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Old 02-12-2011, 02:47 PM   #1
T2urtle
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Default could you sue towing company for improperly towing your car

I've always wondered this and with all these "FAIL" posters up with AWD cars being towed on simple hook up tow trucks and not flat beds, im curious.

I drive a G35 AWD. Its not dead obvious my car is AWD compared to say a subaru or a big pickup/SUV with 4x4 in huge writing on the side.

Can you sue for damage to the drivetrain? I guess you would need to prove it instantly. But say they did tow you and 3 months down the road something goes sour are you SOL?

I've also seen cars towed the wrong way as well. RWD cars been hooked up in the front. FWD being hooked up in the rear. I understand hooking it up to get it out of the spot but then lower it back down to properly tow it the distance.

Also what about damages, my car is lowered but extreme but putting a 2x4 or so will save my bumper. If they dont do that and scuff it. can i get them for that?

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Old 02-12-2011, 03:00 PM   #2
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So, what'd they tow you for?


I dunno the answer to your question but it would seem logical to me that they would have liability coverage for any damages they caused. Also around here its a non-issue as every company in town uses flatbed trucks. I can't remember the last time I saw an old school tow truck.
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:06 PM   #3
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I've only had one breakdown that needed a tow and it came with a flatbed.

I've just seen tow trucks around chicago that do this. I've saw couple AWD astrovans get towed in the front and etc. no idea why they are being towed.

We recently had a blizzard and the shutdown the entire road next to the lake, forced people to leave their cars. City towed all cars off to local community college parking lots, heard over 500 cars. On the news i could see least 5-6 AWD cars being on 2 wheel hook up trucks being towed 25+ miles. Friend's AWD IS250 got towed as well.

Its somewhat hard to claim this because there is no simple DIRECT proof. Least without paying for teardown and etc.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:20 PM   #4
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I had to get my brand new Contour SVT towed when it was brand new (as in a week old off dealer lot) and the tow truck put a blemish on it. I pointed it out and the tow truck driver called the owner of the company, who examined it and offered compensation for touchup. Didn't seem that big of a deal.

You could also request a flatbed if you ever need towing.

So, what could happen with an AWD vehicle when towed with two wheels on the ground?
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Zap View Post
I had to get my brand new Contour SVT towed when it was brand new (as in a week old off dealer lot) and the tow truck put a blemish on it. I pointed it out and the tow truck driver called the owner of the company, who examined it and offered compensation for touchup. Didn't seem that big of a deal.

You could also request a flatbed if you ever need towing.

So, what could happen with an AWD vehicle when towed with two wheels on the ground?
If i needed it yes i will ask for a flatbed. I was speaking in terms of say the city tows my car on the street for random reason. Car in parked and i'm not there.

I dont know what exactly happens, Ive just been told it does damage to the drivetrain. My car might not do too much damage because its RWD biased.

https://www.subaru.com/my-subaru/faq.html read #3.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:07 PM   #6
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They will not admit to it but yes they can.

I drove a tow truck for a little while and was told not to f__k a car up. BUT if your car is in a place that can cause harm or risk life then we could do as we please to get it out of the way. I never had a case like that but we towed for the police sometimes and was told if its a matter of life or death do it.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:21 PM   #7
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i understand to hook it up in any possible way to move the car to a SAFER place so you can properly hook it up. At low speeds and short distance NOTHING should be damaged. But i saw these trucks going 45+ down the road like nothing. Cars weren't crashed or anything.

Say i parked in a "NO PARK, TOW ZONE" And they towed me and my t-case blows out 2 months from that day. Can i tell the city of chicago to send me the paperwork of the truck who towed me so i can make a claim. In the ends it seems like their word VS mines, my T-case could of been damaged due to wear and tear, i cant exactly put the finger on them 100% because i would never know.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:45 PM   #8
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This is hilarious.

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AWD Subaru vehicles with automatic transmission can only be towed with all four wheels OFF of the ground. Therefore, if you are interested in towing a Subaru behind your motorhome, we would suggest purchasing a manual transmission Subaru.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:32 PM   #9
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If you live in NYC, nope. You are liable for all damages if you are towed by the city. NYC will make you go through your insurance - don't have that kind of coverage? Too bad.
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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only way they are towing my G is with a flat bed.
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by T2urtle View Post
i understand to hook it up in any possible way to move the car to a SAFER place so you can properly hook it up. At low speeds and short distance NOTHING should be damaged. But i saw these trucks going 45+ down the road like nothing. Cars weren't crashed or anything.

Say i parked in a "NO PARK, TOW ZONE" And they towed me and my t-case blows out 2 months from that day. Can i tell the city of chicago to send me the paperwork of the truck who towed me so i can make a claim. In the ends it seems like their word VS mines, my T-case could of been damaged due to wear and tear, i cant exactly put the finger on them 100% because i would never know.
Well regardless of speed, if it's an automatic trans in P, the parking pawl will get destroyed by towing on the drive wheels.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thescreensavers View Post
only way they are towing my G is with a flat bed.
this is speaking in terms of, if your not there. obviously i have the sense to tell them to come back with a flatbed i dont mind the wait. But say you accident parked in a no parking zone and they towed you.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:15 AM   #13
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So, since I drive a front wheel drive car and park with the e-brake on theres basically no safe proper way to tow my car without a flatbet?
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:43 AM   #14
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this is speaking in terms of, if your not there. obviously i have the sense to tell them to come back with a flatbed i dont mind the wait. But say you accident parked in a no parking zone and they towed you.

Yea in that situation pretty much I belive they are not liable for damages.

I never second guess a parking spot, I need to know its 100% legit so hopefully I will never be towed.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:58 AM   #15
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Yea in that situation pretty much I belive they are not liable for damages.

I never second guess a parking spot, I need to know its 100% legit so hopefully I will never be towed.
sometimes you are in the right but they will tow you anyways.

i've gotten wrong parking tickets COUNTLESS times. But still had to pay it. $50 isn't worth the hassle. So i do believe they can tow at anytime. The typical "parking is for customers only" say you finish buying what you need and have to run 3 stores down really quick and come back, in a sense you can get towed for that because your business is done with the store. I'm just trying to come up as many BS reason as to how MIGHT a car get towed.
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Old 02-13-2011, 01:02 AM   #16
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^ I understand.

Thats a good question.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:12 AM   #17
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I've been in the towing industry for almost 5 years now. I've been at work for 12 hours now but I'll try and come back after I get some sleep today and put in my 2 cents.
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Old 02-13-2011, 01:41 PM   #18
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If you had your car towed and had something in your drivetrain fail 3 months later, you'd have a hard time proving a causal relationship.
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Old 02-13-2011, 01:49 PM   #19
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If you had your car towed and had something in your drivetrain fail 3 months later, you'd have a hard time proving a causal relationship.
it is. only thing i can think of in my defense right now is, i get the truck driver's name and the company he works for. hopefully he drives the same truck everyday and he doesn't drive a flat bed. Pull up his work log and there it goes. He put down he towed me car at XX time XX day to this lot. But still proving that he cause direct damage to my car is VERY hard. Maybe i'll get like 50% of the total repair in attempts to just shut me up so then can keep on working.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:19 PM   #20
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If you live in NYC, nope. You are liable for all damages if you are towed by the city. NYC will make you go through your insurance - don't have that kind of coverage? Too bad.
Yep. I got towed once after buying a used car because the previous owner had some tickets on it. Most of the rear suspension needed to be replaced and it caused a creaking sound in the car that I was never able to diagnose. I have no idea how they towed it whether tow or flatbed but it messed up the car pretty good.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #21
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Neighbors STI was towed with by a conventional truck back in college, destroyed the differential, etc and other things. Truck company told him it was his fault because he was parked without a permit, they didn't know his dad is one of the highest profile attorneys in socal.

Needless to say, he got a brand new STI with the settlement money.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:55 PM   #22
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Yep. I got towed once after buying a used car because the previous owner had some tickets on it. Most of the rear suspension needed to be replaced and it caused a creaking sound in the car that I was never able to diagnose. I have no idea how they towed it whether tow or flatbed but it messed up the car pretty good.
rear suspension creaks isn't related to the tow truck. Only damage is drivetrain/transmission related.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:40 AM   #23
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Ok, back at work for another awesome 12 hour overnight shift...

There are a lot of variables in this situation, of course. Many companies are switching to flatbeds only. But what if your car is AWD and won't start in a parking garage? Conventional wreckers are still needed in some cases. The driver just needs a set of dolly wheels to pick the drive wheels off the ground. The biggest fear in any towers mind, second to dying on the road, of course, is damaging a customers car. Much of the time the more experienced drivers just keep a list in their heads about which cars are AWD, even the less common ones. Even if the driver doesn't think the car is AWD and they pick it up from the front, when starting out, the rear wheels will either roll or they won't. Any driver worth his salt looks for this and stops the second the wheels start hopping. If you take an AWD vehicle to a shop because it won't start and once they get the engine started and realize the transfer case is shot, it's not too much of a leap to figure out what happened. Three months down the road - you're going to have a really hard time getting anything from a towing company.

In another example, if a vehicle has a manual differential (ie: you have an actual lever that you have to move to put the car in AWD), you can generally put the selector in 2WD and be fine, you'd simply have to pick it up from the rear. The older Chev Silverados and most 90s era Jeeps could do this. Even if you can't manually put the vehicle into 2WD mode, if you need to quick tow it out of an intersection or off the freeway, starting the car and leaving it in neutral is safe as long as you don't go very far.

Finally, if a car has been in a wreck and is totaled, we'll tow them on the drive wheels all day long. The car is just going to be crushed anyways so who cares if the transfer case blows out

@coxmaster: that's a pretty common occurrence. If the vehicle owner isn't there to take the parking break off, we will simply unlock the door using our ninja skills and take the parking break off.

With today's cars, towing a vehicle is rarely a 'hook-and-go' affair. I hope my post helps answer some questions.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:45 AM   #24
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Yes you can sue them. Yes if you can prove it you will win. Happens all the time, i Dispatch for a tow truck company. Your car though does not need a flatdeck putting it on dollies would be fine. You just need to make sure all wheels are off the ground.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:53 AM   #25
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So, since I drive a front wheel drive car and park with the e-brake on theres basically no safe proper way to tow my car without a flatbet?
dude think about that for a second, lockouts are easaly 30% of a tow truck comapanies business. They could pop the lock in 30 seconds if the driver knows what he is doing, 5 min if he doesnt. Or just put it on dollies. Its not going to do anything to slow them down.
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