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How To Prevent A Car From Being Towed?

There are only a few reasons someone would have their car towed, as the process can be inconvenient, expensive, and take up quite a bit of time. 

The best-of-the-worst case scenario is someone calls a tow truck themselves because they’re having car trouble and need to transport the vehicle to a mechanic. 

The other, less voluntary scenario is when the car is parked illegally or is being impounded. This situation is usually avoidable.

To prevent your car from being towed involuntarily, park it legally and always pay your fines. Some tricks make it more difficult to tow your vehicle, but they’re delay tactics and ultimately won’t stop a tow truck driver from doing their job.

Keeping Your Car From Being Towed

A black flatbed tow truck carrying a vintage car while moving on the road.

There are only a few sure-fire ways to keep your car from being towed. 

Firstly, always park in designated parking areas. 

If you leave your car in fire lanes, accessible parking spots, loading zones, or other no-parking areas, even for a few minutes, you open yourself up to getting towed. 

You could also have your vehicle towed for unpaid parking tickets or fines and if you stop making car payments.

There are a ton of tips online about how to stop tow truck drivers from towing your vehicle. Unfortunately, none of these can actually prevent them from doing their jobs. 

Most tow truck drivers have the necessary tools to tow your vehicle, no matter what so-called precautions you take. 

What Not To Do if Your Vehicle is Being Towed

If your vehicle is being towed, there are some things you shouldn’t do. 

Firstly, don’t harass tow truck drivers, even if you catch them while they’re hooking up your car. 

The driver is just doing their job and was sent to get your car by someone else – it isn’t their fault your vehicle is being towed.

You might also have a better chance of stopping the tow if you’re polite. 

But, remember, tow truck drivers must follow the law when removing a vehicle, so their hands may be tied regardless of how nice you are.

Secondly, never try to physically prevent your car from being towed. 

Don’t go after the driver or put yourself in their way. Never try to obstruct them from towing the car by sitting on it, climbing on anything, or trying to break the towing machinery. 

While a tow might be costly and take time, it isn’t worth escalating the situation or risking your life. Plus, hospital and legal bills are more expensive than parking fines and tow fees. 

How To Make Your Vehicle More Difficult To Tow

None of the following tips will prevent a tow truck from towing your car. If someone decides to tow it, they’ll be able to, regardless of what steps you take. 

These tips can make the car harder to tow and might buy you enough time to get back to your vehicle before it happens, but they are not foolproof and do not guarantee anything.

Use them at your own risk. 

Engaging the emergency brake makes it more difficult to tow your car because it locks up the tires. If your vehicle is towed with the e-brake engaged, it can cause some serious damage. 

Tow trucks will have to find a way around your emergency brake, but ultimately, they can still tow your vehicle. It just takes longer and may require a flatbed truck. 

Parking with your wheels turned, frankly, doesn’t do much. A flatbed might be needed, but the towing company will likely just lift the front of the vehicle to turn the tires first. 

Again, it’ll take longer to tow your car, but it doesn’t stop anything. 

Removing one or two tires has been suggested, but there isn’t much of a point. Removing tires makes your vehicle challenging to tow safely, but if you have time to remove tires, you have time to move your car. 

Your car could also be hauled off for being parked without tires because it’s unsafe or an eyesore. 

A steering wheel lock will make it harder to tow your car since it keeps the wheel from turning. It’s also completely unnecessary and won’t stop them from lifting the entire vehicle off the ground. 

You can try parking in a tight space between two other vehicles, making it easier to damage other cars while trying to get to yours. 

Unfortunately, tight spaces won’t deter a tow truck; if the other vehicles are parked illegally, they will remove them first. 

It might buy you time, but it can’t save your car. 

You could try parking right against the curb – most trucks need space around the wheels to get underneath and hoist the car up. 

While it might force the tow driver to spend more time and use dollies, this in no way will stop them from towing your car. 

In most cases, you won’t be able to do anything to make a car impossible to tow. Even if it’s unsafe to tow normally, it can always be lifted and put onto a flatbed for transport. 

Can They Tow Your Vehicle If You Catch Them Doing It?

Laws regarding towing vary by state. It also depends on why the car is being towed and whether it has been completely hooked up when you catch them. 

Some states require the car to be dropped if the owner returns while it is being hooked up. If it’s completely connected, you’ll probably have to pay a drop fee to have them unhook it.

In other states, the driver may not have to acknowledge you at all and can continue to hook up your car and tow it away. You’ll then have to pay for it to be released. 

Overall, the ability to tow your vehicle may or may not be affected by your presence. You’ll need to check local laws to know what your rights are. 


The only ways to prevent your car from being towed are to avoid parking in no-parking zones, pay off any fines or loans, or pay the tow truck driver if you catch them while hooking up your car. 

Never try to physically stop a tow truck driver from towing your car. They’re just doing their jobs and must follow the law once assigned to your vehicle. 

You can do a few things to make towing harder, but ultimately none of them will stop a tow truck from removing your vehicle.

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