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Are Car Towing Eyes & Hooks Universal?

In an emergency, a tow eye or hook can be a saving grace. 

But will a tow eye or hook fit just any vehicle?

Or will you need one that fits your specific car or truck?

Car towing eyes and hooks are not universal. Overall, which tow eye or hook you need depends on the thread on the car you’re towing. And usually, the size of the thread depends on the vehicle’s weight. 

In this article, I will discuss why people use towing hooks, whether towing hooks are universal, and if all cars have a spot for a tow hook/eye.  

I will also detail where to attach a tow hook to a car and whether using tow hooks and eyes is dangerous. 

I will finish the article by explaining whether you can add a tow eye to your car and if a tow hook and a tow hitch are the same. 

What Are Towing Eyes and Hooks?

A woman's hand holding tow rope near a towing hook attached to a car.

Towing eyes and hooks are similar devices made for pulling a vehicle to another location. 

Basically, towing hooks and eyes make towing safer. 

You see, without tow hooks/eyes, people tend to attach their chains or straps to parts of the vehicle that can’t properly pull the entire weight of the car, such as the bumper or wheel axle. 

But when you screw in tow hooks/eyes to the designated places on the vehicle, you are putting them in a spot that can safely support the car’s weight. 

What Is the Difference Between a Towing Eye and a Towing Hook?

The only real difference between a towing eye and a towing hook is the shape. 

A towing hook has a hooked end, while a towing eye has a circular tip. 

Thus, because of their similarity, I will use the terms interchangeably for this article. 

Are Towing Eyes and Hooks Universal?

Towing eyes and hooks are not universal. 

Mainly, when looking for a towing hook or eye to fit a vehicle, you need to find one that matches its weight. 

If you choose a hook that can not take the car’s weight, it’s not only dangerous, but it also may not fit. 

Yet, even if the hook matches the weight, it still may not fit. 

If you want to be absolutely sure you have a tow hook that will match the car you need to tow, you should purchase one from the vehicle’s manufacturer. 

Additionally, you should be aware that since vehicles sometimes do not have a spot for tow hooks, some people drill their own, further adding to the confusion of what size you’ll need. 

However, if you live in a European Union country, tow eyes are pretty universal, and almost every car has a spot for a 12 x 1.75 mm tow hook. 

Do All Cars Have a Spot for a Tow Eye?

Close-up photo of a tow eye attached to a car.

In the United States, not all cars have a spot for a tow hook. 

But, many vehicles do have them. 

In the EU, though, all vehicles made after 2010 must have a place for tow hooks, so you can virtually always find them on European model cars. 

Where Can I Find the Tow Hooks in a Vehicle?

Almost every vehicle with a spot for a tow hook comes with them inside the car. 

Typically, you can find the car’s tow hooks in the trunk. 

They are practically always near the spare tire, usually in the toolbox on top of the tire. 

Yet, they may also be inside the flaps on the sides of the trunk. 

Where Do I Attach the Tow Eyes to a Vehicle?

Photo of the front bumper of a BMW.

After you’ve obtained the car’s tow hooks, you need to figure out where to attach them. 

Generally, the thread for the tow hook is under the front bumper. 

There may also be a thread under the back bumper, or you may find a small covering on the back bumper that you must remove to insert your tow hook or eye. 

How to Attach a Tow Hook to a Vehicle

To attach a tow hook to a car, all you have to do is screw it into the thread. 

If there is a cover in the way of the thread, you can often just pull it off with your fingers. 

Yet, if the cover does not easily pop off, you may need a tool, such as a flathead screwdriver, to remove it. 

If the tow eye thread is under the front bumper, you may need to pop off the plastic piece of the grill that is in front of the thread. 

To do this in most cars, you just have to push in on the grill’s clips to remove it. 

You should also remember that when screwing the hook or eye into the thread, you sometimes have to twist it to the left instead of the right to get it to screw in. 

After screwing in the hook, make sure it is secure so that it does not come loose during towing. 

Finally, attach your towing cable to your towing hook or eye. 

Is it Dangerous to Use a Tow Hook or Eye?

Overall, using a tow hook or tow eye is not a dangerous way to tow a vehicle. 

They are pretty safe as long as you use them properly and follow all safety guidelines. 

However, towing a vehicle with a tow hook or eye is not without its dangers. 

The primary reason that towing or recovering a vehicle with tow hooks is dangerous has to do with the straps that many people use alongside tow hooks and eyes. 

The problem is that these straps have large hooks on the end. 

And if the strap breaks, the hook can fly back and injure someone. 

In some cases, broken tow straps have even led to death. 

Thus, you should always ensure you only buy tow straps made from high-quality material. 

Furthermore, when you’re towing or recovering any vehicle, never forget that an out-of-control car can easily cause serious injury. 

Therefore, you always want to ensure that all of your equipment is properly secured and in good shape. 

Also, never stand in a spot where a vehicle can potentially roll onto you during any stage of the towing or recovery process. 

Can I Add a Tow Hook Point to My Car?

A woman assembling a tow eye to a car while holding the tow hook.

If your vehicle does not have a spot to install a tow hook, you can install one yourself. 

However, remember that you must install the tow hook correctly. 

If you do not, anyone who will ever be involved with towing your car will be at risk of serious injury. 

You can also cause extreme damage to your vehicle if you place the tow hook point in a place that can not support the car’s weight during towing. 

Are a Tow Hook and a Tow Hitch the Same?

No, a tow hook and a tow hitch are not the same. 

A tow hook is a small device that you screw into your vehicle so that a truck can tow it. 

Meanwhile, a tow hitch attaches to the back of your car so that you can tow a trailer. 


Towing eyes and hooks are not universal. 

You need to find a tow hook or eye that fits the specific car you are recovering or towing.

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