Tow Your Car Safely

Edited by Timbuktu, Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng and 15 others


Getting your car towed doesn't always mean that you violated some rules or you parked in the wrong place; it might be that your car has broken down, and you can no longer start it and you need a mechanic to fix it. The professionals have guidelines, and of course they know how to tow properly, as it is what either you, or your insurance company is paying for -someone to take care of your car properly. Things happen. What will you do when you run out of petrol (gas), and you're stranded? You don't want to leave your car, so you call a friend to help you tow your car. This doesn't happen all the time, but we always need to be prepared and know a few things ourselves. How do you do it? How do you tow your car properly? You can't just tie a rope to it and be on your way. There are proper ways to do this, and you may find some helpful tips below.

Tow Your Car

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    First you need a proper rope, so use a towrope
    The towrope won't be expensive. You can purchase it from the car parts section of a store or a gas station. It's better to be safe and always have a towrope on hand.
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  2. 2
    Always remember to make a sign
    On a piece of paper, write, "ON TOW" or "BEING TOWED" in big capital letters and then post it in the back window in your car. This lets traffic following your car know what's going on, otherwise, they'd wonder why your car is going so slow.
    On tow.jpg
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  3. 3
    When being towed, you have to turn on the ignition, so the steering lock is released and the direction indicators and the brake lights will work
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  4. 4
    Make sure that you attach the tow rope on the towing eyes.
    Tow eyes.jpg
    Do not hook it to any other part of your car, as it can damage your car or even pull off parts of your car.
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  5. 5
    Before the other car drives along with your car attached, make sure the handbrake has been released and you've put your transmission in neutral.
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  6. 6
    Make sure that you both know agree on the route you'll take to get where you're going, before you leave
    You don't want to cause any traffic, or other problems on the road.
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  7. 7
    You have to continually check to ensure the towrope is taut.
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  8. 8
    On some car models, pedal pressure will be required, especially with power steering.
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  9. 9
    Do not drive fast
    Drive at a moderate speed when towing a car, and make sure you allow time and space when slowing down, especially at intersections (this is for the driver of the car doing the towing).
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  10. 10
    Do not tow the car backward!
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Can you tow a car if the power steering doesn't work?

It is not safe to tow a car with a towrope if the power steering isn't working. The steering and braking systems will not function as required, and towing by rope could result in a nasty accident. If you have to have your car towed, make sure it's towed by a professional with a tow truck. He will know what is possible and safe.

In the past, steering a vehicle was done manually. This process can be quite challenging and it requires practice. Today modern cars are already equipped with power steering, a convenient feature that allows you to easily control a vehicle. Power steering makes it possible to have a stress-free driving experience.


What is power steering? Technically speaking, this is a system that enhances the steering effort of the steering wheel. The technology uses either hydraulic or electric actuators. Both provide the necessary controlled energy to the steering device, requiring only minimal effort on the part of the driver. This is also beneficial when the vehicle has stopped, or is moving slowly. Regarding tire-road interaction, having a vehicle with power steering gives the driver a great sense of how the tires are interacting with the road through the front tires known as "road feels".


It actually depends on the car's make and model. For instance, earlier models that are without power steering, or servo-assisted brakes, can be easily towed without worry. Generally, however, if the car has mechanical issues with its power steering, and you want it towed, you may need to reconsider. Towing may be the last thing you would want to do in this case. Consider the following possible issues:

  1. 1
    Whoever is driving the car will have little time to react if anything happens
    This is especially true because the car being towed may be just a few feet away from the towing vehicle.
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  • 2
    If the car's power steering is not working, it will be difficult to turn the steering wheel
    This can lead to accidents when not done correctly. There can even be other issues with the steering lock, which could cause road accidents as well.
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  • 3
    If the car for towing has a malfunctioning power steering, more often than not, the engine and brakes are also affected, resulting in increased risks.
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  • Tips for the Driver of the Towed Car

    • Be attentive and closely observe the brake lights and other indicators. This can prepare you for braking, acceleration, etc.
    • Properly steer and brake your car carefully in coordination with the towing vehicle.
    • Maintain tension on the towing rope to minimize any jolting.
    • Apply light pressure when braking.
    • Keep the key in the accessory position to prevent damage to the steering system while being towed behind another vehicle.
    • If the brakes are working, the car being towed will do the braking, provided the driver is focused and using the controls adeptly.
    • One of the reasons for power steering failure is a faulty pump or lack of fluid. It can lock the steering in whatever position it is at that time, resulting in a crash. Always check your steering wheel fluid and make sure it's always topped up.
    • Call the services of a professional tow company instead of relying on inexperience of family or friends - just to save a little money.

    Questions and Answers

    How to attach the towing rope without a towing eye?

    There have been many times when there hasn't been a towing eye and the ropes have been attached to the most unlikely places. During one instance, a towrope was tied around a locked steering wheel. Not a good idea. One of the best places to attach the towrope is the bar the towing eye is usually attached to. However, if you are tying it there, make sure you knot it properly and make sure it's really tight. You will also need a very strong rope in order to be able to pull your car this way. Before trying to attach your rope at an alternate site, double-check to make sure there really is no towing eye. Sometimes, the towing eye isn't in its usual place. Check if there is a metallic socket on the driver's side. If so, the eye is underneath that socket. In rare cases, it is under the front of the car. Look in these places before you go trying other tactics.

    I am going to tell you the most important thing regarding about you are asking. DO NOT PERFORM THIS ACTION. Without a towing eye, you can connect the rope to your bumper or other parts of your car, but I have witnessed a vehicle detaching or pulling parts of the car off while towing. This is extremely dangerous and can harm another person or even land you in jail for vehicular manslaughter. Do your best to get a towing eye before trying to tow any vehicle, otherwise, you need to call a professional towing company.

    If you are towing a car with a towrope, do you have to have a special license?

    No. If you are using a towrope, you will need to have a license plate on the car but you don't need a special license plate or license to tow a car. It is illegal for you to tow a car yourself, without having at least the standard license plate on the vehicle.

    Can you just put a sign that says towed vehicle on a car, instead of towing lights?

    No, a sign may not be read properly or can be removed easily. Towing lights will get the attention of more people than a sign. that is on your vehicle.

    My car was towed, and now there is no power steering. Why?

    This could have happened when the car was towed. It might have suffered damage causing your power steering fluid to leak from your car. Also, depending on the way they towed your car, other parts of your car may have been damaged.

    In any case, you will need to contact the tow truck company and let them know of this situation. At times the tow company will not be liable for any damage to your car during tow, but there may be something you can arrange in order to get help with the situation.

    How to tow a car with no towing eye?

    I have to tell you that without a towing eye, both vehicles will not be safely secure while towing. If you were to find a way (which they are), I am compelled to let you know that it is not worth damaging possibly both of your vehicles during a tow. Place a towing eye on your vehicle to be safe and secure.

    How does hydraulic steering work?

    Hydraulic steering works through a rotary vane pump, which is actually moved by the engine of the car through a belt-and-pulley system. As the vane moves, it's able to pull the hydraulic fluid located in the return line. At this point, the pressure is low but as it gets pulled, the pressure gets higher. The volume of fluid pumped greatly depends on the engine rotation speed.

    How does power steering works?

    I'd like to know how power steering works in my car.

    It works by creating a swiveling motion at the tires the driver is able to control through power steering. This is easier for the driver to maneuver because it is power-assisted so it is not so heavy. Also, the force is more on the front part of the wheels so that it is able to predict better how the tires are moving along with the road.

    Where do I attach chain on the front of a '94 Accord to tow it to the car shop?

    Where do I attach chain to front of '94 Accord to tow it to the car shop, due to a flat tire

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    Flat towing smart car backwards using rear tow hooks?

    Is it possible/safe using "A frame" tow bar? This would be great because a base plate would not be required to do it forward! Smart Cars already have built in rear tow hook cavities.

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    How much damage can be incurred during towing?

    Recently I had my car towed due to a bad transmission. When I got it back, they had already charged me to repair a broken axle, replace sway bar links and now my power steering is out and my Stability Control indicator light is on. I didn't see them tow it, but is it possible they did most of this damage?

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    Is 20,000 lbs. max enough for a towing strap?

    I'm looking at towing straps. 20,000 lbs. is the cheapest strap and I don't know if that much weight is high, low or just right.

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    Can a Ford 1997 Ranger with manual transmission tow a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle?

    I have spent too much money getting these two vehicles towed and fixed. I am trying to find a cheap alternative. If my husband were here, he would help me, but he died 3 years ago. He used to tie a tow rope to a vehicle at the drop of a hat. I learned to drive the towed vehicle, but not very well. I thought something would be said about the power and weight of the vehicles in this article. I didn't see anything about the weight or the power of the vehicles in question. I have tried: Spending money on tow trucks. I had to get both of them towed in one day recently. Then the problems reoccurred because the mechanics didn't fix it right or didn't fix everything. I think it was caused by: The Volkswagen had a warning light that came on. I didn't know what it meant and parked it at a neighbor's house and walked home. Then I decided that it was just a faulty light on the dashboard which other VW owners have warned me about. So I drove it to a nearby town and it stopped at a store parking lot. I had it towed a couple of days later, but that same night my truck started dragging its drive shaft. My son got me to the VW repair shop the next day. The problem was caused by two hoses: a vacuum hose and a coolant hose. I drove it for days while the pickup stayed in the shop. Then the same light came back on and flashed all the way home from work 40 miles from my house. Now it is parked in my yard like a heavy rock going nowhere. The truck has been fixed. Do you think I can haul it with the pickup?

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    How do I tow a 2006 Honda accord sedan with a tow rope?

    Where do I hook a tow rope to a 2006 Honda accord so another vehicle can tow it while all 4 wheels are on the ground? Where are the tow rope connections on a 2006 Honda accord sedan, is it possible to tow this model without using a flatbed tow truck or any other commercial tow truck

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    Is it legal to use a tow rope when the steering is not functioning in PA?

    A personal vehicle towing another personal vehicle with a tow rope in PA. The steering in the towed vehicle was not working. Is it legal to tow that vehicle using a tow rope? Article does not cover when the vehicles steering is not functioning. It appears that the method of using a tow rope is with the expectation that the vehicle being towed can still steer and brake. The vehicle in this situation is not able to steer.

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    HI. . A CAR THAT IS BEING TOWED WITH A ROPE, DOES THE PERSON SITTING ON THAT STEARING WHEEL NEED A VALID LICENCE?. . is it a fine with sa law or it is just fine? please assist I just want to know this. . Thanks

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    Do I need to readjust my sway bar if I tow with a truck from a jeep towing a 25 ft camper?

    Both vehicles are 18 inches off ground but do I need to readjust the sway bar

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    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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    Categories : Automotive

    Recent edits by: Maria Quinney, VC, JAnnetteW

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