Towing an All-Wheel Drive – How to Tow an All-Wheel Drive Vehicle
All-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles are ever-growing in popularity, thanks to the added safety of all four wheels delivering equal acceleration while driving. With the growing popularity of SUVs and fuel economy figures almost near their two-wheel drive counterparts, all-wheel drive vehicles seem like the obvious choice for most car buyers. Also, many cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs are offered with an all-wheel drive option.
What most people don’t realize, however, is when it comes to being towed, all-wheel drive vehicles are at a disadvantage. While a two-wheel drive vehicle can easily be towed by lifting either the front or rear drive wheels off the ground, all-wheel drive vehicles need all their wheels lifted in order to be towed. This is because all the wheels are connected to the drivetrain via the driveshaft, so pulling the vehicle seriously damages the drivetrain.
While technically it is possible to tow an all-wheel drive vehicle on its wheels, you would need to disengage the driveshaft – which is a complex and expensive procedure only to be performed by a trained mechanic. By doing so, the spinning of the wheels don’t have a negative impact on the driveshaft and drivetrain.
The correct way to tow an all-wheel drive vehicle is by lifting all four wheels off the ground. You can have a flatbed tow truck to pull the vehicle onto its flatbed. That way, the vehicle’s wheels don’t spin when being towed. Flatbeds however are usually in high demand, which means you’ll have to wait long before you can be towed.
If you don’t want to wait long for a flatbed, you can always request a tow truck with dollies. Dollies are essentially a platform with two heavy-duty wheels on each side. During a tow, your vehicle is lifted and dollies are placed under one set of wheels. The other set of wheels are lifted by the tow truck’s wrecker. This ensures your wheels don’t roll during the tow, and consequently your drivetrain won’t be damaged. Because of their compact nature, most regular tow trucks are equipped with dollies.
So whether you choose a flatbed or regular tow truck, your all-wheel drive’s vehicle will be protected from drivetrain damage. If you request a tow truck or have one approach you, make sure the tow truck has dollies. More importantly, ensure the tow operator has experience towing all-wheel drive vehicles.