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how to tow a rear wheel drive car

How to Tow a Rear Wheel Drive Car? Answer Here

Towing a rear-wheel-drive car is a challenging and risky task requiring much caution. Hence, you need to do it with the right steps and tools for safety. 

The key here is to attach your car to the towing vehicle properly. Also, you must ensure that the attachment allows some slack for the rear-wheel-drive car to move slightly. 

Don’t worry! Although this job is not easy for beginners, you can discover it by following our lead. Let’s see! 

how to tow a rear wheel drive car

How to Tow A Rear-Wheel-Drive Car?

The general rule for towing a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) car is to tow with its rear wheels off the ground. This method ensures the driven wheels don’t deliver power to the transmission while being towed. 

However, the towing method for your RWD car also depends on its transmission. For example, if it has a manual transmission, you can put it in neutral and release its parking brake to tow it. 

On the other hand, the automatic transmission requires a particular towing technique, depending on its design. 

Manual Transmission Cars

How to tow a rear-wheel-drive manual car? We have shared the best way to stop a manual car. Today, we will learn how to tow it. This method is straightforward with simple steps, and you just need the tow straps. 

Step 1: Attach the tow strap to your car 

First, attach the tow strap to the front section of the car frame. Besides, you can find tow eyelets in many car models, which protect your vehicle during transportation. Hence, you can join the strap to the eyelets. Be careful not to hit the radiator core support. 

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Do not use chains to tow your RWD car. Otherwise, you will risk breaking the chains while towing. 

Step 2: Attach the strap to the towing vehicle 

Attach the strap to the towing vehicle. The trailer hitch can work well as a secure attachment point. The eyelets also fit this description.

Do not use the bumper for this step, as it has no tow hitch or exhaust system. Moreover, like the core support, it can’t offer enough strength to pull the car. 

Step 3: Release the parking brake 

Release the parking brake. You must shift your car into its neutral transmission to disengage the engine. Then, the wheels can spin without the engine working against them.

Besides, leaving some slack in the strap is essential to allow some movement between your car and the towing vehicle. Then, when towing rear wheel drive car in neutral, your vehicle can roll slightly and maintain tension on the towing strap.

Automatic Transmissions

The best towing method for a car with an automatic transmission is different from model to model. While you can tow some with all four wheels on the ground, others must be placed in neutral with their drive wheels off the ground. 

Here are basic steps to tow a RWD car with an automatic transmission: 

Step 1: Lift your car

Lift the rear of your car with floor jacks and jack stands. The jack can help support its weight. Hence, you must put it below the rear axle. 

Step 2: Remove the drive shaft

It’s time to remove the car’s driveshaft. You can accomplish this on your own, but we recommend contacting a mechanic and having them carry out the task for you. It’s due to the procedure’s complexity and the need for extra caution.

If you want to do it yourself, unscrew the bolts on the driveshaft’s side, slide the transmission forward, and lower it to pull it out. 

Step 3: Manipulate the U-joint

After removing the driveshaft, you can see the U-joints. These components are fragile and you may damage them with improper protection measures. 

It would be best to apply adhesive tape to secure the U-joint caps. Then, they won’t get damaged during transportation. 

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Step 4: Connect your car to the trailer

Consult your owner’s manual for any safety precautions. You should also learn the car’s towing capacity to choose the right method. 

Finally, attach ties, fixings, and hooks to your car and the towing vehicle. Then, slowly tow your car to the designated place. 

What Can You Use To Tow A Rear-Wheel-Drive Car

What Can You Use To Tow A Rear-Wheel-Drive Car?

The most common options for towing a RWD car are a tow dolly, flatbed, and trailer. 

Tow dolly

The dolly is a lightweight trailer that you can use to tow your car by its front wheels. Then, the rear wheels remain on the ground. 

This method may cause some strain on the rear wheels and suspension of your car. However, it won’t cause trouble when towing a RWD car in short to medium distances. 

Towing a rear-wheel-drive car on a dolly is the most common method since it requires simple steps. Hence, consider doing it yourself if you are confident with your driving skills.  


This option should be your way to go if you want to tow the entire car. However, because of its complexity, you can’t do it yourself.

In this manner, professionals can help load your car onto the flatbed and secure it with chains and straps. 


Using the trailer, you can tow your RWD car with all four wheels off the ground. This method is suitable for long-distance towing. It also works well if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle or can’t tow it with a flatbed or a tow dolly. 

However, it’s a complicated process. Professional mechanics will help you perform it safely and securely. 

Can You Tow A Rear-Wheel-Drive Car Backwards?

Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t. These cars feature a rear axle to drive the engine’s power to the wheels. If you reverse the process by towing the car backward, it will get stuck or even damaged. 

If you choose this method, you must remove the axle or lift your car. However, these two solutions require a lot of effort. You need more expensive, specialized tools for them, too. 

Which Is Easier To Be Towed, Rear-Wheel-Drive Or Front-Wheel-Drive Car?

Both types of cars can be easy to tow if you use the right tools and follow the right techniques. But in general, towing a front-wheel-drive (FWD) is easier. 

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While you lift the two rear wheels off the ground to tow a RWD car, you have to do it with the front wheels of an FWD. And lifting the front wheels is simpler because you can control and maneuver it easier. 

Will Towing Damage The Rear-Wheel-Drive Car?

What happens if you tow a rear wheel drive? If not appropriately carried, towing will cause damage to your RWD car. Here are some potential issues during transportation. 

Transmission issue

The driveshaft of an RWD car connects the transmission to the rear wheels. When you tow it with the rear wheels on the ground, the driveshaft may rotate the transmission, leading to damage. 

As a result, we always recommend lifting the rear wheels when towing your RWD car. So your options include using the tow dolly with the front wheels on the ground or choosing the trailer/flatbed for this task. 

Suspension issue 

Towing a RWD car puts stress on your car’s suspension. It may fail if you don’t secure it properly or choose the wrong equipment. 

Extra Tips For Towing A Rear-Wheel-Drive Car

Towing a RWD car is a complicated process. After checking the steps we shared above, read these extra tips, too. They will help you carry out this task safely. 

  • There is guidance for towing your car in the owner’s manual. So no matter which method you intend to try, check the manufacturer’s recommendation first. 
  • Avoid sudden movements while towing. For example, choose an even road so your car can go smoothly. Besides, do not accelerate or brake suddenly.
  • Always check the condition of your towed car if you drive the towing vehicle. Pay attention to the straps as well, as they may loosen because of the obstacles on the road. 


The best method for towing a rear-wheel-drive car depends on the kind of its transmission. The rule of thumb is to secure the car carefully and let its rear wheels off the ground. 

However, towing your car with its rear wheels on the ground is possible if you travel short to medium distances. But consult the owner’s manual before doing it. 

Do you find this article helpful? Please comment in the section below if you need any further information to tow your RWD car. We will reply soon. 

Thank you for reading!  


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