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towing the model s

Discussion in 'Model S' started by MGMDaware, Sep 9, 2016.

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  1. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    I tried a search, but could not find the answer I was seeking.

    Was having a discussion with a coworker who mentioned they will be towing cars from our parking lot if not properly registered. This got me thinking . . . . Is it possible for a random tow truck to grab the S and tow it away (using a tow hook) without damaging the car?
     
  2. JPUConn

    JPUConn Member

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    the tow driver who flat-bedded my RWD S from my house into service informed me that 'tow hooks' are not to be used on the S and they have a special strap that they wrap around the control arm if winching is needed (which it was for mine).

    Additionally he said if the car was ever to be towed while not in neutral they would put it on dollies that way the car was never dragged - when Tesla is transporting vehicles from Milford, CT to Mt Kisco, NY you will often see a flatbed with an X or S on it and an S in tow behind on Dollies.(One interesting point I was told that the X exceeds the width for dollies and must be flatbedded)

    I've personally seen cars (non tesla) being pulled into flatbeds with the transmissions in park or parking brakes engaged and the tow operators had a wedge they would put in front of the stopped wheels that allowed them to slide or skate onto the flatbed without causing damage to the drivetrain.
     
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  3. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    Interesting. It appears that significant prior knowledge about a Tesla is required to tow it. I wonder what the repercussions would be for a tow company that tows a model s/x without owner permission and subsequently damages the car.
     
  4. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Repercussions for a towing company? :confused: Don't be silly.

    The WRX and Evo are pretty common now, but in the 2000s they were still known mostly to car guys. They're both AWD versions of FWD vehicles, and would frequently get towed with the rear wheels on the ground, ruining their differentials. A lot of people bought little stickers to put near the tow locations as a warning. There were never repercussions for the damages.

    I guess maybe a Tesla owner would be more likely to pursue a legal case on principal, but I'm sure the "We didn't do that damage, prove it." mentality of the towing company would be the same. That 'proving' part is both hard and expensive.
     
  5. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    excellent points!
     
  6. Btr_ftw

    Btr_ftw Court Jester

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    A model S can be pulled onto a flatbed with the ebrakes engaged and the wheels will still turn (it will be stubborn but they will still rotate).
     
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  7. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    Without damage as a result of brute force?
     
  8. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Always in Ludicrous mode

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    If your not supposed to use the tow hook why do they include one with every car and why is it called a TOW hook? Suffice to say my friends car would not start last week on Friday and had to be towed from his underground garage the driver wanted to use a strap but I've read that it can cause damage to the front undercarriage of the car, I believe this is listed in the owners manual, we insisted the driver use a Tow Hook and basically had to install it into the car and demand that he use it... when we got to the service center they agreed with us that the straps are a bad idea and where glad we pushed for the tow hook. Most Tow Truck drivers don't own Teslas nor do they read the manual for every car on the road, thats the owners job to know whats correct when it comes to towing! Worst case you can find the info in the manual on your cars center touch screen, I keep a copy on my phone just in case...
     
  9. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Always in Ludicrous mode

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    Basically RTFM... Page 176-177 and 178 are towing instructions here's a small excerpt. Note the section IF NOT EQUIPPED WITH TOWING EYE... basically if you have a tow eye use it THE END... When you don't use the tow eye you have to have a 2x4 block of wood as well to place under the car between the straps and the undercarriage to prevent damage. See below pulled from page 177 of the manual. Basically don't ever trust a tow truck driver to know the proper towing procedure for your car.

    "
    Connect the Towing Eye

    The method used to connect the winch cable depends on whether Model S is equipped with a towing eye (located in the front trunk).

    If not equipped with a towing eye:

    1. Attach the tow straps to the large hole on each of the rearmost lower suspension arms underneath the front of the vehicle.

    2. To protect the underbody from any damage that could be caused by the tow straps, place a 2" x 4" piece of wood between the tow straps and the underbody.

      Caution: Before pulling, position the wood between the tow strap and the underbody to ensure the underbody is protected from any damage that could be caused by the tow strap.
     
  10. JPUConn

    JPUConn Member

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    @Tech_Guy I had the nose cone out and tow hook in my hand and was informed by this driver who said the majority of their business is towing tesla's and they were told not to use the hook.
     
  11. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Always in Ludicrous mode

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    image.png
    I find tow truck drivers are just trying to cut corners or are use to owners not knowing the proper procedure. As you can see from the manual excerpt I posted above if you have a tow eye use it... I had to demand it be used just last week because I'd read the manual!

    Let's jump to your situation he used the straps, ok did he use a block of wood under the front of the car between the straps and undercarriage? If not he might have damaged your car.
     
  12. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    Although I appreciate the academic discussion on proper towing procedure, my original question pertained to a tow truck driver grabbing ones model s from an assumed illegal/improper parking situation without making the driver/owner aware of impending tow.

    Of course, if I was standing there I would tell him/her exactly how to do it based on the manual's instruction. If I'm not there.....
     
  13. Btr_ftw

    Btr_ftw Court Jester

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    Only damage would be to the tires really with the potential to create uneven wear due to dragging.

    The only thing stopping the tesla from moving while parked is the electronic brake mounted on the discs. The drive unit will rotate freely if the brakes aren't applied and power isn't going to the unit.

    For example if I disconnect my e brakes my car will happily and freely roll into my neighbors house.
     
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  14. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    The S and X never change the gear relationship between the wheels and motors under any conditions.

    The "Park" position applies the second caliper/pad to the rear wheels.

    Since Tesla uses induction motors, no current will flow as a result of spinning them without some electricity on the coils.

    I'm not positive how the gears are lubricated, but AFAIK there isn't any separate oil pump (splash lubricated?)


    Given the above, I'm thinking that if the operator is able to attach to the car without damaging the body panels or structure, there shouldn't be any real risk if the rear is lifted or the car is in Tow mode (shut off with the parking brake released.)
     
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  15. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    Intersting stuff guys. Thanks so much for the responses.
     

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