How to Tow a Car without Tow Hooks?

It is easy to tow a car that comes equipped with a tow hook. Some vehicles feature OE tow hooks, and some don’t have any. It is great when an owner installs a tow hook and paints it red to make it more visible. However, there are many vehicles that do not have tow hooks. Let us see, how to tow a car without a tow hook.


Towing newer and older vehicles: tips and instructions

How to tow a car without tow hooks

The majority of modern cars sold in the US feature a small plastic cover. Normally you will find it in the grille insert or bumper.

  • Go ahead and remove the cover. You will see a large threaded hole behind it.
  • Check out what you have in your trunk along with the spare. You will find a tow hook that you need to thread into it.

If an older vehicle needs to be towed, make sure it has got steel control arms. If that is the case, you can hook to the control arms.

  • The control arms are A-shaped, and mount directy to the subframe.
  • To tow a vehicle in this case, one needs to place a J-hook into the lower leg of the ‘A’ as close as possible.

If you need to tow a vehicle with a solid axle, feel free to hook to the axle directly, as long as you do not have a frame hook handy.

  • Alternatively, you can search for an oval hole located in the frame. Roughly, the dimensions are 1 1/2″ x 3/4″. This oval will accept a mini J-hook.
  • Normally, you will still want to keep them free for the tie-downs, unless you find four of them.
bumper plastic cover

bumper plastic cover

Important notes

  1. Never hook to an aluminum control arm.
  2. Never hook to a control arm that isn’t A-shaped or triangular, but looks straight and resembles ‘I’.
  3. There are cases, when the suspension has multiple I-shaped links, that allows hooking to the knuckle directly.

It is a good idea to check the owner’s manual/ Just see the chepter ‘Emergency towing’.

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2 Comments to “ How to Tow a Car without Tow Hooks?”

  1. JW says :Reply

    I have had my car 10 years and did not know this. I went out to look and guess what? I have the little door for the tow hook. What a nice surprise.

    1. Expert says :Reply

      Wow, we’re glad to hear that you made this discovery! However we hope, you will not have to use it 🙂

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