Safe vehicle self-towing in 5 simple steps

January 29, 2015

Getting stranded on the road with car trouble is always frustrating, but what if you could handle the situation without calling a towing company? Here's how to do it.

Motorists attempting a self-tow can do it in just a few steps and with the right equipment. All you need is to follow the rules and have a few necessary items on hand. You will need the following:

  • Removable tow bars.
  • A tow strap.

These items are extremely practical, and luckily they are relatively inexpensive and found in most big box retail stores. In some case, if you’re being towed a very short distance, it’s possible to self-tow without a tow bar. If you tow without a tow bar, you absolutely must have a tow strap. An ordinary rope just won’t do, it’s not strong enough and it doesn’t have the necessary hooks.

Safe vehicle self-towing in 5 simple steps

How to tow a vehicle

  1. Two is always better than one: Find another motorist who could spare a few minutes to lend you a hand.
  2. Locate the towing loop anchor on both vehicles. Where do you look? Look for it on the left side of the front of your vehicle underneath the bumper; and at the back of the vehicle on the opposite side of the exhaust pipe. Tow straps will need to be hooked on to each of these anchor points.
  3. You’ll need to agree on a set of hand signs to signal each other. This will make communication between the drivers much easier. The driver of the towed vehicle must be able to control steering and the breaks, without exceeding a limit of 25km/h.
  4. The motorist of the towed car must sit in the driver’s seat in order to steer it in line with the towing vehicle and control the breaks. Controlling the speed of the towed vehicle is meant to maintain the tension of the tow strap. If the strap slacks then jolts suddenly, it will strain the tow strap and could cause it to snap.
  5. It’s important to notify other motorists that you are in distress so that they can yield to you. Both vehicles should have their hazard lights turned on.

A few words of caution

If you realize the vehicle’s engine is not working, that the steering system or breaks are damaged, you should not attempt to tow the vehicle yourself. In this situation, it would be extremely difficult to control the vehicle while it’s being towed and that could lead to an accident.

Last but not least, do not attempt to start a stalled vehicle while it is being towed. This could cause an accident resulting in serious damage and additional costs for both you and your Good Samaritan.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu