Today: how to pull out a stuck car when you don't have a hitch.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 2011

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor all-wheel drive, and I was wondering if there is a good place to hook a tow rope so I can help pull my wife's car when she gets stuck in the driveway? I know most SUVs have a hook on the front or a hitch on the back, but I cannot seem to find anything on mine. Where can I safely hook up a tow rope?

-- Kyle

TOM: If there's no tow hook, Kyle, and you want to use a rope or chain, you really have to hook it to the car's subframe.

RAY: How do you find the subframe? You crawl under the car, look around, scratch your head, and then you drive to your dealer and ask for an oil change. While the car is up on the lift, you ask the mechanic to show you where the subframe is.

TOM: Yeah. We could try to describe it to you, but it's not easy to explain. And we'd feel terrible if you misunderstood us and ended up yanking off your radiator. So it's best to have someone knowledgeable actually point it out to you.

RAY: There are a lot of things you shouldn't hook a tow rope to. There's the bumper, the exhaust system, the axles, the suspension parts. You don't want to try to pull your wife out of the snow only to end up with two disabled vehicles. So much for Prince Valiant.

TOM: So ask someone to point out the frame members to you. This is a "better safe than sorry, embarrassed and out a thousand bucks" scenario.

RAY: Also consider getting your wife some good snow tires, Kyle.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One