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Transporting cars on a tow truck in Poland and abroad – similarities and differences

>Car transport on a tow truck is one of the most popular forms of transporting vehicles. Many people may associate it with negative events, e.g. a sudden car breakdown and the need for assistance. However, tow trucks are commonly used to bring cars from abroad for commercial purposes, or even to transport vehicles not adapted to move on public roads (e.g. racing cars). In this article, we will present the basic rules and costs of transporting cars on a tow truck in Poland and abroad. Are there any unwritten rules that should be followed? Read on to find out more.

Transporting a car on a tow truck in Poland – what you should remember

  • if the total weight of the set exceeds 3.5 tonnes, the driver must hold a B+E license; if the GVM is up to 3.5 tons – a category B driving license is enough
  • check items O.1 and O.2 in the vehicle registration certificate, specifying the maximum total weight of the trailer
  • the maximum speed of the tow truck with the vehicle on single carriageway roads is 70 km/h; on dual carriageways and expressways, the speed limit is 80 km/h
  • the transported car cannot impede driving, limit visibility, nor obscure the lights or license plate.
  • the tow truck should not be heavier than the curb weight of the towing vehicle

Exceeding the permissible total weight of the vehicle as well as the load capacity of the tow truck is punishable by a fine. Additionally, the driver will not be able to continue driving without unloading the extra kilograms.

How to prepare for transporting cars on a tow truck

Being prepared for transporting cars can save us unnecessary stress and problems. Below you will find a few steps to take to prepare for transporting cars on a tow truck:

1. Find a trusted carrier. Look for a company with experience and a good reputation in transporting cars on a tow truck. An online car transport exchange can help you choose the right carrier.

2. Prepare the relevant documents. If you outsource the transport of the car on a tow truck to a professional carrier within the European Union, they need a CMR waybill and a document confirming that the carrier is authorized to pick up the vehicle. Customs documents are also required for cars from outside the EU.

3. Carefully inspect the car before transporting. Document the condition of the car before transport by taking photos and noting any existing damages. This can help with potential insurance claims.

4. The car should enter the tow truck with the axle above which the engine is located. This procedure allows for proper weight distribution by putting a load on the front of the tow truck.

5. Make sure that the car is properly secured, e.g. with transport straps. Proper protection of transported vehicles is the key to avoiding damages during the transport of cars on a tow truck.

6. Familiarize yourself with the regulations regarding the transport of cars on a tow truck. Every country has different customs and legal regulations. If the transport of the car on a tow truck will run through several countries, it is worth reviewing the rules that apply there beforehand.

How to choose the right carrier to transport the car

  • make decisions based on good reviews, not the lowest price
  • look for a company that allows you to track the stages of transport and communicate with the driver
  • stick to clear terms of cooperation – the simpler and clearer the contract, the lower the risk of hidden costs
  • some carriers offer additional transport security in the form of insurance; this may entail higher costs, but it is a good form of protecting your own interests

Remember that transporting a car on a tow truck involves a greater risk of damages than in the case of transport with a car carrier trailer.

Transportation of cars on a tow truck abroad

The Member States of the European Union have very similar legal regulations regarding the transport of cars on a tow truck, which results from the adoption of the Vienna Convention and the EU Directive 91/439/CEE of July 29, 1991. The regulations usually boil down to determining the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle for a given type of license, as well as the maximum speed of the vehicle towing the trailer. If we outsource transport to a professional carrier, it is worth making sure you have the set of documents required for this type of transport. No worries! The transport company will inform you about what documents will be needed.

Car transport on a tow truck in Spain – regulations

  • on single-lane roads, outside built-up areas, tow truck drivers are subject to a speed limit of 70 km/h
  • on roads with more than one lane, there is a speed limit of 80 km/h for towing vehicles.
  • vehicles towing trailers weighing up to 750 kg on motorways are subject to a speed limit of 90 km/h, and other vehicles towing trailers – 80 km/h.

Car transport on a tow truck  – price list

Most carriers have their own conversion rates for the transport of vehicles on a tow truck, calculated for each kilometre. As a rule, the longer the route, the lower the rate per kilometre. Many companies also offer billing at a predetermined rate, rather than the exact number of kilometres driven. This solution allows us to avoid additional costs that may result from detours or non-optimal route selection.

A good way to reduce the costs associated with transporting a car on a tow truck is to look for a carrier that is performing another transport to a nearby location. We can then expect better rates, because the transport company will avoid “empty kilometres”.

How much does it cost to transport a car on a tow truck?

The average price of transporting a car on a tow truck is PLN 2.5/km. However, this is a simplified value. On shorter routes, the rate per kilometre may be as high as PLN 5, and in the case of longer routes, it may decrease to PLN 1.6/km. The price of transporting a car on a tow truck may be influenced by:

  • route length
  • route features (e.g. crossing toll highways)
  • distance between the carrier and the destination
  • dimensions of the transported car
  • time (specific date)
  • location (bigger city usually means higher prices)

The average price of transporting a car from Germany to Poland is PLN 1,200. However, taking into account the above factors, you can expect to see prices ranging from PLN 700 to PLN 1,800.

Transporting cars on a tow truck in Poland and abroad – a summary

Regulations regarding the transport of cars on a tow truck in the European Union countries are unified. Possible differences mainly concern speed limits on individual roads. Remember to check the permissible weight of the trailer in the vehicle registration certificate before carrying out the transport and to properly secure the transported car. You can always take advantage of the services of a professional carrier who will pick up the car for you and then deliver it to the designated address.