How Much Does Towing Cost per Mile? Factors and Tips

How Much Does Towing Cost per Mile

There’s nothing more stressful than finding yourself stranded on the open road because of an unforeseen event! 

Whenever you encounter a breakdown or accident, professional towing services are vital when it comes to any vehicle-related issue on the road. 

However, understanding their cost can often be confusing due to how rates can significantly vary. 

If you are wondering how much a tow per mile is, the national average cost can range anywhere from $2 to $7 but the final price will ultimately depend on several factors. 

This article is designed to equip you with the essential knowledge for making informed decisions whenever you need towing assistance. 

It will share expert insights into how you can manage costs and provide a complete rundown on the following topics: 

  • Factors that affect the overall cost of towing
  • The average cost of towing
  • Types of towing services
  • Ways to lower the cost of towing.

Let’s get started!

Factors that Determine the Cost of a Tow per Mile

Factors that Determine the Cost of a Tow per Mile

To help you confidently navigate any potentially difficult situation on the road with clarity, here are the main aspects that influence the cost of towing services: 

Distance of the tow

Distance is undoubtedly one of the major factors that determine the overall cost of professional towing services. 

In simple terms: the longer the distance that your vehicle has to be towed, the more you can expect to be charged!

Not only that but towing services usually utilize a per-mile structure in their pricing, which means that each mile will come with an associated cost. 

Whether you need to be towed to your preferred auto shop or a different location, distance should be your first consideration as a vehicle owner. 

Familiarizing yourself with this concept can lead you to budget more effectively and ensure the safety of your vehicle during its transport. 

Type of vehicle being towed

The type of vehicle that you need to be towed is an integral component in calculating the total cost of professional towing services. 

Smaller vehicles like sedans or compact cars will generally cost less to tow as opposed to their bigger counterparts such as SUVs or trucks. 

Aside from that, vehicle weight is another aspect that will determine the final price. 

Since heavier vehicles will need more specialized equipment and tools for a safe tow, towing services will often charge more for these larger vehicles! 

Your car’s model can also further affect towing costs. Common vehicles are less expensive to tow due to their ease of handling. 

Luxury vehicles, on the other hand, can be charged with higher towing fees because of their features and greater value. 

Towing service provider

The towing service provider that you decide you go with plays a fundamental role in identifying the accumulated cost of towing services.

It’s important to be discerning when choosing a towing service because each towing company uses different fee schedules and price structures. 

Getting multiple quotes from various towing service providers in your area is highly recommended because it allows you to assess prices and learn about the array of other services that they offer. To make sure that you get the most value for your money, remember to scrutinize any mileage charges, delineation of fees, or extra costs. 

Time of day and day of the week

While each towing company differs in what they consider as after-hours services, it usually begins at around 9 PM and ends at anywhere between 6 to 8 AM.

In line with basic supply and demand principles, towing services during working hours will typically cost less than in the middle of the night. 

You can also expect professional towing services to charge you more during weekends or holidays. Moreover, you may incur additional charges if you are in a remote or difficult-to-reach area – so becoming aware of these potential extra costs is crucial! 

Additional services required

In certain cases, you may need to have your vehicle towed beyond from just one point to another. You may even come across instances that require additional services like tire changes or jump-starts.

Although these services can significantly affect the total cost of towing, they also provide you with convenience, especially during emergencies. 

Before giving them the go signal, make sure that you have a clear breakdown of costs and confirm the pricing for these supplementary services. Ensuring transparency will protect you from any unexpected charges. 

Average Cost of a Tow per Mile

The national average cost per mile of towing is $4.74 but many professional towing services may charge fees based on a tiered scale depending on how many miles are needed for the job. 

With that being said, a local or nearby tow to a repair shop will be considerably less costly than towing your vehicle halfway through the state! 

To give you a better understanding, here is a table that outlines the average towing costs per mile and the various methods that companies use to calculate distance-based rates: 

DistanceAverage Cost 
1 to 5 miles$81
6 to 20 miles$95
21 to 50 miles $238
51 to 75 miles $356
76 to 100 miles$475
  • Mileage Rates – For some companies, you need to pay a set rate for each mile of towing. This approach ensures more transparency since you can easily calculate the overall fee based on the total distance to your destination. 
  • Flat Rates – Conversely, there are some professional towing services that offer a flat rate for specific distances. For instance, you can expect to pay a set fee within a certain radius but will be charged additional costs for longer distances. 
  • Hook-Up Fees – On top of flat rates, some towing companies may also charge a hook-up fee, which accounts for the process of attaching your car to the towing truck. 
  • Additional Charges – You need to also be mindful of additional fees like fuel surcharges or toll costs. These can significantly raise the total price for long-distance towing jobs. 

Lastly, keep in mind that rates can vary based on the geographical areas in which urban locations typically cost more than rural locations. 

Comparison of the Different Types of Towing Services

Some towing trucks are built for long-distance towing, while others are more fit to transport a damaged vehicle to a nearby auto repair shop. Let’s dive into the different types of tow trucks and their corresponding applications: 

Type of Towing Service Applications 
Flatbed Towing– Luxury Cars
– Sports Cars
– Long Distances
– Classic Cars 
– Pickup Truck
– Vans
– All-Wheel Drive / Four-Wheel Drive
Wheel Lift Towing– 4x4s 
– Two-Wheel Drive 
– Short Distances
– Low-Clearance
– Sedans
– Lightweight Cars
– Compact Cars
Hook and Chain Towing– Totaled Car
– Vehicles Stuck in a Ditch

Flatbed towing

Flatbed tow trucks use a hydraulic system and consist of a large plank and a pulley. The pulley is attached to a car and the plank functions as a ramp for it to roll onto. The plank will then level out once the vehicle gets pulled onto the ramp. 

They are a more secure choice for protecting your vehicle while in transit. 

Since flatbed tow trucks cost more to buy than wheel lift tow trucks and are more challenging to use when a vehicle is difficult to reach, they are generally more expensive for towing services. 

Wheel lift towing

A wheel lift tow truck, on the other hand, makes use of a heavy-duty metal yoke. The yoke is attached to the back or front wheels of a car and slowly lifts it up and off the ground. 

These tow trucks are simple and convenient but also a useful resource for tight spaces such as parking garages. 

However, there is a level of risk of damaging your car’s suspension because of the strain from the added weight. Wheel lift tow trucks are more affordable for towing compared to flatbed tow trucks because they are easier to maneuver and more narrow.

Hook and chain towing

For hook and chain tow trucks, the hook part is attached to the car’s axle or bumper and the chains are secured around the frame. 

This type of tow truck is mostly used for totaled cars or cars trapped in muddy trenches because they have a high tendency to damage vehicles from the strain of pulling their bumper or infrastructure! 

Tips for Reducing the Cost of a Tow per Mile

Towing services are a necessary expense, especially in the event of an emergency. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to save on the total cost of towing: 

  • Comparison shopping for prices – Set aside some time to compare pricing structures from various towing companies and make sure to inquire about any potential additional charges or hidden fees. 
  • Joining a roadside assistance program – Consider joining some roadside assistance membership programs like AAA because they have negotiated rates with professional towing services.
  • Use your insurance coverage – Check out your auto insurance policy if it covers any towing expenses. If it does, the insurance company may have a preferred towing company with pre-negotiated rates. 
  • ook for discounts – Make sure to ask a towing service about any available discounts. Some companies offer discounts for students, seniors, repeat customers, military personnel, and more.
  • Look for discounts – Make sure to ask a towing service about any available discounts. Some companies offer discounts for students, seniors, repeat customers, military personnel, and more.