Towing refers to an ability in Grand Theft Auto games to tow or pull an object, specifically a trailer or vehicle, using another vehicle. The feature is first made possible in Grand Theft Auto 2, where semi-trailer trucks possess the ability to pull trailers, and the feature reappears in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto V, while Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars only features one vehicle with a permanently attached trailer. The trailer is also seen in other GTA games, but they cannot be towed and only act as props.
Attachments with trailers simply require the player reverse their vehicle into the front of a trailer until the camera readjusts itself to center on both the hauler and the trailer, confirming the coupling is complete. When pulling a trailer, the vehicle will possess poorer performance due to the need to pull extra weight, especially with regards to steering as the vehicle is now longer. Players have the option of detaching trailers after attachment.
All in all, GTA 2 features three forms of trailers, one of which is somewhat useful in actual gameplay. The Truck Cab and the Truck Cab SX represent the game's only two semi-trailer trucks, and are also the only vehicles in GTA 2 capable of attaching to and pulling trailers. Players may detach a trailer using the attack key or button.
Trailers sustain damage like other vehicles, and also emit fire the same way when heavily damaged, even exploding when destroyed, posing a danger to the player if they are pulling a trailer that is in bad condition. This danger is very likely to happen in certain missions: Benson Burner!, Operation Z! and Grand Theft Auto!, all of which require the player to tow a car across town.
GTA San Andreas
GTA San Andreas reintroduced the ability to pull loads. The game mechanics of attaching to and pulling a trailer is roughly the same as in GTA 2, but trailers may decouple from a vehicle using a specific command or if physical force (i.e. jackknifing, dislodging due to rough terrains or jumps, excessive speed, etc.) is subjected to the trailer. However, there is no single button to detach the trailers. There is a glitch in the PS2 version where taking a picture of the attachment will detach the trailers but the glitch is fixed in subsequent versions.
- The Tow Truck, which employs an adjustable boom at the back to pull any large vehicle.
- The Tractor, which uses an adjustable tow hitch to pull smaller hauls or large vehicles.
- The Utility Van and Baggage, which feature a stationary tow hitch to pull smaller hauls.
The trailers themselves consist of a more varied range of items, some of which are not available unless they are spawned using a third-party trainer. In total, GTA San Andreas features eight types of trailers: Four semi-trailers and four specialized trailers.
All trailers in general are capable of exploding entirely if severely damaged or flipped over, but specialized trailers have several other peculiarities, including functional headlights and taillights that light up at night or in a dark location, and the ability to emit smoke if sufficiently damaged (Including those that would never burn, much less explode). This is because all trailers are classified as vehicles, although they are defined with a different classification to other road vehicles.
Truck trailers are prominently used in the Trucking side missions.
GTA Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto V
The ability to tow trailers returns in GTA V, with mechanics almost identical to those in GTA San Andreas. Any semi with a hitch in the back can be reversed into most trailers, which will then automatically attach themselves. The player can unhook the trailer at any time, even while moving, which can offer a performance boost if needed or aid a getaway if executed properly. On highways, most often outside of Los Santos, semi trucks hauling various forms of cargo can be seen in traffic. Beyond commercial hauling, the Tow Truck returns, with the ability to move vehicles. Pick-up trucks have the ability to tow small to mid-size trailers. Sadler and Bison pick-ups are equipped with a tow hitch. Some trailers present in the game are boat trailers and a portable electricity generator. If a boat trailer with a boat is reversed into water, the boat starts to float off into the water, but cannot be re-attached to the trailer. Most commonly, Tropics and Squalos spawn on trailers.
List of vehicles with towing ability
Train Carriages works the same way as with trailers, but these does not have any functionality to attach/detach them. In all of its appearances, these are pulled by Trains and have their own properties (having their own values in the files like every vehicle). These will be either randomized carriages or various carriages of the same type.
List of trailers
|Container||A container trailer.|
|Tanker||A tanker trailer for liquid loads. Not to be confused with a Tanker truck (Early Ray Larabie design).|
|Transporter||A flat bed trailer. With the Transporter, the player has the ability to place any car on the trailer using single, unmarked cranes located in each district of the city; likewise, vehicles on trailers can be unloaded using the same cranes. When a gang car is placed on the truck, its gang markings disappears for as long as it is on the trailer.|
|Train Flatcar||A generic flatcar.|
|Train Boxcar||A generic boxcar.|
|Train Coach||Train coach that can be used by the player for rides.|
GTA San Andreas
|Articulated Trailer||A trailer designed to carry solid loads. The trailer is available in three forms, two fully covered (|
|Tanker Trailer||A fuel tank trailer bearing Xoomer livery. Tanker trucks always uses these trailers. Can be spawned with a cheat. Can be found in Xoomer gas stations in Angel Pine, Easter Basin and El Quebrados, also parked at the Fallen Tree freighter depot and near Pecker's Feed & Seed factory in Las Payasadas.|
|Farm Trailer||A cultivator intended to be pulled by a Tractor, complete with functional chisels that move as the Farm Trailer is in motion. The Farm Trailer can be found at the east side of the farm buildings across the water west of Palomino Creek. It can also be found at a farm in Tierra Robada near the Bait Shop, although no Tractors can be found in the desert. It is also found at the Blueberry Acres farm near Blueberry in Red County.|
|Utility Trailer||A black utility trailer intended for the Utility Van. The trailer is not normally available in game, and can only be spawned using a third-party trainer or car spawner. The reason for its lack of availability in-game is unknown. Strangely, at night, a headlight can be seen shining on the underside of the trailer, possibly the result of a glitch .|
|Tug Stairs||A mobile staircase commonly found in airports, intended for the Baggage and ideal for access into an AT-400 where a permanent platform is not available. Its high center of gravity may often lead it to topple over during high speed cornering. It is classed as a vehicle as a Heat Seeking Rocket Launcher can lock onto it and if shot at enough it will explode like an ordinary car. Strangely, it may also explode if tipped over on its roof.|
|Baggage Box||A luggage box commonly found in airports, and intended for the Baggage. Available open (|
|Brown Streak Coach||Basic Coach carried by Brown Streak trains. Players can enter the coaches for rides.|
|Freight Flatcar||Basic Freight Flatcar with enough room for vehicles. Players can stand on it like any train or wagon, but its size makes tunnel less of a worry.|
|Freight Boxcar||Unused Freight box car with a light blue color and a dirty appearance. Players cannot enter through the open doors|
Grand Theft Auto V
|Boat trailer||Pulled by Sadlers and Bisons. These usually spawns with boats on board. The player can back the trailer into water and use the boat. This trailer can commonly be found in Sandy Shores and the Grand Senora Desert. Any boat detached from this trailer cannot be reattached again.|
|Utility trailer||Spawn frequently being towed by Sadlers and Bisons. These trailers carries objects that can fall out if the trailer is flipped or hit with enough force. It always labels Trailer 200 and appears with the same scheme; grey with a light blue stripe.|
|Generator trailer||Pulled by Sadlers and Bisons. The generator trailer is used to supply electricity in remote areas, but is useless in actual gameplay.|
|Commercial trailer||Standard variation with a rectangular design, similar to the GTA San Andreas basic trailers. These trailers bears liveries of various companies, such Up-n-Atom Burger, Cluckin' Bell, Big Goods,and Pißwasser. Most of them can be found around the entire state.
The Big Goods version has an openable ramp door, which can be popped by shooting at it.
|Container trailer||An unmarked shipping container that always has a rusty appearance. Sometimes appears next to the roads.|
|Extended container trailer||An unmarked orange shipping container on a blue or grey elongated trailer. One can be found at the Vespucci Helipads.
Another variant of this trailer are an empty one, as seen in Scouting the Port, but cannot be found normally.
|Car trailer||Large car carrier that will spawn either empty or loaded with cars. These cars are locked, as there's usually not enough space to open a door. However, it is possible to get into these cars. They are tied down, so the only way for them to be drivable is if the truck is flipped on a hill. The rear door on the trailer can be opened if the character jumps in on the side and walks toward the rear of the trailer. Once opened, the hatch can not be closed.|
|Tanker trailer||Used to carry gasoline. They can explode if shot enough times, potentially bearing danger to a player hauling it. Shooting a hole in the tank makes it leak of gas which can be ignited by shooting. These trailers can often be found when driving in Paleto Bay and are only found in orange with the RON Gasoline logo on it. A camouflaged variant is used by the military for aviation supply. It can be found on Filling Stations or, for the military variant, only at Fort Zancudo.|
|Flatbed trailer ||Flat trailers found empty. As the trailer serves as a basis, log trailers and curtainside trailers are variants of flatbed trailers. They are able to carry players without the risk of falling off, just like many other trailers, however objects and cars cannot stay on the trailer due to an unrealistic amount of 'inertia' in the game.|
|Log trailer||Flat trailer with logs stacked on it. These are usually found in Paleto Bay and the Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness. Sometimes can be found empty, but these cases are rare.|
|Curtainside trailer||Covered flatbed with tarp side walls. These trailers always spawns in blue.|
|Sand rake||A trailer that can attach onto the Fieldmaster and is used to groom and clean beaches. One can be easily found at the beach, next to a Fieldmaster. These trailers lacks wheels, causing them to lose control over time.|
While 12 interactive trailers are normally seen in the game, there are five Special trailers, which only appears in missions and cannot be found anywhere.
|Fame or Shame trailer||A trailer which is marked with the talent show name. It only appears in the mission of the same name, pulled by various Phantoms. Apart from the slight changes on the lower side of the trailer, is almost identical to the Articulated trailer.|
|Big boat trailer||A trailer that haul large boats, along with the pick-up variant. It only appears in the mission Father/Son, carrying Michael's Marquis. Cannot be interacted with because it is actually driven by an NPC. On the right, carries a mast of the Marquis and its composed of a thin base and various frames. It seems to be incorrectly modeled, as the Marquis prop has the underbelly fin touching the ground.|
|Super flatbed trailer||A special variation of the flatbed trailer, which has a longer and wider body structure, small red lights and three double axles. It only appears in missions where vehicles are carried to heist setups. The mission Driller uses a civilian variant, fitted with a prop of the Cutter, while in the mission Minisub, a camouflage/military variant is used, fitted with a tarpaulin and a real Submersible.|
|Super flatbed trailer XL||An extra longer variant of the previous one. It is only seen in the mission Sidetracked, used to carry the Freight Train and a freight flat trailer. It cannot be interacted with because it is actually driven by an NPC.
Closer inspections reveals that is the same super flatbed trailer, but extended and with some ommited details at the middle.
|Ortega's trailer||Ortega's trailer that only appears moveable during the mission Mr. Philips and also appears as a vehicle when one manages to spawn it, it will appear in the player's hangar if done so. Despite being a trailer, it cannot be towed.|
|Grain Trailer||A trailer that can attach onto the Fieldmaster and is used to carry grain.|
|Hay Bale||A trailer that can attach onto the Fieldmaster and is used to transport hay around the farm.|
|Freight Train Wellcar||Basic universal flatcar made by D-Rail. Can have a container or not.|
|Freight Train Tank Car||Specialized train wagon to carry liquid cargo, mostly fuel. Those carried by Freight Trains might explode with explosives or gunfire.|
|Freight Train Boxcar||Basic boxcar with two doors on the sides. These are never carried by Freight Trains, but are often seen in facilities with railroads.|
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto V both have many additional unusable trailers that are programmed the same as buildings. Some of these in GTA V can actually be moved when rammed by a heavy vehicle.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- All trailers are made with 4 wheels.
- In the beta version of GTA San Andreas, there used to be a shorter, green colored 'artict3' trailer. The name of this trailer in gta3.img is 'rdtraint', suggesting that this trailer is used to be pulled by a Roadtrain.
- For some reason, trucks and trailers (including the Yosemite) have double rear wheels in PS2 version, but these become single in PC. A mod can readd those for the PC version.
- The player can store up to two semi-trucks with an attached trailer in the Hangar in the Verdant Meadows Safehouse. If the player attempts to store a third truck with or without an attached trailer or any random vehicle, a message that does not allow the player to store additional vehicles will appear much like when attempting to store a fifth vehicle in a garage that can only store four. This implies that the semi and the attached trailer counts as two vehicles, since both still uses a GXT name and are registered in the game.
- Considering trailer design and names, R* must have wanted to have multi-trailer Roadtrains, but this was cancelled from the final game.
- Trucks never spawn on the road with a trailer. Trailers are parked separately and can be attached. The only time that a truck with a trailer appears on the road is on a cutscene of the mission reuniting the families when Big Smoke crashes Sweet's Greenwood through a Sprunk Billboard and onto that same truck with the trailer attached to it.
- If a player manages to drive a Trailer (by mods), the trailers will have an extremely wide turning radius and a very low acceleration and top speed (even making jogging faster). Small trailers are an exception.
Grand Thef Auto V and Online
- In Online, other players can ride on top of certain trailer types. This can be used to transport more than two people while driving a semi, but low structures, and crashing can sometimes knock players off while on the trailers.
- Players will still board and enter a towed boat from pickups. However, this doesn't count as a trip in naval vehicles.
- In GTA V, the Car Carrier can be seen hauling cars. The cars can be taken off, but cannot be driven back onto the trailer.
- In the Beta, there was a Tanker Trailer with plain red scheme instead of RON scheme. However, they can still be found in-game and can be destroyed, but they cannot be towed.
- In the beta, there was a side mission where the player had to tow broken down vehicles off the highway to keep the traffic flowing as long as possible.
- If carried by a Cargobob at the night, lights will turn on.
- Trailers that posses a prop of vehicles on it, when towed by a truck, will still turn on these lights, but without their illumination.
- If the player is driving a Semi with an attached trailer and then, switched to another character and back to the same character that was used to steal a semi (for example, stealing a semi with an attached trailer while playing as Trevor, then switching to Franklin or Michael and back to Trevor), the trailer will instantly disappear. This possibly implies that the trailer may have already been detached off-screen by that protagonist. This is much more possible if the character that has switched to is not wasted or busted, and if the character that was used to steal a semi with a trailer is on the driver's seat at the time that the player switches characters. The semi, minus the trailer will be parked nearby during or after the switching cutscene on various locations replacing the character's default vehicle, or it will be parked on the driveways of the character's respective safehouses. This happens since trailers are considered as second vehicles (likely as second cars towed by Tow trucks), meaning that the game "deletes" vehicles that aren't driven by the protagonist in order to save hardrive memory.
- Oddly, the Big Goods trailer's rear door can be popped open by shooting at it. This because it was "differently modeled" for the mission The Big Score (Subtle Approach), in order to load the modified Gauntlets.
- It's not really possible to transport a locomotive on such a small and weak truck and trailer combination, because a locomotive is tens of times heavier than a trailer like this could carry.
- Sometimes, while playing the Humane Raid - EMP heist setup in GTA Online, Dinghies may spawn on the back of trailers being towed by Bobcats and Sadlers. This seems to be a glitch, as the Dinghies aren't correctly fitted on the trailers, as they cannot fit entirely.
- There are also some farm trailers manufactured by HVY which cannot be interacted using any vehicle.
- Unlike in GTA San Andreas, some trucks with trailers attached spawns on the road while being driven by NPCs.