Being towed can be a stressful and sometimes expensive experience. May it be because your car broke down or you need to transport your vehicle to a shop or show – there are times that you need to have your car towed.

Here is a quick guide to help you understand how the towing system works, as well as the corresponding costs.

First things first, there are certain instances where you will be towed because of certain violations. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will not tow your vehicle without a valid reason. There are certain laws and ordinances that you might have unintentionally broken. An example of this is a stalled vehicle, which means your vehicle cannot move under its own power and will need to be taken off the road. 

Another example is when your car is involved in an accident and cannot move on its own. This, however, falls into a different category and will not necessarily have to pay for being towed.

The MMDA has two kinds of tow trucks in its fleet. The first is the road emergency group of trucks, these trucks will tow your car only in the case of a crash. These tow trucks will tow you free of charge.

The second is a group of accredited private tow truck companies. These are the trucks that are sent to take away illegally parked vehicles and stalled vehicles. Knowing these two kinds of tow truck groups will help you understand why your vehicle is being towed and how to budget accordingly.

For private towing companies, you can hire them to tow your vehicle from one place to another. This is beneficial for those who need a specialized kind of transport for their vehicles. Private towing companies may charge similarly to MMDA’s rates but their fees per kilometer over a certain threshold differ.

The MMDA has a set rate for towing vehicles, which is further divided into three categories: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Knowing this can help give you a rough estimate of how much it will cost to tow your vehicle to an MMDA compound or for a private towing company to tow your vehicle to a shop.

light cars

For light vehicles that weigh less than 4,500 kg, the fee is P1,500 for the first four kilometers plus an additional P200 for each succeeding kilometer up to the impounding area. These “light vehicles” are usually passenger cars like sedans, and hatchbacks.

medium vehicles

Medium vehicles weighing 4,501 kg and 7,500 kg will have a starting fee of P2,500 for the first four kilometers plus an additional P200 for every succeeding kilometer up to the impounding area. These vehicles are usually SUVs and pickups.

heavy vehicles

Heavy vehicles weighing 7,501 kg and above have a starting fee of P4,500 for the first four kilometers and an additional P200 for every succeeding kilometer. P200 shall be charged per kilometer the only difference is in the weight of the vehicle.

For the MMDA, the towing crew should issue a Technical Inspection Report that indicate the name of the owner, the vehicle's plate number, type and color. This will also include the accessories (if there are any) on the vehicle plus a short description of the vehicle’s condition.

The towing company shall be held responsible for damages or losses incurred while the vehicle is being towed. Make sure that you take pictures or videos of how the vehicle is being hooked up to the tow truck incase damage occurs during the process. 

As for private towing companies, they have their own standard operating procedures but it should be similar to what the MMDA does. They will issue you a report which will note the existing condition of the car prior to them towing it.

Let's say you need to transport your car because it isn't road legal or you need to transport it to a motor show. Here is where private towing companies come into play. Pricing will range from anywhere starting from P2,500 upwards starting with a set distance and depending on the vehicle. Prices will also vary on the truck needed to tow your vehicle to your destination as certain vehicles need specialized trucks. Kilometers traveled after that initial flat rate may also be different from what the MMDA charges. 

There are organizations that offer towing as a service like the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP). Once you join them, you will get free perks like a free tow over a certain distance and emergency roadside assistance. This will be handy in the case of a break down and you don't want the MMDA towing you.

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