Getting your vehicle towed is not a crime. Might be your car has broken or has stopped functioning, or you need to take your vehicle to another place. But breaking down without proper knowledge can be a real nuisance.
So read our comprehensive guide to know how to tow a car properly. Following our guidelines and tips would make the towing process easier.
Things Required for Towing a Car
Before you begin the towing process, there are some important things you need.
1. Towing Capacity
The towing vehicle must be ideal to tow the car. You must not attempt to tow a car that is quite heavier than the vehicle used for towing. It is essential to estimate the weight of the car to be towed. Then pick a towing car, which is heavier than the estimated weight.
2. Towing Bar or Tow Rope
A towing bar or a tow rope is the next vital thing to consider. Most of the patrol stations keep such things in stock. But if it’s unavailable, you can shop it from motor suppliers or online. There is a weight limit mentioned on the rope or tow bar. The car being towed must not exceed the mentioned weight limit.
3. Towing Eyes
There are metal brackets available known as towing eyes. These are attached to the tow-rope. In some cars, this feature is inbuilt and placed under the rear or front surface of the car. However, most of the modern cars hold a metallic ring that is available with the spare wheel or toolkit of the car.
4. ‘On Tow’ signboard
Though you would get such a signboard along with tow rope or tow bar, but if not, then you can separately purchase it online. The ‘on tow’ sign must be hung on the rear of the car so that it is clearly visible to vehicles and drivers following behind. This sign works as a warning for them to travel slowly.
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10 Best Tips on How to Tow a Car Safely
Image Credit: Instructables
1. It is possible to tow vehicles with a manual gearbox. To tow vehicles or cars with automatic transmission, you must call professional help.
2. The car used for towing must be fit for the task. It must support enough towing capacity as compared to the car to be towed.
3. Drive the towing vehicle with extreme caution.
4. Maintain a moderate and consistent speed throughout the route.
5. Make sure there is abundant space between the towed car and towing vehicle. This distance must be maintained at the intersection as well.
6. Use heavy-duty ropes, chains, straps, and bars to avoid any damage or hassle while towing the car.
7. Avoid sudden changes of directions. Don’t start the towing vehicle suddenly, as this can result in an accident.
8. The driver of towing vehicle must regularly check his vehicle’s mirrors to confirm the towed vehicle is alright.
9. Avoid any sudden braking. A sudden brake can pull the towed vehicle towards towing vehicle, and there can be nasty damage.
10. Make sure the towed car is in neutral and switch on the ignition to unlock the steering.
Towing a Car with a Rope
Image Credit: agersinsurance
Before you begin towing a car with a rope, it is essential to find a heavy-duty rope. The rope must have a minimum length of 1.5 meters and a maximum length of 4.5 meters. Once you have found such a rope, you must follow these steps:
1. Use the ‘On Tow’ sign. The sign must be in big letters, clearly visible to the people moving behind. Place the board on rear mirror of the car.
2. Turn on the ignition and release steering. Unlock brake lights and direction indicators.
3. Attach the tow rope to towing eyes. Avoid hooking to other parts of the car as it can damage your car.
4. Release the handbrake of the car to be towed. Put transmission in neutral.
5. Double check for tightness of the rope.
6. In some car models, there will be need of pedal pressure. This is usually in cars with a power steering.
7. Make sure there is adequate distance between the towing and towed vehicle. Start driving the towing vehicle at a moderate speed. Make sure that the distance is maintained especially at the intersections.
8. Remember not to drive or tow backwards.
If the power steering of your car is not working, the towing process can result in a big accident. In this case, it is sensible to hire a professional. Also, if you are towing a car with an automatic transmission when the engine is not running, then this could cause some damage to the overall transmission process. Even in this case, you must seek professional assistance.
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Towing a Car with a Tow bar
Image Credit: YourMechanic
In order to tow a car with a tow bar you need to have following items:
- Towbar brackets that you need to install in front of the car to be towed
- Safety cables or chains
- Wiring and hitch to towing vehicle
- Wiring for the car to be towed
- Braking system for the car to be towed
- Towbar locks and covers (optional)
While different tow bars have slightly distinct steps, these are common steps to all types of tow bars.
1. Drive your car to be towed into a position exactly behind the towing vehicle.
2. Hook up both the arms of tow bar to towed vehicle’s baseplate.
3. Next, you need to link the tow bar coupler over ball plate. Also, you can insert tow bar into the trailer hitch on towing vehicle.
4. Take the electrical pigtail and plug into both the vehicles.
5. Place the key into the ignition of the car to be towed. Key it to unlock the steering wheel.
6. It is best to put the gear mode in neutral. Otherwise, you can completely disengage driving mode.
7. Install the braking system and connect it to breakaway switch.
8. Check all systems and lights again so that they are functioning properly.
9. Tow your vehicle.
Towing a Car with a Truck
Image Credit: Arvada Towing
Using a Chain or Rope
You can always use a regular truck to tow the car. To tow the car with a truck you can use a chain, rope, or car dolly.
If you tow the car with a truck using a chain or rope, then leave enough space to attach the rope or chain to the bumper of truck and frame of the car.
Make sure you loop the tow rope well to your car. Avoid looping on the bumper as this may take off the car’s bumper.
If the towed car uses flashers, the truck must also use flashers. Put the car in neutral position and then start towing at a slow speed. Maintain a consistent speed.
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Using a Car Dolly
You can backup towing truck to the dolly and link the dolly to the trailer hitch. Make sure the trailer hitch fits well to the dolly.
Once the dolly is firmly attached, you need to drive the car onto the dolly. If the car is not drivable, you must back the dolly under the towed car.
You must always take the assistance from another person when loading the car on a dolly.
Once the car is centred use straps around both front wheels. Tighten the straps using ratchet straps. This way, your car will be secured and would not come off the dolly.
Hope you are now aware of how to tow a car in different ways. With these tips and tricks, towing a car is very easy. If still, you experience any problem, then do seek professional assistance.