Can I Tow My Own Car?

When you need to move a car from one place to another, calling a towing service is often the easiest solution. A tow truck driver has all the equipment they need to safely move your vehicle to wherever it needs to go. But do you need to call a professional towing service? If you own a vehicle that’s capable of towing and have the right equipment, it might be possible to tow a car on your own. There are two common methods of DIY towing seen on Brisbane’s roads. We’re going to cover the legalities of both in this article.

Red car towed at night - Harvey's Towing Services

Towing Behind Another Car

Towing a car with tow rope is legal in Brisbane, but that doesn’t make it advisable. Towing with tow ropes, chains or straps is extremely dangerous and is subject to strict regulations. The Queensland road rules specify:

  • Vehicles must not be towed at night or in bad weather
  • Vehicles can only be towed if it’s safe to do so
  • The towed vehicle’s steering and brakes must be working
  • The towed vehicle’s tail and brake lights must be working
  • The distance between the vehicles must be less than 4 metres, or 2.5 metres if at least one of the vehicles is a motorbike
  • Tow lines longer than 2 metres must be fitted with a brightly coloured warning flag

In most cases you’ll need to tow a car due to a breakdown or accident. If a car has broken down and the engine isn’t running, it can’t be towed behind another vehicle. Likewise, if a car has been in an accident and may have suffered suspension, wheel, brake or chassis damage, it can’t be towed using tow ropes.

Towing using tow ropes should always be considered a last resort. It comes with serious risks, both to you and to your vehicles, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Wherever possible you should contact a professional tow truck service. They will be able to move your car or motorbike safely and avoid the unnecessary risks that come along with DIY tow ropes.

Towing Using Car Trailers

If you’re determined to move a car, motorbike or other vehicle on your own, you’ll need to invest in a car trailer. Car trailers are exactly what they sound like – they’re flatbed trailers designed to hold cars. Dedicated car trailers have important safety features like robust tie-down points, wheel chocks, loading ramps and strengthened frames. Be mindful when loading a car onto a trailer. If the vehicle falls off or isn’t properly aligned with the ramps, you could injure yourself or do serious damage to both the car and the trailer.

If you aren’t an experienced towing driver then you should avoid towing a car trailer. The weight distribution of a loaded car trailer can make them unstable on the road, especially at high speeds, and they pose an unnecessary risk to both you and other drivers.

Staying Safe While Towing

While it’s legal in Brisbane, we never recommend towing a vehicle using the tow rope method. In cases where you do need to tow a car using a rope – like if you’re stuck off road or in a parking structure – contact a towing company and let them handle it. If you let them know where your car is located, your tow truck driver will come prepared with the equipment they need to move the car to a better location where it can be loaded onto a flatbed tow truck.

Move Your Car Safely With Towing Services by Harvey’s Towing!

The most important thing you can do is look after your own safety when towing. It’s better to avoid the risk of moving a vehicle on your own and giving Harvey’s Towing a call instead! Our experienced tow truck drivers can help with moving everything from motorbikes and cars to large or heavy vehicles. Our 24/7 towing services are available to move your vehicle and get it where it needs to go, at any time of the day or night. You can contact us online, or call us on 07 3297 0911 and we’ll send a tow truck to meet you as soon as possible.