If your car breaks down suddenly by the side of the road and you're a long way from home, you need to figure things out quickly. Your first thought may be to call a friend and get them to come and rescue you using a rope or chain that you may have in the boot. Yet, is this the best approach? What can go wrong in such a situation?
Weighing up the Options
Many people believe in being prepared for anything and may carry ropes or chains as well as a rudimentary breakdown kit. Yet they may not have any experience of either towing a vehicle or being towed and may not know how to do this safely and effectively.
While some countries may specifically forbid this type of operation, it may be allowed where you are in Australia. Still, most experts advise that you should use a specially made "A" frame or bring in experts to do the job instead.
Understanding the Challenge
If you decide to phone a friend and press on with your own rescue job, make sure that the rope or chain you're carrying is in the best condition possible. Ropes can fray and may not be in good shape anyway if they've been sitting in the back of a hot vehicle. You certainly don't know if that particular solution is able to pull a specific weight and remember that the actual weight of your car is one thing, but the relevant weight is another. After all, things get a lot more difficult if the towing vehicle needs to haul your car over undulating terrain or up a hill.
Further, do you own an automatic car? It may not be safe to tow this type of vehicle without the risk of damage. Many experts advise that you should raise the front wheels of such a vehicle off the ground before it is towed, and you clearly cannot do this using your intended approach. What happens if you cause damage to the drivetrain in this situation? You will end up paying a lot more in the long run than if you had called in the experts to tow the vehicle in the first place.
The Best Solution
Remember, if the towing rope breaks in the middle of a busy intersection, you could find yourself in all sorts of problems, so ask yourself whether it is worth the risk. It may be far better to call in a professional tow truck operator. They'll know exactly how to proceed and ensure that you and your vehicle get back home as safely as possible.