How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler Manual Transmission: 2020 Update

June 16, 2020

How To Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler Manual Transmission

So let’s talk about something on nearly every RVers mind, towing a vehicle. There are so many ways to do this and I would like to go over all of them and sort of lay out the pros and cons of each. By the time you are finished reading this post, I hope you can make an informed decision on how you would like to tow your car behind your RV.

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All the Ways to Tow a Car

All the different ways may seem overwhelming but I hope to clear up some of your questions involving towing a car behind a motorhome. You may flat-tow your vehicle, tow it on a car dolly, or tow it on a full sized trailer. Each one of these mediums of towing has its own pros and cons to them. Depending on the type of vehicle you are currently driving or the one you are wanting to get for your set-up you may be restricted to one of these. I will cover each one in depth in order for you to find the best toad for your RV.

Flat Towing a Jeep Wrangler

The first tow style I will cover is flat-towing a Jeep Wrangler manual transmission. Now I may be a little biased but flat-towing is the best way to do it. It is also the most restrictive form of towing as most vehicles cannot be flat-towed.

In order for your vehicle to be flat-towed, it must be able to unlock the transmission into neutral, (or lock out the transmission), in order to avoid damage to it.

Can a Jeep Wrangler be towed?

There are only a few vehicles manufacturers that can do this, Jeeps are some of the most common flat-towable vehicles on the road.

What makes this form of towing so lucrative is how easy it is to do. With the right set-up, you can get hooked-up or un-hooked in less than a couple minutes.

Another huge advantage to it is that you have nothing else involved except a tow-bar and your vehicle.

A lot of campgrounds don’t have much space for anything to be stored. So having to tow a trailer along can be a problem of space in some areas.

One con to flat-towing is the wear and tear it puts on your vehicle tires.

You may be going through tires on your vehicle faster than usual. But I really don’t see this as a huge problem considering you will have wear on trailer tires using the alternative methods anyway.

Other Cons to four on the floor are the cost of getting set-up and installation of the tow-bar baseplate can seem scary to some.

Does flat towing a Jeep add miles?

No flat towing a Jeep behind an RV doesn’t add miles since you are disconnecting your transfer case in order to tow it. The wheels spin freely allowing the Jeep to travel without turning the odometer.

What Jeep Wrangler Flat Tow Kit is the Best?

Now there are many different set-ups you can get in order to flat-tow. Blue-Ox towing products are probably the best equipment on the market.

They are a bit more pricey but well worth the price for the quality and convenience you are paying for, compared to other products on the market.

A Blue-Ox tow bar and a Patriot brake system made by Blue-Ox is about the best set-up you can get for flat-towing your toad.

What Jeep models can be flat towed?

All Jeep Wranglers 1997-present day can be flat towed with the exception of 2 wheel drive models. You can even tow a Jeep Gladiator behind your motorhome. Below is a list of Jeeps and whether they can be flat towed.

Jeep Model

Flat Towable

 Jeep Wrangler 4WD

 Yes, 1997-Present

 Jeep Gladiator

 Yes

 Jeep Compass

 No

 Jeep Liberty

 All 4×4 models

 Jeep Patriot

 All 4×4 models

 Jeep Cherokee

 Latitude, Latitude Plus, & Limited (4WD), Overland (4WD) &  Trailhawk & Trailhawk Elite (4WD)
 Jeep Renegade  No

 

What is different when considering flat towing a 2 wheel drive Jeep?

The main issue with a 2 wheel drive Jeep is the drivetrain. We spoke with popular YouTuber’s Less Junk More Journey about their mistake buying a Jeep to flat tow without ever doing the upfront research. Always do your research before purchasing a car to tow… the information will be in the manual that comes with the car.

To flat tow a 2 wheel drive Jeep you will need to trailer it or use a tow dolly.

Other Common Questions

Can you flat tow a Jeep Wrangler automatic?

Yes, you can flat tow your automatic Jeep Wrangler. The transfer case disconnects just like ours in our manual transmission. You simply drop the transfer case shifter into neutral and put the Jeep shifter into gear. This is according to the manual of our 2013 Jeep Wrangler.

How hard is wiring a Jeep Wrangler for flat towing?

It’s honestly not hard at all. I wired our Jeep myself in the parking lot of a State Park before we set off on a road trip. I bought this brake wiring kit from Amazon.

This setup wires our tail lights to our Jeep brakes to work with our Patriot Brake II. So when we push the brakes on our motorhome the Jeep brakes actuate and those Jeep lights come on as well.

We also wired the break away cable through the motor compartment into the Jeep firewall under the driver side floorboard.

Can you back up when flat towing?

It is not recommended to backup when you are flat towing. You don’t have control over the tow vehicle like you would a trailer when backing.

Do I need a special license to tow a car behind an RV?

No special license needed tow flat tow a car behind an RV. You will however be required to have a break away cable and a brake system in certain states.

Do I need to rotate my tires more often on the tow vehicle?

You will want to keep an eye on your tire tread and make sure it’s wearing evenly. We rotate our tires on a mileage schedule along with our oil changes.

Does your gas mileage decrease when towing?

Yes, with any added weight you will see a decrease in your gas mileage when towing.

Why do you cross your saftey chains when hooking them up won’t they get tangled?

We cross the safety chains when hooking them up so they will act as a support if the worst happens and they act as a tounge if the tow bar disconnects from the motorhome.

Where do you put the ignition so the steering doesn’t lock up?

We have a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, which does not have any steering wheel lock mechanism on it. I believe most Wranglers do not have any sort of lock, but you will need to consult your vehicle and user manual.

How do your Jeep tires turn when flat towing?

With your Jeep transfer case disengaged your tires will freely roll and turn in whatever direction the vehicle towing the Jeep goes.

 

other towing options

Towing with a Car Dolly

Next on the list is towing your vehicle with a car dolly. This is a pretty common and somewhat simple way to tow your car behind your RV. Typically only front wheel drive vehicles may be towed this way. However, some older rear wheel drive vehicles can be towed backward and some rear wheel drive vehicles can have the driveshaft removed or disconnected then towed forward. It all depends on your vehicle, check your user manual to see how you can tow it.

Image Credit: Kar Kaddy SS

Now connecting and disconnecting is a relatively simple process to do, it takes a little more time than with flat-towing but not too much. Some pros of the car dolly are that its the cheapest set-up you can get. It requires no vehicle modifications and it gives you a little more options on what vehicle you can tow behind your RV.

One con is that the trailer takes up a little bit of space, although some can be stored under your RV if there is room. Like I said before, it takes a bit longer and can be slightly more of a pain than flat-towing. But with time everything becomes easier and less time-consuming.

There are many options for the type of car dolly you can buy but some of the most popular are Acme tow dollies and Demco tow dollies.

Towing with a Trailer

Towing with a trailer is probably the least popular way to tow your car behind your RV. You can tow any sort of vehicle you would like with a trailer. So if you have or plan to have a vehicle to tow that cannot be towed either of the other two ways then this is your last resort.

Some pros are that you can tow pretty much any vehicle you would like, granted your RV can pull the weight. Also if you have some sort of show vehicle or anything like that, you can keep it tucked away and in prime shape for whatever reason you have it for. The cons are that it is the most time-consuming for loading and unloading. It is more than likely going to be the most expensive option. The trailer will take up a lot of space to store wherever you go. You may need to call ahead to each location to ensure they have enough space for you.

There are so many different car trailers out there to chose from. You can typically find one at your local trailer dealer, or you can try SLE Equipment. At the very least they can help you find the right trailer you need.

wrapping up.

What’s Right for You

All in all, having the right set-up to pull a vehicle behind your RV is a very unique choice depending on your circumstances. One person’s needs may be completely opposite to the next person’s. I hope that after reading this article you feel more empowered to make the best decision on towing a car behind your RV. Whether you are like us a want to flat tow a Jeep Wrangler with a manual transmission or another car entirely we are here to lay out the options.

RV Travel Day Checklist

As RVers travel days can be hectic and if we aren’t on top of our rig teardowns we can miss important to-dos. Grab our free travel day checklist which includes an inside & outside action plan with room to customize to your own rig.

Pin It For Later

How do you tow a car behind an rv? Learn the best options and choose which one is right for you. In this post we detail the options available for towing a car behind your RV and the pros and cons of each. Make RV life easier by having your own car when you travel. RV living with kids will make you want to have your own car. Depending on your travel style you will want to have something to drive. #rvliving #rvtravel #rvlivingfulltime #rvtravelwithkids #rvlifestyle
How do you tow a car behind an rv? Learn the best options and choose which one is right for you. In this post we detail the options available for towing a car behind your RV and the pros and cons of each. Make RV life easier by having your own car when you travel. RV living with kids will make you want to have your own car. Depending on your travel style you will want to have something to drive. #rvliving #rvtravel #rvlivingfulltime #rvtravelwithkids #rvlifestyle
How do you tow a car behind an rv? Learn the best options and choose which one is right for you. In this post we detail the options available for towing a car behind your RV and the pros and cons of each. Make RV life easier by having your own car when you travel. RV living with kids will make you want to have your own car. Depending on your travel style you will want to have something to drive. #rvliving #rvtravel #rvlivingfulltime #rvtravelwithkids #rvlifestyle
How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler Manual Transmission: 2020 Update