How to Tow a Motorcycle with a Car

Howdy, Rider? This guide teaches how to tow a motorcycle with a car safely and legally. To transport a motorcycle from one location to another without riding it can be tougher.

how to tow a motorcycle with a car

A motorcycle is a small machine but may be heavier when moving without starting the engine.


You can tow a motorcycle with a car in many ways, which are typically easier with larger trailers and pickup trucks.

Is It Legal to Tow a Motorcycle with a Car?

Yes, it is legal to tow a motorcycle with a car. However, you must follow the state guidelines for towing, especially on roadways. Ensure that the bike is secured properly to the towing trailer, motorcycle carrier, or tow dolly. Depending on your state, you’d want to make sure that your trailer is registered.


How to Tow a Motorcycle with a Car

As mentioned earlier, there are several options for towing or transporting a motorcycle with a vehicle. You might have to tow your bike if it breaks down in a desolate area, runs out of gas, or has a flat tire. If your motorcycle battery is bad, you can jump start it with a car battery. Make sure to learn about why your motorcycle battery drains faster.

Below are the reliable ways regarding how to tow a motorcycle with a car:

Use a Tow Dolly

Is it legal to tow a motorcycle with a car

Using a tow dolly makes towing a motorcycle with a car simpler. You would have to install a hitch on the towing car. Usually, using a tow dolly is a way of towing a motorcycle with rear wheel on the ground.

A tow dolly is a strong metal you attach to your car, big or small. Tow dollies are suitable for jeeps, SUVs, vans, and any off-road vehicle. You will connect it to the front of the motorcycle tire and secure it to the back of the car.


Finally, lift and place the front of the bike on the wheel support and the motorcycle is ready for towing. Usually, the rear wheel will be on the ground.

Also, make sure the motorcycle is in neutral gear to prevent a road crash. Before installing a hitch receiver on your vehicle, ensure that the motorcycle does not exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle. You can refer to the owner’s manual to determine the vehicle towing capacity.

Use a Trailer

How to tow a scooter with a car

You can tow a motorcycle with a car using a trailer. Attach the trailer to the small or big car using a hitch.

Some states require driver’s license certifications and additional registrations, which depend on the trailer length.

A towing trailer may be foldable (easy to store), small or compact. Some trailers can hold up to two motorcycles while some hold one motorcycle.

Don’t just strap a trailer to your vehicle. Ensure that the tongue weight, dolly, and motorcycle weight, do not exceed the vehicle towing capacity.

Use a Motorcycle Carrier

Towing a motorcycle with rear wheel on the ground

A motorcycle fitted on a carrier is less secured compared to when you fit it on a trailer.

You’d also have to connect the carrier to your vehicle’s hitch. A motorcycle carrier functions as a  ramp for placing the motorcycle so that it is towed from behind the vehicle. It tends to be one of the easiest ways to transport a motorcycle.

You’d also want to ensure that the car’s towing capacity matches the tow weight requirement.

Tow with a Rope

Is it safe to tow a motorcycle in neutral
how to tow a motorcycle with a rope

You can tow your motorcycle using a strong rope—it’s also a way to tow a motorcycle without a trailer. It’s not quite safe to tow a motorcycle with a rope, though. Moreover, you must have a licensed partner to handle the towed motorcycle.

As though you’re towing another car, tie the rope to the hitch of the car and tie it to the handlebar of the towed motorcycle. Ensure that the rope is tight on both motor vehicles.

Drive gently and do not use the brakes unnecessarily. Make sure to have a decent communication channel with the rider of the towed motorcycle to prevent a crash.

It’s challenging to tow a motorcycle in the traffic safely in this manner. Nonetheless, at low speeds, typically below 25mph, you can tow the broken motorcycle safely.

What to Know/Have Before Towing a Motorcycle with a Car

Before you tow a motorcycle with a car, note the following:

Valid Driver’s License

Of course, it is illegal to drive a car with no license. So, you’d require a valid driver’s license to be eligible to tow a motorcycle using a car.

Trailer Certification

Depending on your state, the trailer may have to be registered before using it on the roadway. The size of the trailer also determines whether you require certification. If you already own a trailer that is certified, you’re ready to tow.

Also, make sure that electrical systems and taillights are functional. These would be helpful while towing the bike to notify other road users for improved safety. Other road users follow these signals to determine when to use their brakes, indicators, etc. It also tells them when you’re making a right or left turn at corners.

Registration Papers

You would also require the registrations of the towing car and towed motorcycle in the case of being pulled over by the cops. Your papers must be up to date.

Safety Measures

Do not focus on the functionality of the electrical systems and taillights only. Make sure the trailer rear is visible, especially under rainy, snowy, or windy conditions. You may attach a bright-colored sticker or available material for increased visibility.

If you tow the bike using a tow dolly, the vehicle behind you should be able to tell both ends of the motorcycle. You may use a bright fluorescent sticker to enhance visibility. Alternatively, you may use a bright-colored piece of cloth.

Did you misplace your motorcycle key? You can start your motorcycle without a key instead.

Can a small car tow a motorcycle?

A small car can pull a small trailer. You need a reliable hitch installed on your small car, then get a trailer hitch carrier hauler, making sure the tongue weight, which is half bike weight and weight of dolly, does not exceed the capacity of your car.

Final Thoughts

When towing a motorcycle with a car, drive gently and do not match the brakes hard. Note that towing a motorbike with a car, especially a small car, can overheat the engine at increased speed. The chassis will suffer undue pressure and fuel consumption increases due to the heavy engine load.

The recommended method for towing your motorcycle is contacting a towing service provider. In this manner, the safety of your motorcycle is guaranteed since they employ heavy-duty tow trucks to transport your motorcycle.

Exclusive: what if you have no jack to lift a bike?

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