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HomeTowing Questions & AnswersCan You Tow A Car From The Back?

Can You Tow A Car From The Back?

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Generally speaking, regardless of whether you are towing a car from the back or front, all two-wheel drive vehicles are recommended to be towed with their driven wheels lifted off the ground.

Although a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) car should be towed with its rear wheels raised off the ground, and for a front-wheel-drive(FWD) model, the front wheels should be lifted off the ground too.

Doing this will ensure that the driven wheels do not transmit power to the transmission system which may eventually damage it. Conversely, most models of modern cars, are so designed to enable towing from the front mainly.

For this reason, these cars are fitted with hooks or even recessed hooks on their fronts that are covered with plastics, which must be accessed during towing.

You should also be mindful of the fact that you are not advised to tow a rear-wheel-drive car. Also, you must not tow vehicles backward, especially on a tow dolly. This is because should their steering wheels be unlocked, there is a great possibility of the car fishtailing all over the place.

Therefore, you should tow the vehicle from the front after disconnecting or removing its drive shafts before setting out. Or better still, you can safely tow them on the flatbed of a tow truck also, which will keep all the wheels off the ground.

If you must tow a rear-wheel-drive car backward, first, it is recommended that you disconnect and also remove its drive shaft to avoid damaging the transmission system.

Yes, you can tow a car, but it has to be done after taking all necessary protective measures against damaging the transmission system by disconnecting its driveshaft.

How can one tow a car from the back?

Before you can tow a car from the back, especially a rear-where-wheel-drive car, you will first have to disengage and remove its driveshaft, to prevent unnecessary damage to its transmission mechanism. Similarly, you can also use a tow dolly as well.

In this way, you will safely lift its front wheels from the ground, particularly if the car is a front-wheel-drive model.

Another alternative way of towing a car from the back involves using a tow bar. Also, most rear-wheel-drive cars with manual transmissions are towable from the back with the aid of a tow dolly too.

All the same, in this method, you should first lock the steering wheel before towing, and also disconnect its driveshaft to enable you to tow it with the front wheels off the ground. After this, you should engage the car in ‘Neutral’ while its parking brake is off and its front wheels forward.

When it comes to towing, it is generally known that rear-wheel-drive cars are a lot better than the front-wheel-drive models, especially since as you accelerate,  the weight is transferred to its rear and not the front. 

It is not recommended for you to tow any vehicle from the back, more so when using a tow dolly. This is because, should the steering wheel be unlocked, it could make the vehicle fishtail around.

In the alternative, you can tow the vehicle from its front, but only after disconnecting and removing its driveshaft, or even tow it on the flatbed of a tow truck. 

Generally, an RWD vehicle can be safely towed with its rear wheels off the ground, while an FWD car can be towed with its front wheels lifted off the ground. Doing this will ensure that the driven wheels are not able to transmit power to the transmission mechanism.  

Is it safe to tow a car from the back?

No, it is not safe to tow a car from the back, particularly on a tow dolly because, should the steering wheel be left unlocked, the vehicle may likely fishtail violently around.

Conversely, if the steering wheel is locked, it could lead to the damage of the steering linkage at the first sharp turn or the first bump, which can in turn cause more fishtailing of the vehicle as well.

Can all vehicles be towed from the back?

No, you cannot tow all vehicles from the back, especially with their wheels on the ground. Before you can do that, you would need a driver in the vehicle being towed to control both the steering and the brakes too.

Generally, therefore, all two-wheel-drive driven cars are recommended to be towed with their drive wheels off the ground.

Similarly, an RWD car is advised to be towed with its back wheels off the ground too, while an FWD car with its front wheels not be in contact with the road too. This will essentially prevent the transmission of power to the transmission mechanism of the vehicle.

Can you tow a rear-wheel-drive from the back?

The general rule of the thumb is that two-wheel drive vehicles are supposed to be towed with their driven wheels off the road, which implies that a rear-wheel driven vehicle is equally recommended to be towed with its rear wheels off the ground too.

This means that a front-wheel-drive( FWD) car should have its front wheels off the ground while being towed. Doing this will ensure that the driven wheels are not able to transmit power to the transmission system, which is a way to tow these kinds of vehicles.


(1). How do you tow a manual RWD car?

For manual transmission rear-wheel-drive cars, regardless of whether you are using a tow dolly or when flat towing, you should leave the transmission in neutral before towing. In this case, you do not need any special equipment or even to have the engine running.

Generally speaking, the rotating rear wheels will be able to spin the shaft even when the transmission is in neutral, which will cause certain damage to the transmission mechanism.

However, in the majority of the cases, you may have to remove the rear driveshaft from the vehicle when flat towing a manual transmission vehicle. 

In towing a rear-wheel-drive car, provided you leave its transmission in the neutral position, it should work just fine.

The lubricants that circulate in the transmission are not pumped in the engine, but instead through the centrifugal force of the transmission while it is moving. In this way, you are not expected to have any problems with lubrication, particularly when the engine is off.

However, if you want to utilize a tow dolly in towing a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, you may have to disconnect and remove its driveshaft to guard against damaging the transmission system.

Alternatively, you can also use a tow bar, which is a rigid bar in the shape of a triangle. For short, to tow a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, you may have to disconnect its driveshaft.

(2). Does a tow damage a car?

Towing generally puts extra wear and tear on the engine of a vehicle, gearbox as well as its transmission system, and possibly its suspension too.

Fortunately, by adhering to the proper maintenance procedures and utilizing correct high-grade lubricants, whatever difference there maybe will be very minimal or undetectable.

Consequently, towing does not damage a vehicle, unless it is not done correctly according to the recommendations of the manufacturers.

(3). What transmission is better for towing?

Generally speaking, most vehicles with automatic transmissions are likely to have an improved allowable cargo load than manual transmission models. This is primarily because towing heavy loads with a manual transmission can do much harm to the clutch system of the vehicle from the shifting of gears.

However, automatic transmissions are adjudged better for towing due to safety concerns. Furthermore, some cars that are equipped with automatic transmissions also have a tow or haul mode, which comes in handy.

Despite this, if you are towing off-road on a corrugated surface, manual transmissions have an edge over automatic transmission systems.

Also, due to the increased efficiency of the engine, automatic transmission systems accord the drivers more control while towing, especially under precarious driving conditions. Also, before you conclude on which is better, it will be good to consider the size of your cargo too.

In this case, vehicles with automatic transmissions are likely to have a greater allowable cargo load than those with manual transmissions. This is because towing with manual transmission can easily damage the clutch when it comes to shifting gears.

Again, when towing with an automatic transmission, it is advisable to regularly inspect the transmission coolers to prevent incidents of overheating secondary to the additional weight.

Therefore, after putting all these factors into consideration, automatic transmission systems have a slight edge over manual transmission when it comes to towing, although you have to be more watchful throughout towing.

Conclusion – Can You Tow A Car From The Back?

Towing is easy and safe regardless of the type of vehicle involved, as long as you adhere strictly to the recommendations of the manufacturers as laid out in the user manual.

Consequently, you are strongly advised to carefully go by all the instructions given in the enclosed user manual without let up, lest you end up damaging costly and vital vehicle components.


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