Do You Need Car Keys To Tow A Car?

Would you like to know if you need a car's keys to tow it? Well, we have had a look into this question and have the answers for you, as well as to other related questions.

You do not need car keys to tow a car. If you have the right set of dollies, you can tow a car without the key. You can do this by lifting the drive wheels off the road. Towing can be dangerous without the proper training, tools, and procedures. Doing it yourself, without previous experience, could risk damage to you or the car.

In this article, we discuss whether AAA can tow your car without keys and if you can put a car in neutral without a key. We will also discuss how to put a car with a push-button start in neutral, whether you can tow a car while it's in park, and if you can get your car towed without being present. Finally, we will talk about which roadside service provider will be best for towing your car. Continue reading to learn more.

tow truck with a car on a public street. Do You Need Car Keys To Tow A Car

Can AAA Tow My Car Without Keys?

AAA can tow your car without keys. They are very experienced at this so it shouldn't be a problem.

First, they will determine if the car is front-wheel or rear-wheel drive. Then they will need to install self-loading dollies. They install them on the front tires if the car is a front-wheel drive and on the back tires if the car is rear-wheel drive. From there, it is a simple as either loading it onto a flatbed tow truck or attaching a tow strap and towing.

Lost keys on the sidewalk

Can You Put A Car In Neutral Without A Key?

You can put a car in neutral without a key. You will need to know if it is an automatic or a manual because the technique for each is a bit different.

Putting A Manual Car In Neutral Without A Key

The technique for putting a car into neutral without a key is much easier on a manual than an automatic. For the manual car, all you need to do is press all the way down on the clutch. This will allow you to switch the stick shift into neutral. That is all it takes to put a manual car in neutral without a key.

Putting An Automatic Car In Neutral Without A Key

It is a little harder to put an automatic car in neutral but, it isn't too tricky. First, you want to locate a small square panel next to where you shift gears. You should be able to pull off the panel with a screwdriver or something similar.

Under the panel is a small button. While holding down that button, you should be able to shift the car into neutral.

Cody the Car Guy has a great video on finding the small square panel on an automatic car; have a look:

How Do You Put A Push-Button Start Car In Neutral Without A Key?

Putting a push-button start car in neutral is no different than any other automatic. You simply look near the gear shift for a small panel that can be removed. Under the panel, there is a small button that you press inward while shifting to neutral.

Can You Tow A Car While It Is In Park?

If you have a car that is stuck in park, you may have no choice but to try and tow it without putting it in neutral. It is recommended that you have professionals handle this to prevent any damage to the car.

What you need to do is remove the rear driveshaft. This will allow you to tow the vehicle with the back wheels on the ground, without risking breaking the mechanical lock on an automatic transmission.

Can I Get My Car Towed Without Being Present?

You do not necessarily need to be present to have your car towed. On Quora, Amer Khwaja discusses a time he had to have his car towed without being there.

Amer Khwaja had AAA premium membership when his car broke down out of state. While he was with it, he had it towed to an authorized AAA repair shop. Then he went home.

From his home, he decided to have it towed to the dealership. Since the repair shop was in another state, being present for the tow would have been a hassle. To allow for the tow without his presence, Amer called everyone involved to authorize towing to the new location.

First, he called AAA to let them know he wouldn't be there for the tow and that he authorized it. Then he called the repair shop to make sure they would release the car to AAA. Then he called the dealership to make sure they would accept the car. 

So it seems that if you inform people and give the proper authorizations, you don't necessarily need to be present to have your car towed.

What Is The Best Roadside Assistance Plan?

When it comes to towing your car, whether it is an automatic or a manual, stuck in park or in neutral, it would be easier and safer to just have professionals help. Here are the five most popular Roadside Assistance Plans and some information on the differences so you can make your own informed decision on which would be best for you.


AAA has a reputation for being the gold standard of roadside service. A plan cost between $38-$164 per year, depending on which of the three plans you choose.

The three plans are classic, plus, and premier. A plus or premier plan offers reimbursements on emergency medical transport, locksmith fees, trip interruption, and windshield repair.

The main services offered with a AAA roadside assistance plan are:

  • Towing
  • Locksmith service
  • Flat tire service
  • Jump-start
  • Fuel delivery
  • Mechanical first aid
  • Identity theft protection
  • Passport photos
  • Trip planning

AAA has received an A+ from the BBB for offering an exceptional roadside assistance plan.

There are limits to the plan, such as 5 miles maximum on the classic plan and 100 miles on the other plans. AAA will tow your car to the limit or until the nearest gas station, AAA-approved repair facility, or preferred mechanic.

There is also a policy limit. You are limited to four service calls per membership year. Despite these limitations, AAA is one of the most highly rated roadside service providers.

Better World Club

Better World Club is based out of Oregan and is the only green roadside service provider. They are 100% carbon-neutral and maintain a B Corporation Certification, gained and maintained by adhering to the highest environmental standards for keeping our planet healthy.

A service plan from Better World Club costs between $58-$98 per year, depending on which of the two plans you choose. Both Better World Club plans offer:

  • Flat tire service
  • Jump-start
  • Fuel delivery
  • Lockout service
  • Trip routing
  • Discounts on hotels and rental cars

They have an A+ from the BBB for their roadside service plan.

The tow limits of Better World Club's plan are 5 miles with the basic auto package and 100 miles with the premium auto package. The policy limit is four service calls per year.

While Better World Club doesn't have as many special features as some of its competitors, they are a green company that has little impact on the planet.


Geico charges $14 a year for their plan, which offers:

  • A tow to the nearest repair shop
  • Flat tire service
  • Jump-start
  • Lockout services

They also maintain an A+ from the BBB for their roadside service plan. 

Geico's roadside services are limited to a tow to the nearest repair shop. The policy limits are five service calls per year. Geico offers a decent amount of services for one of the cheapest plans available.


Progressive roadside assistance is a little more expensive than some of its competitors but offers some of the best benefits for a roadside assistance provider. They also have useful emergency roadside services like towing, lockout assistance, and winching, all with a larger range than other competitors.

A progressive roadside assistance plan costs $16 a year. While slightly more than some other competitors, they offer:

  • Towing
  • Jump-start
  • Battery change
  • Winching
  • Fuel delivery
  • Flat tire service
  • Lockout service
  • On-scene labor

Progressive has received an A+ for its roadside assistance plan.

There are limits on a Progressive roadside assistance plan. When towing a vehicle they will tow 15 miles or to the nearest repair shop. There are also service limits that apply to be determined by your specific policy. Progressive has one of the highest-rated roadside assistance plans on the market today.


USAA offers some of the best value of any roadside service provider. With a plan that is only $14 a year, it is one of the cheapest paths to roadside service.

A roadside service plan from USAA offers:

  • Towing
  • Jump-start
  • Lockout service
  • Flat tire change
  • Fuel delivery

They have received an A- for their roadside service plan.

The USAA plan limits towing to the nearest repair shop. The policy limits include paying a premium of up to $100 per incident. Despite this, USAA still offers one of the cheapest roadside service plans. Even with the premium, it would still be worth a membership.

Tow truck towing a broken down car on the street. Do You Need Car Keys To Tow A Car


You can tow a car without keys. It is easier if you can get it in neutral first but, if you cannot, there are techniques to help tow the car anyway. It is, however, usually better to leave it to the professionals. There are also several options for choosing professionals, so make sure you choose someone who works best for you.

If you enjoyed this article, check out the links below to explore other posts:

Lost Car Keys? Here’s What to Do

Where to Get Car Keys Made?

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