How to Tow Cars – Tips on Different Methods of Towing Vehicles:

There are several ways of towing a vehicle depending on the situation your car is in. So, in this post we are going to look at some of the best ways and tips you can use to tow cars to safety depending on the situation and these include;


METHOD-1: How to Tow a Vehicle Using Tow-Straps:

-Check local guidelines to ensure using a tow-strap is legal: Tow straps are considered to be the least safe way to tow a vehicle and it’s for this reason that the law in your area may not accept them towing by straps. So, you will need to locate a list of city and state ordinances pertaining to towing and make sure using a tow strap doesn’t violate any local laws. It’s actually recommended that you only use tow-straps for short trips or in off-road settings.

-Untangle the tow-rope & lay it out in front of your vehicle: Place the end of the tow-rope that you’ll be connecting to the broken down vehicle in front of it and then work any knots or tangles out of the rope as you lay it down on the ground as you extend it out from the vehicle. This will help you position the tow vehicle properly.

-Inspect the tow rope for damage: If the tow-rope is torn or frayed, it could break under pressure when you begin pulling the broken down vehicle. Look at the entire tow-strap for any sign of damage and don’t use the strap if you spot any cracks. So, consider purchasing a new tow rope at your local auto parts store if the one you have is damaged.

-Locate the “recovery-point” on the frame of each vehicle: Most cars have “recovery-points” on the frame which are often just holes cut into the frame that you can run a recovery strap through or use a steel hook on. So, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to help find the recovery point on the front of the vehicle to be towed and on the back of the vehicle doing the towing. Recovery-points are always located on the vehicle’s frame and are usually circular holes cut through thick steel.

-Run the strap or hook through the recovery-point on the broken down vehicle: Run the strap through the hole for the recovery point. In case it has a hook, use it to hook the strap through the recovery point. Once you’re done, lay the strap flat on the ground extended out in front of the vehicle again.

-Position the tow vehicle in-front of the broken down one: Park the tow vehicle so it is lined up with the broken down vehicle so they will both move straight forward when you start towing. However, back the vehicle up over the strap by a few feet so there will be some slack to work with.

-Attach the tow-strap to the back of your tow-vehicle: In case you have trouble accessing the recovery point on the back of the tow vehicle then consider hooking the strap to a tow hitch if your vehicle is equipped with one that is at least a Class-2. Some tow hitches have D-rings you can use to secure the tow strap directly to the tow hitch or you may run the strap through the recovery point and hook the strap to itself.

-Pull the tow vehicle forward slowly until the strap is tight: Let the driver of the tow vehicle inch it forward slowly until it places enough tension on the tow strap to lift it up off of the ground. Tell the driver to stop once the strap is tight but before it begins pulling the broken down vehicle. Watch the strap for any signs of fraying or tearing as more tension is applied.

-Put a jacket or blanket on the strap: Broken tow-straps can be extremely dangerous. If a tow-strap snaps, the nylon rope will move like a massive whip and if there are metal hooks involved, the danger is massive. So, laying a jacket or blanket over the strap will help to reduce the whip effect if the strap breaks.

-Pull the broken down vehicle very slowly: make sure the broken down vehicle is in neutral. The strap will pull the vehicle towards the tow vehicle, so the driver of the broken down vehicle will need to control its brakes to prevent a collision while towing. Only use tow-straps to pull a vehicle for short distances.


METHOD-2: How to Tow a Vehicle Using a Dolly:

-Attach the tow-dolly to the hitch of the tow-vehicle: Back your tow-vehicle up to the tow dolly. Place the ball of the hitch beneath the tongue of the dolly and then turn the handle that lowers the tongue of the tow dolly to connect the tongue to the hitch.

-Connect safety-chains and wiring-leads: There should be at least 2 safety-chains and 1 wiring-harness coming from the dolly. So, cross the chains like an “X” and hang their hooks on the spots for them on either side of the hitch. Afterwards, connect the wire harness to the tow vehicle. There will either be an opening for the wiring harness on the hitch bumper or a wiring pigtail coming from the tow-hitch that the dolly’s wires will plug into.

-Line-up the tow-vehicle, dolly & broken down vehicle on leveled ground: Back the tow vehicle and dolly up to the nose of the broken down vehicle so it can roll straight forward to put its front wheels on the dolly. If the vehicle you intend to tow runs, consider driving it up to the back of the dolly.

-Drive or push the broken down vehicle onto the tow-dolly: If the vehicle runs, put it in first gear or drive and accelerate slowly to get the vehicle up onto the dolly. But the car doesn’t run, ask some friends to push it while you steer and work the brakes. Once the car’s front wheels are up on the dolly, use the brake pedal to slow it down so that it can’t go too far forward. However, there is a lip at the very front of the tow dolly meant to stop your vehicle from rolling forward or any further.

-Strap the vehicle to the dolly using wheel-straps: Tow-dollies come with wheel straps that go over both front wheels. So, pull them over the top of the tires and then use the ratchet mechanism to make them as tight as you can. Afterwards, connect the safety chains to the vehicle’s frame.

-Disengage the parking brake in the broken down vehicle: The rear wheels need to turn freely in order to tow a car when using a dolly. So, make sure brakes are not engaged so the wheels can spin freely before setting out.

-Double expected braking & acceleration distances while driving: When you start towing, remember that it will take an average of twice as far to stop, slow down or accelerate than it normally does in the tow-vehicle. So, start braking far sooner than you normally would to stop or turn while towing.


METHOD-3: How Tow By Loading a Car on a Trailer:

-Connect the trailer to the tow vehicle: Back your tow vehicle up to the trailer hitch using your rear view mirrors or some friends to guide you. Once the ball of the hitch is below the tongue of the trailer, rotate the handle on the trailer’s tongue to lower it down onto the ball. When the hitch it attached, cross the safety chains and hang their hooks on the spots for them on either side of the hitch. Connect the electrical plug from the trailer to its port or plug on the tow-vehicle.

-Line-up the tow vehicle & trailer directly in front of the towed vehicle: Incase the towed vehicle is running,  it’s easier to pull it up behind the trailer but if it’s not, back the trailer up to the front of the vehicle you plan to tow so that it can drive or be pushed straight forward onto it. Ensure that the trailer and both vehicles are on a flat, even surface.

-Pull the towed vehicle up onto the trailer: Extend the ramps down on the trailer and then either drive or push the towed vehicle up onto the trailer with someone in the driver’s seat to steer and brake. Once the vehicle’s rear-wheels are on the trailer, tell the driver to stop the vehicle and engage the parking brake. Make sure all four wheels are all the way onto the trailer and that the ramps can slide back in or be folded up without hitting the vehicle. Likewise, the front tires should be close to the front of the trailer but don’t necessarily have to be touching the front lip.

-Secure the tire-straps and safety-chains: Slide ratchet straps over each wheel then hook them on the trailer and twist them until they are extremely tight. You will see the vehicle start to ride lower on the trailer as the straps compress the springs in the vehicle’s suspension then attach the two safety chains to the recovery points on the vehicle’s frame.

-Consider planning ahead for turns & stops: It takes twice as far to slow down or accelerate when towing a vehicle, so plan ahead when approaching stops, intersections or turns. Additionally, never follow another vehicle closely when towing.

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