How To Safely Have Your Vehicle Towed

Posted on: 14 October 2015

When your car has mechanical trouble and requires a tow, most people are nervous about trusting their car with a stranger. On the other hand, if you've recently purchased a recreational vehicle and want to tow your car behind it, you need to know what you are doing. Ensure the safety of your car and other drivers on the road by always following these smart towing tips.

How Are Cars Towed?

There are two primary methods of towing a car: flatbed and dolly. While flatbed towing is the safest method and the least likely to damage the vehicle, dolly towing is very common because the equipment required is less expensive. If you are hiring someone to tow your car and prefer a flatbed tow, always request this when setting up the appointment.   

If doing the towing services yourself and using a tow dolly, it is important to feel comfortable handling the process. Remember the lead vehicle will be pulling additional weight and will require more room to stop and turn. If possible, attach the dolly to your vehicle before loading and head to an empty parking lot for some practice before getting on the highway.

With a tow dolly, the back rear wheels of the towed car or truck will be moving at the same speed as the towing vehicle. When towing an all-wheel or rear-wheel vehicle, the rear wheel prop shaft must be disengaged to avoid differential or transmission damage.

Quick Tips

  • Tow hitches are rated by the amount of weight they can safely secure. Always include the weight of the tow trailer or dolly along with additional passenger and cargo weight. 
  • Make sure you have an operational wiring harness so the towed vehicle has lights.
  • As you load the car or truck, have someone standing by as you begin to maneuver the vehicle onto the ramps. Never use sudden starts and stops while loading as you could possibly overshoot the trailer causing major damage.
  • If using a tow trailer, once the vehicle is loaded, make sure its weight is properly distributed over the axles. Less weight in the front means more stress on the tow vehicle's suspension coupled with less steering control, while if the vehicle is too far back on the trailer there could be a loss of traction.
  • Finally, no matter what method of towing you are using, it is imperative all straps and tie-downs are properly secured. Stop after the first 10 miles to ensure everything is still attached.  

As you can see, towing a vehicle isn't as simple as you may think. It's best to leave it to the professionals, but as with anything, it's good to know the process.


are you prepared for roadside emergencies?

Do you know how to handle a roadside emergency? Do you have everything in your car that you should to be prepared for these unplanned events? My blog is all about preparing for roadside emergencies long before they happen. You will find a list of things that you should keep in your car, tips for using these supplies and advice for finding a towing service that will get you out of the sticky situation as quickly and safely as possible. Hopefully, what you learn here will help take some of the stress out of any roadside emergency situation that you experience.