How to Tow a 4X4 Vehicleby Alexis Lawrence
When you tow a vehicle, any mistakes made can be costly. Towing 4x4 vehicles can be even more of a challenge than towing other vehicles because 4x4 vehicles have additional components on the chassis that can be damaged if the vehicle is towed incorrectly. When towing a 4x4 vehicle, taking some extra care and precautions will help ensure your vehicle gets safely from its point of pickup to its destination without any damage.
Consult your owner's manual or contact the manufacturer. Before towing any 4x4 vehicle, it's a good idea to check the information from the manufacturer. It will tell you the best way to tow your vehicle and whether or not your vehicle should be towed.
Tow your 4x4 vehicle on a trailer. The safest way to tow your 4x4 is to get it up off the ground and the safest place for the vehicle to ride on the trailer is with the front wheels just in front of the front wheels of the trailer. Attach the vehicle securely to the trailer by strapping the winch clip to the vehicle's chassis. Use ratchet straps on the rear of the vehicle, around the axles, and the front tires to further secure the vehicle to the trailer.
Tow your 4x4 on its own wheels. Not everyone has access to a towing trailer and many 4x4s can safely be towed short distances by a tow chain or rope with all four wheels on the ground. Attach the tow rope or chain to the frame of the vehicle and the frame of the towing car. Do not drive more than 40 to 45 miles per hour and don't drive the vehicle long distances. Again consult your owner's manual. There are some 4x4s with owner's manuals that expressly state they should not be towed. Others will need to have components of the car, such as the rear prop shaft, disconnected before towing.
Invest in a steering wheel clamp. Steering locks are not sufficient for keeping the wheels straight on a towed 4x4 vehicle. A steering wheel clamp will keep the wheels locked in place and the vehicle moving straight ahead.
Install tow lights. Even for short distances, drivers in the cars around you will need to know when you are stopping and turning. Tow lights are inexpensive and offer easy tool-free installation and step-by-step instructions.
Put a sign on your vehicle. The tow lights are a good first step to letting other motorists know that you are towing a vehicle. Putting a sign on the vehicle in tow with large, easy-to-read lettering will make sure others are aware that the vehicle is in tow.
Things You'll Need
- Ratchet straps
- Tow chain or rope
- Steering wheel clamp
- Tow lights
- Cardboard and marker for sign
Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.