How To Tow A Car Without Keys

how to tow a car without cars

Towing a car without keys is muchmore easier than you think, albeit with some important measures that will make the procedure safe against damage to the car or its parts. To begin with, when it comes to towing a car without the keys, you should be certain about the features of the car; whether it is front or rear-drive.

Information regarding this specification is readily found in the enclosed user manual or instruction booklet. Alternatively, fitting self-loading dollies is another way through which you can tow a vehicle without the keys.

To fit in these dollies,  place them on the back wheels of rear-wheel-drive models, and below the front wheels for front-wheel drive vehicles. In other words, where you put the dollies is dictated by the specifications of the vehicles themselves.

In the end, make sure that you securely attach a tow strap too, and drive slowly to avoid unnecessary accidents. 

It is now clear that one does not necessarily need the keys before they can tow any car. This is particularly so if you are using a tow dolly. Again, in the use of a tow dolly, you are simply raising the threatened front wheels above the ground so that the transmission will not be affected.

All the same,  there is a need to be very careful because, if you tow with no requisite training or tools, it could turn out to be quite injurious to the vehicle or its parts.

But, by lifting the drive wheels off the ground, towing with no keys may not necessarily harm the transmission unit.

Consolably, all the necessary information about towing without the keys can easily be gleaned from the user manual, which is your go-to reference material for whatever problem you may face with the vehicle.

For example, it will enable you to acquaint yourself with the most important details about the car as well as the safest towing methods you can use too. 

Most importantly, towing a car without the keys can be a dangerous and very complex enterprise to undertake, especially for the untrained. Hence, there is a need for serious care in these cases. Understandably, it leads many to assume that flat towing is not advisable altogether unless you have the keys, which is not entirely true.

Of course, with the keys, you will be able to get access to the car and set it to the Neutral position or disable the handbrake. Still, it does not mean that these maneuvers cannot be done without them. After all, are cars not being towed regularly without keys by both individuals and companies?

Notably, however, you just have to do it carefully. Still, the equipment and other tools you may need to tow a car with no keys depend on the situation at hand and the features of the car itself.

In a nutshell, a car in the Park position and with its parking brakes engaged can still be towed through the fitting of self-loading tow dollies or the flatbed of a tow vehicle.

Is it safe to tow a car without keys?

It could be harmless to tow a car without the keys if you are know-how. As a result, if you want to tow a car without the keys, it may be necessary to raise its drive wheels off the ground entirely to prevent damage to the transmission unit of the vehicle.

To know with certainty which are the drive wheels of the vehicle, you may have to consult the user manual. If the front wheels are the active wheels, you may have to use a tow dolly or a tow trailer.

For all other types of drive wheels, you can safely flat-tow them with the use of the bed of a tow trailer. In both these methods, the transmission is protected since the drive wheels are not in contact with the ground.

What should I do when towing a car without keys?

It has been explained earlier that to tow a car safely with no keys entails adopting certain measures that will prevent damage to some of its important parts like the transmission.

For instance, it is possible to tow all types of vehicles by just lifting their drive wheels from the ground with the aid of either a tow dolly or the flatbed of a tow truck.

This will prevent possible damage to the transmission units. Consequently, refer to the owner’s manual to ascertain which method is best for your type of vehicle.

Can all vehicles be towed without keys?

Most, if not all, cars can be towed even without their keys. However, before you can do that with any success, you have to make use of either a tow dolly for some types of vehicles or the bed of a tow truck for others.

In any case, the user manual will be of tremendous help in this regard. Also, cars with manual transmissions can be flat towed by simply disconnecting their transmissions. These procedures make flat towing a lot easier than the use of previous gears, which is another popular procedure.

Most importantly,  the use of previous gears could harm the transmission unit. Hence, in all these, you are strongly advised to find out from the user manual whether it is safe or not before you venture into anything

Do you need a key to tow?

No, one may not necessarily require the keys to be able to tow a car, but you simply have to know-how. After all, cars are being towed daily in situations where they are parked wrongly or illegally even though there are no keys.

Furthermore, many truck drivers are trained to handle these issues whenever they arise. As a result, if you want to do this properly, you may have to disconnect the linkage on the car which you wish to tow.

After doing that, the car should be engaged in Neutral, which will enable you to tow it even when all its wheels are on the ground. Although how you disconnect the transmission may vary from one model to another.

Fortunately, with the help of the user manual, it can be done without any harm. Again, the transmission levers of different brands of cars are placed in different places too, but, luckily, the user manual can assist you with the location as well.


(1). Can you tow a dead car?

Before you undertake to tow a dead car, you should first,  ensure that towing the car is harmless with its wheels on the ground from the user manual. After this, it is not very likely that you will end up causing any damage to either the driveline or chassis components of the vehicle. 

Should you have any doubt about this procedure, do not tow the dead car. Also, you should know that when it comes to towing a dead car unless the engine will start by itself, it will not have any power brakes or even steering.

If you cannot jump-start the car or if it needs more than just replacing a bad tire, then, the best option of towing a completely dead car may have to involve getting it towed by a mechanic. Alternatively, you may seek the assistance of a roadside company to help in towing the dead car.

Usually, some companies may be willing to tow a dead car up to about 1,000 miles for their members. So, yes, a dead car can be towed, but you have to make sure that it is not against the instructions of the manufacturers before you do so.

(2). Can you tow a car without transmission?

You can tow a vehicle whose transmission is disconnected. Again, the disconnection of the transmission makes towing a lot easier and safer than when using previous gears. But, be sure to check your user manual for the necessary instructions.

If the car has an automatic transmission, do not tow it with the wheels on the ground, which may damage the transmission. Therefore, for any dead car, towing should be your last option. If you tow a car when it is not Neutral, you will most likely damage its transmission.

This is the reason why there are restrictions in place that will prevent the towing of most regular automatic vehicles unless certain procedures are made. Luckily, you can safely tow cars with automatic transmissions on their wheels when they are engaged in the Neutral position.

This is because cars with automatic transmissions rely on their engine-driven pumps to lubricate their clutch packs and seals to prevent possible damage during towing.

(3). Can you tow a car with a rope?

First, you should know that ropes can easily snap, especially since most of them are not strong enough to cope with the rigors of towing. Consequently, if you try to tow a car that weighs at least 1,000 pounds, the rope can easily fray and snap. 

When this happens, you are disconnected from the towed vehicle, which will be left behind. Notwithstanding, it is common to use either a strong rope or chain instead of a tow bar to tow by some people.

Therefore, if you get the correct rope that can be used in towing, make sure that the distance between the cars does not exceed about 4.5 meters in length. Notably, therefore, although it is better to use a tow bar for towing functions if you are using a rope, you should get one that is strong enough to withstand the weight of the towed car.

Conclusion – How To Tow A Car Without Keys

First off, it is possible to tow a car with or without the keys. However, before you can do that safely, you have to take measures that will protect the transmission system from damage. This can be achieved by making sure that its drive wheels are completely off the ground.

Consequently, you have the option of either towing with a dolly or a tow truck, depending on the specifications of the car you are dealing with.

How To Tow A Car Without Keys
How To Tow A Car Without Keys

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