Can You Tow A Car Without Plates?

Can you tow a car without plates

Vehicle plate numbers are legally demanded to be used always at both the front end and rear of all cars, trucks, or even motorbikes in many, if not all, countries of the world. This simply means that it is illegal to drive without them, and you can be fined for doing it or even get your license either withdrawn or revoked entirely.

But, how does their use or otherwise impact towed vehicles? Can you tow a car without plates? The article will answer this question and many others similar to it.

No, you cannot tow a car without plates. For you to legally tow a car, it has first got to be registered, which has to also be current, at the time the vehicle is being towed.

Alternatively, if you tow it without plates, then do so on a trailer, or any flatbed truck such that its tires will literally be off the ground.

However, depending on where you live in the United States since the law is not uniform throughout the country, you can call the highway patrol to be sure.

They are usually the most knowledgeable about these things and they would be the ones to eventually stop you anyway, just to be on the safe side of the law.

Is it compulsory for all vehicles to be towed with plates?

Yes, it is indeed, as long as the tires of the towed vehicle are in contact with the ground. Otherwise,  you are committing a serious traffic offence, unless maybe in situations where you are taking it on another bigger truck, such as a trailer. This offence is liable to earn you either a hefty fine or at best, it can cause your driver’s license to be withdrawn or suspended.

What are the requirements needed in towing a car without plates?

The law in many states in the US demands that,  for you to tow a car, regardless of its make, model or size, both the vehicle doing the towing and the one being towed must have their plate numbers on, and both the drivers of the two vehicles must also be very qualified.

If you flaunt this law, you may be charged according to the law or get your license withdrawn. However, where you necessarily must tow it without the plates, the only option open to you is to tow it either on a trailer or any flatbed truck with the right capacity.

Can you drive around in a car without a license plate?

You are not allowed to drive around in a car without plate numbers at all. If you are found doing that, you are committing a very serious traffic offence, which can attract a heavy penalty according to the law of the area where you live.

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Will CAA tow a car without plates?

CAA, just like their counterparts, the  AAA,  require that any car driven on the road must have its plates on at all times, as long as they are being driven on public roads.

If you are able to get the car to a secluded location, and it looks like the car has just broken down, you may be able to get away with it, if they don’t find out or if you use the tag from another car. However, doing any of these is crafty, which also makes you more like a criminal or at best a felon, and it has its own risks too.

Can a towing company tow a new car without plates?

No, they certainly would not. Under no circumstance must anybody tow or drive a car without plates anywhere in the US.

By the AAA National policy, nobody whether an individual or a towing company or whosoever at all should be found guilty of driving or towing a car without plates or current registration.

This is regardless of whether the tags are lost or expired, they all count as unregistered vehicle anyway. This is an old policy that serves to guard against any abuse by car resellers and other criminal activity.

What are the rules and regulations of towing?

To tow one car with another or by hitching your car up on the back of an RV( recreational vehicle), may at the first sound or look easy.

However, if you think and reason well enough, it may not be quite as easy as you believe. To further buttress this claim, rules and regulations have been stipulated to which you must adhere if you want to tow any vehicle.

Failure or refusal to observe these rules will make you run afoul of the law to which there are penalties. Let us study some of them accordingly below.

Read Also: Does Towing Affect Alignment?

Types of towing

The first thing to consider before you begin is how to tow the vehicle. Normally, there are two methods of towing: trailer towing and flat, or dinghy towing.

In trailer towing, as the name suggests, involves attaching a trailer to the back of your RV or truck and then driving the second car onto the trailer.

There are two and four where trailers available, and any one of them can serve just as well, though they have slight differences. For instance, the two-wheel trailers hoist up the two front tires of the towed vehicle and allow the rear tires to roll freely on the road as you tow, while in the case of the four-wheel trailers, the entire car will be carried off the ground.

Flat towing requires the use of a tow bar that is usually attached to the front of the vehicle. This tow bar is attached to the hitch of the trailer, and all of its four wheels will roll freely on the ground. Though this procedure reduces the tow weight, not all cars can be towed like that.

Read Also: Can a tow company send you to collections?

Safety precautions

The moment you decide on the type of towing you need, there are several precautions to take. In the US, most states require that:

  • The taillights of your RV must as a rule be visible. If they are not, you must hook up to your towed car’s tail lights so that they will respond to any changes in speed.
  • The license plates on both the RV and the towed car must also be visible to other road users.
  • Safety chains, which are an extra layer of safety meant to keep the car from rolling away should the hitch fail, must be used without fail.
  • Breakaway brakes must also be used. They are a failsafe mechanism, so to say, in the event, your vehicle breaks away from the hitch, these brakes will be automatically applied.
  • Auxiliary brakes are also highly recommended, though in some states only.  They are a secondary braking system used for RV’s that are towing cars or other trailers only. They provide an additional level of protection for braking if you are hauling extra weight.


How do you get an unregistered car towed?

The only legally permitted way to either drive or tow an unregistered vehicle is to make sure that its tires are off the ground throughout the whole distance of the tow, however long that may be.

To do this without contravening the law, the vehicle must be carried on either a trailer or a flatbed truck through the entire distance of the tow. Any crafty measures outside this constitute a serious and deliberate breach of the law, so avoid it to escape any penalty thereof.

Is it illegal to tow a car with another plate?

For all intents and purposes, it is. In fact, if you do that and you are eventually caught, you stand the unlucky chance of coming into double charges.

One, you would be charged for driving an unregistered vehicle illegally and second, you would also be charged for committing the crime of felony by switching the plates of one car onto another. It is best you don’t just try it, lest you earn a twin penalty.

Is it illegal to tow a car with another car?

No, it is not, but there are conditions attached, which you must strictly obey without fail. For one, both the cars used ( the one towing and that which is towed) must be duly registered and taxed.

In addition, the drivers of the two cars must both be qualified and licensed as well. Finally, before you undertake the venture, make sure that the capacity of the car that will be doing the towing is appropriate or enough to tow the broken down car, lest you damage its transmission system, chassis and many other vital parts. So, do be warned.

How fast can you drive when towing?

Generally speaking, you are not expected to tow a car at any speed faster than 55 mph( miles per hour) in a state like California, though even this speed is considered too fast in some cases, for obvious reasons.

For one, towing will slow down your vehicle due to the stress it is going through or the burden it bears. To be absolutely on the safe side, you should drive at about 45 mph throughout the trip.

Can a car seat without plates?

You are allowed by law to leave an un-plated car in your garage or on your driveway. What is illegal is actually driving it out without them, though you cannot also park an un-plated car on the road.

Can you keep an uninsured car on private property?

In tandem with Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE), it is now a legal requirement for all the registered keepers of any vehicles to insure them, even when they are not being driven, but are parked in the garage or anywhere. The only exemption to this requirement is when the car has a SORN.

Is it illegal to cover number plates when parked?

Legally, covering your number plate even when the car is parked on a public road is an offence according to law; S43(1) of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. However, only a law enforcement agent or a traffic warden controlled by the police can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice for that offense.

Can you buy AAA and use them the same day?

The basic membership benefits of AAA are available immediately upon the complete registration of all its members. Additionally, the Premier Service is effective only seven days after enrollment or whenever the upgrade payment is received.

Can I use AAA to tow someone else’s car?

In other words, are you allowed to help a friend out? Yes, indeed you are. This is because the membership covers you and not just any car.

As a result, you are covered for service in any vehicle you are driving yourself or that you are taking a ride in as a passenger. There is absolutely no need to keep your vehicle information on file or to worry about coverage when you are travelling in the company of others.

What is a flip plate?

A flip plate is a plate number that requires a simple flip of the switch and your license plate goes from visible to invisible. You can also apply a common tint to the windows in your car,  in order to blank them out as well, for reasons of complete privacy in the car.

How does a licensed flipper work?

It allows a driver to flip between two license plates at the touch of a button in a 180-degree fashion. That means that a driver can flash a different plate when driving through a toll in order to avoid getting photographed and possibly penalized for not paying.

Can You Tow A Car Without Plates – Conclusion

Towing may not really be that simple, but with a little practice, you can easily get the hang of it. You should advisedly know the towing capacity of your vehicle, learn how to attach the two vehicles, as well as any recommended speed of driving while towing, and you should be good for it.

Can You Tow A Car Without Plates?
Can You Tow A Car Without Plates?

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