How to safely tow your own vehicle
Discover how to safely tow your own vehicle and avoid costly damage and repairs. Most people don't think it's a big deal to tow another vehicle. They couldn't be more wrong. If you don't know what you are doing you can do more damage to your vehicle than what it would have cost you to have a tow truck tow it.
If you leave the drive wheels to stay on the ground when you are towing it, you could cause severe transmission damage. You have several options when towing a two-wheel-drive vehicle. The best way is with a trailer, where all four wheels are off the ground. This option works well for any vehicle no matter if it's front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel-drive.
The next option would be tow dollies, which lift the front wheels off the ground. You've probably seen tow dollies being used as you drive when you look behind any do-it-yourself rental trucks towing a car. You can tow a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with tow dollies, but it's a lot more work, you have to disconnect and remove the driveshaft so you won't damage the transmission.
Another option is a tow bar. It's usually shaped like a triangle with a set of ridged bars. One end attaches to the ball hitch on the tow vehicle and the other end attaches to the bumper of the car you are towing. All four wheels of the vehicle are on the ground. If you have a manual transmission on a two-wheel-drive vehicle, you can just pop it in neutral and tow it with the tow bar.
If the vehicle is an automatic you can still tow it, however you will need some accessories to protect it, like a Drive Shaft Coupling Device (switches between towing (drive shaft disengaged) and driving (drive shaft engaged)), Lube Pumps (keeps the transmission lubricated while you tow it) and an Axle Lock (disconnects the automatic transmission for towing a front-wheel-drive vehicle). These options can be costly and not worth the time and investment of money for a short tow to a repair shop. These options would be more practical if you are towing a vehicle behind your RV all the time.
Knowing how to safely tow your vehicle will give you peace of mind knowing that you won't be damaging your vehicle while towing it.
Tips For The Short Tow To The Service Station:
- Fasten a cable or sturdy tow chain to the vehicle being towed and to the trailer hitch of the towing vehicle. Make sure you hook the tow cable to the undercarriage of the tow vehicle and not just to the bumper.
- Do not have a passenger in the tow vehicle. This is illegal and can be a safety hazard
- Place a sign on the vehicle being towed to let the drivers behind you know that the "Vehicle Is In Tow" so they can give you plenty of room.
- Drive no faster than 45 miles per hour. High speeds can cause serious stress problems on the cables and increase the risk of an accident.
- Learning how to safely tow your own vehicle can save you time and money if you do it right.
Always check your owner's manual before you tow a two-wheel-drive vehicle. It will usually give you towing instructions and precautions for your vehicle. Manufactures give you the specifications for your exact vehicle, that way you know what to do and what not to do. Ignoring any of this information could cost you in damage to your vehicle and hit your pocketbook for unnecessary repairs.