Taking Care of Your Transmission While Towing
Your vehicle configuration determines how it should be properly towed to avoid transmission damage. Specifically, it matters if your vehicle is front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive and whether it’s an automatic or a manual. From the professionals at Camarillo Independent in Camarillo, CA, here’s how to tow your vehicle:
First, consult the owner’s manual. It will have a section dedicated specifically to towing your vehicle properly. Some vehicles can be towed easily, and some are recommended not to be towed at all. Your manufacturer knows best here, heed their word. If all four wheels are stationary during towing, such as on a trailer or the back of a truck, simply park the vehicle on the trailer or truck.
Otherwise, follow these guidelines.
If your vehicle is a front-wheel drive, and automatic:
If using a vehicle dolly, the front two wheels will be off the ground. Simply put the vehicle in the park and tow. If all four wheels are on the ground, your vehicle must be equipped with a proper towing device, to keep the transmission from turning without proper lubrication. Simply putting the vehicle in neutral will not prevent it from sustaining damage. In an emergency, you can start the vehicle and let it run, with the transmission in neutral, while it is being towed. This will keep the transmission lubricated, but it isn’t recommended for extended towing.
If your vehicle is a front-wheel drive, and manual
If the vehicle is on a dolly put the vehicle in first gear and tow. If all four wheels are on the ground, but the vehicle in neutral and tow. Vehicles with manual transmissions can typically be towed without the vehicle running, with no risk of transmission damage.
If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, and automatic
This is the most difficult vehicle to tow properly. Whether you are using a dolly or “flat towing” with all four wheels on the ground, you must disconnect the driveshaft unless you leave the vehicle running or have a vehicle with the proper equipment installed.
If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, and manual
Whether you are using a dolly or flat towing the vehicle, leave the transmission in neutral and tow. You don’t have to have any special equipment or leave the engine running.
There are vehicles that are outliers to these rules, so be sure to consult with your owner’s manual or the manufacturer before towing your car, truck, or SUV. For all your maintenance and repair needs, stop by Camarillo Independent at any time. Our expert mechanics are well qualified to service any transmission, and always provide excellent customer service.