How to Tie a Tow Rope


The most important thing when towing a vehicle is to tie a knot in the rope that will not come undone. One of the best towing knots is the bowline loop. This loop is sturdy and will not come undone through pulling. Use the bowline loop in combination with a barrel hitch to safely connect two cars for towing. Do not travel more than 100 miles using a rope tow, as it is one of the most risky towing methods. A chain or car trailer are the best towing methods for long distances.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy rope, capable of pulling one or two tons of weight
  • 2 shackle pins
  • White shoe polish
  • Measure the rope. The rope should be less than eight feet long. The distance between the tow car and the car being towed must be less than six feet for safety.

  • Make a loop near the end of the rope. Pass the end of the rope through the loop. Move the loose end behind the long end of the rope and back around through the loop. Slide a shackle pin through the knot while it is still loose. Pull on the end of the rope to tighten the knot.

  • Repeat the process for the other end of the rope. Look under the car for a metal bar across the front of the vehicle behind the bumper. This is the front of the car frame, or tow strap, and it is the sturdiest part of the vehicle. Pass one end of the rope around this metal bar. Slip the opposite end of the rope through the loop on the end of the rope that is wrapped around the frame to make a loop that will not untie during towing. Slip the loop in the other side of the rope around the towing hitch on the tow vehicle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use appropriate safety precautions when towing a vehicle. Have someone steer the towed card. Write the words "in tow" with white shoe polish on the rear windshield of the towed car. Use hazard lights on the towing car and the towed car when possible. Never drive more than 15 to 20 miles per hour with a rope tow. Stay off of highways.

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  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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