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AAA Towing: Roadside Assistance FAQs!

AAA Towing: Roadside Assistance FAQs!

When you need your vehicle towed, you are probably like most people and turn to AAA for roadside assistance. However, should you have a unique situation with a vehicle, you may be wondering if AAA will be a viable option. 

To find out, here are answers to seven frequently asked questions about AAA Towing and roadside assistance!

1. Will AAA Tow a Car with Expired Tags?

While you may think it would not make any difference to AAA whether or not your car has current or expired tags, that unfortunately is not the case.

Though AAA does tow vehicles, it does not view itself or its service to drivers as that of a traditional tow truck company or service. Rather, AAA considers itself to be more of a roadside assistance service to drivers whose vehicles have had breakdowns or been involved in accidents.

Because of this, AAA has a national policy in place that states it does not tow any vehicle that would not be considered street-legal within the area where AAA towing service is requested.

While AAA policy is clear about towing cars with expired tags, many members have run into problems with this policy over the past year or so, primarily due to the pandemic. 

For cars that have temporary tags, getting an extension of those tags or receiving their permanent tags has become more difficult, thanks to many DMV offices curtailing hours, shutting down altogether, or going to limited appointment-based service.

With its current policy in place, AAA believes this helps the organization cut down on calls from members who may be trying to take advantage of its towing services. Thus, if you need a tow that is considered to be one primarily for convenience or salvage, you will need to contact another tow truck company to get the service you need.

When a car is unregistered, AAA also has other reasons for not providing towing service, such as it could be a stolen vehicle or one that may have been part of a crime scene.

2. Will AAA Tow an Uninspected Car?

Just as it is when your car has expired tags, AAA will refuse to tow your vehicle if it does not have a current state inspection sticker. When a car is uninspected, it is viewed by AAA as being a vehicle that is not street-legal within that jurisdiction.

Again, this is seen by AAA as a salvage tow, rather than one where the driver has a disabled vehicle and requires immediate assistance.

Also, just because a vehicle is uninspected does not necessarily mean it is in bad shape mechanically or otherwise. Thus, if your vehicle is in insufficient mechanical condition that it can be driven safely on the road, AAA will not tow the vehicle anywhere, whether it is inspected or uninspected.

Should you have an uninspected vehicle that you need to have towed, your primary option will be to call a private tow truck service for the job. Whether you need the car towed to a garage for an inspection, an auto dealer to trade it in or sell it, or a junkyard, a call to AAA will do you no good whatsoever.

However, keep in mind that your AAA membership is linked to you, not the car you had when you initially purchased your membership. Though this will make little difference in the case of an uninspected vehicle, it could make the difference in getting or not getting a tow in other situations.

3. Will AAA Tow My Car from My House to a Repair Shop?

Once again, you will be out of luck if you are calling on AAA to tow your car from your house to a local repair shop.

Even though you may think this is not fair since your vehicle likely won’t be in good mechanical condition, AAA will refer back to its national policy stating it does not provide its members with towing services that are considered to be salvage or other convenience-related services.

As you know by now, AAA views its towing services as something to be used only for members who have had sudden breakdowns of their vehicles while driving down a highway, city street, or elsewhere.

Believing many people would take advantage of the towing service if it was not limited to specific situations, AAA believes it is able to help keep more drivers safe and help members who truly need assistance by sticking to a policy some may view as too strict.

Should your car need to be towed to a local repair shop, it will be your responsibility to hire a tow truck service to get your car to its destination. If your mechanic is nearby, chances are the tow truck company will not charge you very much for this service. 

However, always verify the amount you will be expected to pay prior to letting the tow truck driver hook up or load your vehicle.

4. Will AAA Tow Someone Else’s Car?

Finally, you can ask a question where the answer is yes. If you suffer a breakdown of a vehicle that is not yours, you can get AAA to tow your vehicle to a repair shop.

As stated earlier, when you are a AAA member, your membership is tied to you rather than any specific vehicle. Whether you are driving another person’s vehicle, be it a family member’s or a friend’s, you can call AAA and get roadside assistance to have your vehicle towed to a nearby repair shop.

Also, many people who are AAA members forget that they can still take advantage of this roadside assistance towing service even if they are not the driver of the vehicle. 

So long as you are a passenger in another person’s vehicle and have your AAA membership card with you, you can call AAA and receive towing services to a local repair shop, where the vehicle can be repaired and get you back on the road.

Under no circumstances should you believe you can simply give your AAA membership card to a family member or friend, thinking they will be able to call AAA to get towing service or other roadside assistance. 

According to AAA policy, the actual AAA member needs to be present at the scene where the vehicle is disabled, and must of course be either the driver or a passenger in the vehicle. Otherwise, service will be refused.

5. Will AAA Tow a Motorcycle?

Again, here is another question that can give you an affirmative answer!

Yes, AAA will indeed tow a motorcycle. However, if you will be riding a motorcycle as an AAA member or will be a passenger on someone else’s motorcycle, motorcycle roadside assistance is not automatically included with your basic membership.

To get your motorcycle towed by AAA, you will need to add optional AAA Motorcycle coverage to your existing membership. Costing an extra $35 per year, this coverage will extend not only to a motorcycle but also to motorcycle trailers and even trailers that are being pulled by motorcycles.

Along with getting a motorcycle towed by AAA, this coverage will bring with it additional benefits as well. These include emergency fuel delivery should you run out of gas, reimbursement for any locksmith services you may need, and the previously mentioned motorcycle trailer coverage.

If you are concerned about towing your motorcycle, don’t be. When a AAA towing service arrives, the driver will have all the necessary tools and training needed to tow the motorcycle safely to another location. 

As an example of their training, AAA tow truck drivers will not secure the motorcycle too tightly, since they know this can lead to damage to the motorcycle’s suspension system.

6. Will AAA Tow a Project Car?

While the previous questions have given you affirmative answers, this one will be both a yes and no answer.

Like many auto enthusiasts, you may have finally found that one special project car you can work on in your garage on weekends. However, getting it to your garage or elsewhere via AAA towing services will depend on a number of factors.

For example, you’ll need to take into consideration where your project car is currently considered to be street-legal. If it is, AAA should agree to tow it for you to your home or mechanic. However, if it is not street-legal, you’ll need to make other arrangements for towing.

Generally, if you buy your project car from a private individual, it will probably be street-legal. However, if you find your next great automotive project in a junkyard, AAA will view this as a salvage tow and will refuse service.

If you are considering buying a vehicle to be your project car, make sure you know whether it is street-legal or not. Otherwise, you may buy a vehicle and then find out to your surprise that AAA won’t agree to tow it to your home. 

Should this happen, it can create an awkward situation between you and the seller, and could potentially even nix the deal on your dream car.

7. Will AAA Tow to a Junkyard?

Though we hate to end on a sour note, you’ll have to make other arrangements for towing your car to a junkyard, since AAA will not provide this type of towing service.

As with other similar situations, AAA considers towing a vehicle to a junkyard to be a salvage tow, rather than one deemed to be emergency roadside assistance. Whether your vehicle is street legal or not when you want it towed to the junkyard, chances are AAA will not provide you with the service you need.

Also, as previously mentioned, AAA does not tow cars that are unregistered or have expired tags because there is always the chance the car could be stolen or part of a crime scene. Since it is not uncommon for some criminals to steal cars and then sell them to junkyards immediately for quick cash, always keep this in mind when you need a tow to a junkyard.

Should your car break down while being driven, cannot be safely started or driven further, and you decide on the spot to send it to a junkyard, this may create a loophole with AAA that works in your favor.

Under these conditions when your car can’t function but is street legal, AAA policy states your vehicle will be towed at no charge. If you have a Classic membership, towing will be up to five miles from the point where your car broke down to a destination of your choice. Should you have an AAA Plus membership, towing will take place up to 100 miles.

By knowing what your AAA membership does or does not include, you can avoid situations that can be both costly and embarrassing.

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Sharon Borcherdt

Thursday 14th of December 2023

Battery is dead in my vehicle which is in my garage. It needs to be towed to a vehicle service to get it replaced. Will AAA help me with this expense & how much? Thank you.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!