how to tow a car with a strap

how to tow a car with a strap


Towing a vehicle with a strap, also known as flat towing, is the most common and cost-effective method of moving cars, trucks, and SUVs. When properly done, it can be quick and relatively hassle-free. If you’ve been wondering how to tow a car with a strap, this guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions to do it correctly.

Why Flat Towing?

Flat towing is a way of towing a car or other vehicle behind another vehicle, such as a motorhome or truck, with a tow strap or tow bar. It’s much less expensive than renting or buying a trailer and is often the easiest way to transport vehicles from one spot to another.

Flat towing also allows you to transport your vehicle without having to deal with extra hassle and risk associated with normal trailer towing, such as:

Having a trailer license

Having enough power to pull a trailer

Going through the process of registering a trailer

Having to back up a trailer

The risk of having a trailer roll away while maneuvering on uneven surfaces

Flat towing is not only the most cost-effective and hassle-free way to transport vehicles, but it also reduces the risk of accidents. Flat towing can be done easily and safely with a few basic tools and supplies.

Important Preparations

Before you flat tow a vehicle, there are a few important preparation steps to take:

1. Determine Towing Capacity

Before towing any vehicle, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the towing capacity of your vehicle and the vehicle you will be towing. The tow vehicle should be able to handle the weight and length of the vehicle being towed, or else you could risk causing an accident or permanent damage to either vehicle.

To determine the weight of a vehicle, look for the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) sticker in the driver's side door jamb. The GVWR is the maximum weight a vehicle is certified to safely tow. It is important that the tow vehicle’s capacity exceeds the GVWR of the vehicle being towed.

2. Install a Brake System

It is also important to install a supplementary aking system when flat towing a vehicle, to reduce the risk of an accident. Brake systems are available for most vehicle types and use an electric connection from the tow vehicle to the akes of the vehicle being towed. The ake system is activated when the tow vehicle akes, so the towed vehicle has its akes applied as well. This ensures that both vehicles ake simultaneously and helps reduce the risks of collisions in difficult aking situations.

3. Mobilize Equipment

You will need to mobilize some equipment in order to tow the vehicle. This includes a tow bar or tow strap, a battery charger, and a tail light kit. The tow bar is used to link the two vehicles, while the battery charger is used to charge the battery of the vehicle being towed and the tail light kit is used to ensure electrical connectivity between the two vehicles.


Now that you’ve done the important preparation steps, here is a step-by-step guide on how to tow a car with a strap:

1. Attach the Tow Bar

Attach the tow bar in the proper locations on the tow vehicle and the vehicle being towed. If a tow bar is not available, you can use a tow strap instead, however make sure to have a second person secure the tow strap with a knot once it is wrapped around the tow vehicle and the vehicle being towed, to ensure a tight fit.

2. Connect the Battery

Connect the battery charger to the vehicle being towed, and plug into a wall outlet so that the battery can charge. This is important because flat towing a vehicle can drain the battery, so having a safe and steady charge is important.

3. Check Tail Lights

Plug in the tail light kit to the tow vehicle and the vehicle being towed. Make sure the lights are properly connected and working before you take off.

4. Test All Connections

Test all of the connections between the two vehicles to make sure they are secure and all of the lights are working. Make sure the tow bar and tow strap are connected properly and all of the bolts and nuts are securely tightened.

5. Set Your Gear Ratio

Make sure to set the gear ratio properly on both vehicles. This is important to ensure that the tow vehicle is not pulling too much weight and that the towed vehicle is not pushing too much weight.

6. Check Your Mirrors

Make sure all of your mirrors are set correctly, so that you have a good view behind the vehicle you are towing. This is important in order to keep an eye on the vehicle being towed and be aware of any potential hazards.

7. Drive Carefully

When driving, it’s important to maintain a safe speed and pay extra attention. Going up hills can be particularly dangerous, so take it slow and steady when going up an incline.


Flat towing a vehicle can be a great way to transport it from one spot to another, however it must be done correctly and carefully in order to ensure the safety of all involved. By following these instructions, you are now equipped with all of the information you need in order to safely and successfully flat tow a vehicle.

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