How to Tow a Car with Another Car
Most experts would agree that it's far better to tow a car with a tow truck or pickup/trailer combo than with another car, but not everyone has access to that sort of heavy equipment. Perhaps you are in a remote location where it's tough to get help, or your AAA membership has lapsed and you simply can't afford a tow truck. Sometimes you just have to improvise, and you may ask yourself: Can I tow a car with my car?
To determine if you can tow another vehicle with your car, you'll need to do some basic fact-finding. You'll need to know the tow rating of your vehicle (how many pounds your vehicle can tow), if your vehicle has a tow hitch installed, if the car you are towing has 2-wheel (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD), and if the vehicle being towed has an automatic or manual transmission. And, if your vehicle has 2WD, is it front-wheel drive (FWD) or rear-wheel drive (RWD)? If in doubt on any of these, check your owner's manual.
Before we get into the details of actually towing a car with your car, a few simple guidelines are worth reviewing:
- First, the tow vehicle should be larger and heavier than the car being towed, as it requires more engine and braking power to both motivate and stop two cars instead of one.
- Second, make sure there is no one in the car being towed. Not only is it illegal for a passenger to be in a towed vehicle, but it is also extremely unsafe. The same rule applies to pets—they should always ride in the tow vehicle.
- Third, turn on the ignition in the vehicle being towed, so the steering wheel doesn't lock. Last but not least, if you are driving at night, switch on the towed vehicle's parking lights so that motorists following behind can see it.
Next, we'll discuss the different methods of towing a car with another car. No matter what towing method you choose, you'll need a tow hitch on the tow vehicle. The tow hitch is attached to the chassis. Many trucks and SUVs come equipped from the factory with a tow hitch, but most passenger cars do not. Tow hitches are easy to install, however. You can do it yourself, but we recommend having a professional do the work for the best results.