Towing vs Roadside Assistance – What’s the Difference?

Image of Mundie's providing roadside assistance

While often used interchangeably, the terms ‘roadside assistance’ and ‘towing’ serve very different purposes. While both share the goal of getting your vehicle out of a tricky situation, they entail different courses of action. However, despite their differences, a reputable towing company will likely offer both professional towing services and roadside assistance to their customers. This ensures they have the training, equipment, and certification to provide the help needed for emergency situations.

At Mundie’s Towing & Recovery, we are proud to offer all-round services to our clients to ensure they feel safe and supported when in our care. To help you better navigate your emergency situation (and determine your needs), here are the differences between roadside assistance and towing services:

What are towing services?

To “tow” means to transport a vehicle from one place to another. Now, depending on the variables involved (i.e., size of vehicle, distance of tow, type of emergency situation, etc.) there are different types of tow trucks that serve specific purposes.

For example, a common tow truck is the flatbed. Due to its flat design, a flatbed tow truck has a wide surface area and is ideal for transporting totaled, damaged, or illegally parked vehicles. However, it can also be used to transport fully functioning automobiles as well, such as luxury vehicles, bikes, boats, etc. There are also heavy-duty tow trucks which are ideal for hauling bigger vehicles and equipment.

Simply put, if you need a vehicle transported from one place to another – without physically driving the car – you need a tow truck company. While towing services can be combined with roadside assistance, towing services only refer to the transport, not the repairs.

Why would a vehicle need to be towed?

There are all sorts of situations that call for the assistance of a tow truck company. Most commonly, people are stuck with a car that just won’t start. This could be caused by cold weather as vehicle engines tend to freeze up in the winter months. Conversely, the temperatures could be too hot, causing an engine to overheat and become unsafe – or unable – to drive.

There are also common towing scenarios where a car is in perfect working condition, it’s just in an inconvenient spot. For example, if a car is parked illegally and poses a traffic hazard, bylaws will enlist the help of a tow truck company to have the car moved. Other situations like getting stuck in a tight spot or being involved in a collision will also require the assistance of a tow truck company.

What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance helps drivers get out of challenging situations on the side of the road. For example, if your vehicle breaks down suddenly while driving, you will need roadside assistance. This will ensure a trained and well-equipped individual comes to your aid to provide the quick fixes needed to get your car going again. Whether this means you can safely operate your own vehicle or have it transported to an auto repair shop is dependent on the situation. What’s important is that roadside assistance gets you and your vehicle safely off the side of the road.

Why would you need roadside assistance?

There are many reasons which make roadside assistance necessary; however, the most common ones include:

  • Flat Tire. While dangerous, this is extremely common. If you have a flat tire, roadside assistance ensures your tire is replaced properly and safely.
  • Battery. If you have a dead or malfunctioning car battery, a professional roadside technician can jump-start your car to get you back on the road.
  • Fuel Refill. Don’t sweat it, everyone forgets to fill their tanks with gas at some point or another. With roadside assistance, you can have fuel delivered to your location.
  • Lockout. Are your doors locked with the keys inside the vehicle? A roadside technician can unlock your vehicle without causing damage to the mechanisms.
  • Winching and Extrication. This is where roadside assistance and towing services meet. If your vehicle is stuck in mud, sand, or a ditch, you may need a combination of the two to get your car back up and running.

Need assistance?

Call Mundie’s Towing & Recovery. Our team are trained experts in both towing services and roadside assistance. So, you never have to worry about being stuck in an emergency situation without the help you need.