Tow Truck Damage - Help?!

This weekend my car was towed by the city of New York for alledgely being parked to close to a fire hydrant. They towed my car using the front end to tow yard. I took my car to the dealership afterward and they are telling me that I have rear differential damage. I asked how this could happen and they said from the tow truck. It’s standard procedure for an 4-wheel drive car to be but on a flatbed or it will cause damage. Can anyone confirm or deny this? What else would cause this kind of damage? I never heard a noise prior to the tow but I don’t know if I’m ignorant or oblivious to it.

The tow truck probably caused the damage, but you’ll be on the hook for it. If you park too close to a fire hydrant, the city will tow you for fire accessibility reasons, which basically means that “any damage resulting to your car is your fault because it shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

Cars towed for illegal parking aren’t given gentle care. The tow truck operator gets the car hooked up anyway they can. Sometimes that means dragging the front end sideways to get the towing equipment in position. They don’t worry about all the different towing do’s and don’ts for a particular make and model of car.

Thanks Shadowfax and TurboTax.

First of all, I will disagree that my car was parked illegally. But that’s another thing all together. That’s over and the damage for the most part has been done.

My concern at this point is having this covered by insurance. This is 2200.00 and I don’t have that kind of money. They said it will be covered if the diagnostic test proves the damage was caused by the tow truck. I just don’t understand how this type of damage can be done at all from towing. (I know NOTHING about cars.) What do they do when they run a diagnostic test? And is it safe to drive with this type of damage?

While I do understand your points, I’m of the opinion that a car should be towed according to proper procedure. People put a lot of money into these things and let’s say for arguement’s sake I was a foot or two outside of the 15 feet distance. I wasn’t parked directly in front of it. It’s unacceptable that someone cause this type of damage.

They may not worry about it, but I think they are still liable for any damage they do.

Yeah, welcome to NYC. You should see what Fire Dept does to cars parked in front of a hydrant when they respond to a call. The good news: your car doesn’t get towed. The bad news: they use an axe to route a fire hose right through the front windows…

Leaving the wheels down and rotating in turn rotates many of the parts inside the transmission. While these parts normally rotate without harm when you are driving with the engine on, with the engine off transmission fluid is not pumped to lubricate and cool the rotating parts. Do some Google searches. This is not an uncommon problem at all. Your owner’s manual will explain that you should never have this vehicle towed with any of the wheels down because it will be damaged if you do.

Yes, and in that case they are not liable for any damages, but that is a different situation.

Welcome to NYC is right. This entire situation has been a nightmare not to mention that it’s impossible to get any answers and everyone (except one person) has been completely rude.

Don’t confuse the two issues. Whether the city properly ticketed you or not is one issue that you can fight in one manner. The tow is another issue. The tow company needs to tow without damage and they are liable for any damage. It is well known that you have to use a flat bed for 4 wheel drive. File a claim with the tow company’s insurance. May need to do this before the work is done though, so that they can talk to the repair shop if there are any questions. Make sure you get good information and a statement from the repair shop of the damage and if the tow’s insurance balks, your next step would be small claims court to recover the cost of repair.

You are so wrong on the towing company not being liable for damage.

I imagine a tow slip was given to you at the time of pickup. These officially show the type of equipment used and how tow was performed. You may have to request it.

This will state the exact methods used.

There is a towing guide that is kept with drivers on proper equipment for type of vehicle. Your vehicle(AWD assume) may not have been flatbedding or all wheels off ground during tow(using dolly) and they damaged them.

This happens occasionally with Subaru but most tow drivers know as they are liable for damage incurred parked legal or not.

It was not hard for friend to get a replaced center differential paid for on a Subaru WRX illegally parked and towed in small claims. He showed up with copy of tow practices manual, tow slip and damage report from dealer, and bill and was awarded money. Tow company did not state much and paid the bill.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not accusing you of parking in front of the hydrant. The city is. Unless you can get the city to admit, or prove in court, that you weren’t parked in front of the hydrant, then that’s going to be the official story.

As for liability (to respond to tardis and andrew j), the premise is that the car was parked in such a way as to be a hazard to life and property - - namely, if the FD needed to use that hydrant, they’d be delayed because of the car. As such, the car needs to be removed as quickly as possible, which means screwing around waiting for a flatbed towtruck to be found, show up, and load the car, isn’t going to happen.

At any rate, the towing company isn’t liable no matter what because in this case they’re acting as an agent of the city, which means the city bears ultimate liability. If there’s compensation to be gotten, the OP needs to pursue it from the city. The city can then turn around and try to recover its losses from the towing company, but that’s not the OP’s lookout.

I’d really love to see what my city would do if it was able to make others responsible for their delays. Just this morning there was an ambulance that came out of it’s garage, lights flashing, only to have to stop and wait on a train.

If you google 1399 Marion-Agosta rd in Marion, OH then go to street view, you’ll see said ambulance parked outside of their garage. You’ll also see that train traffic is a known way of life for us that work at the factory in the background

Fill this out and turn it in:

Yep… You NEVER tow a vehicle with an automatic transmission with the drive wheels on the ground. ALL tow truck drivers should know this. They need to fix your car.


I have absolutely no idea what a train has to do with a vehicle illegally parked in front of a fire hydrant. Educate me?

More to do with holding the truck/ambulance up that would otherwise be on it’s way to the emergency it’s responding to.