How to tow a car

From checking tyre pressures to fitting spares and topping up oil levels, correctly caring for your car might mean you’re always learning. However, there is one skill that many drivers have yet to master: towing a vehicle.

Whether it’s your car that’s broken down or a family member who requires assistance, understanding how to tow will allow you to get the car where it needs to go quickly and safely, whether that’s back home or to the garage.

This handy guide will teach you all you need to know about towing a vehicle:


Car Towing may appear to be an easy task, but it isn’t; in fact, if you’ve never towed another vehicle before, you’ll find it to be rather difficult. addresses some of the most difficult aspects of towing in this article.

Towing a car has its own set of rules

What is the law regarding car towing?

Towing a car has different rules based on how long you’ve been driving. Restrictions apply if you passed your driving test after January 1, 1997 and haven’t taken a specialized car and trailer test; more information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

While being towed, the broken down car must have a ‘On Tow’ sign at the back, and the person driving must be a qualified driver.

Is it legal to use a rope to tow a car?

If you don’t have a tow bar, you can tow a car using a rope or chain, but the distance between the automobiles must not exceed 4.5 meters, according to the RAC. If the distance between the rope and the road is longer than 1.5 meters, the rope or chain must be plainly visible from both sides – for example, by attaching a colorful piece of fabric across the middle.

Towing a car is easiest when you utilize a tow strap with hooks on both ends that easily attach to both automobiles’ towing hitches. If you’re using chains, the links may expand and break as a result of the tension.

Is it possible to tow a car without insurance?

The car must be insured if its wheels make contact with the road. Even if the car is broken down, there’s still a potential it will be involved in an accident while in transit; car insurance protects you from this. In addition to insurance, the car must be taxed and, if applicable, have a current MOT.

Is it possible to tow a car on the highway?

You can’t tow a car on the highway if it hasn’t broken down there. It would be exceedingly risky for you, the other driver, and all other road users due to the speed of other vehicles traveling on the carriageway.

Is it legal for me to tow a car that is obstructing my driveway?

If a car is blocking your driveway when you wake up, the first thing you should do is ask your neighbors if they know who owns it.

According to the Ask the Police website, most municipal governments have taken on the obligation of enforcing parking regulations under the Civil Parking Enforcement Act (CPE). Check with your local government to see if they use CPEs; if they don’t, contact the police.

What is the best way to tow a car?

Now that you’ve learned the rules, here are some helpful hints for towing a car:

Before you leave

  • Only cars with manual transmissions can be towed, so if your car is automated, you’ll need expert help.
  • Before you leave, inspect the rope, chain, or strap for any flaws or damage.
  • Agree on a route with the other driver ahead of time, preferably one that avoids congested regions and does not involve a lot of stop-starting.
  • The steel hooks should not be connected to the bumpers because they will most likely be pulled off.

While on the way

  • To avoid rapid movements that could break the rope, use the clutch to carefully pull away.
  • Slow and steady wins the race; never go faster than 15 miles per hour.
  • When you’re on the move, avoid abrupt breaks. To warn the opposing driver, lightly tap on the brake before applying full braking force.
  • Let the other motorist know ahead of time so they can prepare.
  • Check your mirrors frequently to be sure nothing is wrong behind you, and pull over if your oil pressure or temperature indicator changes.

If you’re the towed vehicle’s driver

  • To disengage the steering lock, turn on the ignition. When the engine is off and the car is being towed, you’ll have to use a little elbow grease to use the power steering or power-assisted brakes.
  • You must turn on the lights as usual if it is dark.
  • Before you start going, make sure the car is in neutral and the handbrake is off.
  • Always keep an eye on the motorist in front of you; steer and brake in sync with them, and keep an eye out for brake lights and indicators.
  • To avoid jolting, keep the strap, rope, or chain taut at all times – this can be regulated by lightly pressing the brake.