Melbourne Towing Companies

I wanted to look at the topic of getting a car towed in Melbourne.  When I moved to Melbourne I had a problematic car with a dodgy fuel pump and it had a habit of breaking down randomly and needing a tow.  I used the RACV for the towing to the nearby mechanic I knew that serviced the vehicle but this week I wanted to write more on the subject of vehicle towing as it relates to Melbourne residents.

There might be various reason you need a tow, perhaps you may have broken down on the side of the road and let the RACV membership lapse, perhaps you may need to call the RACV and get them to tow your vehicle to home as well.  This article is about breakdown towing which differs from accident towing which I will get to later.  There might be times where you simply need to get the car from your home to the mechanic.

Most Melbourne towing companies work on a 24 hour basis.  As mentioned, you can request a tow through your RACV membership (or if you are down from interstate say from Queensland and have an RACQ membership – you can request a RACV tow as they are an affiliated road club).  There’s no real thing under the term “cheap towing” when it comes to getting a towing company around it can be quite expensive.  You can ring them and request all manner of jobs such as wreck removal, fleet towing services but Victorian Government regulations restrict the removal of vehicles in the event of accidents.

Lets look at the different types of towing in Victoria.

Trade Towing: The term “Trade Towing” is for non-accident motor vehicle tows.  This is where you hire the tow truck for a motor vehicle tow or for fee for service basis.  For example if the motor car breaks down somewhere and needs a tow truck operator to come and tow the vehicle away and you don’t have RACV membership to cover call out towing and removal of your motor vehicle.

Tow trucks have different types of number plates to indicate the type of towing that they are permitted.  For example, Trade towing trucks are trade only and have a licence plate on the vehicle ending in the letters “TT”.  These trucks are only performing trade towing jobs.  On the other hand there are trucks with number plates ending in TOW and licenced trucks may perform both trade towing AND accident towing.  Heavy vehicle towing is generally done by tow trucks with the number plates ending in HTT or begining with TOW.

If you need to have a trade tow for your motor vehicle, it doesn’t matter whether the towing truck is trade only or a TOW tow truck.  Both types of tow trucks must comply with the Victorian road safety laws, consumer protection laws and other relevant laws such as the Australian Design Rules which sets out design safety standards of the tow truck vehicle.

How to order a tow truck?

So you want to get a tow truck.  There are a number of ways to engage a tow truck to move your vehicle.  A number of towing services are listed in the yellow pages either the physical book (although I don’t know who uses the book version of the yellow pages these days) or yellow pages online.  You can do a simple google search for towing companies in Melbourne “Google it” or if you are an RACV member simply ring, explain what the problem is and if its part of your membership they will send around a tow truck company to pickup your vehicle.

The next component to towing in Melbourne is called Accident towing.  

Accident towing is out of the scope of the article as I wanted to write more about removing a vehicle that say had broken down from a residential property or in transit and discuss the options.

How much does it cost for a tow truck?

There are two types of towing charges applicable for car removal and towing in Melbourne.  Accident towing is charged according to rates published in Victorian Government Gazettes and include GST.  Again accident towing is outside the scope of this website.

The charges from Trade Towing are not regulated as they are for accident towing services.  Just as a guide for the Melbourne & Mornington Peninsula Area
Accident towing costs are generally:

Base Fee
(includes first 8 kilometres travel by tow truck)
Additional per Kilometre Fee
(for travel beyond the first 8 kilometres)
After Hours Surcharge
5pm to 8am Monday to Friday
5pm Friday to 8am Monday
Midnight to midnight on public holidays

The following maximum rates apply for secure storage of damaged motor vehicles following towing from the scene of an accident within the Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula defined area is:

Fees quoted are per day.

Car – under cover$15.10
Car – in locked yard$10.10
Motorcycle – under cover$5.10
Motorcycle – in locked yard$3.20

as mentioned, towing rates for trade towing are different and not covered by a scheduled Government Gazette rate.  Payment for the services is generally cash or if its via the RACV is simply a signoff for the job following which the RACV will pay the towing company.  Some tow truck drivers also carry portable EFTPOS facilities to take credit cards.  As mobile internet improves and POS services to take credit cards improves this will become a more common method to pay for towing.  In cases, you wont get your car released by the tow truck operator unless the bill has been paid.

Nationwide Towing is a large 24 hour towing company located in Melbourne.  Nationwide Towing do all sorts of towing such as cars, limousines, four wheel drives,  utes, vans, stationwagons etc. You can find out more about Nationwide towing on their website.

Some self storage and companies provide trailers that can be used to transport cars. Kennards for example in some states (unfortunately not Victoria) rent car trailers.

Towing Examples

Flatbed tow truck. Example company that is based in Melbourne and got reasonably good reviews. Available 24/7 and can move not just cars but steel, equipment, containers up to 20ft etc.
flatbed towing trucks
These small "dolly/gypsy" style trailers can be used and I found some unregistered online for around$1,300. Those that are familiar with these might be more up to date on pricing, but if you have a collector car, regularly moving cars then this might be a cheaper option for you to buy your own gear. You can search gypsy or dolly trailer and you should find some for sale on sites like gumtree and ebay.
tilt gypsy
For those looking for something a bit heavier duty you can buy tow truck, trucks on sites like ebay. At the time of writing this Kenworth Tow Truck was for sale and receiving bids of just over $4,000. There were other tow trucks also for sale or flat beds.
kenworth tow truck for sale Melbourne
Another style of towing system is a trailer on the end of a truck. In this case, the company provides towing services between Melbourne and Adelaide. Cars don't have to be running. For more information click here.
trailer towing melbourne to adelaide-001

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