing driver should drive in low gear keeping the speed within 15mph and gently release the clutch to avoid sudden snapping of the rope/chain and to prevent jolts that can damage both the cars
  • The towed driver must keep the car in neutral for manual transmissions.
  • The driver being towed Make sure the head and tail lights are on, in case of damage, use electric lights from a lighting kit to ensure you are visible to other drivers

Damages done while towing a car

If you are towing another car, then determining the towing weight of your car is really important; otherwise, you run the risk of causing damage to the engine and the drivetrain. This happens when the transmission has to work more than it is designed to do releasing heat, which uses up the lubrication fluid faster and affects the moving parts of the system. This strain is also transmitted to the tires of the car, which go through much more wear and tear, lowering their life.

A car getting hooked up to a towing vehicle can get scratches, dents, or dings to the exterior front or back of the car. Transmission or linkage damages could occur whereas wheel and tire damages could easily happen. You might underestimate what damages can happen from towing a car, but these are just some of the damages that might happen. If your vehicle was involved in an accident, further damage to your car can happen and that will be added expenditures for you.

Towing capacities of different vehicle

What is the towing weight for my car? It depends on what kind of vehicle you have. Just consult your manual and try to tow about 70% to 80% of the amount mentioned in the manual. A rough guideline is given for you below:

If you have a front-wheel-drive car or a small SUV, you can tow about 1500 lbs.

If you have a mid-size, all-wheel drive car, pick-up, or SUV, you can tow about 3000 lbs.

If you have a half-ton vehicle, you would be able to tow about 5000 lbs or even more.

Remember this fact; it does not depend on the horsepower of a car. You do not see sports cars towing other cars around, and sports cars have an unusual high horsepower output. It’s what a vehicle is built to do. There are many factors involved in a vehicle to be doing towing work a lot. It is more connected to the torque the engine can generate.


It is hoped this article has introduced a person to what is involved in towing a car safely. Knowledge about the equipment and the different types of towing vehicles that have to be taken into consideration has all been clearly underlined in the article. But most importantly, a person must know certain aspects about his or her car that are related to any type of towing that might become necessary.

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