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.
Grand Theft Auto 2
All in all, Grand Theft Auto 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.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto: 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 Tug features the same tow hitch,however it can't tow anything.
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.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto V
The ability to tow trailers returns in Grand Theft Auto 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. 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
- Small vehicles
- Small/Medium/Large vehicles
- Bobcat XL
- Technical Custom
- Insurgent Pick-Up Custom
- Chernobog (After the SA Super Sport Series update)
Train Carriages work the same way as with trailers, but do 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 handling in the files like every vehicle). These will be either randomized carriages or various carriages of the same type.
List of trailers
Grand Theft Auto 2
|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.|
Grand Theft Auto: 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
Grand Theft Auto V includes several trailers, along with props of a trailer. There are 12 interactive trailers, plus 3 alternate variants:
- Trailer towed by small pickups
|Boat Trailer||Boat trailer||Can be towed by numerous pickups, and can spawn with a Dinghy, Suntrap or Tropic loaded. Should a Boat trailer that is carrying a boat be reversed into water, the boat will be released from the trailer for the player to use.|
|Trailer||Compact utility trailer/Generator trailer||Can be towed by numerous pickups.|
|Anti-Aircraft Trailer||Gun carriage trailer||Appears as part of the Gunrunning update for Grand Theft Auto Online and manufactured by Vom Feuer. Can be towed by numerous pickups and a few Weaponized Vehicles. Can be purchased and modified.|
- Industrial/commercial trailers for semi-trailers
|Mobile Operations Center||Mobile Command Center||Appears as part of the Gunrunning update for Grand Theft Auto Online. Can be purchased and modified.|
|Trailer||Container/curtainside/box/ramp box trailers||Can appear in box form, curtain side form, container form and ramp-door form.|
|Dock Trailer - unnamed||Container carrier trailer||A container carrier towed by semi-trucks.|
|Trailer||Car transporter trailer||A car carrier trailer that can sometimes contain cars. A unique variant with four modeled cars appears during Pack Man.|
|Trailer||Tanker trailer||A tanker trailer commonly towed by semi-trucks, sporting RON livery. A unique variant lacking the livery appears during Series A - Steal Meth.|
|Army Trailer||Tanker trailer||A military version of the tanker trailer featuring a camouflage livery.|
|Trailer||Flatbed trailer||A flatbed trailer commonly towed by semi-trucks. Players can stand on top freely.|
|Trailer||Flatbed carrier trailer||A flatbed trailer featuring logs and an additional front guard. Can sometimes spawn without logs.|
|Trailer||Rake grain trailer||A trailer that can attach onto the Fieldmaster and is used to groom and clean beaches.|
- Special/mission-only trailers
While 14 interactive trailers are normally seen in the game, there are eight Special trailers, which only appear in missions and cannot be found anywhere else.
|Trailer||Tanker trailer||A unique version of the tanker trailer lacking a livery, appearing only during Series A - Steal Meth.|
|Trailer||Car carrier trailer||A unique version of the car carrier trailer featuring 4 pre-modeled cars for the mission, Pack Man.|
|Trailer||Box trailer||A box trailer sporting Fame or Shame livery. Seen only during Fame or Shame (mission).|
|Trailer||Container trailer||Colorable version of the container trailer, added in the Gunrunning update. Only used during Gunrunning shipments.|
|Trailer||Yacht carrier trailer||A yacht trailer carrying Michael's yacht. Seen only during Father/Son.|
|Army Trailer||Flatbed trailer||A trailer appearing in two different sizes:
|Ortega's trailer/Proptrailer||House||Ortega's trailer that only appears moveable during the mission Mr. Philips. Despite being a trailer, it cannot be towed.|
- Train Carriages
||A single-carriage metro train, GXT "Freight Train".|
||A freight locomotive.|
||A flatbed trailer designed to carry containers.|
||A flatbed trailer carrying a container.|
||A flatbed trailer carrying a Lando container.|
||A boxcar trailer designed to contain grain.|
||A tanker trailer.|
- Beta Trailers
There are currently two beta, unused trailers which can be spawned via trainer.
|Graintrailer||A trailer that can attach onto the Fieldmaster and is used to carry grain.|
|Baletrailer||A trailer that can attach onto the Fieldmaster and is used to transport hay around the farm.|
- 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, Rockstar 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 two times that a truck with a trailer appears on the road are 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, and on the mission Highjack, where CJ and Cesar steal a tanker truck driving on a highway into San Fierro.
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. This is because most trailers are programmed to allow peds to stand on top without falling off. 
- Players will still board and enter a boat carried by pickups. However, this does not count as a trip in naval vehicles, as they are still "stationary".
- As trailers are not counted as driven vehicles when attached, they will instantly despawn when switching players, reloading the game or leaving the area and returning.
- There are also some farm trailers manufactured by HVY which cannot be interacted using any vehicle.
- There are also a few vehicles that, despite featuring a tow hitch dummy, are not able to tow a small trailer, because they were not programmed to do so. The only way to make those functional is by adding trailers in the
vehicles.metafile. These vehicles are:
- File data: