Will Towing Damage Automatic Transmission

 In Blog

We’ve all been there at some point in our life: needing our car to be towed. Either because we weren’t prepared for a flat tire, got into an accident, or the car just broke down for some unknown reason. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to get a hold of a towing company almost anywhere in the U.S.

But you’ve heard stories from the cousin of your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend that getting a tow will damage your car. He heard this from his uncle’s fishing buddy because his car got a few dents and his transmission was damaged.

First off, we feel bad for the fishing buddy. It’s bad enough you’re going through car troubles, even worse when more bad news is thrown on top. But we also want to say that these types of issues are few and far between.

In fact, if you are being towed with a flatbed truck, there is very little – if any – chance of damage happening to your vehicle. The car is literally only being towed a few yards, or whatever the distance is to get your car onto the back of the truck with a winch. After that, it is essentially parked and just along for the ride.

It’s very difficult for a car to get damaged in this scenario unless something unforeseen happens. This could be an accident, softball-sized hail crashing through a windshield, or some other freak occurrence.

No Such Thing as Too Much Information

When a flatbed truck isn’t available, a wheel lift truck will be pressed into service. These trucks will lift either the front or back tires, leaving the other tires on the road during the tow. This is where things can potentially go wrong if the tow truck driver doesn’t have all of the information he needs. It should be noted that all tires can be lifted with the use of a car dolly.

If the car has a manual transmission (stick shift), there will be little to no wear and tear on the vehicle itself in most cases, even for long distances. It doesn’t matter if the driving wheels or the non-driving wheels are on the ground while being towed. Automatic transmissions, however, need a little more care.

If the car is being towed on the non-driving wheels, automatic transmissions should be fine. If that isn’t possible, and the car needs to be towed with the driving wheels, there could be issues. This type of towing should be done slower than normal and only for short distances.

Without getting too technical, certain automatic transmissions can be damaged if towed with two wheels on the ground. Most tow truck drivers understand this and will ask you a few questions about your car. If you don’t know your camshaft from a drive shaft, consult your owners manual. There should be a section on towing best practices for your car.

All-Wheel or 4-Wheel Drive Considerations

With the popularity of SUVs growing, people who live in the Pacific Northwest have a chance to really get out and enjoy nature. With all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicle, trips to the mountain for skiing and hard to get to camping areas are all within reach.

Except for the fishing buddy, having your car towed is a mostly uneventful inconvenience. Chappelle’s drivers are well versed with both flatbed and wheel lift trucks and have the training to be able to work with both automatic and manual transmissions. Rest assured, your car will be safe with us.

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