When I moved across the state of Texas I had to find a way to get my Jeep to my destination without driving it because I had to drive the moving truck. My only option was to tow it. But what is the best way to tow your Jeep?
Can a Jeep be flat towed? Yes, almost any car can be flat towed behind another. The Jeep Wrangler, or any four wheel drive vehicles, can be towed under the proper conditions. According to Jeep, the vehicle must have all four wheels on the ground and the transfer case shifted to neutral in order to avoid damage drive line components.
There are many aspects to consider and go over when deciding to tow any vehicle. It’s important to know what kind of transmission and drive train your are dealing with along with proper safety techniques. Check out below to cover all your bases before you hook up your Jeep to take with you.
How to Properly Flat Tow a Jeep
When you are towing a vehicle behind another vehicle, there are several ways to do so. Moving companies often rent out vehicle trailers or tow dollies in order to easily pull your car with you.
When I moved across Texas I decided to just rent a full trailer to drive my Jeep up on and strap down. I chose this because I didn’t want the extra miles on my tires and I had briefly heard to never use a tow dolly. Although I did not know why.
After doing my research, I was quick to understand why tow dollies are frowned upon. The Jeep manual specifically states, that when towing a Jeep Wrangler, it is very important to have all four wheels on the ground.
Because most Wranglers have four wheel drive, that means your front wheels have connections to the transfer case. If you tow with a dolly, your front wheels are stationary while your back wheels are spinning. This can mess up the internal components of your transfer case.
Beyond having all four wheels on the ground, there are a few basics to remember when towing your Jeep, or any other vehicle for that matter.
First, it is important that you shift your transfer case into neutral. This is different than just shifting to neutral on your shift stick. Whether your car has a knob or lever of sorts to switch to four wheel drive, there should be an option for neutral between your four high and four low options.
This is a general note of what needs to be done. Always reference your owners manual to correctly put your transfer case into neutral. Every car could be a littler different.
After ensuring your transfer case is in neutral, make sure to leave the key in the unlock off position so the steering wheel won’t lock during transport. Make sure the transmission NOT THE TRANSFER CASE is shifted into gear! This will ensure lubrication of the transmission while being towed. Otherwise your transmission could become severely damaged.
Reference your owners manual for specifics between manual or automatic transmissions. Some automatic transmissions say to leave the transmission in park rather than in gear.
Just like when towing a trailer, there are proper legal paths to follow when towing a vehicle. Make sure you check your local/state laws for specifics. However, common necessities are laid out below.
Always have safety chains as back up to your primary connections. Should your connection fail you want to make sure Jeep won’t go flying into someone or off the road.
Have the proper connections to your Jeep. Proper towing mounts or heavy duty D-Rings should be installed with proper bolts to the front bumper. The hooks on the front of older model Wranglers are not sufficient mounting locations.
Many companies will sell a tow bar kit that comes with all the necessary components to ensure proper connections and safety.
While not the case in a lot of states, many will require a supplemental braking system. This will act as a braking device in addition to the towing vehicles braking power. Check your local towing requirements to ensure you don’t need one.
Finally, make sure your have all the proper towing lights. Just like with a trailer, a vehicle in tow must have its own functioning tail lights. This includes night time lights, brake lights, and turn signals.
If you don’t tow regularly, buying a set of taillights for a trailer and hooking them on the back of your Jeep might be the easiest and quickest solution.
However, if you plan to tow your Jeep regularly, a more permanent solution would be to directly wire a harness in your Jeeps lighting with a diode kit.
If you cover all these basics, you’ve already set yourself up for an easy towing process. While these are the basics, most owners manuals have vehicle specific details you need to follow.
Always read through the manufacture literature prior to towing. Your life and the lives of others on the road might depend on it.
Safety When Towing a Jeep
Its the part that seems boring and irrelevant when you want to get on the road. But safety plays a huge role when properly towing.
When towing your Jeep, or anything for that matter, carefully check the tire pressure on both vehicles. Not only will this save your tire tread but it will make sure the vehicles stay in sync as best they can.
Never exceed the recommended speed limit put in place by either vehicles towing standards. Some vehicles will tell you a speed not to exceed when towing. Follow whichever vehicle has the lower speed.
Remember your extra length when on the road or making turns. Changing lanes, passing, exiting and more all require more time now that you have extra length.
Give yourself your extra extra time to brake and come to a stop. Not only do you have extra length but also extra weight. This increases your momentum and thus your breaking distance.
Your state might not require it, but adding a supplemental braking system might be worth it anyway. Some systems are proven to reduce braking distance by 30%.
As stated above, always have high quality safety chains on top of your tow connections. If an accident occurred and you didn’t have safety chains, you will be responsible.
There are countless tips for safety to consider in these situations. I strongly recommend you look ahead into your trip and see what extra things you need to consider. Towing terrain, whether conditions, etc. can all play a vital role in towing safety.
Why are Jeeps Popular to Tow Behind RVs
From personal experience, I see Jeep Wranglers far more than any other vehicle being towed behind RVs. Here’s why RV owners love to tow Jeeps compared to other choices.
Jeeps make great all around vehicles. If you are an RV owner, chances are you drive all over the country in many different terrains. What better vehicle to have when you get to your destination than a Jeep?
Whether you are in the mountains or the beach or wherever in between, a Wrangler is ready to taxi you around.
Jeeps are easy to flat tow. As discussed in the first section, Jeeps have an easy process to ensure the transfer case is in neutral. Many vehicles don’t have this luxury.
The Jeep Wrangler is a light vehicle and therefore easy to pull behind. Its short wheel base also makes it extremely easy to maneuver as compared to trying to town a full size Tahoe or Suburban.
Jeeps also allow for lots of extra storage. From roof racks, bike racks, to hitch cargo holders, you can provide yourself with lots of extra space when choosing to tow a Wrangler on your trip.
Can a Jeep Wrangler Tow? Yes, Jeep Wranglers along with other models can tow when properly equipped. Check out my article Can a Jeep Pull a Camper? that details towing with a Jeep.
Can You Flat Tow a Jeep With an Automatic Transmission? Yes, an automatic transmission Jeep can be flat towed. Because it behaves differently than a manual transmission, it is important to read your owners manual for proper set up.