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Old 9th August 2017, 06:18   #1
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Default Towing of automatic transmission cars?

What is your manufacturer's recommendation of towing, which has an auto gear box?

This is what the manual of my SX4 AT says: "Secure the front wheels on a towing dolly according to the instructions provided by the dolly manufacturer."

The manual also says: "Towing an automatic transmission vehicle with four wheels on the ground can result in damage to the automatic transmission."

The Manual does not mention anything about, flat bed towing.

Note to MODS: I am unable to find any similar thread, please merge if this doesn't warrant a thread.
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Old 9th August 2017, 09:59   #2
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Default re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hok kolorob View Post

The Manual does not mention anything about, flat bed towing.
You can flat bed your car anywhere. As long as your drive wheels are not running there shouldn't be a problem. The SX4 is a front wheel drive vehicle, and hence manual recommends the front wheels to be stationary while towing.
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Old 9th August 2017, 10:06   #3
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Default re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

When you slot to N, you are essentially disconnecting the Engine from the Transmission system. This works best when you are stationary.

While you have slotted to "N", even though the engine is disconnected from the transmission, the latter is still connected to the driving system - The wheels.

Towing without a flat bed would actually mean these drive wheels are also in motion along with the transmission which is now turning as your drive wheels are spinning - All this when the Engine is shut down and your Gear Oil/Transmission fluid not circulating and hence not cooling the system that can result in the system heating up.

It is only wise to tow longer distances using Flat Bed Trucks for these reasons. Towing with the drive wheels (Front) Up also is harmless in that case.
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Old 9th August 2017, 10:09   #4
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Default re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
While you have slotted to "N", even though the engine is disconnected from the transmission, the latter is still connected to the driving system - The wheels.
Parag, this is a FWD car. The rear wheels are not connected to the transmission. Hence, by hoisting the front wheels and towing with only the rear wheels on the ground should not be a problem, I think.
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Old 9th August 2017, 10:11   #5
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Default re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Parag, this is a FWD car. The rear wheels are not connected to the transmission. Hence, by hoisting the front wheels and towing with only the rear wheels on the ground should not be a problem, I think.
I know he is referring to FWD car. Hence I said it can be towed with the front wheels up without a flat bed.
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Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
It is only wise to tow longer distances using Flat Bed Trucks for these reasons. Towing with the drive wheels (Front) Up also is harmless in that case.
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Old 9th August 2017, 10:37   #6
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Default re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
I know he is referring to FWD car. Hence I said it can be towed with the front wheels up without a flat bed.
Ok ! Got a bit confused with first 2 lines of your post. But what you say is important - an AT car should not be towed with all 4 wheels even if slotted into N.
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Old 9th August 2017, 10:40   #7
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Default re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Interesting thread. I don't know the technicalities but whatever the inconvenience, I'd only flat bed my GT.

Would be interesting to know what to do with my City A/T though. I think (can't recall) that there is some sort of openable flap next to the gear shift indicator but I don't know what exactly its for? Either to unlock the gear or something like that. Can anyone shed some light if it is relevant from a towing standpoint?
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Old 9th August 2017, 11:00   #8
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Another tip - if your AT car is stuck in 'Park', use the shift lock override button.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
To the top left of the gearbox is a shift lock override button. Pressing this button bypasses the gear lock system whereby you cannot move out of position "P" unless the key is inserted and the brake pedal is pressed. Use the shift lock button when you park on an incline and can’t move the lever out of "P". The feature could also be used when towing the vehicle:

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Old 9th August 2017, 11:14   #9
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Another tip - if your AT car is stuck in 'Park', use the shift lock override button.
I doubt if the "shift lock" would help bringing the car out of the Park position, rather, it would ensure that it stays in the Park position, so that, even accidentally, it does not move into any other position.
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Old 9th August 2017, 11:25   #10
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by swissknife View Post
I doubt if the "shift lock" would help bringing the car out of the Park position, rather, it would ensure that it stays in the Park position, so that, even accidentally, it does not move into any other position.
Sorry, you have got it wrong. The technical term for that should rather be Shift lock release or something. In case of electrical failure or transmission failure when the car is in park position, this shift lock is used to override and free the transmission to neutral. If not, trying to move the drive wheels will result in a broken park pin or further damage.

The thing you are referring to is a shift gate, which is a certain set of mechanical elements that will prevent any accidental gear engagement and a particular pattern has to be followed to shift gears to ensure that the driver is sure of what he is doing. The shift lock feature will disable the gating mechanism and allow you to shift to neutral if the gate mechanism is electric or does not allow shifting due to some other dependency.

Last edited by audioholic : 9th August 2017 at 11:31.
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Old 9th August 2017, 11:38   #11
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by swissknife View Post
I doubt if the "shift lock" would help bringing the car out of the Park position, rather, it would ensure that it stays in the Park position, so that, even accidentally, it does not move into any other position.
Shif-Lock-Release button will allow you to move form Park to N. You can do this to push your car like - to the side of the road. But it is still not recommended to tow the car with all wheels on ground, in this setting ( N ).

I have done this when the battery in my car died on us in a traffic jam.
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Old 9th August 2017, 11:46   #12
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

How does an AT or MT make any difference when it comes to Towing?

When an AT vehicle is dead in Park mode, shift lock override is the only way to shift it to Neutral. Apart from this difference, everything else is same.
As paragsachania mentioned, the transmission is connected to wheels all the times (even when in neutral) and hence drive wheels must not be on the ground when towing. Even in a MT it is the same right?

AT or MT, it's only important that the Drive wheels must not be on the ground when towing.
If it's an AWD/4WD, use flat bed towing in all cases
If it's an FWD/RWD, the front/rear 2 wheels must not be on the ground respectively while towing

Last edited by GTO : 10th August 2017 at 10:43. Reason: typo
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Old 9th August 2017, 12:51   #13
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Do not tow an AT* car with its driven wheels on the ground even if the transmission in N**. When its in N only the engine is decoupled from the transmission, the wheels will drive the gears inside. The pump that supply oil to AT is driven by the engine and without engine running there will be loss of lubrication.

Flat bed the AT. Or atleast get the driven wheels off the ground.


*Except AMT cars. Those are externally automated manual gearboxes.
** 4WD automatics with manual transfer cases can be towed with TC in neutral. Probably rare nowadays with electronics taking over.
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Old 9th August 2017, 13:17   #14
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
Even in a MT it is the same right?
Most MT cars have an oil bath for transmission lubrication while AT's have an oil pump in the transmission case.

Keeping this in mind an MT can be towed with driven wheels on the ground and the gearbox in 'N'. The gears keep getting lubricated on their own by splashing oil all around on the inside of the gearbox.

MT cars which have external cooling systems for transmission oil cooling should not be towed with the driven wheel on the ground. Again this varies with how far one wants to tow the vehicle.

Last edited by vikram_d : 9th August 2017 at 13:20.
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Old 9th August 2017, 14:00   #15
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Default Re: Towing of automatic transmission cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
How does an AT or MT make any difference when it comes to Towing?

When an AT vehicle is dead in Park mode, shift lock override is the only way to shift it to Neutal. Apart from this difference, everything else is same.
Most AT's have external oil supply, and cooling. You need the engine running for it to work.

Where as in most MT's the gears lie in an oil bath. Engine running or not doesn't make a difference. When towing its like going downhill, ie, wheels drive the gears and not vice versa.
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