Difference Between a Towing Company and an Auto Transport Company

What is a Towing Company?


There are many methods for moving vehicle from point A to point B. The main difference between a towing company and an auto transport company is that towing companies run short distances and they do them immediately. Usually because of an emergency. If you're broken down on the side of the road, and need someone to come right away then you would call a towing company. Because of the speedy service and they are coming to you and just for you, the cost will be high. Typically this service will be a vehicle that doesn't run with it's owner stranded awaiting help. This is usually the only reason to for you to call a towing company Also be aware that using this option, the vehicle could be moved using a standard tow truck. Not a carrier or flatbed, although some have flat beds. There is much more likelihood that a towing company can cause damage because the tow truck driver is in a rush to get to the next job. The more cars he tows that day, the more he takes home for the day. They also typically do a variety of things like recovery of vehicles of that are to be repossessed and are also are hired by parking lot companies or the city to move vehicles that are illegally parked. As a result they are limited by distance, usually less than 100 miles.


What is an Auto Transport Company?


The difference between a towing company and an auto transport company is that the auto transport company will move longer distances and be used for planned situations, even if the vehicle is moving down the street. Auto transport is known by many names that all mean one in the same. You may have heard it be called car shipping, vehicle shipping, car transport, auto shipping, just to name a few of the terms used. In some cases you may have heard it called long distance towing. It's important to know that long distance towing will refer to auto transport, always. Again, this method of shipping vehicles is usually for a planned situation or where you have time (at least a day or two). Meaning, you are moving to another location and you were not stranded somewhere needing help. It can be ready now but also picked up within a reasonable amount of time. For example we usually get a vehicle that is ready now within 1 to 3 days. So if you're stuck on the side of the road that would be a long time to wait. This service will usually cost a lot less even for a very short move over using a tow company because we have time to get the vehicle and have it loaded with other vehicles going in the same area. In fact, the whole premise of auto transport is savings by numbers. If you have a 10 car carrier going somewhere, every vehicle on the carrier is splitting the cost of what the trucker expects to gain by making the shipment and the cost associated with moving the vehicles. Going with an auto transport company even if it's a very short distance also helps prevent damage because they are using a carrier or flat bed and are not dragging the vehicles or rushing to get as many cars as they can around town.

Tip: It's important to note that you should not confuse "long-distance towing" with the services of a towing company. They are not the same at all. The term will always refer to auto transport. This is where the two can get mixed up since there are so many ways to reference the act of shipping a vehicle to another location.


My Vehicle Does Not Run and is Moving a Short Distance, Do I Need a Towing Company?


Absolutely not. If you have a day or two to get it, you can save up to 70% of the cost by using an auto transport company. The difference between a towing company and an auto transport company in price here will mean you save money, and most of the time a good amount of it. This is because in most cases those local transports can be only $100 or $150 for even a full size SUV If it's somewhere nearby. It may take 1 or 2 days to get someone that's available, but be sure it will cost less and not be a a tow rig that will drag your vehicle on it's wheels. So not only do you get better service, it also costs a lot less.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.