Useful Car Tips

How to Tow a Vehicle

August 08, 2019
Summertime is here, bringing warm and sunny weather and plenty of time to enjoy it while it lasts. For some of us, a trip to the beach or downtown is all that’s needed for a little fun. For others, driving to more remote locations is preferable; somewhere to relax and get away. Sometimes, this means taking unmarked roads or even going off-road for short stretches, but what happens if your vehicle gets stuck in the mud, dirt, or hits some sand? If you’re traveling with another car or truck, you’re in luck, as towing is a viable option to get you unstuck and back on the road. The process is accomplished by using a tow hook, a specialized hook that’s bolted to your vehicle’s frame. This is typically the only spot which it is okay to tow with, for your safety and for the continued longevity of your vehicle. Don’t try to tow from your bumpers or wheel axles, as these places are not designed to support the force of a heavy weight pulling on them. If it sounds complex, it’s actually easier than you think, just three quick steps! Before you begin, though, take a little time to evaluate safety. Here’s how.


Towing is undoubtedly an incredibly useful tool for getting unstuck, and is safe and easy under the correct circumstances. However, care must be taken to ensure safety in the first place, as improper towing conditions can result in harm to you, other drivers, and other vehicles on the road, as well as your own, of course. As mentioned before, placement of your tow hooks is very important. Factory-installed tow hooks straight from your vehicle’s manufacturer will be in the correct locations, but any aftermarket tow hooks which you may wish to install must be mounted carefully. Remember, the only place on your vehicle which can really support the force of towing is your frame. Bumpers and axles are prone to bending and simply cannot support several thousand pounds of weight. It’s also important to use the correct type of strap for recovery. When towing—not recovering—use (aptly-named) towing straps instead of recovery straps. They may appear similar at first glance, but recovery straps are actually quite different and better suited for (you guessed it) recovery of stuck vehicles. When recovering a stuck vehicle, only use recovery straps, as tow straps can be dangerous when used for recovery. Both types of straps are used for towing but have their distinct uses. Check your tow hooks and the straps you’ll be using for any damage. When in optimal condition, your tow hook should be free of any defects such as rust or grime. Your recovery straps should be free of cuts and frayed material. If the towing vehicle has the proper power to tow, it’s time to drive! Practice safe towing techniques while driving such as driving slowly; fight the urge to apply heavy pressure on the gas pedal. Your driving should be smooth, as any jerky movements have the potential to damage the strap and both vehicles. Now that safety is assured, it’s time to tackle those three easy steps! STEP 1 Check the rear of the towing vehicle for a suitable mounting point. If you have a trailer hitch, you should see specialized steel loops which are designed for mounting a hook. When attaching your straps, make sure they’re fitted firmly and securely. STEP 2 Once you’re confident the strap is fitted securely to the pulling vehicle, you’re ready to attach the other end to the stuck car. Look for a robust steel loop somewhere beneath the bumper. Some vehicles have a plastic cover over the towing loop. If you see it, simply remove it and mount the tow hook onto the loop. STEP 3 Practice the proper towing techniques outlined before: drive smoothly, without jerking, and wait until the strap is tight. Sudden jerking can be dangerous and cause injury to you and damage to either vehicle. Once it’s tight, begin smoothly towing it in measured movements until the vehicle is unstuck.


And that’s all it takes—you’re done! It’s that easy, just practice proper strap installation, driving technique, and a little patience, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master of towing this summer and beyond!
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