What happens if I get towed?

What happens if I get towed?

Forgive me if this has been covered before; I've been lurking on this board for several months now and haven't seen this question addressed.

Got my Model S a couple weeks ago, and I'm delighted with it. The car's been great, and other than a couple momentary glitches, I've had no problems with it at all (knock wood). But in reading the owner's manual, I noticed something interesting...

The Model S can't be towed. It also appears it can't be loaded onto a flatbed trailer if you don't have a key, because you need to get inside and put it in neutral and Jack mode. So what happens if somebody tows (or transports) my car without my cooperation-- say, if I'm parked illegally (or somebody THINKS I'm parked illegally)? Can they do that without a key? Can they do it without damaging the car? And if somebody DOES damage the car by trying to tow or transport it, who's liable?

My gut guess is that in most jurisdictions, I'm liable for any damage in this situation, but it seems like the towing company would be obligated to take reasonable care, or property owners could just punish illegal parkers by smashing their car up with a sledgehammer. Then again, maybe not.

It's not like I regularly (or even irregularly) park illegally; but the risk of towing damage seems much bigger for the Model S than for most cars, and I'm surprised this issue hasn't come up here. Would somebody care to fill me in (or speculate)?

Mike C | April 13, 2013

That's a good question. Broder wrote about how the tow truck driver dragged it onto the flatbed, inch by inch. Painful!

jonathanclarkcom | April 13, 2013

Great question, I was wondering about this yesterday - seems like tow companies have to carry liability insurance, but the terms of there insurance could vary widely. I wonder what kind if damage would result from forcing the car on to a tow ramp?

sethvandermeer | April 14, 2013

Here in The Netherlands they fit extra wheels under your rear wheels (like rollerblades).

Winnie796 | April 14, 2013

Normally they would jack up your car and fit small wheels as sethvandermeer says.

Hans (Amsterdam) | April 14, 2013

Of course you can tow the Model S.
Make sure the car is switched on (you have to sit in the car behind the wheel),
put in Drive and tow the car.
The car does not know the difference between driving steep downhill or being towed.

Have a look at this: (extremely funny !!! )

GeirT | April 14, 2013

@ Hans (Amsterdam)

Good thing. We get stranded we can be towed into a charge and drive back home; with regeneration it should be possible. Hah... range anxiety and fatalism departs :-)

Brian H | April 14, 2013

When being towed, you need regen (drag) on high, so it would be quite a strain for the towing vehicle.

GeirT | April 14, 2013

Brian H;
You are of course right and I meant it more as a joke. Nevertheless, in dire need....

olanmills | April 14, 2013

I thought tow guys usually used small dolleys on the wheels to tow cars when they are illegally parked, etc. That's also how they get them sideways out of tight spaces and such.

DTsea | April 14, 2013

manual says dont tow the car. dont void your warranty!

seabobbase | October 31, 2013

it would be very interesting to find out if regen Charge is posible without harming the Systems in the tesla Roadster.

if you regen for example by towing or pushing the car it will work (let's not consider the strain on the Chassis or if it would be practical at all).

If you connect something to the weels to make them turn as if you were driving, then the tesla will not have Speed (canbus will tell the Systems), will not be cooled by air, and if you let regen run Long time it maybe an unusual strain on the involved parts?

It would be a nice way to Charge a Roadster with up to 40 amps by simply turning the weels. You could turn the weels by solar power or wind power set up. you would save all the pv charging accessories like transformer, batteries, Regulators and so on. just let the weel turn when there is power ... regardless when and how much is regenerated. When there is power to turn the wee the tesla will be charged! That would be good if it works.

Would it work?

Brian H | October 31, 2013

There's a vid somewhere of a Russian charging a Leaf by towing by rope behind a pickup. Worked for that; no idea if it would with a Roadster.

Car t man | October 31, 2013

Typically, in most markets, whoever does the towing is responsible for any damage. Too bad the Tesla can't be lowered (with air suspension) completely, so nothing could fit around the wheels or under the car, leaving no space to "grab" the car. Some Citroens are great at that. Everyone else's car will get
towed before that car because others are low hanging fruit, whereas such a car poses a risk for the tow service.

jajabor | October 31, 2013

Pay extra attention - don't park anywhere where it could be towed.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 31, 2013

If a tow company wants to get your illegally parked car they will.

robert | October 31, 2013

Why can't one tow the car in Neutral?
No difference to coasting, I would have thought.

That would alleviate the need for a flatbed and very probably save the day in an awkward situation. I always have a towing rope in my cars, and I have often helped stranded cars to the next gas station or such like.