How to Flat Tow a Jeep

by Christian Killian

It's not uncommon to see a Jeep being flat-towed (that is, without a trailer) behind a motor home at 70 mph on the freeway. That's because it's safe and easy to do. It's important to flat-tow your Jeep with all four wheels on the ground and not on a car dolly that keeps the Jeep's front wheels elevated. Towing on a dolly can damage the Jeep's four-wheel drive system. Also, make sure your towing vehicle has enough pulling power to comfortably tow the Jeep's added weight.

Attach the tow bar from the front of the Jeep to the towing vehicle, keeping the bar as flat as possible. A flat tow bar will allow better handling, and sudden or rapid stops will be much safer.

Plug the connector for the auxiliary lights to the connector on the towing vehicle. String the wiring along the side or over the top of the Jeep and mount the lights where they can be seen by other drivers on the rear of the Jeep. These lights are important, because they will serve as turn signals, break lights and tail lights.

Test the lights. You will need a helper to step on the brakes and cycle the turn signals while you watch to see that the lights are working properly.

Shift the transfer case of the Jeep into neutral. This will keep the drive shafts from spinning the transfer case gears or the transmission while towing the Jeep.

Instead of neutral, the Jeep owners manual recommends shifting the transmission into "Park" (automatic transmissions) or fifth gear (standard transmission) for towing purposes. Neutral works just as well in practice, however, and many experienced towers prefer it.

Put the key into the ignition and turn it to unlock the steering. If you attempt to tow the Jeep with the steering locked, it will not track properly behind you and the towing will be extremely labored.

Drive slowly until you get a good feel for the handling of two vehicles moving down the road together.

Tip

  • check Check your tow bar and electrical connections at every fuel stop, making sure the connections are tight and the lights are working properly.

Warning

  • close Because you are towing a two-ton vehicle, the towing vehicle must be driven carefully. Sudden stops or sharp, high-speed corners could cause a loss of control.

Items you will need

About the Author

Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.