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How to Tow a Car Without Keys | Fast Method & Techniques

Tow a car without keys

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to tow your car but don’t have the keys? This can be a tiring and difficult experience for you, especially if it happens suddenly. But don’t worry because Tow a car without keys is also possible. In this blog, we are going to talk about the safe way of Tow a car without keys.

We will explain to you why key access may not be necessary, as well as what type of equipment will be required for a successful towing. We will provide you with these tips so that you can get the necessary preparation before Tow a car without keys. Therefore, if you do not know how to tow your car without a key, read the rest of this article. This guide will give you the necessary tips to know exactly what to do in this situation. Also, if you are looking for a towing service Calgary or the neighborhood of Calgary, you can call Alberta Cash for Cars.

Tow a Car Without Keys

Basic Principles of Towing

Towing mechanisms are devices or a set of devices used to connect a tow truck to a vehicle. The right equipment ensures that towing is safe and efficient and minimizes potential injuries. Some of the commonly used towing mechanisms are:

  • Tow bars: These are triangular, non-motorized devices that connect the towing vehicle to the vehicle being towed. They are suitable for short distances or when using auxiliary brakes.
  • Tow Dollies: Two-wheeled trailers that hold the front or rear wheels of the towing vehicle. The weight of the car is partly supported by the dolly and partly by the remaining wheels of the car on the ground.
  • Flatbed Trailers: As the name suggests, these trailers are flatbed. The whole car is placed on this bed, making it an ideal choice for long distances and ensuring no wear on the wheels or the car’s gearbox. This method offers several advantages, including:
    • Minimizing the risk of damage to the car, as all wheels are securely off the road.
    • Enhanced security during transportation, making it an excellent choice for long-distance towing.
    • Versatility, as it can transport vehicles with various tire conditions, including flat tires.

    While professional flatbed towing services are recommended, it’s also possible to rent a flatbed trailer and handle the task yourself. However, this option requires specific equipment and a fair amount of expertise.

Read Also: Junk Car Towing | Streamlining the Process of Removing Your Old Vehicle

Basic Principles of Towing

Tow a car without keys

Towing a vehicle is a complicated process, but when the absence of a key is added to this process, it becomes a little more complicated. Without a key, you not only have to consider the weight, size, and type of vehicle but also the safety hazards and potential damage associated with towing a locked vehicle.

Why might one need to Tow a car without keys?

Accidents: After an accident, if the car owner is incapacitated, the keys may not be easily accessible for towing.

Lost or stolen keys: One of the common scenarios, especially in large parking lots or while traveling, is the loss of car keys.

Abandoned vehicles: Vehicles that are left unattended for long periods may require towing, and in most cases, the keys are not available.

Parking violations: Illegally parked cars are usually towed by city officials without keys.

The Importance of Safety Precautions

To answer can you tow a car without keys there are some precautions you need to be aware of. Safety should always be at the forefront when towing a car without keys. This process introduces additional risks and complexities, making it essential to follow a comprehensive checklist of safety precautions:

  1. Proper Vehicle Securing: Ensure the vehicle is securely fastened to the tow truck, wheel dolly, or trailer to prevent movement during transport.
  2. Clear Communication: Maintain clear communication with anyone assisting in the towing process, ensuring everyone is aware of the plan and their roles.
  3. Visibility: Use hazard lights and reflective markers to make your towing setup visible to other road users, reducing the risk of accidents.
  4. Check Local Regulations: Research and comply with local regulations and towing laws, which may vary by location.
  5. Insurance: Verify your insurance coverage and whether it extends to towing situations, protecting in case of accidents.
  6. Braking System: Ensure the vehicle’s braking system is not engaged during towing, which can lead to damage or safety hazards.

By adhering to these safety precautions, you can mitigate the risks associated with towing a car without keys and ensure a safe and incident-free experience.

Why might one need to Tow a car without keys?

When Keys Are Required for Towing

Parking Enforcement Tows

The Calgary Parking Authority contracts licensed tow trucks to enforce violations across public roads, lots and restricted residential zones. Before towing for lapsed payment, illegal spot occupancy or similar violations, the following protocol is required:

  • Visual documentation of infringement with dated images and details of offending vehicle
  • Checking provincial vehicle registration database to identify registered owner
  • Attempting to retrieve keys if owner present near scene of tow
  • Failing that, completing non-consensual tow order form stipulating violation

Without keys, tow operators utilize various manual techniques, wedge devices and power door actuators to safely unlock and release parking brake levers of infringing vehicles for towing.

Guidelines Around Owner Consent

Non-consensual Tows

To answer do you need keys to tow a car, as per provincial statutes, towing vehicles without owner consent requires formal authorization if:

  • Vehicle poses public safety hazard due to current location
  • Vehicle reported stolen and recovered by authorities
  • Order from law enforcement or sanctioned government body

In such cases with proper authority paperwork, tow trucks can initiate procedural equipment access to safely conduct non-consensual tows. However, documented due diligence around owner notification and receipt of towing-related grievances is mandatory.

Abandoned Vehicle Removal

After a public complaint or direct observation, Parking Authority will tag vehicles left stationary in one location for over 72 hours as abandoned.

  • Chalking tires, marking dates and re-inspecting after expiration confirms abandonment
  • Checking for ownership/lien records and sending tow warnings to registered contacts
  • With no owner dispute/retrieval, executing tow order after minimum grace period

Here, forced non-consensual towing can proceed following proper municipal administrative protocols without needing any owner consent.

Common Scenarios and Challenges

Steering wheel lock: In most cars, the steering wheel is locked by removing the keys. This can make towing difficult because the wheels don’t turn, and the towed car becomes more difficult to steer.

Engaging Neutral: For smooth towing, the car should ideally be in neutral mode. Without a key to change the state to neutral in some cars, especially those with automatic transmission, it can create challenges.

Brake engagement: Some modern cars have electronic parking brakes that require a key to disengage. Towing without disconnecting can cause damage.

Techniques for Tow a Car Without Keys

Slim Jim: It is a thin strip of metal that can be placed between the window and the car door panel downwards to unlock the door. This method works for older cars but is not recommended for newer models with complex electronic systems.

Air Wedge and Rod: An inflatable wedge is used to bridge the gap between the door and the car frame. After creating the gap, a rod is used to push the unlock button inside the car.

Bypassing Steering Lock: For vehicles with a steering lock, a screwdriver or similar tool can be used to turn the ignition cylinder. However, this method is not recommended for permanent use because it can damage the ignition system.

Techniques for Tow a car without keys

Best Practices for Tow a Car Without Keys

If you want to tow your car without a key, there are a few things you need to do:

Assess the situation

Make sure the car is in a safe place, away from heavy traffic or obstacles that could hinder the towing process. A quick visual inspection can help identify any problematic damage that might complicate towing. If you are towing your car due to a violation, always have the necessary permits and documents with you.

Vehicle Preparation

If possible, unlock the steering wheel so that you can use it while towing. This may include bypassing the steering lock in some older models. The car must be in neutral to avoid damage to the gearbox. For cars that are difficult to shift into neutral without a key, you may need to seek help from professionals.

Choosing the Right Towing Method:

Flatbed Towing

This is the safest method, especially for modern cars with complex systems. The car is placed on a flat surface, and it is ensured that all the wheels are off the ground.

In this part, we decided to talk more about this method in addition to the “Do you need keys to tow a car” topic so if you searching for more information read on.

Pros of Flatbed Towing:

Vehicle Protection: One of its main advantages is that the whole vehicle is off the ground, which reduces wear and tear on the tires and other parts.

All-Wheel-Drive and 4WD Vehicles: Great for towing cars without a dolly that has both four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD).

Safe for Damaged Vehicles: Perfect for towing damaged or non-running cars because all wheels are off the ground.

Prevents Additional Damage: Minimizes the risk of damage to the towed vehicle, as it avoids contact with the road and potential debris.

Versatility: Can tow a variety of vehicles, including those with low ground clearance.

Stability During Towing: Provides stability during towing, reducing the swaying or fishtailing that can occur with other towing methods.

Cons of Flatbed Towing:

Cost: Flatbed towing is often more expensive compared to other towing methods, such as dolly towing.

Complexity: The process of loading and unloading a vehicle onto a flatbed can be more complex and time-consuming than other towing methods.

Space Requirements: Flatbed tow trucks require more space for maneuvering, making them less practical in tight spaces.

Weight and Fuel Efficiency: Flatbed tow trucks are generally heavier and may have lower fuel efficiency compared to other towing vehicles.

Limited Accessibility: In certain situations, such as remote or challenging terrains, flatbed towing may have limitations due to accessibility issues.

Availability: According to the towing company in your area, flatbed tow trucks may not be as common as other tow truck types.

When considering flatbed towing, it’s essential to assess your specific towing needs, the condition of your vehicle, and your budget. In many cases, flatbed towing is the preferred method for transporting valuable or delicate vehicles, especially when preserving the condition of the towed vehicle is a top priority.

Flatbed Towing

Two-Wheel Dolly Towing

This method is suitable for front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive vehicles. In this method, it lifts the two rear wheels off the ground while the other two wheels remain in contact with the ground.

Four-Wheel Towing

In this method, all wheels are on the ground, and tow bars are usually used. To avoid damage, change the car’s transmission to neutral.

Legal Considerations: Staying Within the Law

Towing a car without keys can raise legal concerns, particularly depending on your location. The legality of moving a vehicle without its keys varies from one jurisdiction to another, and it can even hinge on the specific circumstances. To navigate these potential legal challenges, consider the following:

  1. Local Regulations: Research the towing laws and regulations in your area, which may dictate whether towing without keys is permissible.
  2. Permission and Authorization: In some cases, you may need permission or authorization from the vehicle owner or local authorities to tow a car without keys.
  3. Towing Services: Ensure that the professional towing service you engage with complies with all local and state regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues.
  4. Documentation: Keep accurate documentation of the towing process, including any permissions, agreements, and relevant correspondence.

Understanding the legal aspects of towing without keys is critical to avoid potential legal complications down the road. When in doubt, consult with legal authorities or experts who can provide guidance based on your specific situation.

Choosing the Right Towing Method

How do modern keyless entry systems impact the towing process?

Modern keyless entry systems common in most new cars complicate the towing process:

  • Electronic Parking Brakes: Most cars with a keyless system have electronic parking brakes that are automatically engaged when the car is parked. To safely tow these vehicles, these brakes must be turned off, which usually requires a key. If the brake is not released, it can cause damage to the brake system.
  • Transmission Lock: Some keyless cars lock their transmission when turned off, necessitating the use of a flatbed tow truck.
  • Security Alerts: Towing can trigger security alerts on keyless systems. Try to avoid unnecessary attention or possible legal complications.

DIY towing a car without keys

Towing a car without keys can be a challenging task, but you can do it yourself with careful planning and following safety guidelines. In this section, we are going to describe some tips and instructions for people who want to towing a car without keys personally:

Knowledge of towing methods

Before starting anything, it is better to be aware of the different towing methods. In this article, we have talked about this. It is better to choose a method that is compatible with your existing vehicle and equipment.

Check local laws

Check what the towing laws are in your neighborhood. Some areas may have special rules, including the need for safety chains, lighting, or other additional signs. Make sure that the process of towing your car complies with the rules, this way you will not get into legal trouble.

Provision of suitable and safe equipment

Get the right equipment based on your chosen towing method. Make sure that all your equipment is in good condition and suitable for the weight of your vehicle.

Vehicle inspection

It is better to inspect the car thoroughly before doing anything. This inspection can include brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights. Remember that proper lighting is essential for safety and compliance.

Use of safety chains

Try to use a safety chain when towing the vehicle, this is an extra precaution in the process.

Secure the car

Make sure the vehicle is securely attached to the tow truck. Check all connections, including belts, chains, and tow bars. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for box equipment.

Safe driving

Monitor and adjust your driving habits while towing. Be careful of increasing the weight and length of the vehicle and avoid sudden movements, sharp turns, or rapid acceleration and deceleration. Also, keep a safe distance and drive at a moderate speed.

Route planning

Before you start moving, plan your route and avoid traffic in crowded areas. Try to choose suitable roads for towing. Watch out for short distances, weight limits, and any possible obstacles.

Preparedness for emergencies

Be sure to bring essential items such as a spare tire and a jack in case of a tire breakdown or puncture. Also, make sure to bring the necessary documents, including a driver’s license.

DIY towing a car without keys

Alternatives When “Can a Car Be Towed Without Keys?” Isn’t the Answer

Imagine this: you’re stranded with a car trouble, but your keys are locked inside. The main question is, “can a car be towed without keys?” While towing is an option, what if getting a tow truck isn’t ideal or even feasible? some alternative solutions are mentioned in the following:
Roadside Assistance Programs: Many auto clubs, insurance companies, and even car manufacturers offer roadside assistance programs. These programs can be a lifesaver, providing services like jump starts for dead batteries, flat tire repair or replacement, lockout assistance (which can get you back in without needing a tow!), and even minor fuel delivery if you run out of gas.

Mobile Mechanics: Don’t underestimate the convenience of mobile mechanic services! These on-site repair specialists can come to your location and potentially solve the issue without needing to tow your car. Depending on the expertise of the mechanic, they might be able to handle tasks like replacing a dead battery, changing a flat tire, or even performing basic diagnostics to identify the problem.

Ridesharing Services: In a pinch, consider ridesharing services for short-distance transportation. If your car is in a safe location and the issue isn’t critical, a quick ride-share trip can get you back on track while you figure out how to address the car problem later. This can be a good option if “can a car be towed without keys?” isn’t the answer you’re looking for and you need to get somewhere quickly.

By exploring these alternatives, you can keep your options open and find the best solution to get back on the road, even when “can a car be towed without keys?” isn’t the answer.

Hire Professionals to Tow a car without keys

If you are among the people who are not sure about the process of towing a car or do not have the necessary equipment, hiring a professional towing service is a very good decision. They have the necessary tools and expertise, so the risk and damage to the car is reduced.