roadside towing service

What Is The Difference Between Roadside Assistance And Towing?

Driving on the road is unpredictable. Unforeseen situations can happen at any time and at any place, frustrating you while you are on your way to your destination.

It could be commuting to work, going on a road trip, or transporting goods to another state. Having your vehicle break down becomes a frustrating experience. However, there are some services that will help you get back on track again.

In the bustling streets of big cities, being stuck in traffic and stranded on the side of the road due to car troubles is quite common. That’s where understanding the difference between roadside assistance and towing is essential for every driver to get help when they need it the most.

This is because when you are out on the road, you may find uncertainties and challenges that may hinder your journey. It could be either in the form of a flat tire, a dead battery, empty fuel, or an engine failure. These mechanical and electrical issues may lead to feeling helpless in the middle of nowhere. Even though both of these services help you get back on the road again, where they serve it differently.

Let’s understand their differences and find out what service to choose based on your vehicle needs.

Understanding Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance encompasses all types of services that help drivers when they encounter issues and are stranded on the side of the road. In contrast, towing which basically moves the immovable vehicle from one place to a nearby repair shop.

The primary purpose of roadside assistance is to address and resolve minor vehicle issues on the spot.

Roadside assistance is offered by dedicated providers and automotive clubs and also comes under insurance coverage.

Common Roadside Assistance Services:

  1. Flat Tire Assistance

A flat tire is one of the most common vehicle issues that drivers encounter on the road. If you don’t have a tire or don’t know how to repair or change the tire yourself, roadside assistance can help. They can even bring a new tire and replace the old one.

  1. Battery Jumpstart

Sometimes, you have a dead battery or a battery that doesn’t have sufficient juice to start the ignition. In such a scenario, a roadside assistance service provider will send someone with jumper cables to jumpstart your vehicle and help you get back on the road again.

  1. Fuel Delivery

Running out of fuel is one of the most embarrassing situations to be in, and you can only blame yourself. However, roadside assistance will deliver you enough fuel to get back on the road and reach a nearby gas station.

  1. Lockout Service

Being locked out of your vehicle is definitely a frustrating situation to be in. In such a scenario, roadside assistance will send a locksmith to your location, help you unlock your vehicle, and save you the trouble of breaking the window or the lock to get inside.

  1. Mobile Mechanical Repairs

Encountering minor issues is quite common. However, they need to be dealt with immediately to prevent them from turning into major ones. That’s where roadside assistance comes in handy: send a certified mechanic who will provide repair service on the spot. For instance, if you need a semi truck repair service, roadside assistance will send a mechanic with expertise on all the major types of trucks and help you continue on your journey again.

Understanding Towing Services

While roadside assistance is used for handling minor vehicle issues, what happens when a vehicle is unable to move, has a severe breakdown, or is even totaled? That’s where the towing service comes in to move that immovable vehicle to your desired location, whether it’s your home or a nearby service station.

Types Of Towing Services

  1. Flatbed Towing

Flatbed towing entails taking the vehicle off from the ground onto the back of the truck. They work generally as a transportation truck for shipping luxury and vintage vehicles, mainly utilized for long-distance.

  1. Wheel-Lift Towing

Wheel-lift towing involves lifting the front or back wheels of the car while the other side’s wheels are set on the road. It’s a much quicker and more affordable option for short distances.

  1. Hook And Chain Towing

This is an old-school method of transporting vehicles from one place to another. It involves putting a hook and chain on the hood of the vehicle. It’s not the ideal option today, as it could damage the vehicle while towing.

  1. Integrated Tow Trucks

This type of tow truck is hooked up with specialized equipment that enables towing heavy-duty vehicles, including buses, vans, and trucks.

Choosing The Right Service For Your Needs

Since you probably know the basic difference between roadside assistance and towing service, now you should also know when you have to choose each service.

When To Choose Roadside Assistance

  • Minor Issues

If you have a flat tire, dead battery, lockouts, or need a fuel delivery, roadside assistance is what you need.

  • Immediate Resolution

It’s the best option when your vehicle doesn’t have any major mechanical issues and will be fixed right on the spot.

  • Cost Consideration

Roadside assistance is also an affordable option for repairing minor issues on-site, right there and then.

When To Choose Towing

  • Vehicle Immobility

If your vehicle is immovable due to vehicle breakdown, being totaled, or any other reason, opting for a towing service is the best course of action.

  • Long-Distance Transport

Towing is the best option for your vehicle that needs to be towed a long distance.

  • Specialized Vehicles

If you have a special or a large vehicle that can’t also be repaired on the spot, then it’s crucial for you to choose a towing service.


Both towing and roadside assistance are crucial for drivers to help get through the painstaking ordeal of being stranded on the side of the road. The role of roadside assistance is to handle minor issues that can easily be addressed on the spot, swiftly allowing drivers to be on their way to their desired destination.

On the other hand, towing becomes necessary when your vehicle encounters a major mechanical or electrical issue, resulting in being immovable. That can be due to severe breakdown, engine failure, or being totaled and requiring an immediate repair facility.

We hope this guide sheds some light on the difference between these services and helps you choose the one depending on your vehicle’s needs.