Volvo does not recommend flat towing their cars, whether they are automatic or manual.
Flat towing means towing a car behind an RV or a big vehicle with all four wheels on the ground. Whether you can do it depends on the drivetrain and the transmission system of the car. All Volvo cars with automatic transmission systems should never be flat towed. Manual Volvo cars, on the other hand, can be flat towed with care, but Volvo doesn’t recommend it.
What is flat towing?
Flat towing is towing a car on all of its four wheels. This is also known as “four-down towing” or “dinghy towing.” With this of towing, a car is attached to an RV or another type of large vehicle, and then it is pulled behind. It is the easiest way of towing a car. However, flat towing is not meant for every car.
Flat towing an automatic transmission car can severely damage the transmission system. Automatic cars must never be flat towed, irrespective of their drivetrain options. This is because, in automatic transmission cars, lubricant is circulated around the transmission system only when the engine is running. But in dinghy towing, the engine is turned off, so there is no lubrication in the transmission system.
In the case of manual cars, they can be flat towed, but not every manual vehicle. Check the user manual before towing your car. In the case of front-wheel-drive cars, flat towing is not the best option because it can damage the transmission system that’s in the front. However, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive cars can usually be flat towed in neutral gear.
Flat towing a Volvo car
Officially, Volvo recommends towing cars by using a tow dolly for their vehicles. Volvo does not produce rear-wheel-drive cars anymore, and flat towing front-wheel-drive cars and all-wheel drive cars can be hard. Flat towing can negatively impact the transmission system, so this is also important to note.
Towing automatic Volvo cars
Automatic transmission cars are the majority nowadays. Flat towing an automatic Volvo can have a negative effect on the transmission system. The transmission system needs lubrication when the car is running but while flat towing, the transmission system does not have lubricant which can lead to the driveshaft breaking.
Drivetrain options can further increase the chances of damage due to flat towing. FWD cars have a transmission and driveshaft in the front of the car. They will be severely damaged when the front wheels spin without the engine running. AWD cars also be affected the same way as FWD when flat towing.
Towing manual Volvo cars
Manual transmission cars can be flat towed behind a big vehicle in neutral gear. However, flat towing FWD cars can impact the transmission system even when it’s in neutral gear. AWD Volvo cars can, in fact, be flat towed, but Volvo recommends using a tow dolly or flatbed tow truck.
Some manual cars also have an engine-driven pump that provides lubrication to the transmission system, so flat towing can affect those manual cars. If there is necessity to flat tow, then put the car in neutral and attach the vehicle with a tow strap.
Volvo towing services
Volvo customer care offers a “Tow for life” program where Volvo customers can call Volvo assistance that is available 24/7. This program is even for customers whose warranty has expired. Volvo offers free towing facilities with their expert tow operators. However, the towing is only free fora 25-miles radius. Beyond this limit, Volvo will charge for it.
Flat towing can damage your Volvo’s AWD system or transmission system, which is extremely expensive to repair. With the Volvo’s Tow for Life service, you can just call them in the event of a breakdown, which may even be completely free. They also know what’s best for your vehicle, so it’s the best option.
What are the types of towing?
Towing is needed when a car is not working, or it is stuck somewhere. Towing is done by pulling a car with a bigger vehicle or truck. There are different types of tow trucks:
- Flatbed Tow Truck
- Integrated Tow Truck
- Hook and Chain Tow Trucks
- Wheel-Lift Tow Trucks
With these tow trucks, there are different techniques to tow the cars. These different towing techniques are due to different drivetrains and transmission systems. These are:
- Flatbed towing – flatbed towing is done by placing the car on a flatbed tow truck. In this way, all the wheels are resting on the truck which keeps them safe.
- Flat towing – flat towing is done by attaching the car to a big vehicle with tow straps and then the car is pulled with all four wheels on the ground.
- Two wheels towing – it is done by using a tow dolly or car dolly attached with a car. The tow dolly keeps the driving wheels from spinning and keeps the transmission system safe.
What complications can happen when towing a car?
The main issue with towing a car is damaging the transmission system. Towing can also damage the AWD system in cars. However, the biggest issue lies in automatic cars. Lubrication in the car is really important and if it is not done properly then it can damage sensitive parts of the car.
Towing a manual car is easier because the lubricant in the transmission system spreads with gear changing, so manual cars are safer to tow than automatic ones. However, there are some manual cars that have certain difficulties, so always read the user manual.
Why is flat towing bad for the car?
Flat towing manual cars is not that bad for them. Manual cars can easily be attached to RVs or larger vehicles when in neutral gear. However, flat towing can cause damage to automatic cars. In fact, it can damage any vehicle that requires lubrication from engine-driven pumps.
Vehicles that need lubricant from the engine should never be flat towed, otherwise, the transmission can break. The majority of the automatic cars have engine-driven lubrication pumps, which is why flat towing is very bad for them.