TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Towing a Model 3 RWD

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by jdcollins5, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    What is the issue with towing a RWD with the rear wheels lifted but front wheels on the road? I only see flatbed towing which I understand with AWD.
     
  2. Twiglett

    Twiglett Single pedal driver

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    1,725
    Location:
    Austin
    The manual is pretty specific not to do it - I wouldn't
     
  3. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    San Diego
    Unless you've got some way to lock the front wheels so they roll straight that would be a very bad idea (I wouldn't rely on the steering wheel column lock). Good chance you'd scrape the front of the car on the ground if you're not careful too.
    I haven't seen a non-flatbed tow truck in a while. There are so many AWD vehicles these days you'd think they would be almost extinct.
     
  4. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    #4 jdcollins5, Aug 16, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
    I have seen RWD cars towed all of the time with the rear wheels up on dollies. Especially behind RV’s and moving vans. If you are rolling why would the front wheels do anything but go straight, especially with the steering wheel lock?
     
  5. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    The manual does not explain why. So I am asking.
     
  6. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    San Diego
    Because the caster is set up for driving forward. Go in reverse and let go of the steering wheel :D
    I'm not sure how strong the steering wheel lock is and it would have to be locked perfectly straight or I think you'd be scrubbing the tires.
     
  7. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    The caster setting makes some sense to me. I am going to have to try going in reverse and let go of the steering wheel ;)
     
  8. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    San Diego
    When you drive forward you can let go of the steering wheel and the car will go straight. In reverse the wheels will swing to one side.
     
  9. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    I tried your experiment with my Prius. I reversed for about a half of a block at 10 mph with hands off of steering wheel. The wheels tracked straight and true!

    I will try with my wife’s Pilot the first chance that I get.
     
  10. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    San Diego
    Haha. I'll have to try it myself now. Maybe the square profile of the tire has some self centering effect even in reverse. I'll try it with the wheel already turned a bit.
     
  11. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    I tried my wife’s Pilot with same results. The wheels tracked straight. If I turned the wheels they stayed turned until I turned the steering wheel.
     
  12. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    San Diego
    I think you really want the wheels to self center like they do when you drive forward. Anyway if you do a search everyone says you can't tow a car backwards.
    I've got a RWD car so I'm curious if it will turn to one side while driving backwards. I'll have to try...
     
    • Like x 1
  13. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,652
    Location:
    The Western Slope, Colorado
    #13 dgpcolorado, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
    [Duplicate post.]
     
  14. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,652
    Location:
    The Western Slope, Colorado
    If you wanted to tow it backwards, how would you grab on to it? There aren't a lot of places to attach a tow truck lift that might not cause damage. I sure wouldn't want to try it.
     
  15. insaneoctane

    insaneoctane Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2016
    Messages:
    2,105
    Location:
    Southern California
    I think if you simulate being towed in anything but a straight line, it will reveal more
     
  16. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    I googled this and most discussions originated from RV sites. Most discouraged towing a car backwards.

    Others said the trick is to loop a rope through the steering wheel and tie it in two places to the seat frame. The rope keeps the wheels straight but gives some flex for going around curves. One guy said that he had towed many RWD cars backwards up and down the east coast by using a rope through the steering wheel with no issues.

    I guess the answer that I have been looking for is that it can be done with the rope through the steering wheel to keep the tires straight. For those with RV’s or for moving, it is possible.

    Of course the safest method would be the flatbed truck or trailer. I can understand Tesla only recommending this.
     
  17. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    #17 jdcollins5, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
    On a towing dolly under the rear wheels.
     
  18. Daniel in SD

    Daniel in SD Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    San Diego
    Why do you want to tow your Model 3 anyway?
    You can rent a flatbed trailer at Uhaul pretty cheaply.
     
  19. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    True.

    I just wanted to know why towing backwards on a dolly was not recommended. Now I know it can be done.

    I do not know that I have ever seen a flatbed trailer at a Uhaul site but I have seen many dollies. I am sure you can schedule a flatbed. In a pinch I now know that I could use the dolly if I had to. Also, if I had an RV I could tow the Model 3 on a dolly,
     
  20. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,652
    Location:
    The Western Slope, Colorado
    That makes sense. I thought you were referring to emergency towing with a tow truck.

    One problem I've had with tow dollies is that they sometimes are too narrow and the fenders hit the sides of the car in sharp turns. Been there, done that (unfortunately). The Model 3 is a fairly wide car.
     
    • Like x 1

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC