How Do Tow Trucks Unlock Cars?

Waiting around for a tow truck is never fun, especially if you have other places to be. That means you can’t always be present when the tow truck arrives to move your vehicle.

But, if you’ve called a tow truck and left your car unattended, how will the driver load the car onto the truck?

It’s an issue we face every day – customers need their cars moved, but they don’t want to leave vehicles unlocked, or they’re unwilling to hand over the keys. It’s something that makes our job more difficult, but not impossible.

So, how do tow trucks unlock cars? In this article, we’ll see whether a tow truck driver needs your keys to move your car, and what you can do if you aren’t comfortable handing over your keys.

Hearse Car Being Towed Without Keys

Do Tow Trucks Need Your Keys?

The short answer is yes – tow truck drivers typically need your keys when moving a vehicle.

In order to safely load, tow and unload your vehicle, the driver needs to be able to put the car in neutral and engage the handbrake. If you don’t provide keys, we won’t be able to get to the controls, and that makes our job a little tougher.

It’s not impossible to tow a vehicle without keys. However, towing without keys increases the risk of accidental damage.

The challenge is that most drivers park their cars, engage the handbrake and shift the transmission into Park (or into 1st gear for manual cars). The danger here is the transmission.

When you shift an automatic vehicle into Park, the transmission is locked by a tooth that prevents your gearbox from turning. So, if a tow driver uses a winch to pull your vehicle onto a flatbed truck, your transmission could be damaged in the process.

We can get around this issue by using little rolling platforms called dollies. A dolly is a bit like a roller skate for your car. Your driver places a dolly under the driven wheels of your vehicle, allowing them to safely winch the vehicle onto the truck. The dollies are also used when the vehicle is unloaded.

This creates extra work for your driver. If you’re unwilling or unable to give us the keys to your vehicle, let us know in advance so we can ensure our driver has the right equipment for the job.

How Do Tow Trucks Unlock Cars?

Tow truck drivers usually have the keys to the vehicles we’re towing. If the customer doesn’t provide the keys (or if we don’t have keys, e.g. when moving an abandoned vehicle), we can make do without.

We usually pick up the keys to your car in one of the following ways:

  • You wait with the vehicle and hand over the keys once the tow truck has arrived
  • You get on with your day, and then return to the vehicle with the keys at a pre-arranged time
  • We arrange with you to drop off the keys at one of our depots before we send a tow truck to pick up the vehicle
  • You lock up the vehicle and hide the keys in a secure spot that we’ll be able to find once we’ve arrived

It’s usually that simple. Let us know if you don’t have the keys, or if you’re genuinely uncomfortable about leaving keys with your tow truck driver, and we’ll make alternative arrangements.

There’s no need to be worried about leaving your vehicle’s keys with a tow truck driver. We’ll take your vehicle straight to your home, mechanic or an insurance assessment centre. We won’t make any other stops, and your vehicle will be perfectly secure in our care.

If you’re concerned, then make sure you do some research into the towing company you’re working with. Read their online reviews and ask the driver for their tow truck licence to verify that they’re trustworthy.

Need to Tow a Vehicle Without the Keys? Speak to the Harvey’s Towing Team!

Breaking down on the side of the road can be stressful, and we understand if you’re feeling unsure about leaving your car keys with a stranger. But there’s nothing to worry about when you work with Harvey’s Towing!

The team at Harvey’s Towing are licensed, trustworthy and reliable. If you need to move a car, motorbike, truck or any other type of vehicle, we can make sure it gets where it needs to go.

We’ll work with you to figure out an arrangement that suits your needs. You can wait with your vehicle, drop your keys off at your nearest depot, or have a chat with us if you’d prefer not to leave your car keys with our team. Your comfort is our priority, so we can come up with a solution that works for everybody.

Contact us today if you need accident and breakdown towing anywhere in Brisbane, or give us a call if you need our 24/7 emergency towing service!