Keep car from getting towed

Edited by Ephraim, Charmed, Eng, Anonymous and 19 others

Meme Dude! That's my car!.jpg

Are you worried your car will be towed without your knowledge? If, for whatever reason, you think your car may be in danger of being towed, here are some tips that will make it more difficult for the tow truck operator.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Tow Away Zone

These techniques may just make the tow truck move on to the next vehicle on their list, or at least give you time to run to your car's rescue. Although useful, these steps will not make your car completely "un-towable". Nothing is un-towable, but with enough effort, or the right equipment, you can make it so difficult that many tow truck drivers will report to their dispatch that it is un-towable, or at the least, difficult enough as to not be worth their time.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help


Important: Knowing your Drive Wheels

When a car is being towed, it MUST have its driver side wheels off the ground or else serious damage can be done to the transmission or other components.

It doesn't get any easier for a tow truck operator than when they can back their truck right up to your car, attach to your drive wheels, lift them up, and drive away with your other two wheels rolling freely. A lot of the tips in this article have to do with forcing the tow truck to go to the extra effort of lifting up all 4 wheels, and hopefully causing enough complications that they just won't bother. For this reason, it is important to know whether your vehicle is front or rear-wheel drive.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  • Front-wheel drive, just as it sounds, is when the engine sends power to the front wheels only, and the back wheels can spin freely - this is by far the most common configuration on today's cars, and if you aren't sure what you have, this is the best guess.
  • Rear-wheel drive is just the opposite, when the power is delivered to the back wheels and the front wheels spin freely - this is most common on trucks, sports cars, and cars built before the 1970's.
  • If you have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, then you're in luck - the tow truck already has to lift all the tires to avoid damaging any of the drive-train components of your car. However, there are still some things you can do to make it harder for that to happen.

7 Tips To Make Towing Your Car More Difficult

  1. 1
    [[Image:Idiot Parking - Irving Street, San Francisco 6AKP394 6-21-08 (2 of 2).jpg|left|177px|thumb|Don't park on the curb because the tow truck driver can easily get a dolly under your tire.
    It's best to park with your tires just touching the curb to prevent the dolly from being placed under your tire. Most tow truck designs require there to be a little bit of space around the wheel to safely secure the bracket or dolly to the tire. It is best to do this with both the front and back tire, but it is especially important to have one of your drive wheels touching the curb, as these must be lifted off the ground in order to tow the vehicle.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Park tightly between other cars or objects that prevent a truck from pulling up to either the front or back of your vehicle.
    Keep in mind that if you are between other cars that are also parked illegally, they will most likely just start towing from one end of the line, and eventually get to your car.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Use the parking brake
    Engage your parking brake.
    Most vehicle's parking brakes act on the rear wheels only, so this is a great tip for front-wheel drive cars (which most of today's popular models are). The front wheels must be lifted because they are attached to the transmission, and now the rear wheels must also be lifted because the brakes are locked on. Like the above tip, this one requires the tow truck operator to at least take longer to hook up your car - or maybe even take an easier-to-tow vehicle first.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Park with your wheels turned.
    Turn your front wheels all the way in one direction.
    This is especially useful on a rear-wheel drive vehicle, as the back wheels have to be lifted off the ground in order to prevent damage to the transmission - and now the front wheels also have to be lifted or else the car will not tow straight. At a minimum, this will at least make the tow truck operator take longer to attach your vehicle, as they will now have to use dollies, or leave and come back with a flatbed truck - giving you more time to move your car yourself. Note that if the steering wheel locks in the turned position on you, and the key won't turn to start the car, you have to simultaneously turn the steering wheel and the ignition key to release the lock.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Use a wheel lock or a club.
    If your car doesn't have the automatic steering wheel lock function in the previous tip, then you can use a steering wheel club to achieve the same affect. Also, since the club is an anti-theft deterrent, it aids in preventing your car from being stolen as wel.
    Wheel lock.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    Use a wheel lock or tire lock on a non-drive wheel.
    Jerry-Auto Tire Lock.jpg
    Like many of the other tips, this also requires the tow truck driver to lift all of your wheels off the ground, however it would likely interfere with most dolly or bracket systems, possibly preventing the operator from hooking up your car at all.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Remove a tire or two from the vehicle.
    While drastic and time-consuming, this method is almost sure to challenge any tow truck driver that was planning on taking your vehicle away. However, this may just call extra attention to the vehicle, and cause it to be taken more seriously by authorities and towed for other reasons such as blocking a street, or being a neighborhood eyesore. Like the other methods, this would also work best if a free-spinning (non-drive) wheel is removed, although it would likely also cause a problem on the drive wheels, as the tow bar would not fit properly.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help


Can your car be towed if you are touching it?

No, if you are physically touching your vehicle, the tow truck driver will need to get you away from the vehicle so they can continue the towing job safely. There are "reality" shows out today on TV that may show differently, but they are made-for-TV drama. If you are physically preventing the car from being towed, the driver will have to call the police to escort you away. Keep in mind though, that if the truck is legally towing your vehicle, and the police have to get involved, you may be fined or charged with some form of obstruction.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Can tow trucks tow from the back of the car?

Tow trucks can almost always hook up to either the front or the back of the vehicle being towed. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, this is actually the most common method, as they must lift the drive wheels off the ground. A front or all-wheel drive vehicle can also be towed from the back, but the front wheels must also be elevated by using some sort of dolly.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

How to keep a roll-back or flatbed tow truck from towing a car.

Jerry - roll back tow truck.jpg

A rollback, or slide, is the name for a tow truck with a flat bed that tilts back so that a vehicle can be rolled onto the tow truck. This method of towing is often used for towing odd-shaped, large, or damaged vehicles, but it is common as well for everyday cars.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

The driver of the flatbed needs to position their truck in line with the car to be towed so that they can winch the car up onto the truck. The only way to prevent this is to park your vehicle somewhere where there is no space for the flatbed truck either in front or behind your car.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Towing Laws That May Help Prevent Your Car From Being Towed In California

California has a few anti-towing laws that are more strict than some other jurisdictions.

  • State law makes it illegal for a tow truck driver to haul away your car if you are present.
  • California Vehicle Code 22658 states that your car cannot be towed from any private residential complex with at least 15 apartments unless some stringent conditions are met.
  • Somebody must call the tow company requesting the removal of the vehicle, and be there in person to sign the tow-away document as well as provide their full name, home address and phone number.

Questions and Answers

Can a car be towed while the driver is in the car?

No, for insurance purposes, the tow truck driver cannot tow the car with you inside. Not all tow truck drivers are the "sharpest tools in the shed" however, so it depends on the knowledge of the tow truck driver. If you find yourself in this situation, insist that he call his dispatcher for approval. Also legally, no one (unless arrested) is allowed to forcibly take you somewhere. If a tow truck driver were to tow your car with you in it, it may actually be considered kidnapping. On the other hand, if the tow truck driver is towing the vehicle under direction from the police or some other authority, the police may then charge you with obstruction or some other offense relating to not obeying the direction of a police officer. He would have to arrest you, to legally remove you from the vehicle so it can be towed.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

No, if the driver is still in the car it cannot be towed for the driver can be harmed while being in the car during a tow. The tow truck driver will need to find a way to get the driver out of the car in order for the car to be towed successfully.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

See more questions like this: What happens to a driver who tries to get inside a car that is about to be towed? *3

Is it true that you can't tow a front wheel drive car from the rear?

A front wheel drive vehicle should never be towed from the rear. When a vehicle is in operation, the engine is delivering energy to the transmission and drive shaft that in turn rotates the wheels. The process can also happen in reverse. If the wheels are turning as the vehicle is towed, it will put the moving parts along the power train in motion. Because the engine is not running, oil and transmission fluid are not being distributed. Lack of lubrication can cause friction, resulting in major damage to the vehicle's engine. Your front wheels are the drive wheels. This means they are the ones powered by the drive shaft and transmission. These wheels should only be moving under power. They should be immobile while the vehicle is in tow, by lifting them off the ground with a dolly or flatbed.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Normally that is true, because the transmission can become damaged. Now if you disconnect and remove the drive shaft, or use a lube pump to keep transmission cool while car is off, you can tow it from the rear.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

See more questions like this: Is there a difference being a rear wheel and front wheel drive. so if I have rear wheel should I park with my front to tow and may back to curb

Can you drive away from a tow truck?

Yes, you can drive away from a tow truck as long as the tow truck has not yet hooked up your car. But if the tow truck has gotten you out of a crash or accident you or your insurance company will need to pay the tow truck company.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Yes, this is possible but it will not allow you to be free and clear of the tow truck returning to take your vehicle if there is an order for your vehicle to be towed away from your home.

See more questions like this: How to stop the tow truck driver from taking my car

What can I do if the car is already hooked up to the tow truck when I get there?

If the car is already hooked up to the truck when you arrive on the scene, it is not likely that the driver will unhook it at all, or at least not without you first paying a fee. They should, however, allow you to remove any valuables from the vehicle.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

What should I do while waiting for the tow truck to come?

  • You have to push your car to the side of the road to allow space for motorists to get by you. This will also be easier for the tow truck to position itself to hook the car and not block traffic while he is doing it.
  • After moving your car to the side of the road, if you can, put on your hazard lights. If the car is not responding at all, a reflective triangle will notify others that your car is in trouble. You can buy one of these at most hardware stores.
  • To be safe, collect all your important things you have the car. Who knows if where they take your car is secure enough that people won't break into your car. Especially if it's nighttime, you should stay inside the car with the window an inch open to allow air to come in. Remember, depending on where you are waiting for the tow truck, you are in a very vulnerable position. Be safe. Don't let anyone talk their way into your car. They might want to rob you, or be unaware your car has broken down, and have their eye on stealing it, or your things, or your wallet – you get the idea..
  • When the tow truck arrives, jot down out the name of the driver, and the tow truck's license number.
Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

If you've called a tow truck and you're waiting, get the information on the vehicle ready for the tow truck driver, to make the process go as smooth as possible.

See more questions like this: How do I sue the tow-truck driver who towed my car right in front of me

Can the police force you to have your vehicle towed if it has a flat? *32?

Yes, they can force you to move your car if it has a flat tire in a private area that doesn't allow your vehicle to be there, or if you have a flat in a particularly busy area where you car has become a danger to other drivers.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

It depends on where you have a flat tire. If it's on the freeway where it may be obstructing the other vehicles and your car may cause further accidents, you definitely going to get towed. If it's in a less crowded area, a flat tire may not always lead to getting towed, unless of course you are violating certain traffic rules.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

How do tow companies lock your wheel and put on parking brake?

When you park your car, you automatically lock the hand brake. Thus, it would be impossible for the tow truck to just drag it. What they do then is hoist your car on the tow truck bed and drive away, or hoist the car on a hook so the front wheels do not touch the ground, while the rear wheels do. This way, they can drive away your car to the impound site.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Cars being towed.jpg

The parking break can only be applied by the owner of the vehicle. The tow truck company won't have access to the inside of your vehicle. When a tow truck tows a vehicle and the wheels turn it will cause the steering wheel to lock inside the car without having to get inside of your vehicle.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

See more questions like this: Is it illegal to not use a parking brake in Canada

Can a tow truck move one car to get to another?

No, a tow truck cannot legally move one car to get to another but that is not to say that they won't do it anyway at times. In some situations they may get a special order to ask the owner of if they can move their vehicle.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

As far as I can tell, they are not technically allowed to do that. They can try to get around it however they can though. You have to watch out for those tow truck drivers who don't follow the rules.

See more questions like this: Can a tow truck move a car without the key and if the steering wheel is locked

Can a tow company tow a car if there are no tires?

Depending on the situation, they will use a rope or chain to pull your car up onto the flatbed in order to tow the vehicle. In certain situations they may not tow, but they can always find a way, so it is up to the tow truck driver,

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

No, it would be very difficult for a tow truck driver to tow a vehicle with no tires. In order to tow your vehicle, the driver must find a way to place tires on your vehicle so that they can enforce the towing of your vehicle. I have in fact witnessed a tow truck driver place tires on a vehicle in order to tow the vehicle from its location.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Can parking a truck backwards keep it from being towed?

No, it will not prevent it from being towed if there is a way to either get in front of the truck or a way for them to use a chain to pull your vehicle up onto their flatbed, they will do it. Sometimes, people get lucky when the tow truck driver decides it's too much trouble and not worth his time to tow your vehicle.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

No, the vehicle can still be towed even if it is parked backwards. The tow truck will simply chain your vehicle up and drag it onto the back of the tow truck bed. After knowing this information it is important to understand that parking backwards will not stop your vehicle from being towed.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Is it illegal to leave your car up on a car lift?

No, as long as the lift is either owned by the driver of the vehicle or the driver has permission to use the lift that the car is on.

No, it is not illegal for you to have your vehicle parked on a lift but if a tow truck driver approaches you about the situation so that they can tow your vehicle, and you do not follow his orders, that situation can be considered illegal. If you know that your vehicle is in danger of being towed, then it will be in your best interest to not place your vehicle on a lift to exasperate the situation.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

See more questions like this: Is it illegal to lift or tow a vehicle with someone in it

Does having a club on your car make it harder for them to repo your car?

Yes. Most repo men do not have their own tow trucks. They will have a set of keys either made or given to them by the lending institution, but a club stops them from driving away. Now they have to get a tow truck involved which decreases their pay. The amount the bank is paying the repo man depends on the value of the vehicle in question. This would be a deterrent only if it makes the job unprofitable, so it would work best on lower end cars.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Be warned - your car can still be towed with or without the club on your car, repo men usually have a tow truck on standby in the area. This will not stop the tow truck from being able to pull your car onto the flatbed. The club will only help when it comes to stealing your car, or a repo man driving your car away.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

See more questions like this: Anti-lock brake system, if that's turned on would it make my car un-towable

Can't start my truck front tires locked?

This means your engine and tires are engaged via your transmission assuming your truck is front wheel drive. If you have a manual transmission then it is likely that your clutch has ceased up. If you have an automatic transmission this is less likely the cause. Usually, automatic transmission failures do not cause your tires to lock up. The reason you cannot start the vehicle is because the starter motor would have to turn not just the engine, but also move the car, which it's not strong enough to do.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Try to move the steering wheel slightly in either direction and hold it there while keeping your foot on the break. If you wiggle it around you will find a spot that will allow you to disengage the lock and turn the key.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Is a car still towable without the keys, and with the steering wheel locked?

There are towing companies that won't tow your car by pulling it. They would use trucks they could put your entire car onto. Therefore, without the keys and with a locked steering wheel, there is still possibility of your car being towed that way.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

See more questions like this: Fifth wheel on car for tight parking? Is it possible to put an extra retractable wheel on the car to get into tight parking spots

Can you put a truck on flat bed if it's turned the wrong way?

Yes, trucks can in fact be placed on the flatbed if it is in the wrong direction. The truck can be towed and placed on the flatbed either front end forward or back end forward. Every time you see a tow truck with a flatbed pass by, you'll notice the car can be facing either way.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

The truck can either be backed onto the flatbed or can be driven forward onto the flatbed of the tow truck. See the pictures below of vehicles being transported both ways on a tow truck flatbed.

Vehicle is on tow truck backwards:

Ideally, the vehicle should be placed on the flatbed facing forward, but depending on the situation, the tow truck driver can pick up the vehicle as they see fit.

How to prevent your car from being repossessed if you don't have enough money to pay the bank?

There are a number of tactics that you can use in order to avoid having your car repossessed but understand that these options are all not %100 safe, for they can in fact use special means to repossess your car if necessary.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Below are a number of tips that you can try to avoid having your car repossessed:

-Park your car in between two other cars to not make it difficult to be towed

-Park your car in a different location - other than your home, to avoid having your car located

-Park your car in your garage, so it isn't easily accessible.

-Park your car and place a tarp over it to make it difficult for the tow truck drivers to find.

See more questions like this: During towing if they damage like scratches and little damage in the bumper, who will be responsible for the damage, who will pay the repair bill

I'm late with car payments and they are going to repo my car. Any ideas?

I'm 3 months late on my car payments. My back got messed up and I couldn't work. Want to go to the Court today to file bankruptcy.

You can file for bankruptcy to help prevent further troubles with the bank constantly after you to pay your debt, but that won't prevent repossession of your car. That is the usual policy of banks when it comes to late payments. If you really want to resolve it, you may want to go have a discussion with your bank and see if they can make revisions in terms of payments. It is very important to make sure that you communicate with your bank regularly. This way they won't think you'll run away from your debt.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

I'm just curious about predatory towing, and how is it legal?

I'm just curious about predatory towing. Can you explain it?

The term "Predatory Towing" is often used incorrectly. It is against the law for a tow company to remove a legally parked vehicle. Predatory towing occurs when a tow truck removes an illegally parked vehicle without dispatch or permission from the owner. For instance, a car may be parked too close to a driveway entrance according to city laws, and get towed. You may have thought you'd parked okay, but even a few inches can make the difference. So the tow truck driver, in a very grey area of the law, removes the illegally parked car, but without a complaint from the homeowner, or a police directing him to do so. To fight the fee, you would need to prove that the tow truck had no permission to remove your vehicle. This would mean that the tow company had no contract with the city or place of business to remove illegally parked cars.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Do you have knowledge of discharging debt?

Good morning. I sent a debt validation letter to Progressive via email and from the email I sent my insurance did not renew.

Sending a debt validation letter is totally legal in the United States. In fact, it's encouraged; the act of verifying your debt allows you to make sure that you're being treated fairly by the creditors in paying your debts. It also allows the creditor to make sure that by treating you fairly you'll come back to them for your future credit needs. However, there are some things you need to remember when you send a debt validation letter, especially to an insurance company:

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  • When you send a debt validation letter, it is illegal for the creditor to charge you for the debt until they give you an adequate response. In the case of an insurance company, they may suspend both your payments and your insurance until they have responded to your letter.
  • Under the law, you are allowed to dispute any or all of your debts at any time, however, your debt validation letter must be sent within thirty days of the first written notice of your debt to give yourself the validation rights given to you by the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).
  • The response you'll receive from the creditor (Progressive) doesn't need to be any more than a written acknowledgement that the amount you need to pay back is actually the amount you owe.
Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Debt validation is a tricky issue, especially when dealing with an insurance company, since the laws surrounding the issue are vague and usually benefit the creditor. Still, validating your debt with them gives you the ability to confirm with them that the amount you're paying to them is accurate; they may even notice an error with your payments and adjust the amount you owe accordingly.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Discharging debt, on the other hand, is an entirely different issue. Whereas debt validation is simply a way to validate and confirm the amount you owe to a creditor, discharging debt is the forgiveness or cancellation of a debt. Discharging debt is a very difficult procedure, and oftentimes cannot be done without declaring bankruptcy. And even when you declare bankruptcy to relieve yourself of debt, your credit history will show that you declared bankruptcy, and you won't be able to get loans (or if you do, the interest rate will be very high). Declaring bankruptcy also requires that you pay back your loans by restructuring a new repayment plan or by liquidating (selling) your assets (what you own). Do not declare bankruptcy based on one bad debt alone; bankruptcy is the last resort relieve multiple debts you have no chance to pay off, so don't base your decision upon one debt from your insurance company. Since you've already contacted Progressive, they are aware of your debt validation inquiry; call them to ask about the process and what you can do to speed it up.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

There are a few other methods of discharging debt that you can try if you don't get anywhere by calling Progressive. These alternative methods, however, are tricky, require a lot of time and patience, and may not work for you anyway. Read through the following websites to learn about these alternative methods that may or may not allow you discharge your debts without declaring bankruptcy:

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

You made a good choice of your first step by sending the debt validation letter. Now you will need to wait for a response, as previously stated, call Progressive to speed up the process. You can also call Progressive's customer service at any time to ask about any additional steps you can take to get the issue you're having with your debt to them resolved.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

I hit the ground and injured my back. What should I do?

Was it illegal for the tow truck to hook up with me being in the truck?

In most places it is illegal to remove the car with someone either in the car or touching the car. That being said you would have to prove that he knew you were inside the vehicle and did not call the police to remove you but instead acted maliciously with intent to harm by towing the car with you inside or near the car. This would mean that you would need witnesses and would have to fight this in civil court most likely with a lawsuit for injuries. You need less burden of proof in civil court.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help


VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Amir Rose07
Premier Author
Articles Started
Article Edits
29,100 Points
Amir Rose07 is a premier author with VisiHow. Amir Rose07 has achieved the level of "Lieutenant" with 29,100 points. Amir Rose07 has started articles and made article edits. people have read Amir Rose07's article contributions.
Ask Amir Rose07
Hi, my name is Amir Rose07. I hope my article on "Keep car from getting towed" was helpful. If you have a question please click the button below.

Article Info

Categories : Automotive

Recent edits by: Exyle, Sean, Calob Horton

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 86,277 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No