How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide

How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide

How much does it cost to tow a car? It can cost less than $100 to tow a car, but in some cases, it will cost much more. Below will also tell you factors that determine the costs of towing a car and other essential things.

If you have a policy for roadside assistance, you might be able to save some money, but the amount of money you actually save will depend on the plan you chose and your circumstances.

The total cost of owning a car should include plans for handling these kinds of expenses. The price of towing a car is listed below, along with some inquiries you should make when requesting a quote. Continue reading.

Breaking Down the Costs of Towing a Car

  • Standard fees

To connect your car to the tow truck, the majority of towing services charge a base fee. This fee, which does not include towing your car, can be anywhere between $35 and $100.

Additionally, a per-mile fee that varies between towing companies must be paid. Be prepared to pay anywhere between $2 and $7 per mile. To avoid charging you per mile for a short tow, some services might include the first few miles in their base price.

  • Additional fees

When using a towing service, there are additional circumstances that could increase the cost. These include if you:

Make a call at night, on a holiday, or on the weekend. You might pay more if you need a tow service outside of regular business hours and days.

Have a larger vehicle; larger, heavier, and/or oversized vehicles may be charged a higher rate of up to 25% more.

been involved in an accident. Your rate might increase if your car needs a flatbed tow truck because it is damaged.

If it’s inclement outside, call. Be prepared to pay more if a tow service dispatches a tow truck during inclement weather, such as flooding or a snowstorm.

You should anticipate paying an additional fee of up to $250 if your vehicle needs to be released before it can be towed because of being stuck.

are in need of repair but in a difficult to access location, like a mountainous road. Your towing rate may increase due to the longer distance the truck must travel to get to you and the hazardous terrain.

How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide
How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide

Factors That Determine Towing Costs

The type of vehicle, whether it can be towed by a standard wheel lift or needs a flatbed tow truck, the time of day the tow is performed, the distance traveled, and whether or not an accident has occurred are all factors that affect the cost of towing a car.

  • Type of vehicle.Your car’s make and model will significantly affect how much a tow will cost. Weightier models like trucks and SUVs typically require a flatbed truck that offers better protection due to the stress that standard wheel lift tow trucks can put on a vehicle.
  • Type of tow.Have you recently been in an accident or is your car out of gas? Depending on the extent of the damage, collisions may necessitate glass cleanup on the road, an unconventional hookup, and other special circumstances. In the event that the car is totaled, storage costs will also start to mount. The process is usually much simpler if you require a tow due to a breakdown or a dead battery.
  • Distance also affects price because wheel lift tow trucks shouldn’t be used for long distance driving and because extra gas is needed to cover the extra mileage. To protect the infrastructure of your car, it might be wise to use a flatbed for towing up to 100 miles.
  • Time of day.A tow required during working hours is typically less expensive than a tow needed in the middle of the night when considering basic supply and demand principles. In case of a 3 a.m. breakdown, when fewer tow truck drivers are available, it will likely add to your overall cost.

Common Towing Scenarios

There are countless scary driving situations that may result in your car needing to be towed, but some of the most common scenarios include:

  • Empty fuel tank
  • Dead battery
  • Overheating
  • Flat tire or damaged wheel
  • Oil leaks
  • Brake issues
  • Collision with another vehicle
  • Parking violation
How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide
How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide

How Does Pricing Work?

There are a few things you should keep in mind when determining the cost of a tow among the many others.

Almost all towing services will first charge you a hook-up or base fee, then a mile fee. With a per-mile cost of $2.50 to $5, hook-up fees can range from $35 to $100. Before selecting which tow company to use, be sure to get an exact price breakdown to prevent any potential sticker shock. For example, some tow companies include the first five to seven miles in their base fee.

If you think the quotes you’ve received from towing companies are way too expensive, you might also want to see if your local municipal or state government has implied a cap on how much it will allow them to charge.

Will My Insurance Cover the Towing Costs?

Depending on the insurance provider you choose, the answer to this query will vary greatly. The majority of insurance providers include roadside assistance as an optional benefit in their insurance plans. However, these costs are usually not covered by the base cost of an auto insurance package and must be purchased separately. Take the case where you are unsure if towing is covered by your insurance. In that case, you should speak with your insurance provider as soon as possible to find out if roadside assistance is a service that is covered.

Verify the mileage or cost cap if the roadside assistance coverage in your insurance policy includes it. Having this knowledge in the back of your mind may be helpful because your insurance company might only cover roadside assistance costs up to a certain distance or dollar amount.

How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide
How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide

How to Avoid Price Gouging?

Some businesses might try to take advantage of your situation by charging unreasonable amounts for towing, which could be considered predatory behavior. Unsavory businesses may try to take advantage of helpless drivers who are in need of assistance if they know you are in a hurry or are desperate. These service providers might make the claim that they have no set pricing policy and try to charge you whatever they want.

Given this, it’s a wise idea to get in touch with a towing company in advance or to ask your regular maintenance dealer for a reputable referral. It will be helpful to have the number of a reputable towing company, especially if you find yourself in a risky situation.

Why Would I Need to Be Towed?

You might need to use a tow truck for a variety of reasons. Many of them can be prevented, but some of them cannot. You will require a tow truck if you are in an accident and your vehicle is so severely damaged that you are unable to drive it, or if it has a mechanical issue that prevents it from starting.

However, some of the most typical causes of tow truck needs can be avoided. Have you ever killed your battery by unintentionally leaving your lights on? You might be able to avoid making the pricey call to a towing company by keeping a pair of jumper cables in your trunk. Similar to how it’s wise to pay attention to your gas gauge, learn how to change a flat, and keep a spare tire in your trunk, it’s also wise to monitor your gas consumption.

Read about How to Remove Stickers from a Car?

Types of Tow Trucks

There are many different kinds of tow trucks, but the ones that are most frequently used to tow passenger cars are the flatbed, hook and chain, and wheel lift tow trucks.4 One of the main determinants of how much your tow will cost is the type of tow truck you need.

  • Flatbed tow truck

Large, flat planks and pulleys that are propelled by a hydraulic system are the main components of flatbed tow trucks. When a car needs to be towed, the pulley is fastened to it, and the plank is angled downward to make a ramp for the car to roll onto. The plank levels out as soon as the car is backed up onto the ramp. The driver of the tow truck will fasten your tires to the flatbed once the plank is flat and the car is positioned on top of it.

Although they are the most expensive type of tow for passenger vehicles, flatbed trucks provide a safer, more secure option for protecting your vehicle while it is in transit.

  • Hook and chain tow truck

With a hook and chain tow truck, the hook is fastened to the bumper or axle of the vehicle, and after that, chains are fastened around the car’s frame. The two front tires of the car are raised off the ground by the tow truck’s boom using a winch, leaving the car’s rear tires to continue rolling while in neutral.5

Hook and chain tow trucks are most helpful for releasing stuck vehicles from ditches, muddy terrain, or snowy trenches in winter weather because they tend to damage cars from the strain pulling on your vehicle’s infrastructure or bumper.

  • Wheel lift tow truck

Instead of using hooks and chains, a heavy-duty metal yoke is used with a wheel lift tow truck. A vehicle is slowly raised off the ground by the yoke after it is fastened to either its front or rear two wheels.

When navigating low-clearance or congested spaces like a city parking garage or a crowded parking lot, standard tows using a wheel lift are comparatively straightforward operations and a helpful tool.6

Adding weight to your vehicle is often a straightforward and practical process, but there is a small chance that the added stress could harm the suspension. Wheel lift tows, which are typically less expensive than flatbed tows, are useful for small spaces and lightweight vehicles.

It’s frequently safest to request a flatbed tow truck when the option is available and it fits your budget.

How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide
How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car? Follow the Ultimate Guide


How Much Does It Cost to Get a Car Out of a Tow Yard?

If your car is towed because you were parked illegally or for a similar reason, you will need to pay a fine to get it back. $50 to several thousand dollars are possible as a range. The total price will vary depending on the origin of the tow, the reason for the tow, and the length of time the car was left on the lot.

How Can I Find Someone to Tow My Car?

You can call to find a tow truck if you are a member of a roadside assistance program offered by your auto insurance or a club like AAA. You might be able to call the local police’s non-emergency line to find a tow truck depending on where you are. If you have cell service, you can also look for a nearby tow company online to see if one is open.

Do You Tip a Tow Truck Driver?

Yes, in a nutshell. Tips for roadside assistance aren’t directly encouraged, but a tow truck driver or someone providing a service will always appreciate a tip. Particularly if they made the extra effort, drove a long distance, or completed a particularly challenging task.

Is It Cheaper to Tow a Car Or Drive It?

While there are other factors to consider, towing your car yourself is the cheapest way to get your car to your new home, and it’s the clear winner if budget is your number one concern.

Summary: How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car?

It can cost less than $100 to tow a car, but in some cases it will cost much more.

No driver wants to call a tow truck, but if the need arises, having the knowledge can help you save time and money. Even if you find yourself abandoned on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, you will be able to contact a reputable towing company to help you get to your intended location.

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