Cheapest Way to Tow a Car 100 Miles: Cost-Saving Methods Explained

Last updated on January 1, 2024

Discover the least expensive methods to tow a car for a considerable distance because insightful tips and viable options await in the forthcoming discussion.

Facing the unenviable task of towing your car for a long stretch can swiftly turn into a budgeting nightmare, spiraling you into a whirlwind of costly options. Yet, even in this cloud of expense, there lies a silver lining of budget-friendly choices to transport your vehicle the necessary 100 miles without draining your wallet.

Unbeknownst to many, the right combination of roadside assistance programs, insurance benefits, membership clubs, credit card perks, and tow dolly rentals can coalesce into an economical solution.

Dive into this treasure trove of savvy strategies that aim to transform the daunting cost of towing into a manageable expenditure, ensuring your car’s journey is as affordable as it is essential.

Key takeaways:

  • Roadside Assistance Programs
  • Car Insurance Towing Benefits
  • Membership Clubs Offering Towing Services
  • Credit Card Perks for Towing Services
  • Tow Dolly Rental Services

Understanding the Cheapest Options for Long-Distance Car Towing

understanding the cheapest options for long distance car towing

Roadside Assistance Programs:
– Many drivers are enrolled in roadside assistance through their auto manufacturer or insurance company, offering a set number of free or discounted tows per year.

Car Insurance Towing Benefits:
– Check your policy for towing coverage; some plans include towing services either free or at a reduced rate, which might cover the distance you need.

Membership Clubs Offering Towing Services:
– Organizations like AAA provide various membership levels with towing options, often extending beyond 100 miles.

Credit Card Perks for Towing Services:
– Certain credit card benefits include roadside assistance. Review your cardholder agreement or call customer service to confirm if towing is a covered service.

Tow Dolly Rental Services:
– Renting a tow dolly can be economical, especially if you have access to a pickup truck or an SUV with towing capabilities.

Flatbed Trailer Rental Options:
– Slightly pricier than a tow dolly but provides more stability; a good option for AWD vehicles or those that require all-four wheels off the ground.

Auto Transport Companies:
– For vehicles that need to be moved without being driven, professional auto transport companies often offer competitive rates for distances of 100 miles or more.

Long Distance Towing Quotes:
– Always gather multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting the best service for the lowest price, and don’t hesitate to negotiate or ask for price matching.

Assessing Roadside Assistance Programs

assessing roadside assistance programs

If you’re enrolled in a roadside assistance program, verify the towing distance included in your plan. Many offer a set number of miles for free, such as up to 100 miles, which perfectly aligns with your needs.

However, it’s vital to check for any hidden fees that might apply for long-distance towing. Programs through auto manufacturers, insurance companies, or independent providers like AAA could provide this service, but benefits vary, so a quick review of your policy is crucial.

Additionally, consider the timing for membership renewal—some programs may require a waiting period before you can utilize certain benefits. Ensure your membership is active and understand the specifics of the towing services to avoid unexpected charges.

Utilizing Car Insurance Towing Benefits

Dive into your car insurance policy details to determine if and how much towing coverage you have. Many policies include roadside assistance or offer it as an inexpensive add-on. Here’s how to leverage it:

  • Check the specifics: Your policy will clarify the towing distance covered and whether there are any associated costs.
  • Know your limits: There might be a limit to the number of tows per year. Stay informed to avoid unexpected charges.
  • Pre-authorization: Confirm if you need to get towing services pre-authorized to ensure coverage.
  • Designated providers: Some insurance companies require you to use their approved tow services for coverage. Check the list before you call.
  • Reimbursement process: In case you pay upfront, understand the steps to submit receipts and claim reimbursements.

Being well-acquainted with these points ensures you harness the full potential of insurance benefits, potentially offering a no-cost towing solution for that 100-mile tow.

Membership Clubs Offering Towing Services

Many drivers are unaware that their membership with certain clubs can unlock valuable towing benefits. Such clubs often include auto associations, which provide an array of roadside assistance services:

  • Annual Fee Coverage: With an upfront annual fee, these clubs usually offer a certain number of free or discounted tows each year. This can be significantly cheaper than paying out-of-pocket for a single 100-mile tow.
  • Towing Distance Limitations: It’s essential to check the mileage limit provided by your club. Some memberships may offer towing for the full 100 miles, while others may necessitate additional payment for distances beyond a certain threshold.
  • Additional Roadside Benefits: Beyond just towing, membership clubs might also provide flat tire changes, fuel delivery, and lockout services which could be beneficial during long-distance travel.
  • Reciprocal Benefits: If you’re traveling out of state, some clubs have partnerships that allow you to use your membership perks nationwide.

Before you find yourself in need of a tow, review the details of your club’s roadside assistance package to fully understand the extent of the services offered. This foresight can ensure both peace of mind and a lighter hit to your wallet in the case of car trouble far from home.

Credit Card Perks for Towing Services

Dig into the fine print of your credit card benefits—some cards offer complimentary roadside assistance or provide discounted rates for towing services. Typically, premium credit cards are more likely to offer these perks.

  • Review your credit card’s benefits guide or contact customer service to verify if towing is covered.
  • Understand the terms, such as distance limits or the number of covered incidents per year, to prevent surprise charges.
  • Some credit card companies partner with nationwide service providers, ensuring reliability regardless of your location.
  • Towing services through credit card perks may require upfront payment, followed by a reimbursement claim, so be prepared for initial out-of-pocket expenses.
  • If you don’t have these benefits, consider a credit card upgrade for broader coverage if you frequently find yourself on the road.

Tapping into credit card towing benefits can shave a considerable amount off your total towing costs, especially for a 100-mile journey.

Tow Dolly Rental Services

If you’re considering the DIY route, renting a tow dolly can be a budget-friendly alternative. This device allows the front wheels of your vehicle to be elevated while the rear wheels roll on the road.

Here are key points to keep in mind:

  • Rental Availability: National chains like U-Haul offer tow dollies for rent, and their widespread availability means you can easily find a service near you or your starting point.
  • Compatibility: Check your car’s specs to ensure it’s suitable for dolly towing—some vehicles, particularly all-wheel or four-wheel drive models, may require additional preparations or may not be suitable at all.
  • Rental Cost: Prices vary, but typically, a tow dolly rental is cheaper than hiring a tow truck, especially for distances of 100 miles.
  • Driving Skills: Operating a vehicle with a tow dolly attached requires some skill. Familiarize yourself with the added width and weight, and practice maneuvering in a safe environment before hitting the road.
  • Return Requirements: Most rental services require you to return the dolly to a specific location. Plan your route with this in mind to avoid additional charges.

By considering these points, you can determine whether a tow dolly rental meets your needs and budget for moving your car over a long distance.

Flatbed Trailer Rental Options

Renting a flatbed trailer can be an efficient way to move a vehicle over long distances. This option allows for the car to be securely positioned and fastened onto the trailer, preventing wear and tear on the vehicle’s engine and tires.

Before deciding on this method, consider the following:

  • Ensure your own vehicle’s towing capacity is sufficient for the combined weight of the trailer and the car being towed.
  • Check the licensing requirements; some states may require a special endorsement when towing over a certain weight limit.
  • Investigate rental companies for the best rates and ensure that their rental policy doesn’t include hidden fees.
  • Ask about the length of the rental period, as some companies may offer discounts for longer rentals.
  • Inspect the flatbed trailer for any pre-existing damage and functionality of the tie-downs and ramps before leaving the rental facility.
  • Get familiar with the loading and unloading process, especially if you’re new to towing.

When done correctly, flatbed trailer rental is a cost-effective choice that provides peace of mind by reducing the risk of potential damage to your car over a lengthy tow.

Long-Distance Towing With Auto Transport Companies

When considering auto transport companies for your towing needs, you’re engaging with businesses that specialize in moving vehicles over long distances. This option can often be economical for 100-mile trips, providing a hassle-free experience.

Flat-rate Pricing: Many of these companies offer flat rates for distances like 100 miles, which can be more cost-effective compared to paying a per-mile charge. – Scheduled Pick-Up and Drop-Off: You’ll have the convenience of arranging specific times for pick-up and delivery, adding structure to your towing plan. – Insurance Coverage: Transport companies typically provide insurance for the duration of the tow, giving you peace of mind in case of an accident or damage. – Multiple Vehicle Transport: If you need more than one vehicle towed, transport companies can handle several cars at once, possibly saving you money on a bulk deal.

Always request quotes from various companies, as prices can vary significantly. Ensure you confirm all details, including insurance specifics and any potential hidden fees, before making your choice.

Analyzing Long Distance Towing Quotes

When poring over long-distance towing quotes, it’s crucial to look beyond the basic cost. Ensuring that you’re getting the best value involves examining several factors:

  • Services Included: Verify what’s covered. Some quotes might include door-to-door service, while others may require you to bring the car to a pickup location. Additional fees for off-route services can also apply.

Insurance Coverage: Check that the company offers insurance to protect your vehicle during transit. The lowest quote might not always offer the best insurance, so weigh the risk versus the potential savings.

Reputation and Reviews: A cheaper option might mean lower service standards. Read customer reviews to spot any recurring issues that could signify unreliable service.

Cancellation and Rescheduling Policies: Life is unpredictable. A company with flexible policies could save you from potential fees if plans change.

Hidden Fees: Some quotes might not include fuel surcharges, tolls, or taxes. Ask for an all-inclusive quote to avoid surprises.

A detailed comparison of these elements will lead to a well-informed decision and potentially significant savings for your 100-mile tow.

Preparing Your Car for Long-Distance Towing

Before embarking on a towing journey, ensuring your car is properly prepared can prevent damage and ensure safety. Start by confirming that your vehicle is compatible with the chosen towing method, whether it be a tow dolly or trailer. Front-wheel-drive cars are often suitable for dolly use, while rear-wheel-drive cars may require a trailer or disconnecting the driveshaft.

Conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle. This includes checking tire pressure, securing loose items, and removing valuable belongings. Verify that the car’s lights are operational, as they’ll need to synchronize with the towing equipment for signaling purposes.

Next, look into the towing equipment’s constraints. Each tow dolly or trailer comes with weight limits and specific instructions for securing a vehicle. Follow these guidelines meticulously. Additionally, for a car on a dolly, lock the steering wheel straight to prevent unwanted movement.

Lastly, if your car is being loaded onto an auto transport trailer by professionals, disarm any alarms, and provide the driver with any necessary information about operating your car, such as quirks with starting or an automatic parking brake system. This prep work ensures a smooth towing process, reducing risks and potential hiccups.

Vehicle Compatibility for Tow Dollies and Trailers

Before you opt to rent a tow dolly or trailer, check that your vehicle is suited for this mode of transport. Begin by consulting your car’s owner’s manual for towing specifications and restrictions. Most front-wheel-drive cars are good candidates for tow dollies, as their rear wheels will remain on the ground, minimizing transmission wear.

For all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles, a trailer is typically more suitable because it lifts all wheels off the ground, preventing drivetrain damage. Be mindful of weight limits; your car must not exceed the weight capacity of the dolly or trailer. This includes the contents inside your vehicle, which could push it over the limit.

Also, take note of the tow vehicle’s rating. Not every car or truck is engineered to haul another car behind it. Your tow vehicle must have adequate power and braking capability to handle the additional weight safely. Verify that all lights and signals on the tow dolly or trailer are functioning and compatible with your tow vehicle to ensure a legal and secure journey.

Pre-Towing Inspection Checklist

Before hooking up your car for a long trek, ensure it’s ready to endure the journey without hiccup. Start with tire pressure; proper inflation is essential for stability and safety.

Check lights—brake, turn signals, and tail lights must be functioning to communicate with other drivers.

Secure all loose items inside; unexpected movement can cause distraction or damage.

If your car is non-operational, confirm the parking brake is disengaged to avoid drag.

Fluid levels warrant attention—top off or change them to prevent mechanical failure mid-trip.

Lastly, inspect the battery; a secure and charged battery will prevent power loss and potential electrical issues.

With these checks done, your vehicle is set for a safe transit.

Cost-Saving Tips and Expert Recommendations

Book in advance whenever possible: Planning ahead can significantly reduce costs, as last-minute arrangements are usually more expensive.

Opt for a tow during weekdays: Rates can surge on weekends due to higher demand; schedule a tow for a weekday to benefit from standard pricing.

Bundle services if needed: If additional services like storage or repairs are needed, some companies offer package deals, which can be more economical.

Negotiate the rates: Don’t hesitate to negotiate the price with towing companies, especially if you’re a member of a roadside assistance program or have insurance benefits.

Consider a backhaul service: Some towing companies offer discounted rates for “backhaul” opportunities, where they need to transport a vehicle back to the original location, filling their return trip.

Maintain your vehicle: Ensuring your vehicle is in good shape and doesn’t require special handling can lower towing costs.

Check for any hidden fees: Always ask upfront for a complete breakdown of potential costs to avoid surprise charges.

Research and Compare Towing Rates

Embarking on the journey to finding the best deal often requires a bit of legwork. Begin by collecting quotes from multiple towing companies. Don’t gravitate solely toward the bottom line; consider the company’s reputation, reviews, and the details of their service packages.

Inquire about hidden fees such as fuel surcharges or tolls, which might not be included in the initial quote.

Going beyond a simplistic Google search can pay dividends. Reaching out to local mechanics and auto shops might yield recommendations for reliable and cost-effective towing services not widely advertised online.

Opting for a weekday service could also result in reduced rates, as weekends and holidays usually have premium charges. For a comparison grounded in real numbers, leverage online cost calculators specific to towing services—these tools can sometimes provide more accurate estimates tailored to your situation.

Remember, while finding the least expensive option is the goal, it’s essential to balance cost with the peace of mind that your vehicle will be towed safely and reliably.

Choosing Between DIY Towing and Professional Services

Deciding between a do-it-yourself approach or hiring professionals for towing your car over a long distance requires careful consideration of skill level, equipment availability, and safety concerns. Here’s what to keep in mind:

1. Expertise: Handling a tow vehicle and a car in tow demands expertise. Are you confident in your driving skills, especially over 100 miles?

2. Equipment: Renting a dolly or trailer is one thing, but you’ll also need a capable tow vehicle with proper hitching equipment.

3. Time vs. Cost: Evaluate the time investment of DIY towing against the convenience of professional services. Sometimes, the savings might not justify the personal time and energy spent.

4. Safety and Liability: Professionals are insured for accidents or damage during towing. When you choose DIY, you assume full responsibility.

5. Hidden Costs: Account for fuel, rental fees, potential additional insurance, and even possible overnight stays, which add up in DIY scenarios.

6. Stress Factor: The ease and reduced stress of professional services can be invaluable, especially if your schedule is tight or the route is complex.

Weigh the pros and cons based on your individual situation to determine the most sensible approach for your needs.

Many car owners want to ensure they’re fully informed about the financial implications of towing a car. Here are some common inquiries:

1. Will my car insurance cover towing costs?
Check your policy or contact your provider. Many include towing services, particularly if you have comprehensive coverage.

2. How much should I expect to pay out-of-pocket?
Without coverage or membership benefits, expect costs ranging from $75 to $200 for a local tow, with per-mile costs from $2 to $4 for long-distance towing.

3. Can I get a discount on towing services?
Absolutely. Some insurance companies offer discounted rates with affiliated service providers.

4. Do roadside assistance programs always cover the full cost?
Not always. Limited miles could be free with your plan, but a 100-mile tow might surpass that limit, incurring extra charges.

5. How do credit card benefits work for towing expenses?
Some cards offer reimbursement for roadside assistance charges. Verify your card’s benefits and understand the claim process.

By being proactive and understanding where you can save on costs or insurance, you can make an educated choice on the best method for your budget and needs.


How much is it to tow a car in San Diego?

The cost to tow a car in San Diego ranges from approximately $140 to $170, considering a distance of 10 miles and inclusion of a hook-up fee.

What do most towing companies charge per mile?

Towing companies typically charge between $2 to $4 per mile for long-distance towing.

What is the farthest AAA will tow your car?

The farthest AAA will tow your car is up to 100 driving miles with a Plus® membership.

Does towing add miles to a car?

Towing a car does not add miles to it because the front wheels, where the odometer sensors are located, remain stationary on the dolly during the towing process.

Are there any subscription services that offer economical long-distance towing options?

Yes, AAA provides an economical long-distance towing option as part of its premium subscription service.

How can insurance policies potentially cut costs associated with towing a vehicle 100 miles?

Certain insurance policies can potentially cut costs associated with towing a vehicle 100 miles by offering roadside assistance services, which typically include towing, as part of their coverage plan.

What are some cost-effective alternatives to traditional towing methods?

Companies can use self-loading trailers, tow dollies, or flatbed car trailers as cost-effective alternatives to traditional towing methods.


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