How Much Does It Cost To Tow A Car?

Dustin Hawley | Mar 08, 2021

As much as we hope never to have to perform more than a weekly car wash, it’s simply not realistic. At some point in time, you will need to spend some money on your vehicle beyond your monthly payments and insurance premiums.

how much does is cost to tow a car

While regular maintenance will significantly reduce the risk of a mechanical malfunction, there will probably come a time when you have to deal with an unexpected breakdown that will require your car to be towed to a repair shop. It’s a reality that nearly every driver is faced with eventually, so how much does it cost to tow a vehicle?

Towing Costs: An Overview 

Oftentimes, our cars break down rather unexpectedly. That’s why it’s important to have an idea of how much it’s going to cost you to get your vehicle to a repair shop safely. 

Every towing operation will have its own set of challenges that will require different tools and methods to get your car to its required destination. Therefore, it can be somewhat challenging to give an exact estimate without analyzing the situation at hand.

Some services offered by a towing company include:

  • Delivery of gas to the client’s location
  • Jump starting a vehicle
  • Performing tire changes 
  • Transporting an immobile vehicle 
  • Pulling a stuck vehicle 

Regardless of the situation, the first thing you want to do is check if your insurance policy covers towing costs, in which case you will be able to have your car transported without any additional fees. However, for drivers who aren’t lucky enough to have towing included in their policy, it's essential to consider how the following factors may affect your towing costs.

Average Towing Costs

The cost of towing a car ultimately depends on how far a vehicle needs to be towed. The national average cost of a tow is around $109, but rates may vary, and you should expect to pay between $2.50 and $7.00 per mile.

Various elements will impact this cost, such as the type of vehicle you own, if towing is required at night, on the weekend, or during a holiday, as well as the terrain in which your car must travel through.

Average prices based on distance are as follows:

  • 5 miles or less: $35-$125
  • 40 miles: $125- $275
  • 100 miles: up to $600

Also, keep in mind that the towing cost of a broken down car is often significantly lower compared to towing required after a vehicle collision. Towing a vehicle from a collision site comes with a much higher cost than a regular towing operation.

If you find yourself in need of a tow because your car is stuck, this may require additional charges ranging from $50 to $250. These additional costs are often incurred due to the use of a winch.

How Does Pricing Work?

Several factors go into pricing a tow, but there are a couple you should keep top of mind.

For starters, nearly every towing service will charge you for a hook-up or base fee, followed by a mile fee thereafter. Hook-up fees can range anywhere from $35 to $100, with the per-mile price ranging from $2.50 to $5. To avoid any potential sticker shock, make sure to get an exact price breakdown before choosing which tow company to use, as some include the first five to seven miles in their base fee.

You may also want to check if the municipal or state government in your area has implied a maximum amount that a towing company is allowed to charge, especially if you feel like the quotes you received seem well overpriced.

Will My Insurance Cover The Towing Costs? 

The answer to this question will depend entirely on your chosen insurance company. Most insurance companies offer roadside assistance as an additional feature in their insurance policies. These figures, however, are typically not included in the base price of an auto insurance package and will most likely be offered for an additional fee. Suppose you aren’t sure whether or not towing is included in your policy. In that case, you should contact your insurance company at your earliest convenience to check if roadside assistance is an included service.

If your insurance package includes roadside assistance coverage, make sure to check the mileage or price limit. Your insurance company may only cover roadside assistance costs up to a specific limit in terms of distance or value, and having this information in the back of your mind may come in handy.

How To Avoid Price Gouging

There might be certain companies who could be deemed predatory that will try to take advantage of your situation and charge unreasonably high prices for towing. Unsavory organizations who know that you are desperate or in a time crunch may look to cash in on vulnerable drivers in need of assistance. These service providers may claim to have no standard pricing structure and attempt to charge you as they please. 

In light of this, it’s a good idea to speak to a towing company in advance or ask your regular maintenance dealer for a trusted recommendation. Having the contact of a reliable towing service will prove beneficial, especially if you find yourself in a precarious situation.

Summary 

While calling for a tow truck is undoubtedly something no driver ever wants to do, being properly educated on the subject can save you both time and money when the situation occurs. Even if you are stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have the know-how to get in touch with a reputable towing operation to help get you to your desired destination. 

If you are looking for more information about towing and all things automotive, be sure to check out our other guides and articles here!

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