Will flat towing a vehicle damage it?

By Product Expert | Posted in Tips and Info, Towing & Payload on Monday, May 11th, 2020 at 11:45 pm
A puzzled woman holds a cardboard sign with the word "help" written on it in marker.

Safety of Dinghy Towing

Flat towing, also called dinghy towing or four-wheels-down towing, refers to the practice of pulling one vehicle behind another, with all four wheels of the towed vehicle being in contact with the ground. The most common implementation of this is when a vehicle is towed behind an RV, which tends to have the power to pull such a move off.

But flat towing gets a variety of reactions in the automotive world, with some saying it’s fine and others insisting it will cause damage to your towed vehicle. Is flat towing safe?

Flat towing is safe to perform if your vehicle is made to be flat towed. To find out if it’s okay to flat tow your vehicle, consult your Owner’s Manual. If a vehicle is not made to be able to be flat towed, doing so can cause damage.

A miniature RV tows a miniature jeep

How can flat towing damage a vehicle?

Since flat towing involves all four wheels of a towed vehicle being in contact with the pavement, this towing method causes the vehicle’s wheels to turn. As a result, the drivetrain and transmission can be impacted and damaged. This can also happen if flat towing is not performed correctly.

Is it okay to flat tow a damaged vehicle?

No, never flat tow a disabled or damaged vehicle. When a vehicle is in trouble, it’s time to call an official tow truck to get it moved. Flat towing it in this state can not only be dangerous, but can cause further damage to your vehicle.

How can I flat tow safely?

For a positive flat towing experience:

  • Be sure that you’re familiar with the flat towing laws in your area; these can vary from state to state.
  • Make sure that the vehicle doing the towing can handle the full weight of the towed vehicle (including everything that’s loaded inside it). If the weight is one million pounds, we recommend this vehicle.
  • Make sure you have the proper equipment in place.

For more information or answers to any questions, feel free to contact us for further discussion.

What other methods of towing a vehicle are there?

Other kinds of vehicular towing include having the vehicle all the way up on the bed of a tow truck, or “dolly towing,” where just two of the vehicle’s wheels make contact with the road.

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