Taking Care of Your Transmission While Towing

Your car’s configuration determines how it should be properly towed to avoid transmission damage. Specifically, it matters if your car is front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, and whether it’s an automatic or a manual. From the professionals at Permian Basin Transmission, Inc in Odessa, TX, here’s how to tow your car:

First, consult the owner’s manual. It will have a section dedicated specifically to towing your car properly. Some cars 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 car on the trailer or truck.

Otherwise, follow these guidelines.

If your car is front wheel drive, and automatic:

If using a car dolly, the front two wheels will be off the ground. Simply put the car in park, and tow. If all four wheels are on the ground, your car must be equipped with a proper towing device, to keep the transmission from turning without proper lubrication. Simply putting the car in neutral will not prevent it from sustaining damage. In an emergency, you can start the car 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 car is front wheel drive, and manual:

If the car is on a dolly, put the car in first gear and tow. If all four wheels are on the ground, put the car in neutral and tow. Vehicles with manual transmissions can typically be towed without the car running, with no risk of transmission damage.

If your car 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 car running or have a car with the proper equipment installed.

If your car is rear wheel drive, and manual:

Whether you are using a dolly or flat towing the car, leave the transmission in neutral and tow. You don’t have to have any special equipment or leave the engine running.

There are vehicles which 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 Permian Basin Transmission, Inc any time. Our expert mechanics are well qualified to service any transmission, and always provide excellent customer service.



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Thank you for visiting Permian Basin Transmission, Inc in Odessa, TX. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.

Schedule your appointment today (432) 561-8585 or REQUEST APPOINTMENT HERE.