How Many Different Ways Are There to Tow a Car?

If your vehicle becomes inoperable, you might need to call a tow service to lend you a hand. While there are a number of ways to tow a car, some are better suited to certain situations than others. Depending on your circumstances, here are some of the most common ways to tow a vehicle.

Crane
When most people picture a tow truck, this is the image that comes to mind. A vehicle that looks like a large pickup truck backs up to your disable vehicle, attaches to the rear with hooks and safety chains, and then drives off with the front tires following behind on the pavement.

Flatbed
A flatbed tow puts your vehicle on a truck, where all four wheels are on the trailer. Most transporters have a tandem wheel system that is able to accommodate medium-size vehicles. These are the best option when there is an issue with your vehicle’s axle that might prohibit traditional towing.

Tow Dolly
A tow dolly is a common choice when someone attempts to tow their own vehicle from one place to another. This some something that you can rent and attach to a standard tow hitch, although towing another car can be dangerous without experience.

A tow dolly has two wheels, and it looks like a small trailer. You drive your vehicle up onto the dolly (so, it must be operable). Depending on whether your car is front or rear-wheel drive, you might drive forward or backward onto the dolly and have the other wheels trail behind.

Four-down
Towing a vehicle four-down involves having all four wheels of the car traveling over the pavement behind your tow vehicle. This is a common sight behind large RVs. How to do this safely depends on the type of vehicle you are towing. For example, some cars can be towed four-down by placing them in neutral. Others might need the installation of an axle lock, transmission pump, or driveshaft disconnect to make this possible and safe.

Tow Straps
Tow straps are the least safe and legal way to tow a vehicle, but they have their uses. For example, you might use tow straps to free a stuck vehicle from mud or snow. While there are no nationwide laws that ban the use of tow straps, there might be some local ones. These should only be used for incredibly short trips or off-road settings.

If you need to have your vehicle towed to a safe location or a repair facility, contact our service to find out how we can help. In some cases, our roadside assistance service can get you back on the road without the need for towing, saving you some cash. Contact us 24 hours a day for service.