How to Tow a Rear Wheel Drive Car

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Towing a rear-wheel-drive car presents a few problems. However, it is far easier than towing a front-wheel-drive car and the problems are easy to overcome. The primary concern when towing is the transmission. In automatic transmission-equipped cars, improper towing can destroy the transmission. This project is well within the skill level of a do-it-yourself mechanic and does not require any specialized tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Tow strap
  • Wrench set

Manual Transmission cars

  • Attach the tow strap to the front of the frame. Some vehicles are equipped with tow eyelets, used to secure the vehicle during transport to the dealership; these are safe places to attach the tow strap. Avoid attaching the strap to the radiator core support or engine. Avoid using chains to tow--they can break and become dangerous projectiles.

  • Attach the tow strap to the towing vehicle. A trailer hitch is a safe attachment point, as are tow eyelets. Avoid attaching to a bumper not equipped with a tow hitch, or the exhaust system. Like the core support and engine components, these areas are too weak to pull the weight of another vehicle.

  • Release the parking brake and shift the transmission into neutral. Allow the vehicle being towed to roll back and take up the slack in the tow strap when possible. If it's not possible, allow the tow vehicle to idle forward to take up the slack.

  • During towing, the towed vehicle should keep the slack on the tow strap tight, and help the towing vehicle slow down at stops and when turning corners.

Automatic transmissions

  • Raise and support the rear of the vehicle with a floor jack and jack stands. Position the jack stands under the rear axle to support the weight of the vehicle.

  • Remove the drive shaft by removing the bolts that secure it to the rear differential. Slide it forward into the transmission. Then lower it, and pull it from the rear of the transmission. Secure the U-joint caps with a piece of tape to prevent damage to the U-joint.

  • Tow as instructed in the section on manual transmissions.

  • Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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