Ways to Tow Cars: 5 Different Methods for Towing Vehicles
There are many reasons to tow a car. Emergencies are one of the major reasons to tow a car. In those instances, a tow company like Fayetteville Towing Services is your best option. You may also be towing a car behind an RV or another vehicle for the sole purpose of transport.
We will go over 5 different ways to safely tow your car in different situations.
Regulations and Minimum Standards of Towing Vehicle
Car towing regulations may be different in each state, but the basics are the same. To ensure that you’re towing in the safest way, your lead vehicle needs to meet some minimum standards.
The braking system on the lead vehicle needs to be able to safely stop both vehicles in order to be considered for towing. If this is a concern, consider installing an aftermarket performance brake system.
The lead vehicle should also be heavier than the vehicle being towed, at least 750 lbs heavier to maintain safety. This is for a variety of reasons, the top being that physics will prevent a lighter vehicle from initiating movement of a heavier vehicle from a dead stop.
Recreation Towing Options
Travelers using an RV often choose to tow their daily driver behind their RV. There are a number of options for this towing choice.
1. Tow Dolly
A tow dolly hitches to the back of your truck or RV with a standard trailer hitch. You drive the front wheels of your car up onto the trailer and strap them down to the bed of the trailer. The back wheels free spin like a second set of tires on a normal trailer.
With this method, you need to ensure that your car is a front-wheel drive, or that it is put in neutral before towing with this method. If your car isn’t in neutral or is rear-wheel drive, the wheels will be connected to the driveline, and will not rotate freely.
2. Flatbed Trailer
Flatbed trailers are a good option for cars that are rear-wheel drive, or that are older and may not handle the free spin of towing. Many people choose this option if they’re hauling collectors cars to events, or other non-standard vehicles. Your car is loaded up onto the flatbed through the use of ramps and a wench, and then the wheels are strapped down to the bed of the trailer for stability and security.
3. Four-Wheels Down
This method is used more commonly in recent years. A semi-permanent trailer tongue is mounted to the bumper or chassis of the towed vehicle, and the vehicle becomes the trailer. Again, it’s important that the vehicle is put in neutral to allow for a free spin on the wheels.
Emergency Towing Options
When your car breaks down, or you’re stuck off-road, the towing options are different. Further, each towing method has a different purpose and should only be used in those specific situations.
4. Tow Strap or Tow Chain
This is the most dangerous option, and should not be used for long distances. This is a good option for pulling your car from a ditch or moving it across short distances on private land, but in most jurisdictions, it isn’t allowed on the open road.
A tow strap is a strong polyester webbing in most cases, that can take a heavy load without breaking. It’s usually made from a bright yellow or orange material for visibility. If your tow strap is frayed, replace it immediately, because it is no longer safe to use. If a tow strap breaks while under pressure, it will whip back from the breakpoint and could cause severe injury to anyone too close.
To use a tow strap, find the recovery point on your car. Older cars have a hole drilled in and labeled in the front and back bumper under the plastic sheathing. Newer vehicles may have a plastic cover in the front of the bumper that needs a threaded eye-bolt installed.
You can find the location of the tow point in your car’s user manual. Attach the tow strap to the safe point on both vehicles, and slowly begin pulling the stuck car with the lead car.
Tow Dolly or Flatbed Trailer
As described above, a tow dolly or flatbed trailer can work for transporting your broken car. These options are realistically feasible only if the car is able to move on its own. If it’s been in a wreck, or the mechanics have seized, these may be too difficult to make work.
The flatbed trailer option works great when you’re transporting more than one vehicle. Or when you have more than just a car to transport. Many families choose to haul their car on a flatbed loaded with furniture behind a moving truck, or similar situations.
With either of these options, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with safety straps and how to put them on your car’s tires once the car is mounted on the dolly or trailer.
5. Tow Services
For emergencies, when you don’t have the tools, resources, or knowledge to solve the problem on your own, you can always call a towing service. Most tow companies can come to your aide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re trained to recover, load, and transport your vehicle safely.
Many towing technicians can also help with basic repairs. They’ve got the tools and the knowledge to unlock your door, change your tire, jump the battery, replace the battery if their jump box doesn’t do the job, and much more. Keep an extra copy of your insurance information in case of a wreck, or so that the tow truck driver can bill the insurance for services.
Fayetteville Towing Services
We are ready to help you with your emergency towing services and so much more. Give us a call when you need an extra hand with your car. Keep our contact information saved in your phone for emergencies, and an emergency car kit on hand to keep you safe until we can get to you.