Is It Expensive To Tow a Car?

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The national average cost to tow a car is around $109, with rates ranging from $2.50 to $7.00 per mile according to J.D. Power. The actual cost will consider the vehicle's size, towing method and time of day, among other factors.

Keep reading to find out how much it costs to tow a car and how you can roadside assistance with towing coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Drivers pay $109 on average for a tow but the actual cost is largely dependent on how many miles you need your vehicle towed since many providers charge a base rate plus a per-mile rate.
  • It is possible to get towing coverage by purchasing it as an add-on to your auto insurance policy or joining an auto club membership like AAA.
  • Adding roadside assistance to your auto policy is relatively affordable since it can cover multiple tows for less than $30 per year depending on the carrier.
  • When hiring a towing service, you should confirm the total cost, how rates are calculated, the types of towing services offered, licensing and insurance, arrival times, service area limits and accepted payment methods to avoid unexpected expenses.
  • Additional fees will apply if you need your vehicle extracted from snow, mud or some other terrain.

How Much Does It Cost To Tow a Car?

The cost of a tow truck varies based on distance, with the national average in 2021 at approximately $109.[1] Factors affecting cost include vehicle type, time of towing (night, weekend, holiday) and terrain.

In addition, towing due to breakdowns typically costs less than post-collision tows. Additional fees, like winch use for stuck vehicles, can add $50 to $250 to the total cost.[1]

How Much Does It Cost To Tow a Car Per Mile?

Average towing rates per mile can range from $2.50 to $7.00 per mile, with the higher end typically charged for heavy-duty vehicles.[1][2]

The average towing rate per mile is not fixed and you might see it go up for tows requiring longer distances.

For example, average costs are $35 to $125 for up to five miles, $125 to $275 for 40 miles and up to $600 for 100 miles.[1]

What Factors Determine the Cost To Tow a Car?

Read below to learn how the cost of a tow can change based on your vehicle, the type of tow you need, when you need the tow and other factors.

Type of Vehicle

In general, larger vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and vans, are heavier and require more powerful towing equipment or specialized tow trucks. This can lead to higher towing fees. Similarly, vehicles that are considered luxury or have custom modifications may need particular care and equipment for safe towing, which adds to the cost.

Time of Day

If you require tow truck services during nighttime, weekends or holidays, be prepared to pay higher towing fees. These off-hour services incur extra charges because they are outside the typical operating hours of most towing companies, requiring staff to be available on an on-call basis.


Most towing companies charge a base fee for the hook-up plus an additional per-mile rate.[1] The further the vehicle needs to be towed, the higher the total cost will be. The base hook-up fee covers the cost of towing from your location and preparing your vehicle for towing. The per-mile rate then accounts for the transport distance to your desired location, whether it's a repair shop, your home or another destination.


If your car is stuck in terrain like mud or snow, then you'll need to arrange for a winch out service to extract your car. In Los Angeles, the cost for this can cost $70 to $200 per hour plus additional fees if your car still needs to be towed afterward.[3]

Does Insurance Cover Car Towing?

Car insurance can cover towing if your plan includes roadside assistance. If it doesn't, you can either add this coverage to your policy if it's offered or you can purchase a roadside assistance membership from a roadside provider like AAA.

Add-On to Your Auto Insurance Policy

Many insurance companies provide roadside assistance as an optional add-on to their policies, usually for an extra fee, not included in the standard insurance package. Some insurance companies offer roadside assistance for as little as $7 per year, while other carriers will charge higher rates.

Below are sample rates by carrier for adding optional roadside assistance to a car insurance policy.


Annual Cost

Towing Coverage

Liberty Mutual



Travelers (Basic)


15 miles







Nationwide (Basic)


15 miles




*Free if you purchased collision and comprehensive coverage

Roadside Provider

An alternative to getting towing coverage through your auto policy is to buy it from a standalone roadside provider like Good Sam Roadside Assistance or AAA. These types of roadside plans generally cost more but usually include additional perks like discounts on rental cars, hotels and more.

For example, let’s look at what you can get by purchasing an AAA membership if you live in southern California:[4]





Annual Pricing




Tow Truck

7 miles

100 miles

200 miles for first tow; 100 miles for subsequent tows





Battery Jumpstart








Flat Tire




Fuel Delivery


Yes, includes cost of fuel to reach nearest service station

Yes, includes cost of fuel to reach nearest service station

Rental Car

Discounted rates

Discounted rates + 1-car class upgrade

1-day complimentary standard rental car

Are There Other Ways of Getting Towing Coverage?

For many drivers, tapping into the perks offered by a new vehicle warranty presents an often overlooked yet valuable option. Some automakers include roadside assistance as part of their new vehicle warranties, offering services such as towing, battery jumpstarts, tire changes and fuel delivery in case of emergencies.

Additionally, individuals may find unexpected benefits tucked away in the terms and conditions of their credit card agreements. Certain credit card companies extend roadside assistance services as part of their cardholder benefits package. This coverage can vary widely depending on the card issuer and the type of credit card held but common offerings may include towing, tire changes, lockout assistance and even emergency fuel delivery.

When Is Towing Most Needed?

Towing services are most commonly required in situations that render a vehicle inoperable or unsafe to drive. These include breakdowns due to mechanical failures, where a vehicle cannot be started or driven safely to a repair facility.

Car accidents are another major scenario, requiring towing to remove damaged vehicles from the road to ensure safety and restore traffic flow. Severe weather conditions, such as snowstorms, floods or icy roads, can lead to vehicles being stuck or stranded, necessitating towing services for recovery.

Additionally, towing may be needed for a vehicle that has run out of fuel or has a flat tire and needs to be transported to the nearest service station.

What Should I Ask When Hiring a Towing Service?

When hiring a towing service, it's important to ask several key questions to ensure you understand the services they offer and the associated towing costs. Here are some essential questions to consider:

  1. What is the total cost?
  2. How are rates calculated?
  3. What types of towing services are offered (e.g., flatbed, wheel lift)?
  4. Are they licensed and insured?
  5. Are there references or reviews?
  6. How quickly can the tow truck driver arrive?
  7. Is there a service area limit?
  8. What payment methods are accepted?
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Why is towing a car so expensive?

Towing a car can be costly due to various factors such as specialized equipment, insurance and labor. Variables like towing distance, vehicle size, time of day and whether you need a winch can add to the cost.

How much does towing cost?

The average cost to tow a car was about $109 in 2021, with per-mile rates varying from $2.50 to $7.00 based on factors like distance, vehicle size and towing conditions. Fees can rise notably beyond five miles, ranging from $35 to $125 for up to 5 miles and soaring up to $600 for 100 miles.[1]

How far can you tow a car?

For mechanical breakdowns, you’re generally towed to the nearest repair facility and will incur a base rate plus per-mile rate. However, there are long-distance towing services available if you need it for a special reason such as transporting your car to a different state.

Will I pay out of pocket for towing?

If you have roadside assistance coverage, you will be responsible for any towing costs that exceed your plan’s coverage limits. If you don’t have any type of coverage, you are responsible for paying the entire bill out of pocket.

Are there car towing services that cross state lines?

Yes, there are car towing companies — sometimes called auto transport companies — that offer long-distance towing services across state lines.[5]


  1. J.D. Power. “How Much Does It Cost To Tow a Car?” Accessed Mar. 5, 2024.
  2. Mission Valley Towing. “How Much Will a Towing Company Cost Me in San Diego?” Accessed Mar. 5, 2024.
  3. Saar Shani Towing. “How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car in Los Angeles?” Accessed Mar. 5, 2024.
  4. AAA. “AAA Membership Levels - Compare Plans, Benefits & Services.” Accessed Mar. 5, 2024.
  5. National Express Auto Transport. “Long Distance Towing.” Accessed Mar. 5, 2024.

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