Is It Illegal To Tow A Car With Another Car? Find Out Now!

Imagine your car breaks down on a quiet road, and it won’t start no matter what you do. 

You have to stay calm and not let the panic set in – even if you can’t contact a towing service, you can tow your broken car with another one. 

Knowing how to tow with another regular car can be the ultimate lifesaver – whether it’s you stuck or someone else needing help. 

But is it illegal to tow a car with another one? 

No, it is not illegal to tow a car with another car in most areas, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Let’s go through everything you need to know about doing this safely and following the rules.

Towing Requirements To Tow A Car

If you want to tow a car using another vehicle, there are some rules and equipment you need to know about. Here’s what you should do.

Keep These Three Essentials In Mind

  • Look Up Local Rules: Different places have different towing laws. Check the rules in your area so you don’t get in trouble.
  • Know The Weight: Make sure the pulling car can handle the weight of the other vehicle. Don’t go beyond its capacity.
  • Use Safety Chains: Always connect the two vehicles with safety chains to keep everything secure.

Here’s the Equipment You’ll Need

  • Tow Hitch: You need a strong tow hitch on the towing vehicle to connect to the other car.
  • Tow Bar or Tow Dolly: If you’re not using a tow dolly, you can use a tow bar to attach the two cars.
  • Lighting Kit: Install a lighting kit, so the brake lights and turn signals of the towed car work properly and everyone stays safe.
  • Tow Straps: If you decide to tow with a strap, make sure to use strong and durable tow straps that can handle the weight.
  • Safety Flags: Stick safety flags or reflectors on the back of the towed car, so others can see it better.
  • Tow Mirrors: If the towed car blocks your rearview, consider using tow mirrors to see behind you.

Is It Illegal To Tow A Car With Another Car?

It might be okay to tow a car with another car, but it depends on where you are. 

In some places, it’s allowed as long as you follow the rules. 

But in other places, it might not be allowed, or there could be some restrictions. 

To avoid problems, check the laws in your area before you start towing.

How to Tow A Car With Another Car

There are different ways to tow a car with another car, and here’s how you can do it step-by-step.

Whether you use a tow bar, a strap, or a rope, following these instructions will make towing safer and easier.

How to Tow a Car with Another Car Without a Tow Dolly (Using Tow Bar)

Towing without a tow dolly can be done using a tow bar. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Check vehicle compatibility for flat towing.
  2. Choose a suitable tow bar (Class rating, capacity).
  3. Attach the tow bar to the towing vehicle’s hitch receiver securely.
  4. Install base plates on the front of the towed car.
  5. Connect tow bar arms to base plates.
  6. Use safety chains in an “X” pattern for added security.
  7. Test the brake lights and turn signals of the towed car.
  8. Start driving carefully.

How to Tow a Car with a Strap

Towing with a strap needs careful attention to safety. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose a strong tow strap without damage.
  2. Attach one end to the disabled vehicle’s chassis-mounted towing point, and the other to the towing vehicle using hooks or D-rings.
  3. Use sturdy metal loops or hooks as chassis-mounted towing points, avoiding delicate parts.
  4. Maintain a 15 feet distance between vehicles.
  5. Communicate with clear signals for starting, stopping, and turning.
  6. Drive at moderate speeds to prevent jerking.
  7. Be cautious of terrain, especially slopes.
  8. Regularly inspect strap and chassis attachments.

How to Tow a Car from the Back

Got a car halfway down a slope or pit? Towing it from the back needs extra care, but is still pretty simple. Here’s what to do:

  1. Attach a strong tow strap to towing and towed vehicle’s rear towing points.
  2. Park towing vehicle on level ground, and engage the parking brake.
  3. Account for increased weight due to gravity and the tilt of the towed car.
  4. Activate hazard lights on the towed vehicle.
  5. Communicate clearly with a spotter.
  6. Drive your towing vehicle backward slowly and smoothly.
  7. Check the towed vehicle’s security periodically.

How to Tow a Car with a Rope or Chain

Towing with a rope or chain is a last resort for emergencies only. Here’s what to do:

  1. Choose a sturdy tow rope or chain with sufficient weight rating.
  2. Attach it securely to towing points using proper knots (e.g., square knot) or hooks/shackles.
  3. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles.
  4. Start towing slowly, and gently accelerate while the towed vehicle is in neutral.
  5. Drive smoothly and cautiously, especially during turns and braking.
  6. Allow space for emergency stops; use brakes gently.
  7. Stop at a safe location before disconnecting.
  8. Limit rope towing to short distances and low speeds.

Tips for Towing a Car With Another Car

When you use one car to pull another, it’s important to follow some safety tips for a smooth experience. Here are some easy tips to keep in mind:

  1. Connect Properly: Use the right spots to attach both cars. Don’t hook them up to fragile parts.
  1. Talk Clearly: Use clear signals with the other driver to start, stop, and turn safely. Use hand signals or walkie-talkies if you can.
  1. Help with Brakes: If the towed car is much heavier, think about using a brake assist to help with stopping.
  1. Be Careful: Towing needs extra care. Accelerate and stop gently, and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
  1. No High Speeds: Don’t go too fast while towing, especially on highways. It’s safer to drive at moderate speeds.
  1. Plan Your Route: Choose a good route without steep hills or rough roads that might make towing hard.
  1. Check Everything: Take breaks on long trips to check if everything is still secure.
  1. Follow the Rules: I know I’ve said this at the start of the post, but it’s never bad to reiterate – this is incredibly important if you don’t want to run into trouble. Make sure you obey all towing laws, traffic laws, signals, and lane rules.


Do you have to put a car in neutral when towing?

Yes, when towing a car, put it in neutral (N). This lets the wheels move freely and prevents damage to the transmission.

Is it OK to tow an automatic car in neutral?

Yes, it’s safe to tow an automatic car in neutral as long as you don’t go too far and stay within safe towing speeds.

How far can you tow a car with another car?

The safe towing distance depends on your setup and the car’s capacity. Short tows are usually the most you can get without compromising safety. If you need to go a long way, it’s best to get help from a professional towing service or use a tow truck to avoid any issues.

Final Thoughts

Towing a car with another car doesn’t have to be complicated. Now you know how to tow a car without breaking any rules, even if you don’t have a high-tech tow truck. 

All you need to do is be careful and work smart. Plus, you can even be a hero to other stranded drivers in need, and it’s easier than you might think!

Especially with this guide- you’ll be feeling more than confident enough and ready to handle any roadside emergency!

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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