Should I Tow In Overdrive? Find Out Here!

should i tow in overdrive

For effective fuel consumption and to save money from the cost of maintaining the vehicle, there are many things that car owners do. One of such is to switch to overdrive, provided the terrain is suitable for it.

The concern of many people, however, is whether it is also possible to tow while in overdrive without any side effects on the vehicle.

You might be expecting a yes or no answer but that isn’t the case. The possibility of towing in overdrive depends on a lot of factors. For instance, if the terrain is suitable, you can tow for a few meters but the added weight must be limited.

While moving on uneven terrain, it is risky for you to tow in overdrive. When you do this, you add to the pressure on the transmission. In such a situation, it will be difficult to move the vehicle uphill or downhill. Keep reading for more information.

Read Also: How To Tow A Car With No Brakes

Conditions for you to tow in overdrive

Towing in overdrive potentially depends on some factors. However, you shouldn’t do so, especially if you have attached a relatively heavy weight to the vehicle. Nevertheless, if you insist on going ahead, below are some of the conditions you should not compromise.


Driving in overdrive could reduce fuel consumption and potentially prevent quick wear on some parts of the vehicle but the truth is you can only do it on flat terrain. If you must tow in overdrive, make sure the terrain is flat enough and does not require that you change gear at least for a few distances.

Added weight

If you intend to tow in overdrive, you should be mindful of the weight of what you are about to tow. Knowing the towing capacity of your vehicle is good but when you tow a heavier object, you are potentially ruining your vehicle, especially when you tow in overdrive.

To prevent that, make sure the weight of the towed item is relatively lighter.

Towing distance

You might be able to drive a few miles on a flat surface, which is good. The concern here is how long can you go towing in overdrive without ruining your transmission? Irrespective of how flat the surface is, you should not exceed a few miles when you tow in overdrive.

You can always switch back to overdrive whenever you engage the gear for a few minutes.

Benefits of towing in overdrive

There are dangers associated with towing in overdrive but the truth is that the act also has some comparative benefits. If you can do it successfully, below are some of the things you will benefit from.

Fuel economy

Towing alone can increase fuel consumption, especially when you tow a heavier item. The additional pressure on the engine will lead to an increase in fuel consumption. However, when you tow in overdrive, the stress on the engine has been reduced and you will get more miles from the fuel in the vehicle.

It protects the transmission

Whenever you tow a vehicle, the transmission experiences constant wear due to the additional stress. This is, however, not the case when you tow in overdrive. The stress is not on the transmission and it experiences less wear. In this way, overdrives protect the transmission.

Saves money

This is perhaps one of the reasons why many people would like to tow in overdrive. Towing in this mode will save you some cost. For instance, the vehicle will consume less fuel. This implies that you will save money from buying gas.

Moreover, the transmission and some other vehicle parts will experience less wear. The cost of maintaining the vehicle will also be reduced.

Read Also: How To Tow BMW X3

Dangers of towing in overdrive

While the benefits of towing in overdrive might be tempting, you should also consider the other side of doing it, especially when you do not do it right. Some of the conditions you have to follow have been highlighted earlier in this article.

If you fail with any of the conditions, the following are some of the things that will likely happen.

Risk to the vehicle

Towing in overdrive could go wrong when you do not observe the conditions that have been highlighted earlier. The implication is that you are subjecting the vehicle to quick damage.

For instance, if you are moving uphill in overdrive, it will be difficult for you to control the vehicle due to added weight of the towed vehicle, and that could affect the chassis. Moreover, the gear, transmission, and other parts of the vehicle are also at risk.

Overheated transmission

It has been said earlier that you need flat terrain when you want to tow in overdrive. In a situation where you are towing downhill in overdrive, you are potentially overheating the transmission. The implication is that the transmission could get ruined when you do this over time.

Braking difficulty

You are likely going to experience difficulty in braking when you tow in overdrive, especially when you are not moving on flat terrain. You will likely experience this issue when you are moving downhill. The result of this could be fatal if you are not careful.

Void of warranty

You could be doing more than harming the vehicle physically and mechanically when you use it to tow in overdrive.

If anything should happen to the vehicle and you want to claim the warranty, the manufacturer could deny you the warranty due to what you have done. The same is also applicable to insurance compensation.

More expenses

While towing in overdrive might seem like you are saving money on gas and maintenance, the sad reality is that you could be spending money you didn’t budget for if it should go wrong.

If anything should happen to the transmission or any part of the vehicle, you will spend money on fixing the issue, especially if the manufacturer has voided your warranty and the insurance company is not willing to compensate you.

Some of the conditions you should consider before you tow a vehicle

Irrespective of whether you want to tow in overdrive or not, there are some things you should not compromise. Following these conditions will not only shield you from having issues, but it will also protect the vehicle. Below are some of the conditions.

Know the law

This is perhaps the first thing that you should consider when you want to tow a vehicle. You should first know the legality of doing so in your state. There are some things you should know about the traffic law in the state.

The information will help you to avoid having issues with the cops. Depending on the state, some laws guide the weight and the size of a vehicle that must be towed.

Weight of the vehicle

If you have called for the service of a towing company, you will recall that the company asks for a little information about the vehicle that is about to be towed. The information is what helps the company to send a towing vehicle that can successfully tow your car.

This is also important if you volunteer to tow another car. You need to know the weight of the vehicle for tow purposes. It will give you an idea of whether your vehicle can tow the car. Moreover, it will also help you with how legal it is to tow vehicles of such weight in the state.

Braking system

You should know that it is illegal for you to drive a vehicle without a functional brake. The same is also applicable when you want to tow a vehicle. The vehicle you want to tow must have functional braking also.

There is an alternative if the vehicle does not have one. You can either install a supplemental brake or turn on the electric parking brake, depending on the type and model of the vehicle.

Make sure there is nobody there

Whenever you are about to tow a vehicle, it is recommended that you first inspect the vehicle to be sure that nobody is in it. You need to do this to avoid being arrested by the cops. Except on rare occasions, it is illegal and unsafe for you to tow a vehicle with someone in it.

Speed limit

There will be modifications to the way you will drive when you are towing a vehicle. You shouldn’t move the vehicle the way you would have moved if nothing is attached to it. If possible, you should not exceed 20 mph.

Documents and legal paperwork

When you are towing a vehicle, you should not assume that the towed vehicle is free from all routine checks.

The cops could stop you and ask for the document and registration of the towed vehicle. It is unlikely that a towing company will agree to tow your vehicle if you do not have the right paperwork. It could be considered a stolen vehicle.

Conclusion – Should I Tow In Overdrive?

Towing in overdrive could be bad and good, depending on the situation and terrain of towing. If possible, you should avoid such actions.

Should I Tow In Overdrive? Find Out Here!
Should I Tow In Overdrive? Find Out Here!

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