Can You Tow Rear Wheel Drive Car Backwards?

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Towing a vehicle becomes necessary in the event of a breakdown, tire flattering or sudden engine malfunction that necessitates taking the vehicle to an auto specialist. However, there are conditions for towing different cars based on their features.

For example, how you tow a vehicle will be determined by whether it is a front-wheel drive, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

So, Can you tow a rear-wheel-drive car backwards or forward? No, a rear-wheel-drive car cannot be towed backwards. It is strongly recommended for drivers not to tow vehicles backwards on a tow dolly because if the steering wheel is unlocked, the car is likely to fishtail all over the place.

The best thing to do is to tow the vehicle from the front by disconnecting or removing the driveshaft before towing the vehicle. Or alternatively, by placing the vehicle on a trailer for transportation.

How do you tow a rear-wheel-drive car backwards?

In order to tow a rear-wheel-drive car on a tow dolly,  first, disconnect and then remove the driveshaft to avoid damaging the transmission system.

Tow dollies that lift the front wheels off the ground can be a good choice in the case of towing a rear-wheel-drive car. Another viable alternative is to use a tow bar. In addition, you can tow a rear-wheel-drive car with manual transmission on a tow dolly safely as follows:

First, lock the steering wheel and tow it backwards, before you disconnect the driveshaft and tow it with the front wheels forward.

Thereafter, put it in neutral with the parking brake off and the front wheels forward. In matters of towing, rear-wheel-drive cars are by far better than front-wheel-drive cars, because as you accelerate, the weight transfer puts it on the rear and not the front.

To make full justification to the topic, we shall first,  discuss how to tow a rear-wheel-drive car with manual transmission in steps, and afterwards,  one with automatic transmission,  also in steps.

How to tow a rear-wheel-drive car with manual transmission.

Step 1

Begin by attaching the tow strap to the front of the frame. In some vehicles, tow eyelets that are used to secure the vehicle during transportation are provided.

These eyelets are safe places to attach the tow straps. Avoid attaching anything to the radiator core support or engine, and also avoid using chains to tow either, or else they break and become dangerous projectiles.

Step 2

Next, attach the tow strap to the towing vehicle. You may use a trailer hitch here, which is a safe procedure. Take note and avoid attaching anything to a bumper that is not equipped with a tow hitch, or the exhaust system, because they are too weak to pull the weight of another vehicle.

Step 3

Finally, release the parking brake and then shift the transmission into neutral. Allow the broken vehicle to roll back and take up any slack in the tow strap,  if possible.

Where that is not possible, allow the tow vehicle to idle forward to take up any slack. While towing, the towed vehicle should maintain the slack on the tow strap tight and also assist the towing vehicle to slow down at stops and when negotiating corners too.

How to tow a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with automatic transmission

Step 1

Start by raising and supporting the rear of the vehicle using a floor jack and back stands. You should position the jack stands beneath the rear axle so as to support the weight of the vehicle.

Step 2

You should now remove the driveshaft by loosening the bolts that secure it to the rear differential. Then, slide it forward into the transmission, before you eventually lower it, and pull at it from behind the transmission.

Finally, secure the U- joint caps with the use of a piece of tape to guard against any damage to the U-joint. You can now tow as instructed in the section of the user booklet on a manual transmission.

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What happens if you tow a rear-wheel-drive car?

These type of cars are better at towing than front-wheel-drive cars because as you tow,  the entire weight of the vehicle is put on the rear and not the front.

In addition, when towing rear-drive cars, remove the driveshaft and tow the vehicle with its back wheels on the ground,  so as to prevent any damage to its transmission.

The transmission of all rear-wheel-drive cars is similarly at risk if you tow the vehicle in the park. All rear-wheel-drive cars should thus be towed in neutral only.

Also, during towing, rear-wheel-drive cars have better steering without much weight on them and their rear wheels also have better traction than the front wheel vehicle.

Is it safe to tow a rear-wheel-drive car backwards?

No, it is not.  It is generally known that no vehicle should be towed backwards, especially on a tow dolly, because if the steering wheel happens to be unlocked, the vehicle is most likely going to fishtail all over the place. Alternatively, you can tow the vehicle from the front after disconnecting or removing the drive shaft, or you transport the vehicle to a trailer.

Can you tow a front-wheel-drive car forward?

Yes, you can, by either lifting the front wheels off the ground or alternatively, by disconnecting and removing the driveshaft. Either way, you are advised to tow front-wheel-drive cars forward.

Is it safe to tow a rear-wheel-drive car forward?

Yes, it is very safe indeed. If you should do that, you may disconnect and remove the driveshaft first, just so as to avoid any unnecessary damage to the transmission system. So, yes,  it is safe.

Read Also: What happens if you steal your car from a towing company?

Are rear-wheel-drive cars good for towing?

Yes, they. This is because as you accelerate, the weight transfer puts the weight on the rear of the vehicle by removing it from the front. This weight transferability in rear-wheel-drive cars is what makes them very good at towing.

Is front or rear-wheel drive better for towing?

It is generally known that rear-wheel-drive cars are by far better than front-wheel-drive cars in tow. This is basically due to the fact that their front wheels have better steering without a tone of weight on them. There is also the advantage of weight transfer from the front to the back, which gives the rear wheels more traction while towing than those in the front.

Can you tow a rear-wheel-drive car in neutral?

It is commonly recommended to remove the rear driveshaft and then tow the vehicle with its rear wheels on the ground so that you will avoid any damage to its transmission.

In addition, you also risk damaging their manual transmissions if you tow rear-wheel-drive cars while their gear levers are in the ‘park’ positions. In conclusion, all rear-wheel-drive cars should be towed in the neutral only. So, yes, you can tow RWD cars in neutral. In fact, that is the only way you should tow them.

Read Also: Can You Tow A Manual Car In Neutral?

Can I tow a rear-wheel-drive car on a dolly?

Yes, you very well can. Preferably, however, use two dollies that lift only the front wheels off the ground. Whenever you are towing a rear-wheel-drive car on a tow dolly, you may have to disconnect and remove the driveshaft in order not to damage its transmission. Another viable alternative is the use of a tow bar.

FAQ

Do you have to remove the driveshaft when towing?

Yes, you have to. It is highly recommended that you both disconnect and then remove the driveshaft before towing because, by doing that, you are essentially avoiding any damage to the transmission system of the vehicle. So, yes, always remove the driveshaft before towing.

How do you tow a car with an automatic transmission?

In order to tow a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you need to first raise and support the rear of the vehicle with the aid of a floor jack stands.

Thereafter, position the jack stands underneath the rear axle such that it will support the weight of the vehicle. After this, remove the driveshaft by loosening the bolts that secure it to the rear differential.

Next, slide it forward into the transmission. After this, you should lower it and then pull it from the rear of the transmission.

Finally, secure the U-joint caps using a piece of tape to prevent any damage to it. You can now go ahead and tow the vehicle as instructed in the transmission’s manual.

Is a two-wheel drive better for towing?

You are advised to use a 2-wheel drive for normal towing. The only exceptions to this are extreme conditions as are prevalent in snow-covered or muddy roads that may ordinarily require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. So, yes, a two-wheel-drive vehicle is better for towing than a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Can you tow a 4 by 4 vehicle on a tow dolly?

Yes, you can. This is best done with two dollies which lift the two front wheels off the ground and can work effectively.

However, if you want to do this, a special effort is usually required. In the case of a manual transmission, a manual transfer case and manual lockout hubs may be needed, to enable you to tow a four-wheel-drive vehicle with all four of its wheels on the ground, and which will also prevent damage of any kind.

Read Also: Will AAA tow my car to my house?

Can you prevent your car from being towed?

Of course,  you can prevent your car from being towed. Though it is not very easy to stop your car from being towed, especially where there are legal reasons to do so, or where a  vehicle hiring firm wishes to repossess their vehicle. All the same, you can stop the car from being towed by locking it up in a secure garage.

After all, you can’t tow what you don’t see. can you? I guess not. Even if those who want to tow it know that it is in the garage, they just cannot break into private property.

In most cases, vehicles that are badly damaged and have no wheels on them are the ones being towed. Where you can, try chaining the front wheels to the rear ones.

How much can a towing company legally charge for their services?

The charges slightly vary from one company to the other. However, all things being equal, the highest price for towing is about two hundred and thirty-eight dollars.

Though what you may be required to pay eventually will be determined by the distance across which your car is towed.

For example, if you have your vehicle towed for a distance of about ten kilometres from an accident scene, you may be required to pay an additional five dollars and some cents in certain places. In other places, there is an additional four dollars and some cents per kilometre.

Can You Tow Rear Wheel Drive Car Backwards – Conclusion

There are only two options when it comes to towing cars: either you tow them forward or backwards, except where you are carrying them on a trailer or other larger vehicles.

It is highly significant that you know in which direction to tow, since towing a car in the wrong direction may cause very severe damage to your transmission system.

Similarly, it is important to take into account whether your car has an automatic or a manual transmission system before towing, lest you damage it.

In most cases, you may be required to remove the driveshaft before you tow the car, a move that will also protect the transmission system. For its importance in towing, the removal of the drive shaft has also been given the coverage it deserves in this article.

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