How much does a tow truck cost

A Comprehensive Guide to the Costs of Tow Trucks


Imagine that you are going down the highway when your car breaks down and you are stuck on the side of the road. When your car is in trouble like this, the sight of a tow truck coming to help is a comfort. But while you wait for the tow truck, you might wonder, “How much does a tow truck cost?” This seems like a simple question, but there are many things that affect how much a tow truck service costs. In this detailed guide, we’ll go deep into the world of tow truck costs, breaking down all the details and giving you a clear idea of what to expect when you need a tow.

Different kinds of tow trucks.

Before we get into the split of costs, it’s important to know the different types of tow trucks because the type you need can have a big effect on the total cost:

Flatbed Tow Truck: This type of tow truck has a flat, levelbed surface that tilts and lowers to the ground. It’s perfect for moving cars, trucks, and SUVs with all four wheels on the ground. Most of the time, flatbed tow trucks are the best and most useful choice.

Hook-and-Chain Tow Truck: These traditional tow trucks secure the car being towed with a hook and chain. Even though they aren’t as popular as they used to be because they can damage cars, they can still be used to pull older or damaged cars.

Wheel-Lift Tow Truck: Like hook-and-chain trucks, wheel-lift tow trucks use a metal yoke to lift the front or back wheels of a car off the ground. Hook-and-chain tow trucks are more likely to damage the car being pulled than this way.

Integrated Tow Truck: Integrated tow trucks, also called self-loaders, blend the features of a flatbed and a wheel-lift tow truck. They are flexible and can work with many different kinds of cars.

Heavy-Duty Tow Truck: These trucks are made to pull big vehicles like buses, semi-trucks, and heavy machinery. For industrial and business towing, their skills are necessary.

Things that affect how much a tow truck costs.

The price of a tow truck service isn’t always the same. Instead, it depends on several important things:

Distance Towed: The main thing that affects the cost is how far the tow truck has to go to pick up your car and take it where it needs to go. Costs are usually higher when traveling farther.

Type of car: The cost depends on the size and weight of your car. Most of the time, it costs less to tow a smaller car than a bigger vehicle like a truck or SUV.

Location and terrain: Towing can be more expensive in cities with a lot of traffic because of things like traffic and parking limits. In the same way, towing in rough terrain or in remote areas may require special tools and cost more.

Services Needed: Services like winching a car out of a ditch, jump-starting a dead battery, or fixing a flat tire can add to the total cost.

Time of day and weather: If you need emergency towing services outside of work hours or in bad weather, you might have to pay more. When working at night or in bad weather, towing companies may charge more.

Towing Company Rates: Different towing companies have different rates, so it’s important to get quotes from more than one company to compare prices. Some businesses may offer low prices or discounts in certain scenarios.

Special Requirements: If your car has special features or needs special tools to be towed, like an all-wheel-drive system, a motorcycle, or a classic car, this can change the price.

How Towing Costs Are Broken Down

To give you a better idea of how much a tow truck service can cost, let’s look at the main parts of the price:

Hook-up or Base Fee: Most towing services have a base fee that covers the initial hookup and sending of the tow truck. Most of the time, this fee is between $35 and $100.

Per-mile or per-kilometer fee: The distance pulled is the main thing that affects the cost after the base fee. A per-mile or per-kilometer fee is what towing companies charge. This fee can be anywhere from $2 to $7 or more, based on the area and the type of service.

Storage Fees: You may have to pay storage fees if your car needs to be kept at the towing company’s building until you can get it back. These fees can be different, but they usually cost between $20 and $100 per day.

Special Services: Any extra services, like winching, jump-starting, or changing a tire, will have their own fees. These costs can change based on how hard the service is.

Time of Service: As we’ve already said, there may be extra fees for services that are needed outside of business hours, on holidays, or when it’s raining or snowing.

Towing insurance coverage: If you have towing coverage as part of your car insurance policy or through a roadside assistance plan, some or all of the costs may be covered, depending on the terms and limits of your policy.

Costs for different situations.

Let’s look at a few common situations to show how tow truck prices can vary:

Scenario 1: Towing a passenger car locally.

– Basic Charge: $50

– The cost per mile (10 miles) is $40

Cost in total: $90

Scenario 2: An SUV needs to be towed over a long distance.

– Basic Charge: $75

– Cost per mile ($400 for 100 miles):

Cost all together: $475

Scenario 3: Getting out of a ditch with a winch

– Basic Charge: $60

– Service for pulling: $100

Cost in total: $160

Scenario 4: You’re pulling a car on a holiday night.

– Basic Charge: $75

– Fee per mile: $140 (20 miles)

– Charge for holidays and nights: $50

– The full price is $265

Scenario 5: Towing a motorcycle

– Basic Charge: $40

– The fee to tow a motorcycle is $100

Cost in total: $140

Tips for Managing Tow Truck Costs

Here are some useful tips that will help you keep your tow truck prices in check:

Be sure you know what your insurance covers: Find out if your car insurance covers towing and if so, what it covers. If it does, you should know the boundaries and rules.

Get Quotes: If you need a tow, call more than one company to check prices and find out if there are any extra fees. Choose the one that gives you the most value for your money.

Keep emergency supplies on hand: Carry important things like a spare tire, jumper cables, and simple tools to fix small problems that might not need towing.

Regular Vehicle Maintenance: If you take care of your car, it will be less likely to break down and you won’t need towing services as often.

Plan ahead: If you’re going on a long trip, look up towing companies along the way and keep their phone numbers on hand in case of an emergency.

Don’t make decisions on the spot: It’s easy to make hasty choices when you’re under a lot of stress. Take a moment to look at the situation and decide which choice will save you the most money.

Join a Roadside Assistance Program: You might want to join a roadside assistance program that includes driving. These services can give you peace of mind and could save you money over time.


When you’re in the bad position of needing a tow, it’s important to know what affects the price of a tow truck. The price of a tow truck service can change a lot depending on how far it has to go, what kind of car it is, where it is, and what other services are needed. If you know what to expect, plan ahead, and look into your insurance choices, you can confidently navigate the world of tow truck costs and make sure you get the help you need without breaking the bank. Towing can be an unexpected cost, but if you know what to do and are well-prepared, you can keep the cost to a minimum and get back on the road to your goal.


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