How Much Does it Cost to Tow a Semi Truck

March 6, 2022


The cost of towing a semi-truck ranges from $250 to $500 for the hookup fee and $20 - $50 per mile for every mile driven to the final destination. Many towing companies will charge a per-mile rate starting from the moment the start engine is started. Other companies will start charging the per-mile rate after the first few miles en-route to the vehicle. The cost of towing a semi-truck can be up to $10,000.

Towing a truck can be expensive. There’s no fixed rate, as there are some factors that contribute to how much the towing company is likely to charge you. Here’s what we mean:

This is a photo of a Powerful heavy-duty big rig mobile tow semi truck with emergency lights and towing equipment prepare to tow broken white big rig semi tractor standing out of service on the road side

Factors That Contribute To The Cost Of Towing A Semi-Truck

The factors that will determine how much it costs to tow your semi-truck are:

  1. Hookup Fee

The hookup fee is the amount the towing company charges you once they agree to tow your semi-truck. You can call this the basic service fee. This cost is often non-negotiable, and the amount depends on the towing company.

Semi-truck towing hookup fee ranges from $250 to $500. But if your semi-truck is heavier than anticipated, the towing company may increase your hookup fee. 

Semi trucks are towed using the tow hitch pictured above.

  1. Per Mile Cost

The towing company also charges you for every mile towed to your destination. This cost ranges from $20 to $50, depending on the towing company. 

For some insight into how the per mile cost is calculated, check out Trucker Daily's complete guide to calculating your per-mile-cost as a carrier: How to calculate your per mile cost

The way towing companies approach their cost power mile often varies. Some don’t charge you anything for the first few miles. Then there are those that charge from the moment they start their engine. 

You’ll also find towing companies that charge extra bucks after a designated distance. For instance, some towing companies charge more than the average $20 - $50 per mile once you go past the 20-mile distance. 

Ask your towing company about their cost per mile requirements before they tow your semi-truck.

  1. Per Hour Cost

Towing companies also use this metric to measure how much they charge you. 

Sometimes the distance may not be far, but the traffic that’ll be encountered en-route to the final destination can be time-consuming. In some other situations, the way your semi-truck is being towed may require that the towing truck go slower than necessary. 

In such situations, the towing company may elect to charge you per hour rather than per mile.

  1. Location

The state you’re in also affects how much you would pay to tow your semi-truck. 

Some states are producer states while others are consumer states. Producer states have more semi-trucks coming to them to pick up cargo. And as a result, there’s a higher chance of trucks needing towing in those states. This then brings semi-truck towing costs in such states relatively lower. 

Towing companies in consumer states, on the other hand, often have relatively higher towing costs because customers for the towing company are few‌. 

  1. Work on Site

Towing a semi-truck is not always so easy. Many times, it may require additional labor, such as pulling a truck out of a ditch, clearing accident wreckage, or having to go a remote distance to get to your semi-truck. 

Many towing companies refer to hourly charges for this. And the more complicated the work on-site is, the more hours the towing company spends at the site. 

The hourly charges or work on-site done by a towing company often range from $200 per hour to $500 per hour.

If your semi-truck requires a lot of work before it is clear for towing, the towing company may charge you for that work. 

you per hour rather than per mile.

This driver is going to have a tough time getting towed out of this one.

Why Is It Expensive To Tow A Semi-Truck?

If after you’ve gone through that and you think, “Wow! Towing a semi-truck is expensive”, then you’re right. Towing a semi-truck can be very expensive.

But why is it expensive to tow a semi-truck?

Towing a semi-truck is often expensive because semi-trucks are heavy. And heavy vehicles require heavy machinery to be towed. 

Expenses could also pile up when there is a lot of work to be done, for instance, after an accident. Because of the size of the semi-truck, there is likely to be more damage done, more pieces to pick, and more work to be done. 

Those two are major reasons towing semi-trucks is expensive. 

However, this isn't always the case. It is even possible you pay less than $1000 for towing your semi-truck. Some truck drivers have even reported towing their semi-trucks for less than $500. But ultimately, whatever your towing charge racks up to depends on those factors up there and the towing company itself.

Semi trailers are towed from the area of the breakdown to the closest body shop. Much like people are taken to the nearest hospital. Their large size makes things a little more complex.

Conclusion

The cost of towing a semi-truck ranges from $250 to $500 for the hookup fee and $20 - $50 per mile for the rest of the journey.

And while we can’t give you the exact amount the towing company would charge you, we know that the work on-site the towing company does, the state where you are, and the company’s per-mile and/or per-hour rates all contribute to what you pay for towing your semi-truck.

About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

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