How to Tow a Car With No Keys

by Sharon Sweeny

Most people assume you can't tow a car unless you have the keys. This is a most often a job for a professional, but it is possible to do it yourself. The trick is to tow the vehicle with the drive wheels off the ground. You'll need to know about the mechanics of cars and how they're built to do this. Most of all, you must be cautious.

Determine if car has front or rear wheel drive. Check your owner's manual if you're unsure.

Install self-loading dollies. Place the dollies under the rear wheels if the car has rear wheel drive or the front wheels if the car has front wheel drive.

Attach tow strap. Do not attach to the bumper or axle. There is a hole in the frame near each wheel to attach a tow strap hook.

Drive slowly. The driver of the vehicle towing the disabled car should start and stop with care, to avoid damage to both vehicles.

If you are unable to use self-loading dollies, you can disable the drive-wheels by disconnecting the linkage and putting the car in neutral. On front wheel drive cars, the linkage is located under the hood. On rear wheel drive cars, it is located near the rear wheels, under the chassis.

Tip

  • check Four wheel drive vehicles need to be towed with self-loading dollies under all four wheels. Do not exceed 25 MPH when towing.

Warning

  • close Do not attempt to tow a car that has a locked steering wheel or unusable power brakes.

Items you will need

About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.