How to Tow a Truck With Another Truck: 6 Steps [DIY Guide]
Updated: Jun 22
Have you ever been in a situation where your trusty truck breaks down and you need to get it to the nearest repair shop or a safer location? When you have another truck in your garage, towing your disabled truck might be your best option.
Towing a truck with another truck requires careful planning and execution to ensure the safety of both vehicles, as well as the drivers and pedestrians on the road. So carefully pick the right type of towing truck and fasten a robust tow strap or chain securely between the two vehicles.
Connect both trucks using their hitch receiver frames for added stability throughout your journey. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of safely pulling a truck behind another truck using the right equipment and techniques. Let's get your truck back on the road fast.
How to Tow a Truck With Another Truck: 6 Steps
Towing a truck with another large truck may seem daunting, but with the right equipment, knowledge, and technique, it can be a safe and efficient way to get both vehicles back on track. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to tow a truck:
STEP 1. Choose a Suitable Towing Truck
The first and foremost step in towing a truck with an additional truck is to select an appropriate towing truck capable of handling the weight and size of the truck being towed. It's crucial to verify the weight of both vehicles to ensure that the towing truck is well-equipped to handle the load.
A common rule of thumb is to find a towing truck with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and towing capacity sufficient to bear the towed truck's added load.
STEP 2. Securely Hook the Tow Strap or Chain
Once your towing truck is ready, securing the tow strap or chain to both vehicles is next. Ensure that the tow strap or chain is in good condition, free from wear or tear, and capable of bearing the towed truck's full weight.
Various types of tow straps and chains are available in the market, such as flat, recovery, and chains. Each of these types has different weight capacities and attachments. Therefore, select the one that best suits your towing requirement.
STEP 3. Hook to Receiver Truck Hitch and Frame Mount
When towing a truck, the main towing point on the towing truck should ideally be a receiver hitch and frame mount, which is designed for pulling heavy loads. Ensure the receiver hitch is compatible with the weight ratings of both trucks and suitable for the towed vehicle's size.
Attach the tow chain or strap to the receiver hitch's attachment point, generally a metal loop, shackle, or clevis, allowing for smooth movement while towing.
STEP 4. Turn on Hazard Lights or Flashers
Before embarking on the towing journey, it is crucial to turn on your hazard lights or flashers on both trucks to alert other motorists of your presence and reduce speed.
Furthermore, ensure that the towed truck's steering wheel is unlocked and that the transmission is in neutral, allowing free wheeling of the towed truck during transit. It is a good practice to double-check the brake lights, turn signals, and other safety features before commencing the towing process.
STEP 5: Begin Towing Slowly
Once everything is secure, the driver towing the truck should start the vehicle and gently press the accelerator. Gradually accelerating is key to avoiding jerking or snapping of the tow strap or chain, preventing potential vehicle damage and ensuring the safety of those involved.
While starting to tow, communication between drivers is crucial to synchronize their actions. One way this can be achieved is by using hand signals or cell phones. Also, both drivers should watch their respective rearview mirrors as they begin to move.
STEP 6: Maintain Tension on Tow Strap/Chain
One crucial aspect of towing a truck with another truck is maintaining tension on the tow strap or chain. When tension is maintained, it prevents the strap/chain from experiencing sudden force or jerking, which can cause damage to the connection points or even cause an accident.
Proper tension ensures the link between the two trucks remains stable, predictable, and safe throughout the towing process.
What Other Ways Can You Tow a Truck With Another Full-Size Truck?
From using tow dollies to suitably loading a truck onto a trailer, it is crucial to understand each method's intricacies and follow specific steps to avoid potential pitfalls.
A. Towing with a Dolly
Tow dollies are a popular and versatile solution for towing a truck, as they provide support and stability for the towed vehicle. These sturdy, two-wheeled trailers connect to the towing truck's hitch and cradle the front wheels of the towed truck.
Although tow dollies are relatively simple to use, be sure to follow these essential steps for optimal towing success:
● Disengage the emergency brake and put the towed truck in neutral gear,
● Attach dolly to towing truck's hitch and align wheels,
● Slowly drive the towed truck onto the dolly and apply the parking brake,
● Use straps or wheel nets to secure the front wheels,
● Check the signal and brake lights on both vehicles.
B. Loading a Truck on a Trailer
Flatbed trailers provide a secure and reliable transportation alternative to tow dollies, fully supporting the entire towed truck's weight. Here's a short step-by-step for hauling a truck on a trailer safely:
● Position the trailer and secure it,
● Lower the ramps and align them with the towed truck's wheels,
● Confirm the towed truck is in neutral gear and the emergency brake is disengaged,
● Load the truck onto the trailer, aligning it with the ramps and wheel wells,
● Secure the truck to the trailer with appropriate straps or chains,
● Double-check all connections and make any necessary adjustments.
Things to Consider Before Towing a Truck with Other Truck
● Know Your Maximum Towing Capacity: Before you tow a truck, you must know the maximum towing capacity of your truck. Overloading your truck can cause damage not only to your vehicle but also to the truck you are towing.
● Check Your Tow Hitch Specification: Tow hitches are available in different types and classes, each with its own weight capacities and specifications. Ensure that your tow hitch is compatible with your truck and is designed to handle the weight of the car you plan to tow.
● Know the Car Towing Laws: Each state has its own laws and regulations related to car towing. Familiarize yourself with the laws and requirements for towing a car in your state and those in the states you intend to travel through.
● Use Wheel Chocks when Stopped: Wheel chocks are a crucial safety measure when towing a vehicle, especially during temporary stops. These devices are placed in front of and behind the truck's wheels to prevent them from rolling away or shifting.
● Using Extended Towing Mirrors: Extended towing mirrors are an excellent addition when you tow a car, as they provide better visibility of the vehicle being towed. These mirrors reduce blind spots and enable you to monitor the towed car while on the road.
● Use Safety Chains: Safety chains are crucial if your primary towing connection fails. They are a backup to keep the towed truck secured to the towing truck.
● Don't Tow Long Distances in One Go: Towing a car for long distances can significantly strain your truck and towing mechanism. Plan your route and take regular breaks, allowing your truck to cool down and avoid potential overheating.
Enjoy Hassle-Free Towing: Efficiently Tow your Truck with Another Truck
Towing a truck with a second truck is a practical and efficient way to resolve unexpected breakdowns or transport a vehicle to a distant location. Remember to choose the appropriate towing truck, securely attach the tow strap or chain, and consistently maintain tension while towing.
Doing so can help prevent accidents, damages, or further inconveniences for both you and the truck driver being towed. Remember that safe and effective towing requires planning, technical knowledge, and situational awareness.