truck towing car

The tow truck industry is worth over 2 billion dollars

Getting your car towed isn’t cheap, but it also isn’t avoidable in many cases. When your car breaks down on the side of the road, you don’t have a lot of other options. 

So how much does it cost to tow a car?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you learn what you should expect to pay. 

Let’s get started!

What’s the Average Cost of Towing Your Car?

If you end up stranded on the side of the road and have to call a tow truck, you should expect to pay anything between $75 to $125. 

But this is just the average cost. The actual amount you’ll have to pay depends on a number of factors, which can make the price much higher. 

Here are a few things that can make the cost go up. 


The farther you have to be towed, the more you’ll have to pay. 

For example, most tow companies charge a minimum fee between $50 and $75. This covers the initial hookup, and it usually includes the first 5 to 7 miles. 

After that, you’ll have to pay anything from $2 to $4 per mile, which can add up fast. You can’t always control the distance, but try to make the drive as short as possible. 


Bigger vehicles need bigger tow trucks, which can make the price go up. The standard charges we mentioned above usually cover a small, 4-door sedan. Anything larger than that may have additional fees. 

The exact prices vary depending on the company you work with. Sometimes, these extra fees are as little as $10, but they can be over $50 as well. 


Many towing companies charge more if you call them after hours. Again, each towing company has their own definition of “after hours.” In most cases, towing your car after 8 pm and before 8 am will cost extra.

Some companies might consider weekends after hours as well. You should also be prepared to pay additional fees during holidays. 


Did your car get stuck in a mud pit or fall down a steep slope? This makes the towing job much more difficult because the towers have to get your car back onto the road before they can take it anywhere.

This means you’ll have to pay extra. The charge can be anywhere from $50 to $200. 

Check Your Insurance Policy 

Before you call a towing company, you should check your insurance policy. 

Some insurance policies might cover the cost of towing your car. It’s a good idea to call your insurance company before you call a tow truck to make sure you aren’t spending money you don’t need to spend. 

If your policy doesn’t cover towing services, you might not be entirely out of luck. 

Almost all insurance companies will cover the cost of a tow truck after a car accident. So if you were recently involved in a car accident, don’t let yourself worry about the price of a tow truck. 

Your insurance policy will most likely take care of these expenses, and your safety should be your top priority. 

Other “Tow Truck” Services 

Tow truck companies do more than just basic towing. They can give your roadside assistance in a number of other ways. 

Here are a few other services towing companies provide:

  • Jumpstart a dead battery 
  • Change flat tires 
  • Unlock doors 
  • Free a stuck car
  • Transport a damaged or broken car (such as after a car accident)

Tow trucks can also refill your tank with gas if you run out in the middle of the road. All you have to do is call them, and they’ll bring the gas to your location. 

Since you don’t need a full tow, these services might be cheaper than the average towing cost. But it depends on the company. 

Make sure you ask any company about their prices before you seal the deal. 

What to Do Before You Call a Tow Truck 

If your car breaks down on the side of the road, there are a few things you need to do before you call anyone (you can learn more about that here:

First of all, don’t panic. 

The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Take a few minutes to get your bearings, and make sure you do the following things.

Make Sure You’re Safe 

Your first priority is your safety. 

Do your best to get your car out of the road (if possible). Turn on your hazard lights and place flare lights or other safety equipment around your car if you have them. 

Then get back inside the car. It’s not a good idea to stand by the side of the road, especially if it is dark outside or the flow of traffic is fast and busy. Other drivers might not be able to see you, and you might get hurt. 

It’s also a good idea to wait by a populated area or under a well-lit building during the night. 

Have Basic Information Ready 

You’ll have to give the tow truck company a detailed description of where you are and what type of car you have. So before you call, make sure you have this basic information ready. 

If you don’t know exactly where you are, do your best to give the tow truck drivers as much information as possible. 

Gather Personal Items

You shouldn’t leave any personal items inside your car, so make sure you gather any important items before the tow truck arrives. You can do this part after you call the company if you think you’ll have enough time to do this during the wait. 

How Much Does It Cost to Tow a Car?

So how much does it cost to tow a car?

It depends on the type of car you have, how far you have to go, and how difficult the job was for the towing company. But on average, you should expect to pay $100, give or take a little on either end. 

Want to learn some other helpful car owner tips?

Make sure you check out the rest of our blog!