Skip to content
RAC patrol using our 4-wheels up recovery method

Vehicle recovery

If we can’t fix you, we’ll tow you with RAC vehicle recovery.^

^Up to 10 miles with Basic cover.

Car and vehicle recovery

Here at the RAC, our patrols are proud to fix 4 out of 5 vehicles on the spot when they’ve had a breakdown. But if we can’t fix you, wherever you are in the UK, we’ll offer a vehicle recovery service (or a ‘tow’). We cover electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars, as well as petrol and diesel vehicles. Exactly how far we can tow your car depends on the level of cover you have. Here’s the vehicle recovery levels included with our ‘Basic’, ‘Extra’ and ‘Complete’ cover.

'Basic' cover includes:

If we can’t fix you, you’ll get vehicle recovery up to 10 miles – either to a local garage or somewhere else.

'Extra' and 'Complete' cover includes:

This cover level includes UK national vehicle recovery

That means we’ll recover you an unlimited distance to any garage or destination in the UK (instead of just 10 miles).

What is vehicle recovery?

Vehicle recovery is a towing service. It’s what happens when your vehicle breaks down and can’t be fixed on the spot. This is usually because it needs further mechanical repair at a garage.

If you choose ‘Basic’ cover, this includes a 10-mile tow. This could be to the nearest garage or somewhere else within 10 miles.

Our ‘Extra’ or ‘Complete’ cover levels, include National Recovery. This means we’ll tow you and your family to a destination of your choice anywhere in the UK. We’ll also take you and your passengers with us, with all levels of cover.

However, you should be aware that in some cases, depending on the circumstances, specialist equipment may be required for vehicle recovery. If this happens, there will be additional charges to pay.

How much does car recovery cost per mile UK?

Recovery costs vary depending on where you are in the UK, and who’s towing your car. Most start with a flat £25.00 fee, and then charge at least £1.50 per mile after the first 10 miles. This may include the distance the recovery truck has travelled to get you, as well as the distance you’re towed – so it can stack up quickly.

But with National Recovery, you can get towed anywhere in the UK, for free.

RAC patrol strapping car to a recovery trailer

Do I need nationwide vehicle recovery?

The right option for you depends on your driving habits. 

For example, if you often drive far from home, it might be worth having National Recovery (included within ‘Extra’ and 'Complete' cover levels). This means that wherever you break down, you’ll have the option to be towed to any destination on the UK mainland. This could be to your preferred garage, back home or to your final destination.  

With our ‘Basic’ cover, you’re entitled to local recovery up to 10 miles from where you break down. We’ll usually tow you to a local garage, but we can tow you somewhere else within a 10-mile radius if you prefer.

Broken down and need recovery?

RAC Members

If you are an RAC member and your vehicle breaks down, contact us and we'll send one of our dedicated patrols out to you. Just follow these steps:

  1. Stop in a safe place
  2. Exit the vehicle from the passenger side
  3. Find a safe and secure spot for passengers outside of the vehicle
  4. Keep pets inside the vehicle
  5. The quickest and easiest way to get help today is online. Report your breakdown here.
  6. If you would prefer to speak to a member of the team, please call us on 0333 2000 999. Lines open 24/7.

If our patrol can’t fix your vehicle at the side of the road, we’ll recover your vehicle. Remember – how far we can tow you depends on the level of cover you have. For example, if you have our ‘Basic’ level of cover, you’ll get a 10 mile tow to a local garage. If you have ‘Extra’ or ‘Complete’, you’ll get National Recovery to any destination in the UK.

Check your policy schedule and terms and conditions for more details.

If you're not an RAC member:

Give us a call on 0330 159 8743

The RAC can still help you with vehicle recovery, even if you don’t have breakdown cover with us. Just call us and we’ll talk you through your options.

What our members think

Vehicle recovery FAQs

If your vehicle needs repair at a garage, we can help you keep moving with Onward Travel. This is available as an add-on on all our cover levels.

Onward Travel covers you for a hire car for up to 3 days (age and licence restrictions apply). Or if you prefer, we can arrange overnight accommodation or costs towards public transport instead.

If we can’t fix you at the roadside, we’ll tow you up to 10 miles under our 'Basic' cover level.. And with our ‘Extra’ and 'Complete' cover levels, you get National Recovery – so we’ll take you to any garage or destination in the UK.

If you have At Home as part of your breakdown cover, we can tow you to a garage or anywhere else within 10 miles. At Home is available with our ‘Complete’ cover level.

Yes, you’ll get recovery up to 10 miles as standard with RAC Breakdown Cover. And if you have ‘Extra’ or ‘Complete’ cover levels, you’ll get unlimited recovery.

Local vehicle recovery means that if we can’t fix you at the roadside, we’ll tow you up to 10 miles to a nearby garage, or somewhere else you choose. We also call this a 10-mile tow. It comes as a standard part of RAC Breakdown Cover.

National recovery (sometimes called an unlimited tow) means your breakdown provider will tow you anywhere in the UK you ask for, if they can’t fix your car on the spot.

Local recovery usually comes as standard with good breakdown cover. It means that if your car can’t be fixed at the roadside, you’ll get towed to a local garage, up to 10 miles away (or back home if you prefer and you’re within 10 miles of home. It’s different to national recovery, which means you can be towed anywhere in the UK.

Yes – if you get vehicle breakdown cover (instead of personal breakdown cover), your vehicle will be covered if it breaks down, no matter who’s driving. That includes recovery, if we can’t fix you at the roadside.

A fully comprehensive insurance policy should cover the cost of recovering your car in an accident, but not if it just breaks down. More basic car insurance like third-party insurance usually won’t include recovery in any case. It’s worth having breakdown cover so you can make sure that your car will be recovered in either situation.

If you need your vehicle recovered while abroad, we can help. With both our annual and single trip European breakdown cover, we’ll cover up to the market value to get your vehicle back to the UK (providing it’s not beyond economical repair).

Thinking of driving abroad? Take a look at our European breakdown cover.

If you’re a member, our breakdown and recovery number is 0333 2000 999.

But the quickest way to get help is via myRAC.

For non-members, please call us on 0330 159 8743.

If you’re wondering about the cost of a tow from the RAC, non-members can get vehicle recovery without breakdown cover. Give us a on call 0330 159 8743 to discuss your options.

Depending on circumstances, specialist equipment may be needed for recovery. If this happens, there will be extra costs.

European breakdown cover
Driving over to Europe? You'll need European breakdown cover. Choose from single trip or annual trip.
Breakdown cover extras
Want to get the most out of your breakdown cover? Check out some of our optional extras here.
Breakdown cover deals
View the latest offers and promotions on RAC Breakdown Cover today.