Is It Illegal To Tow An Unregistered Car | Know The Rules

Tons of new drivers don’t have a registered car, and people often get in accidents or have issues with their car in the middle of the road. The best option in this scenario is to tow your car to safety, but is it illegal to tow an unregistered car?

It’s usually legal most of the time, but if the unregistered car is operating on public roads, it’ll be illegal to transport it. So even though it isn’t always illegal to tow an unregistered car, there are many other rules you might break.

For example, if an unregistered car is running on a road, it’s illegal to tow it. There’s much more to it, so today, we’ll be going all over unregistered cars and their legal laws. Let’s begin.

Is It Illegal To Tow An Unregistered Car?

Is It Illegal To Tow An Unregistered Car

Although it’s not illegal towing a non running vehicle on public roads, the American Automobile Association or the AAA declared they couldn’t tow unregistered cars.

So if you can’t tow your vehicle yourself, getting help from the AAA might be difficult because of their policy. They’re an association for roadside assistance, so they’re only able to help registered cars. You’re better off hiring a towing truck nearby instead.

However, taking unregistered cars to an operating public road is illegal in the first place. Along with that, the professionals at a towing truck service are much better, as if anything happens or if your unregistered car causes any damage, they’ll take liability for it.

But if you decide to tow it yourself, you’re most likely going to get a ticket for your unregistered car, and you can even damage someone else’s property or injure a person, which can lead to possibly getting sued or a fine.

How To Transport Unregistered Cars Without Breaking The Law?

The most common way to transport unregistered cars without breaking the vehicle towing laws is through the AAA, but as mentioned earlier, they won’t help to tow any unregistered cars.

However, you can just put a spare plate on your car, and they’ll tow it, so as long as it has a plate, you won’t have any issues.

U-Haul can tow unregistered cars, though, so they can be a great option. These usually won’t be too costly either.

Another way to transport your car is by simply hiring a towing truck. You’ll find tons of these near roads, so you usually won’t have an issue. These can have legal issues sometimes with unregistered cars, so a flatbed car hauler can work too.

Since none of the car’s wheels will be on the ground, it’s completely legal to tow any unregistered vehicle.

Things To Consider When Towing Unregistered Cars

Here are a few things and rules to consider as well when towing unregistered cars-

  1. Make sure you aren’t getting a flat tow on your unregistered car. If any of the wheels of an unregistered vehicle is on the ground, you might get in legal trouble.
  2. Ensure your vehicle’s taillights are visible at the back and respond to any changes in speed.
  3. Have the license plates clearly visible to the other road users. If your car doesn’t have a license plate, make sure the towing truck has one.
  4. Try getting safety chains around your car. This will ensure that it doesn’t fall and damage anyone else’s vehicle.
  5. Consider getting a towing truck with auxiliary brakes if your unregistered car is heavier than most other ones.

Make sure you aren’t getting flat tows, and make sure your taillights and license plates are visible. These are necessary rules when towing unregistered cars, so if you don’t follow these, you can get in legal trouble and get fined.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. will aaa tow an unregistered car

It depends on the policies and regulations of the particular AAA branch and the state in which you are located. In general, AAA will only tow registered vehicles that are covered under an active AAA membership. If your car is not registered, it may not be eligible for AAA towing services. Additionally, in some states, it may be illegal to operate an unregistered vehicle on public roads, so you may want to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure that you are in compliance with all applicable laws.

2. How do I get my unregistered car registered?

There are tons of ways to get your car legally registered, but the most reliable and safe way is to go straight to the car dealership you bought it from. They’ll hand you the necessary paperwork and fill you in with all the necessary details about registering your car.

If you’re going to register your car after a few weeks or months of buying it, make sure you get your papers of ownership of that car. It’s always better to just purchase an already registered car, though.

3. Is it illegal to tow my unregistered car with another car?

Yes, it’s illegal to tow your unregistered vehicle with another one. However, if both the vehicles are registered, there are only a few rules you need to follow to tow it.

Ensure that both the drivers of the vehicles have their qualified driver’s licenses and consider the weight of the car being towed before towing it. If it’s too heavy for the other vehicle to move around, you might cause damage.

4. How fast can you drive a car while towing it?

Most of the time, you won’t need to drive the towing truck yourself. But if you do need to drive it, going faster than 55 miles per hour is not recommended. In some states, you need to go much lower, such as California, where you have to drive at 45 miles per hour.

So overall, the safest speed to drive your towing truck in is 40-45 miles per hour. Illegal parking or fleeing is strictly restricted, too, so make sure the towing truck is capable of handling the weight of your vehicle first.


Hopefully, now your question of “is it illegal to tow an unregistered car” is now answered. To recap, it isn’t exactly illegal as long as the wheels of the vehicle aren’t touching the ground and it’s not operating on public roads.

It’s always much better to get a towing truck, though, since they won’t cost much and will have you worry-free from any legal trouble. Some services can cost more than others, though.

So as a final note, we highly recommend you consider a tow dolly. These will cost much less than the AAA or a towing truck, and it’s perfectly legal to tow an unregistered car with them.

With that all being said, good luck towing, and cheers!

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