How to Tow a Rear Wheel Drive Car Like a Pro

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Are you planning to tow a rear wheel drive car and want to do it like a pro? Towing a car can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. But don’t worry, with the right knowledge and equipment, you can tow your car safely and effectively.

First, it’s important to understand the basics of rear wheel drive towing. Proper preparation is also key, so we’ll cover how to get your car ready for towing. Choosing the right tow vehicle and equipment is also critical, and we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make the right choice.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, our comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to tow your rear wheel drive car safely and effectively. So, let’s get started and learn how to tow a car like a pro!

Understanding the Basics of Rear Wheel Drive Towing

If you’re planning to tow a rear wheel drive car, it’s essential to understand the basics of towing. Towing a car may seem like a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and equipment, it can be done safely and effectively. One of the most crucial things to keep in mind when towing a rear-wheel-drive car is to avoid damaging the transmission. The driveshaft and transmission are sensitive components of a car, and any damage to them can be costly to repair.

Before towing your car, it’s essential to determine the type of transmission your vehicle has. Most rear-wheel-drive cars have either a manual transmission or an automatic transmission. The type of transmission your car has will determine the best way to tow it. It’s essential to consult your car’s manual or a mechanic to ensure you’re following the correct towing procedures.

Another essential factor to consider when towing a rear-wheel-drive car is the weight of the vehicle. Overloading the tow vehicle can lead to dangerous situations and accidents. The weight of the car being towed also affects the choice of towing equipment and methods used. It’s crucial to select the appropriate equipment for your vehicle’s weight and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Rear Wheel Drive Towing Mechanisms

  1. Flatbed Towing: This method involves placing the entire vehicle on a flatbed trailer and securing it in place. It’s the safest and most common way to tow a rear-wheel-drive car since all four wheels are off the ground, and there’s no risk of damage to the drivetrain.

  2. Dolly Towing: This involves using a small two-wheel or four-wheel dolly to support the front wheels while the rear wheels remain on the ground. It’s a less expensive option, but only suitable for shorter distances and lower speeds, as there’s a risk of damage to the transmission or drivetrain.

  3. Tow bar Towing: This method involves attaching a tow bar to the rear of the tow vehicle and to the front of the towed car. The towed car’s front wheels are lifted off the ground, and the rear wheels remain on the ground. It’s a more affordable option, but the car’s weight is supported by the tow bar, which can cause damage to the vehicle’s frame and suspension over time.

  4. Trailer Towing: This method involves using a small or large trailer to tow the rear-wheel-drive vehicle. The car’s rear wheels are secured onto the trailer, and the front wheels remain on the ground. It’s suitable for longer distances and heavier vehicles, but it requires more space and is less maneuverable.

  5. Car Carrier Towing: This involves using a specialized car carrier trailer that can support the entire vehicle’s weight. The car is secured onto the carrier, and the trailer is attached to the tow vehicle. It’s a more expensive option, but it’s suitable for long distances and valuable or fragile cars.

Make sure to choose the towing mechanism that’s most suitable for your vehicle’s make and model, the distance you need to travel, and your budget. Once you’ve chosen the appropriate towing mechanism, you can move on to preparing your car for towing.

Weight Distribution and Balance

Proper weight distribution is critical for safe towing, especially when it comes to rear wheel drive vehicles. A poorly balanced load can cause fishtailing, loss of control, and even accidents. Make sure to distribute the weight evenly between the tow vehicle and the towed car. Overloading either one can cause a dangerous situation on the road.

When hitching up the towed vehicle, pay attention to the balance of the load. It is essential to keep the center of gravity low to reduce the risk of tipping over. Positioning the weight of the load near the rear axle of the tow vehicle can help improve stability and control.

Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommended weight limits, and make sure you stay within those limits. Also, consider the weight distribution of any cargo you may have in the tow vehicle’s trunk. Proper weight balance is crucial to avoid unwanted stress on your car’s suspension and drivetrain.

Towing Capacity and Limitations

If you plan on towing a rear-wheel drive car, it is important to understand the towing capacity and limitations of your tow vehicle. Towing capacity refers to the maximum weight that your vehicle can tow, while towing limitations are restrictions that may limit your ability to tow certain vehicles or loads.

Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the towing capacity and any limitations that may apply. In addition to the weight of the car being towed, you must also take into account the weight of the trailer or dolly, any cargo or passengers in the tow vehicle, and any additional equipment or accessories.

It is important to never exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity or attempt to tow a vehicle that exceeds your vehicle’s limitations. Doing so can lead to damage to your vehicle, accidents, or other safety hazards.

Additionally, some vehicles may require additional equipment or modifications to safely tow a rear-wheel drive car. Consult a professional or your vehicle’s manufacturer for guidance on towing a specific car model.

Preparing Your Car for Towing

Inspect Your Car: Before towing, you need to ensure that your car is in good condition. Check the brakes, tires, lights, and fluid levels. Address any issues before towing.

Remove Excess Weight: Excess weight can damage your car’s suspension and cause handling issues. Remove any unnecessary items from your car before towing.

Secure Loose Parts: Any loose parts, like mirrors or spoilers, can detach during towing and cause accidents. Remove or secure any parts that may come loose.

Disconnect the Driveshaft: If you’re towing a rear-wheel-drive car, you need to disconnect the driveshaft to prevent transmission damage. Refer to your car’s owner manual for specific instructions on how to do this.

Checking and Adjusting Tire Pressure

One important aspect of preparing your car for towing is to check and adjust the tire pressure. The right tire pressure ensures proper weight distribution, stability, and traction on the road. Underinflated tires can cause excessive wear, overheating, and even blowouts, while overinflated tires can reduce the contact area, traction, and handling. To determine the optimal tire pressure, consult your owner’s manual or the tire label.

Make sure to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold, as hot tires can give inaccurate readings. Use a reliable tire pressure gauge to measure the pressure of all tires, including the spare. Add or release air as needed, and don’t forget to tighten the valve caps.

Keep in mind that the tire pressure requirements may differ when towing a car, depending on the weight and type of the tow vehicle, the trailer, and the load. Check the tire pressure periodically during the trip and adjust it if necessary.

Disconnecting the Driveshaft

When towing a rear-wheel-drive car, it’s essential to disconnect the driveshaft. The driveshaft is the part that connects the transmission to the wheels, and it needs to be disconnected to prevent damage to the transmission during towing. To disconnect the driveshaft, you will need to locate it under the car and remove the bolts that attach it to the transmission and rear differential.

Once you have disconnected the driveshaft, it’s important to cover the opening to prevent debris from entering the transmission. You can use a plastic bag and tape to cover the opening, or you can purchase a driveshaft disconnect kit, which will cover the opening and provide additional support for the driveshaft.

Remember to label the driveshaft and the transmission so that you can reconnect them properly when you’re finished towing. If you’re not comfortable disconnecting the driveshaft yourself, it’s best to have a professional mechanic handle this step to avoid any damage to your vehicle.

It’s important to note that not all cars require the driveshaft to be disconnected for towing, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual or a professional mechanic to determine whether this step is necessary for your vehicle.

Securing Loose Parts and Accessories

Before you tow your car, make sure to remove any loose parts or accessories that may fall off during transit. These can include spoilers, bumper covers, or even loose hubcaps.

Additionally, you should secure any remaining parts that could potentially come loose during the towing process. This includes things like the side mirrors, windshield wipers, and any loose hoses or cables. Use zip ties or duct tape to secure these items in place.

Finally, be sure to remove any personal belongings from the car before towing. Not only can these items be damaged during the trip, but they can also become dangerous projectiles in the event of an accident.

By taking the time to secure loose parts and remove personal items, you can ensure a safe and successful towing experience.

Choosing the Right Tow Vehicle and Equipment

Towing Capacity: When choosing a tow vehicle, it’s important to consider its towing capacity. The vehicle’s manual will specify the maximum weight it can safely tow.

Trailer Hitch: A proper trailer hitch is essential to ensure safe and secure towing. The hitch must be rated for the weight of the trailer and be properly installed on the tow vehicle.

Braking System: An appropriate braking system must be installed on the tow vehicle and the trailer. It’s important to check your local laws to ensure compliance with any required braking regulations.

Weight Distribution Hitch: A weight distribution hitch can help evenly distribute the weight of the trailer, reducing strain on the tow vehicle and improving stability. It’s recommended for trailers over a certain weight.

Towing Mirrors: Towing mirrors extend the view of the driver beyond the trailer, providing additional visibility and reducing blind spots. They are particularly important for wider trailers.

Selecting the Proper Tow Vehicle

When choosing a tow vehicle, it’s important to consider the weight rating and towing capacity of the vehicle. The weight rating is the maximum weight that the vehicle can carry, including passengers and cargo, while the towing capacity is the maximum weight that the vehicle can tow. You’ll want to choose a vehicle with a towing capacity that exceeds the weight of the trailer and its contents.

Another important factor to consider is the wheelbase of the tow vehicle. A longer wheelbase provides more stability and control when towing, making it a better option for larger trailers. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the tow vehicle has the necessary braking capacity to safely stop the trailer’s weight.

Finally, consider any accessories you may need for towing, such as a trailer hitch or weight distribution system. These accessories can improve the safety and performance of your tow vehicle and make the towing process smoother and more secure.

Choosing the Right Type of Tow Equipment

When it comes to towing, having the right equipment is crucial for safety and efficiency. Here are some factors to consider when selecting tow equipment:

  • Weight Capacity: Make sure the equipment you choose can handle the weight of your load.
  • Hitch Type: The type of hitch you need will depend on the weight of your load and the type of vehicle you are towing.
  • Braking System: Some states require a separate braking system for trailers over a certain weight.
  • Towing Lights: Make sure your equipment includes proper lighting to signal turns and stops.
  • Towing Mirrors: If your load obstructs your view, consider adding towing mirrors to improve visibility.

Choosing the right type of tow equipment is essential to ensure the safety of you, your vehicle, and your load. Take the time to research and select equipment that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Hooking Up Your Car for Towing

Position the Tow Vehicle and the Car to Be Towed: The first step in hooking up your car for towing is to properly position the tow vehicle and the car to be towed. The tow vehicle should be centered behind the car to be towed, and both should be on level ground.

Attach the Tow Bar or Tow Dolly: Depending on the type of towing equipment you have, you will need to attach either a tow bar or a tow dolly to the tow vehicle. The tow bar or dolly should be securely attached and properly aligned with the car to be towed.

Connect the Safety Chains: Safety chains are an important part of towing equipment, as they help to prevent the towed car from separating from the tow vehicle in the event of an accident. Make sure that the safety chains are securely attached and crossed under the tongue of the tow bar or dolly.

Attach the Lights and Brakes: Depending on the weight of the car to be towed, you may need to attach lights and brakes to the towed vehicle. This is important for both safety and legal reasons, as it ensures that other drivers can see the towed vehicle and that it can be safely stopped in the event of an emergency.

Attaching the Tow Hitch

Step 1: Position the hitch ball correctly in the hitch coupler, making sure the hitch ball size matches the coupler size.

Step 2: Lower the hitch coupler onto the hitch ball, making sure it latches securely onto the ball.

Step 3: Insert the hitch pin through the coupler latch and lock it securely.

Step 4: Attach the safety chains to the tow vehicle’s frame or hitch, crossing them under the coupler to form an X.

Connecting the Safety Chains

When towing a vehicle, it’s important to ensure that it is properly secured to the tow vehicle. One way to do this is by using safety chains. Safety chains are designed to keep the towed vehicle connected to the tow vehicle in case the tow hitch fails.

Before attaching the safety chains, make sure they are the correct length and weight rating for the vehicle being towed. It’s important to cross the chains under the tongue of the trailer to create a cradle in case the hitch fails.

When attaching the safety chains, make sure they are tight enough to prevent dragging, but not so tight that they restrict the movement of the towed vehicle. Additionally, make sure the chains do not drag on the ground and that they are not twisted.

Always double-check the safety chains before starting to tow. They are a critical safety feature that should not be overlooked or taken lightly.

Testing the Lights and Brakes

Before hitting the road, it’s essential to ensure that the tow vehicle and the towed car’s lights and brakes are functioning correctly. A malfunctioning light or brake can be dangerous and lead to an accident.

The first step is to check the tow vehicle’s brake system by connecting the trailer’s electrical plug to the vehicle’s electrical socket. Then, apply the vehicle’s brakes and check whether the trailer brakes respond correctly.

Next, test the towed car’s brake system by having someone sit in the driver’s seat and operate the brakes while you stand behind the car and verify that the brake lights are working correctly.

Driving Safely While Towing a Car

When towing a car, it’s important to remember that you are driving a much larger and heavier vehicle. It’s crucial to take extra precautions and drive slowly and carefully to avoid accidents.

One important aspect of safe towing is to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. This gives you enough space to brake or maneuver if necessary.

It’s also important to be aware of the weight distribution of your towed car. Improper weight distribution can cause swaying or instability on the road, which can be dangerous.

Another key factor in safe towing is to be prepared for any road conditions you may encounter. This includes checking weather forecasts and planning your route accordingly.

Finally, always make sure to use your turn signals and give other drivers plenty of warning when changing lanes or turning while towing a car.

Maintaining Safe Speed and Distance

When towing a car, it’s important to remember that you are operating a much larger vehicle than normal, and as such, you need to adjust your driving habits accordingly. One of the most important things to remember is to maintain a safe speed and distance from other vehicles on the road. This will give you more time to react to any sudden changes in traffic or road conditions.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the weight of your vehicle and the car you’re towing. Be sure to adjust your speed and following distance to account for the added weight and length of your vehicle. This will help ensure that you can safely come to a stop if needed.

It’s also a good idea to avoid sudden lane changes or maneuvers while towing a car. This can cause your vehicle to become unstable and may even result in a dangerous situation. Instead, plan your route ahead of time and take your time to ensure that you can safely navigate through traffic.

In addition to maintaining a safe speed and distance, it’s also important to be aware of any potential hazards on the road. This includes things like potholes, construction zones, and other obstacles that may be present. Always be on the lookout for these hazards and adjust your driving accordingly.

Braking and Accelerating Smoothly

When towing a car, it is crucial to brake and accelerate smoothly. This means avoiding sudden stops or starts, which can cause the towed car to sway or even disconnect from the towing vehicle.

Gradual acceleration and deceleration will also help prevent wear and tear on your vehicle’s transmission and brakes. Additionally, smooth driving can help you avoid collisions with other drivers on the road.

If you need to come to a sudden stop, do so gradually by applying the brakes lightly at first and increasing pressure gradually. Similarly, when accelerating, ease into the throttle rather than pressing down suddenly.

Remember to also give yourself plenty of room to brake and accelerate, especially when towing a heavy load. Your stopping distance will be increased, and sudden stops or starts can put unnecessary strain on your towing equipment.

Handling Hills and Curves

Plan ahead: Before driving on hilly terrain, ensure that your vehicle and towing equipment are well-maintained and suitable for the task. Know the route and anticipate upcoming hills or curves.

Use lower gears: When ascending or descending hills, shift your vehicle to a lower gear to maintain control and avoid overtaxing your engine or brakes. Use your brakes sparingly and apply them gently.

Stay centered: When navigating curves, stay in the center of your lane and slow down as needed. Avoid cutting corners or swerving, which can cause your trailer to sway or jackknife.

Check for signs: Be alert for warning signs indicating steep grades or sharp turns ahead. Slow down and use caution when approaching these areas.

Keep a safe distance: Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, especially on curves and hills. Give yourself plenty of space to brake and maneuver in case of an emergency.

Properly Unhooking Your Car After Towing

Park the vehicles on a level surface: Find a level surface to park both vehicles. This will prevent the car from rolling once it’s unhitched.

Disconnect the safety chains: Disconnect the safety chains from the tow hitch to release the tension on the chains.

Remove the tow bar: Remove the tow bar from the front of the car, making sure to lift it straight up and away from the towed vehicle.

Disconnect electrical connections: Unplug any electrical connections between the two vehicles, including brake lights and turn signals.

Check for damage: Inspect both vehicles for any damage that may have occurred during the towing process, such as scratches, dents or loose parts.

Remember that proper towing technique is important for both the safety of the driver and the other vehicles on the road.

Removing the Tow Hitch and Safety Chains

Once you have arrived at your destination and are ready to unhook your car, the first step is to remove the tow hitch from your vehicle. Make sure to double-check that the car is in park and the emergency brake is engaged before proceeding. Using caution, remove the hitch pins and carefully lift the hitch off the ball mount.

Next, it’s time to disconnect the safety chains. Remember to use gloves when handling the chains to prevent injury. Unhook each chain from the hitch, being careful not to let them drag on the ground. Once both chains are removed, store them securely in your vehicle or trailer until your next use.

Finally, inspect your vehicle and make sure there are no signs of damage or wear and tear after the trip. It’s important to take care of your equipment to ensure it lasts for future use. By following these steps, you can safely unhook your car and prepare for your next adventure.

Troubleshooting Common Rear Wheel Drive Towing Issues

When towing a rear wheel drive vehicle, there are some common issues that can arise. One of the most common issues is overheating. This can happen if the car is being towed for an extended period of time without stopping. It’s important to take breaks and allow the car to cool down if necessary.

Another common issue is tire wear. When towing a car, the weight distribution can be uneven, causing the tires to wear down more quickly. Make sure to check the tires regularly and adjust the weight distribution if necessary.

Lastly, it’s possible to experience issues with the transmission when towing a rear wheel drive car. This can be caused by improper towing methods, such as towing in gear or using the wrong type of tow truck. Always make sure to follow proper towing procedures and use the correct equipment.

Overheating and Transmission Damage

Overheating is a common issue when towing a car, especially if the towed vehicle is heavier than the tow vehicle. To prevent overheating, ensure that both vehicles are properly maintained and that the cooling systems are in good working order. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and pull over if the engine starts to overheat.

Transmission damage can occur when towing a car with a rear-wheel drive vehicle. When towing, the wheels of the towed vehicle turn the transmission of the tow vehicle. This can cause excessive wear on the transmission and lead to damage over time. To prevent transmission damage, avoid towing heavy loads and use a transmission cooler to keep the fluid temperature down.

Other issues that can cause overheating and transmission damage include improper gear selection and lack of lubrication. When towing, use the appropriate gear for the load and terrain, and check the fluid levels regularly to ensure that everything is well lubricated.

If you notice any signs of overheating or transmission damage while towing, such as smoke, burning smells, or strange noises, stop immediately and assess the situation. Continuing to drive while these issues are present can cause further damage and put you and your vehicle at risk.

Uneven Tire Wear and Alignment Issues

When towing a car, it’s important to keep an eye on your tires. Uneven tire wear can be a sign of alignment issues or other problems that need to be addressed. Inspect your tires regularly for signs of wear and damage.

One common cause of uneven tire wear is overloading the trailer. Make sure you’re not exceeding the recommended weight limit for your vehicle and trailer.

Alignment issues can also cause uneven tire wear. If your car is pulling to one side or the other, or if your steering wheel isn’t centered when driving straight, get your alignment checked by a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rear wheel drive car?

Before learning how to properly tow a rear wheel drive car, it’s important to understand what it is. A rear wheel drive car is a type of vehicle where the engine sends power to the rear wheels, as opposed to the front wheels.

What equipment do I need to tow a rear wheel drive car?

Towing a rear wheel drive car requires specific equipment to ensure that the car is towed safely and without damage. Some essential equipment includes a tow hitch, safety chains, and a tow bar. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of the car’s weight and towing capacity.

How do I attach the tow hitch to my car?

Attaching the tow hitch to your car is an important step in properly towing a rear wheel drive car. The hitch should be securely attached to the frame of the car, and the safety chains should be attached to the hitch and the car’s frame. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that the hitch is properly rated for the weight of your car.

What precautions should I take while towing a rear wheel drive car?

Towing a rear wheel drive car requires caution and attention to detail to avoid damage to the car and other vehicles on the road. Some precautions to take include maintaining a safe distance and speed, braking and accelerating smoothly, and being aware of the car’s weight distribution. It’s also important to be prepared for emergencies, such as a flat tire or overheating.

What should I do when I arrive at my destination?

After towing a rear wheel drive car to your destination, there are several important steps to take to safely unhitch the car. This includes removing the tow hitch and safety chains, checking for any damage to the car, and making sure that the car is properly parked and secured. It’s also a good idea to inspect the car’s tires and brakes before driving it again.

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