DIY Towing: how to tow a car the right way

Stew Broward
Head of PR (Enzo Collision)
February 17, 2023

So, you find yourself in a situation where you’re on the roadside. Stranded. Towing your car seems like the only way out. Towing a car might sound like a job best left for the pros. And you might be right.

With the right know-how and a teensy bit of caution, you can safely tow a vehicle without much hassle. Let’s dive into the world of towing and understand the nuts and bolts of how to tow a car the right way. 

Is Towing a Car Really That Easy?

Towing a car may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it’s totally doable. When you’re in a bind and your car won’t budge, towing becomes your superhero. But first things first, understand the essentials before diving into the towing process: 

  • Check your car’s manual: Different vehicles have different specifications, and your car’s manual is your Bible here. It’s a gold mine of information on what your car can handle and how it should be towed.
  • Assess the situation: Is the car immobile due to a flat tire or a more complex issue? Assess the situation to determine if it’s safe to tow and if towing is the best option.

How to Use Tow Straps and How to Tow a Car with It

Tow straps are a lifesaver in the world of towing. When you use tow straps when towing a car with another car, it’s crucial to know how to tow a car with a strap. Not to mention the correct method to avoid any mishaps:

  • Locate tow points: Identify the vehicle’s sturdy parts to which you’ll attach the tow straps. Check your car’s manual for these specific points.
  • Connect the tow strap: Attach the tow strap to both vehicles, ensuring it’s tightly secured. Avoid attaching it to any suspension parts or bumpers, as they might not withstand the force.
  • Slow and steady: The towing vehicle should pull slowly and steadily to prevent sudden jerks. Communication between drivers is essential; use hand signals or two-way radios for a smooth tow.
Where to Hook a Tow Strap to a Car Safely
Safety is non-negotiable when towing a car. Knowing where to attach a tow strap is crucial to prevent any damage to the vehicles involved: 
  • Use sturdy parts: Opt for solid metal components such as a tow hook or a frame member. Avoid attaching to plastic parts, as they may break under pressure.
  • Mind the angle: The tow strap should be at an angle, not completely straight, to provide some slack and prevent unnecessary tension.
  • Secure it firmly: Double-check that the tow strap is securely fastened before initiating the tow. Loose connections could lead to dangerous situations.

Is It Illegal to Tow a Car with a Strap or Rope?

Legal concerns often pop up when it comes to towing a vehicle. While laws vary by location, towing with straps or ropes might have restrictions:  

  • Check local regulations: Some places prohibit towing with ropes due to safety concerns. Always check local laws to ensure you’re not breaking any rules.
  • Opt for proper equipment: Even if it’s legal to tow a car with rope, using dedicated towing equipment is always the safer choice.
  • Stay informed: Regulations might change, so stay updated with any alterations in strapped towing laws to avoid any legal trouble.

Safely Towing a Vehicle that Won't Start

When your car won’t start, towing it might be the only option. Here’s how to safely tow a vehicle in this situation:  

  • Ensure proper gear: Ensure the steering wheel is unlocked, and the transmission is in neutral. If your car has all-wheel drive, follow the manual for specific instructions.
  • Mind the speed: Keep the towing speed low. For automatic transmissions, avoid going over 30 mph to prevent damage.
  • Brake carefully: If your brakes don’t work due to the engine being off, rely on the towing vehicle’s brakes. Maintain a safe distance to allow for smooth braking.

Does Towing a Car Damage It?

Concerns about potential damage while towing a car are valid. However, when done right, towing doesn’t necessarily mean harm: 

  • Follow guidelines: Adhering to the car manufacturer’s guidelines for towing ensures minimal risk of damage.
  • Mind the distance: Extended tows could result in strain on the transmission or other components. Shorter tows lessen the risk of damage.
  • Monitor the tow: Keep an eye on both vehicles and maintain a moderate speed to prevent strain on the towing car and the towed vehicle.

Best Way to Tow a Car with a Truck

Towing a car with a truck can be an efficient way to tow the vehicle. Here’s how to do it safely:

  • Use proper equipment: Equip the truck with a suitable towing hitch and ensure the tow strap is well secured to both vehicles. 
  • Check compatibility: Ensure the truck has the capacity to tow the car’s weight. Consult the truck’s manual for towing limits. 
  • Drive attentively: Handling a truck-towed vehicle requires extra caution due to the difference in size and weight. Drive slowly and attentively for a smooth tow.

How to Have a Car Towed: Professional Assistance

Sometimes DIY towing might not be the best option. When in doubt or if safety is a concern, calling a professional towing service can be the wisest decision. They have the expertise and proper equipment to handle the task efficiently and safely.

How Do I Tow a Car Safely? Essential Safety Tips

Safety should always come first when towing a car. Follow these safety tips to ensure a smooth and secure towing experience: 

  • Use hazard lights: Turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers about the tow.
  • Communication is key: Establish clear communication between drivers with hand signals or two-way radios.
  • Stay alert: Be vigilant and attentive while towing to respond quickly to any changes or issues that may arise.

Tips to Prevent Damage While Towing

It all starts with knowing where to attach a tow strap to a car. But preventing damage during a tow is crucial. Implement these tips to protect both vehicles involved: 

  • Avoid sudden movements: Jerky or sudden movements during towing can cause strain on the vehicles and the tow straps. Drive steadily and cautiously. 
  • Regular checks: Periodically stop and check the connections, ensuring the tow strap remains securely fastened. 
  • Respect weight limits: Exceeding weight limits can lead to damage. Always tow within the recommended capacity.

Understanding the Risks of DIY Towing

While DIY towing is feasible, it’s essential to understand the risks involved:  

  • Damage possibility: Incorrect towing methods could result in damage to both vehicles.
  • Legal implications: Ignorance of towing laws could lead to legal issues and fines.
  • Safety hazards: Mishaps during towing might pose safety risks to you and other drivers.

Tow Your Car with Confidence!

Towing a car might seem like a Herculean task at first, but with the right knowledge and cautious approach, it’s achievable. By understanding the do’s and don’ts, you’re well-equipped to tow a car safely. Remember, safety always comes first! So, go ahead, use these tips, and tow your vehicle with confidence. 

Why Choose Enzo Collision for Your Towing Needs?

At Enzo Collision, we understand the stress and inconvenience that come with car troubles. That’s why our towing services are tailored to provide you with the utmost convenience, reliability, and care. Here’s why you should trust us for all your towing needs:

Reliable and Efficient Services:
We pride ourselves on our prompt and reliable towing services. Whether you need a local tow or long-distance transport, our team is equipped to assist you swiftly. Our skilled professionals ensure your vehicle is handled with the utmost care and delivered to your chosen destination safely and efficiently.

Quality and Expertise:
With years of experience in the automotive industry, our team is not only adept in towing but also knowledgeable in vehicle mechanics. We understand the intricacies of different vehicles, allowing us to handle your car with the expertise it deserves.

Customer-Centric Approach:
At Enzo Collision, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We aim to make the towing experience as stress-free as possible for you. Our friendly team ensures clear communication and a hassle-free process, making your convenience our primary focus.

State-of-the-Art Equipment:
We use top-notch equipment and towing vehicles to ensure the safety and security of your car during transport. Our tools and machinery are regularly maintained and updated to meet the highest industry standards.

Emergency Assistance:
Car troubles often strike at the most inconvenient times. That’s why we offer 24/7 emergency towing services. Whether it’s the middle of the day or the dead of night, we’re here to assist you in your time of need.

At Enzo Collision, we take the hassle out of towing, providing you with a reliable, efficient, and customer-oriented experience. Trust us with your towing needs, and we’ll ensure your vehicle is in safe hands. Visit our website or contact us today to experience the Enzo difference. Your satisfaction and the safety of your vehicle are our top priorities. 

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