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When Should You Call A Tow Truck Company?

There’s not really an instance where you’re going to be excited about calling a tow truck, because the need to do so in and of itself means something’s gone wrong which is never good.

There are different types of tow trucks, and they’re used for varying purposes and services.

For example, a flatbed tow truck pulls a vehicle up onto the flatbed with a hydraulic lift. An integrated tow truck is larger in size and is often used to tow tractor-trailers and buses.

A hook and chain tow truck is used less frequently now than it once was because it can cause damage to a vehicle, and then there’s a wheel lift.

If you were going to call a tow truck, a wheel lift may be what would come to help you. Wheel lift trucks have a hook that goes onto two wheels so the car can be carried behind.

Tow trucks can be helpful, but they can also lead to damages and accidents that you should be aware of the potential for.

If you call a tow truck driver who’s inexperienced, you might find that they don’t properly secure the load, for example.

However, in some cases, you may need their services, so how do you know when that is, and what should you expect when calling a tow truck?


One of the most common reasons to call a tow truck is when there’s a collision or accident with another vehicle.

Sometimes a collision won’t be severe enough to call a tow truck, but if there’s any uncertainty, you might want to err on the side of caution and go ahead and call.

An experienced tow truck driver will be able to help you figure out the extent of vehicle damage and what the next best steps are going to be.

If your vehicle is disabled in the mechanical sense, or you’re injured and not able to drive your vehicle, a tow truck might also be called.

Do be aware, however, that you may be responsible for towing and storage fees, depending on how long your vehicle stays in the tow yard (if it does).

If you have collision coverage, it should cover the costs of towing and repairs, no matter who was at fault in the accident.

Running Out of Gas

If you run out of gas, you might need to call a tow truck driver after you pull over to the side of the road. What you might do instead, however, is contact the towing company or AAA and see if they can bring you gas. That will usually result in 2+ hours of waiting when a tow truck could have been there in ¼ of the time. 

Dead Battery

If your car won’t start because of a dead battery, you again may need to call a tow truck company. Rather than towing your car, however, you should first ask if they can bring you a new battery and install it.

If you call a tow truck because your car won’t start, even without replacing your battery, they may be able to give you a jump start.

Breakdowns and Overheating

If your car overheats, then it can cause your car to shut down and completely stop. If this happens, the safest choice is to get in touch with a tow truck company or roadside assistance. If you contact a tow truck driver, they may be able to help identify exactly what’s going on with your car.

It’s possible that if you lock yourself out of your car, you might also call a tow truck driver. This is most frequently if you need to go to a dealership to unlock your car, and the tow truck can get your car there.

Flat Tires

If you have a flat tire, you might want to contact roadside assistance to change it where you are, but if it’s not safe to do so there, then you might contact a tow truck to get your car to a place where it is safe to change the tire.

What About Having a Car Towed From Your Property?

In some cases, you might wonder if you should call a tow truck company to remove a car that’s not yours from your property.

Whether or not you can do this depends on state laws and the specifics of the situation.

For example, in many states, if a vehicle is creating a traffic hazard, it can be towed. If the vehicle is in a publicly owned parking facility, it may be towed immediately in some states as well.

On private, residential property, a car can be towed immediately if it’s in your way, such as blocking your driveway.

Similarly, on non-residential but private property where there are signs, a car can be towed immediately. If there’s no sign, most states will allow a car to be towed within 24 hours.

What Else To Know

Calling a tow truck driver can be expensive, and outside of certain provisions, if there’s an accident, most insurance policies won’t cover calling a towing company.

Some companies charge by the hour and others by the mile, plus they may charge a hookup fee and a fuel surcharge.

It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company and see what type of coverage you have before you even find yourself in a situation where you need it.

There’s something called towing and labor coverage which may be in your policy, and if it’s not, it’s pretty inexpensive to add.

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