Having to call a tow truck is never a happy event – but for anyone who owns a car, it’s an occurrence that has the feeling of inevitability. Adding to the fun is the surprise of learning how much that tow is going to cost you.
American vehicles suffer over 69 million breakdowns annually, so many people have probably found themselves on the side of the road somewhere wondering about towing costs. Knowing the average cost to tow a car is a smart way to be ready for roadside assistance if you should ever need it.
This is a question that deserves attention whether you’re heading off on a road trip or just running a few local errands. This guide will cover the common factors that can trigger a tow, provide some best practices in a pinch, and highlight how to contact a reliable towing team.
Calculating the Average Cost to Tow a Car
How much is an average tow, then? The first factor is how far your car needs to be hauled, as the costs can be pretty hefty if you’re traveling across the state and need to be towed back home. The price per mile you can expect to spend if you require a towing service in Maryland, D.C., or Northern Virginia depends on distance and dimensions, and there may also be a hookup fee before the price per mile cost kicks in.
The national average price of a towing service is around $95. The good news is that most insurance companies cover the costs within a particular range if you were just in a car accident and require roadside assistance.
When It’s Time to Tow Your Car
Your car may be damaged and undrivable if you’re stuck on the side of the road, but it’s not always such a serious situation. It is important to remain calm in every scenario, get to safety ASAP, and call the professionals if needed. Here are some common reasons you might need a tow:
1. Flat Tire
Many drivers have a spare tire on board, yet lack confidence in changing a flat because the roadside isn’t exactly a great place to concentrate. Some also worry about not securing the vehicle correctly while using the jack to lift it. Anyone unsure about how to change a tire would be best to call for professional help.
2. Starter or Alternator Struggles
Starter problems could signal an issue with either the battery or the alternator. Cranky engine starts could indicate either culprit, while electric problems like stereos or lights point to the alternator. Calling in a roadside professional will help pinpoint which of the two are to blame and find the right solution.
3. Battery and Brake Issues
Your vehicle might just require a jump-start to get you to your next location if you’re experiencing a minor battery issue. It’s time to call in some backup if your jumper cables aren’t doing the trick, and definitely time to call the pros if you’re showing signs of brake malfunctions.
4. Engine Trouble
Engine issues are almost exclusively a mechanics-only fix. They will require a tow truck to get you quickly to the nearest engine expert (unless you happen to be one and have all the right equipment on board).
5. Stuck in the Mud
You may have been off-roading a remote area of Mt. Airy, Maryland, or cruising on the backroads by Sugarloaf Mountain just south of Frederick. Weather can strand a driver anywhere, anytime, but a towing professional can come and help you out no matter where you’re stuck.
6. Locked Out
There isn’t much a driver can do when the keys aren’t in hand. Calling a tow truck is the best practice if you feel you could be in danger, and the police may also be able to open your car. Towing companies are also great for showing up to the rescue when you lock your keys in your car – and don’t worry, it’s a common occurrence.
Each of these events will influence the average price of a towing service in its own way. These aren’t the only deciding factors you will face, however, and knowing which other considerations can impact the final bill helps you plan your finances more effectively.
5 Key Calculations in Towing Costs
The reasons a tow is required will differ from case to case, but there are also some common expense factors mixed in with circumstantial ones. Drivers can be better prepared for a roadside scenario when they consider how their unique circumstances combine with these universal concerns.
1. Vehicle Dimensions
Vehicle size and weight affects every towing situation and naturally influence the average price of a towing service. The best towing companies will be fully prepared to provide both light duty and medium/heavy duty solutions and to provide a competitive quote to go with it.
2. Towing vs. Roadside Assistance
Budgeting for towing rates in Maryland means not mixing that service up with issues that don’t require very advanced assistance. Towing companies are usually versatile and ready to help with any of your roadside needs. Maybe you don’t need a tow and you just ran out of gas, in which case you’re lucky because a towing company can also accommodate you with that.
3. Time of Day, Time of Year, and Acts of God
Running into issues on the road is cheaper when they happen within typical working hours (or not long before/after them). The average price of a towing service will be higher if you find yourself calling for a truck in the evening, night, or early morning. Harsh weather such as winter storms, floods, and blizzards can also cause towing rates in Maryland to climb.
4. Electric and Hybrid Cars Require Special Handling
Electrics and hybrids can break down or get flats just like any other vehicle. They can also run out of charge, which will require a recharging truck rather than a towing one. When a tow is necessary, it’s vital to inform the professionals that you drive an electric/hybrid and to choose a flatbed truck over other transport types. Failure to do this could turn an average towing bill into a seriously expensive mistake.
Everyone understands that being towed can be a big inconvenience we’d all like to avoid. The hard fact is that cutting corners is never smart in a situation where even simple fixes can cause injury or possibly death.
5. The Common Pitfalls of Avoiding Towing Costs
There is never a cheaper and better hack where personal safety and vehicles are concerned. Towing fees exist to get problems solved as quickly, expertly, and cost-effectively as possible. Trying to avoid them may end up costing you dearly:
- An attempt to contact a less-than-reputable towing service (no website, no certifications, no reviews) doesn’t save money. It only leaves you and your vehicle open to mercenary pricing, uninsured operators, and an unverifiable service history.
- Any driver concerned about changing their own tires has good reason to be worried, because roadside repairs of any kind can be hazardous. Think safety first and call the professionals.
- Police officers may sometimes stop to help someone stranded on the side of the road, but it’s best to have a qualified local team in your phone contacts so you can choose who comes to your aid.
- It may seem like a miracle has occurred if a towing company magically shows up without even being called. These are typically untrustworthy operators who spend their time checking scanners for motorists in unfortunate situations. Never agree to work with this kind of team no matter how good their deal may seem.
All these risks disappear when drivers take the time to follow the basic towing preparation steps, and to add a reputable and reliable towing company to their list of contacts. These two simple things make all the difference in keeping your towing bill as low as possible, whether you’re faced with a flat tire or a flat-out crisis.
Call the Towing Professionals with Your Questions
Needing a tow can be a sudden and stressful experience, but only if you don’t have the right team standing by. The professionals at Geyers Towing and Transport operate 24/7 for all your towing service needs and much more. We can make sure you get back home quickly and safely, no matter where you are.
Contact Geyers Towing and Transport with any questions about towing costs and speak to an expert today.