How much does a tow truck service cost?
Updated 7 Nov 2019
If you’re looking to book a tow truck for private purposes, such as transporting a project car, you’ll need to contact individual tow truck companies to get quotes. You might find that tow truck companies have a flat rate for a certain amount of time or distance covered, which usually covers the travel time to you, plus the loading of your vehicle and then some additional travel distance.
If the distance you need your car towed falls within this, happy days! However, if you need your car towed further, companies may implement a cost per kilometre fee. It’s important to get a quote for the exact distance you need your car towed so you can easily compare different quotes.
In terms of accident towing, some governments have made things a little easier. States such as Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales all have regulations around maximum tow truck fees when a vehicle is being recovered from a traffic accident or from a private parking facility.
How much does a tow truck service cost in Queensland?
Accident towing is regulated in most, but not all, parts of Queensland. The following maximum charges are applicable in Queensland for a ‘standard tow’.
A standard tow includes;
- 60 minutes working time collecting the vehicle, including loading and cleaning the scene
- Transportation of the crashed vehicle to the agreed destination or transportation of a private property towed vehicle to the nearest holding yard of the towing licence holder.
- 72 hours of storage in holding yard for both crash and private property towed vehicles.
Crash towing: Maximum regulated towing fee for the first 50km is $369.30, and then $7.30 for each subsequent kilometre over 50km.
Private parking: Maximum regulated fee of $255.65 for release of the vehicle from the towing yard. Or, $153.40 for the onsite release of the vehicle if it is still at the private parking location, but has already been loaded and secured onto the tow truck.
The maximum charge for storage costs is $25.55 per day, for a private property towed vehicle.
According to the Tow Truck Regulation 2009, fees for locating the owner, travelling to the location of the vehicle that needs to be towed, allowing the owner access to the vehicle whilst inside the towing yard or other incidental fees cannot be charged.
How much does a tow truck service cost in Victoria?
Note: The following regulated charges only apply to the Melbourne controlled area (Melbourne Metro and Mornington Peninsula). Fees in other areas of Victoria are not regulated, however, they are required to be reasonable. All prices include GST.
The first 8km - $221.40, (covers the distance travelled from the towing depot to the crash scene, loading of vehicle, and then from the crash scene to the authorised address.
After the first 8km - $3.50 per/km
After hours surcharge - $75.60 (Between 5pm-8am Monday to Friday OR 5pm Friday to 5am Monday OR all public holidays),
Car: $25 for undercover, or $16.90 in a locked yard.
Motorcycle: $8.25 for undercover, or $5.30 in a locked yard.
How much does a tow truck service cost in New South Wales?
The following maximum towing fees apply in New South Wales. All prices exclude GST.
For any accident towing - $246
Towing recovered stolen vehicles - $162
Each subsequent tow - $89
Charge for each extra kilometre over 10km (Sydney Metro area) - $5 per/km
Charge for each extra kilometre over 20km (Sydney Metro area) - $4 per/km
Surcharge outside of business hours - 20%
Storage in authorised holding yard
For light motor vehicles (Sydney metro area) - $23 per day (partial or complete)
For light motor vehicles (outside Sydney metro) - $14 per day (partial or complete)
Motorcycles (Sydney metro) - $12 per day (partial or complete)
Motorcycles (outside Sydney metro) - $7 per day (partial or complete)
How much does a tow truck service cost in South Australia?
According to choice.com.au, the following regulated fees apply to tow trucks in South Australia. Normal hours are between 7:30am and 5:00pm on days that aren’t a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.
Towing - first 20km
Maximum fee during normal hours - $359
Maximum fee outside normal hours - $418
Maximum fee during normal hours - $3/km
Maximum fee outside normal hours - $4/km
Waiting time (more than 30mins)
Maximum fee during normal hours - $52/hr
Maximum fee outside normal hours - $79/hr
Maximum fee during normal hours - $39/hr
Maximum fee outside normal hours - $66/hr
How much does a tow truck service cost in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and the ACT?
Towing fees in these states aren’t regulated, however, to still remain in control of the fees you pay, do not sign anything that does not state the total cost of the service. This should include the cost of the tow and even the daily rates of storage at a holding yard, if the car is not being towed to your address. Tow trucks drivers need your signature on a towing authority form before taking your car, so don’t sign anything unless you are happy with the price.
In all cases, you generally have the right to refuse a tow, even if you’re unhappy with the quoted price. If you live in an area without a towing roster system (where the police assign one tow truck to your car in the event of an accident), and you have a preferred towing company, you’re not obligated to go with the first tow truck that rocks up, if you don’t want to. Best case scenario is that you have tow truck cover included in your insurance, and a simple call to them will sort out your towing needs quickly, without you needing to worry about the price.
Remember, in nearly all states besides Tasmania and ACT, you must sign a towing authority form before a tow truck can remove your car, just don’t forget to read the fine print!
On weekdays Rowan can be found in the AutoGuru office, driving content and growth with the rest of the marketing team.
On weekends you’ll probably find him in the garage with his father restoring a 1958 Ford Star Model Customline or enjoying a cruise through the Gold Coast hinterland on his Suzuki GSX-R600.
Despite his passion for being behind the wheel (or handlebars), he looks forward to the day when he can commute to work in his own driverless car.