How Much Does a Tow Truck Cost?

As a car owner, having your vehicle towed can be a stressful and expensive experience. Towing fees can vary depending on location, distance, and the type of vehicle being towed. This article will explore some tips for understanding towing costs and negotiating with tow companies to help you save money.


Understanding Towing Fees 

The city sets towing fees, but there is some room for negotiation. By law, tow companies can charge a maximum of $200 for the first five miles and an additional $10 for each extra mile. The cost of towing a small car may be as low as $75, while larger vehicles like SUVs may cost up to $200. On average, you can expect to pay up to $200 for a tow plus an additional charge of $2.50 to $7 per mile.

Why Tow Trucks Are Expensive 

Tow trucks are high-powered vehicles with superior engines designed to operate in rugged terrain. In addition, the cost of hiring a driver with specialized training, insurance to cover the wrecker, a bond to cover any damage the tow may cause, and the truck’s maintenance, such as tire replacement and gas refill, all contribute to the high cost of towing.

Negotiating with Tow Companies 

Suppose you live outside of town or have evidence of anomalies during the towing process. In that case, it’s worth haggling with the tow company to see if they’ll lower the fee. Ensure you are holding onto any evidence showing the anomalies during the towing. This could be a photo of your car parked in a spot that didn’t have any signage indicating no parking or witness testimony from someone who saw your car being towed. Try contacting the towing company directly and see if they’re willing to release the vehicle back to you and issue a refund for the towing fees. If neither option is successful, you may file a complaint with the help of an attorney.

Types of Vehicles That Tow Trucks Can Tow 

Tow trucks are designed for towing various vehicles, including tow cars, SUVs, RVs, and motorcycles. The weight limit for most tow trucks is around 5,000 pounds, but some are designed to handle heavier loads. The type of vehicle being towed will dictate the kind of tow truck required. For example, a car can be towed with a standard tow truck, while an RV requires a specialty tow truck to handle the extra weight and size.

Special Features of Tow Trucks 

Tow trucks have a strong winch operated by hydraulics to attach the vehicle to the truck. The winch can lift heavy vehicles. Tow trucks also have wheel lifts that allow them to lift a car’s front or rear end off the ground without damaging it. Special lightings, such as rotating beacons and strobe lights, helps to make the tow truck visible to other drivers, even in low-light conditions.

Tips for Saving Money on Towing Fees 

If you want to save money on towing fees, follow these tips:

  1. Require driving logs from your drivers to ensure they stay on the road and avoid making unnecessary stops.
  2. Hire competent drivers to reduce the chances of an accident or other incident.
  3. Provide continual training to keep your drivers up-to-date on the latest safe driving techniques.
  4. Regularly maintain your vehicles to reduce the chances of a breakdown or other mechanical problems.


Tow trucks play a vital role in our transportation system by transporting vehicles to dealerships or assisting during unexpected breakdowns. Despite the high cost of towing, it offers a unique service that cannot be matched by manual labor. It is important to note that the towing fee is regulated by federal law, with costs varying depending on location, vehicle type, and size. Suppose you come across a towing company that charges more than the federal limit. In that case, you have the right to file a complaint with authorities and request a refund of towing fees.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.