Can You Tow A Car With No Brakes? Find Out Here!

Can You Tow A Car With No Brakes? Find Out Here!

Specifically, you must not drive or tow any vehicle without brakes. This is a universal law that applies to every vehicle whether towed or towing. Despite this warning, you can always tow your car even without brakes, albeit with some very canny procedures.

Therefore, specifically, in the case of brake failure, most newer models of cars are fitted with electric parking brakes.

Turning on these brakes can therefore serve as emergency brakes, which can assist you to park safely even in the absence of conventional brakes. It is also possible to use certain measures in towing your car safely even without brakes.

Although a lot depends on the type or model of the car. For example, for automatic vehicles, you can simply shift its gear from Drive to the lowest possible gear, commonly identified as just ‘1’ on the gearbox.

Whereas for manual cars, you can simply lower the gears as you usually do while driving. In essence, shifting into a lower gear helps to slow down the vehicle much as the conventional brakes do.

Another very interesting thing is that you can tow a car with brakes using another car without brakes. In this case, the towed car which has brakes can apply its brakes to stop the car towing it which has no brakes altogether.

However, it is should be noted that you must not attempt towing a brakeless car with one that has brakes, because if you do, remember that the car without brakes, which is the car being towed, will ram into the towing car whenever it applies its brakes to stop.  

Another very advisable way to tow a car without brakes, and safely too, is by using the flatbed of a tow truck or trailer. In this way, since the towed vehicle is not rolling on its tires, you are essentially safe from any fears or possible accidents and damage to the car.

So, yes, you can tow a car without brakes, although it is not recommended for you to try it unless you have no other option open to you.

Read Also: Can A Class C Motorhome Tow A Jeep?

How do you tow a car without brakes?

Although towing a car without brakes is not advised, in extreme situations, it can be managed with great care. For instance, in most modern and high-end cars, there is what is called an electric parking brake.

Therefore, if you are towing such cars, you can always turn on these electric brakes and hence, get them to serve as emergency brakes, which can effectively stop the vehicle even without the use of the regular brakes.

Secondly, you can tow a car without brakes if you use it as a towing car. In this procedure, you will be using the car without brakes to tow one that has fully functional brakes.

Therefore, whenever the towed car applies its brakes, it will end up stopping both cars. In other words, the brakes of the car being towed are serving both vehicles.

However, you must not tow a car without brakes with one that has fully functional brakes, lest you get the towed car slamming into the car that is towing it from behind.

Finally, it is very possible and equally safe to tow a car without brakes through the use of a tow truck or trailer. In this procedure, all its wheels are off the ground, and hence, you have nothing to fret or worry about.

What can I use to tow a car with no brakes?

Some of the things you can use to tow a car without brakes are one, a second car that has fully functional brakes, which has to be the car that is being towed. When you do this, the brakes of the towed car will essentially serve both vehicles.

Secondly, you need to have functional electric brakes, which are provided in newer cars to tow another car without brakes. Finally, you may need the use of a tow trailer or truck to safely tow another car without brakes.

This is particularly advisable since the towed car will be lifted off its wheels onto the flatbed of the tow vehicle, thereby preventing any mishaps or accidents due to the absence of brakes.

Is it safe to tow a car with no brakes?

It is neither safe nor advisable to either drive or tow any vehicle without brakes. However, certain procedures can be adopted to do it without any risks. This could be by towing the vehicle on the bed of a tow truck that has reliable brakes, or by the use of the brakes of the vehicle being towed to serve the two cars.

Again, the use of the modern electric parking brake can also help, since it can serve very well in the absence or malfunction of the traditional brakes.

So, yes, if you strictly adhere to the recommendations of the experts without any let-up, it can be safe to tow a car even without brakes.

Can all cars be towed with no brakes?

No, not all cars can be flat towed without brakes unless you are using the flatbed of a tow trailer. Although some cars can be towed safely, even without the flatbed of a tow truck.

For example, you can tow a car without brakes in some cases, if it is the one towing another with functional brakes, but not when it is the car being towed by another.

Should you mistakenly tow a brakeless car with the one which has brakes, you risk the towed car ramming into the towing car whenever the brakes are applied. Secondly, cars fitted with electric parking brakes can be towed without any issues since this brake mechanism can operate as a traditional brake when it is turned on.

All in all, if you put the flatbed of a tow vehicle into consideration, it is possible to flat tow any vehicle irrespective of whether it has brakes or not, but this may not be possible through most other means of towing, at least if you wish to do it safely.

Read Also: Will AAA Tow My Car To My House?

Do you need a braking system to flat tow?

Yes, you need the braking system of a vehicle to flat tow safely. One, if you are flat towing a vehicle with effective brakes, it can slow down or stop as required during the period of towing very safely.

On the other hand, if the vehicle being towed from behind has no brakes, it is obvious that it may hit the towing vehicle in front whenever its brakes are applied.

To prevent needless accidents during flat towing, all vehicles need very effective and functional brakes before towing safely. Most notably, effective brakes are required before you can tow any vehicle or weight with a gross value of more than about 4, 000 lbs.

Therefore, all trailers or even semi-trailers must have fully functional brakes which can be applied automatically, as a means to stop the vehicle whenever necessary.


(1). Do all trailers have brakes?

Yes, most trailers have brakes, but there are still some that don’t. However, for some reason or the other, the brakes might have become dysfunctional for several reasons.

Consequently, it is suggested that you must be certain of whether the brakes are working or not before you do it. Again, with newer model trucks and cars, there is an alternative parking brake in addition to the regular brakes in the vehicle.

Essentially, therefore, all trailers have one form of brake system or the other, except if there is a malfunction of the brakes therein.

(2). Does my camper trailer need brakes?

Most campers require brakes, but there are still some that do not. For example, in most states in the US, brakes are not usually fitted in trailers or campers weighing less than about 3, 000 pounds. Although each state has its laws that govern these things, some states require brakes on any trailer or camper that weighs up to about 1,000 pounds.  Commonly, most campers are fitted with electric brakes.

These electric brakes are installed in the campers, although some campers do not have them. In essence, your camper may have brakes or not depending on its size and weight; the bigger and heavier it is, the more the likelihood that it may have brakes fitted into it.

Specifically, pop-up campers have brakes fitted, although some may still not have. However, fortunately, you can still install and adjust brakes in your camper if you wish. 

Conclusion – Can You Tow A Car With No Brakes?

Brakes are an absolute necessity in vehicles so much so that it constitutes a serious breach of traffic regulation worldwide to drive or tow without effective brakes. Despite this strict regulation, there are still instances where you can manage to tow a vehicle even when there is no functional brake.

For this reason, some vehicles are provided with electric parking brakes which can serve as regular brakes when turned on. In some cases, you can tow a vehicle even when it has no brakes at all, but it must be the towing vehicle and not the towed.

Can You Tow A Car With No Brakes? Find Out Here!
Can You Tow A Car With No Brakes? Find Out Here!

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