5 Easy Steps to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler

We can’t help but love Jeeps here at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive. They are the ultimate off-roading beasts! Even better, they are designed to be flat towed. This makes it easy to take them along when using an RV or when you need to transport them to check out some new trails.

What is Flat Towing?

Flat towing refers to pulling your car or 4WD rig behind large trucks or RVs with the towed vehicle having all 4 of its wheels on the ground. For this to happen, the Jeep’s wheels need to be able to spin freely without engaging the driveline.

It is a very convenient way of towing compared to other methods. For one, it’s faster to connect and disconnect the vehicle being towed. Once you get to your destination, you can just uncouple the tow bar and other equipment and your Jeep is ready to go. Additionally, flat towing is much cheaper than other towing methods because you don’t have to invest in a trailer bed or towing dollies. In some cases, everything you need to tow your vehicle is contained in a simple towing kit. Lastly, you get better fuel mileage using this method because there is less weight to pull along. Your tires also wear out more evenly since all four of them are on the road.

While most Jeep Wranglers are designed to be flat towed, not all of them are. If you want to flat tow your rig, it is important to check the manual or with the manufacturers to confirm whether your vehicle can be towed this way.

Flat Towing Your Wrangler

Alright, you’ve checked and confirmed that your ride can be flat towed. What’s next?

Check the towing capacity

You may think that your RV or van can pull a massive amount of weight but it has its limits. Your Jeep is likely to weigh a couple of tons, even more if you have cargo in it. Before flat towing your Jeep, make sure that your tow rig can handle it. The best way to do this is to check the RV or tow rig manual for its towing capacity then weigh your Jeep to ensure it is within that range.

When weighing the Jeep, take into account the weight of whatever cargo is inside as well as any accessories or modifications you’ve made, if it is a custom build. This includes a custom bumper, winch, or lift kit. Also, make sure to weigh the Jeep with a full fuel tank.

Check your Jeep’s bumper

To tow the Jeep, you’ll have to attach a tow bar from the RV to the Jeep’s bumper. This means that it has to be strong and sturdy enough to take the force that will be applied to it. Most tow bars in the market are designed to work with the factory mounts found on stock Jeep bumpers.

However, if yours is an aftermarket bumper, you can use adapters or universal mounting plates for the same job. Be careful though as some mounts may require you to drill into the bumper to secure them. This is a job that can be done at the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto shop.

You can also opt to have a baseplate attached to the Jeep frame under the front bumper. If you go for this, keep in mind that it may affect your ride’s clearance as well as the approach angle making it difficult to get over some obstacles on the trail.

Confirm you have the right equipment.

You can’t flat tow your Jeep unless you have the right equipment for it. This includes:

  • A tow bar – this connects the Wrangler to the RV so that it can be pulled. There are several options in the market to choose depending on your budget. The tow bar is mounted to the front bumper of your Jeep then hooked onto the hitch of the tow rig.

  • Supplemental brakes – you can choose to have either electrical or mechanical ones. The use of supplemental brakes differs from one state to another so ensure you comply with the rules wherever you go.

  • Towing lights – to keep both your rig and other drivers safe, you need towing lights. There are two options to choose from: portable tail lights which are magnetically mounted to your Jeep or you could use a special kit to tap into the Jeep’s lights and connect them to the RV ones.

  • A breakaway kit – these are designed to activate when/if something happens to disconnect your Jeep from the towing rig. They help slow down the Jeep, minimizing damage to the rig and other road users.

Put your Jeep in tow mode

Once you confirm you have all the tools you need to flat tow your Jeep, the next step is to put it in tow mode. The process of doing this differs with every Wrangler model and also depends on the tow bar, wiring harness, and braking system you use on your vehicle. For this reason, it is important to check the vehicle owner’s manual to get the correct process of putting it in tow mode. Also, ensure that you put the Jeep in the right gear to prevent the transmission from burning as the vehicle is being towed.

Do a final inspection

Before coupling the two vehicles, make sure that both are in good condition. They need proper maintenance for the job ahead so ensure that they have fresh oil, the transmission fluid and coolant are topped up and the braking and electrical systems are in good working order.

After that is done and you’ve put the Jeep in tow mode and coupled it to the tow rig, make one last visual inspection to make sure everything is okay. Have someone stand behind the Jeep to check that the brake lights and turn signals are working properly. Then do one final sweep to confirm that everything has been correctly hooked up.

Once you’re sure, you’re ready to flat tow your Jeep.

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