Can You Tow a Jeep with an RV? (Yes, Here’s How)


AWD and 4WD vehicles can’t always be towed in a normal way. And a Jeep is no exception. So for those with both that and an RV, it’s not uncommon to wonder can you tow a jeep with an RV?

I did some research, and here’s what I found out:

Most models of Jeeps are designed to be flat towed, and Flat towing a Jeep behind an RV is the best method, whether it’s a stick shift or an automatic. All 4WD/AWD vehicles need to be towed with either all 4 wheels on the ground or on a trailer to avoid damage.

However, Flat towing is not recommended for a lot of vehicles or even every model of Jeep (more on that below).

But there’s much more to know about towing a Jeep. And learning step-by-step exactly how to do it is crucial to make sure you don’t mess up the Jeep’s transmission.

Just keep reading to learn more!

What is the best way to tow a Jeep behind an RV

Flat Tow most models of Jeeps behind an RV to ensure no damage is done to the transmission. This includes Wranglers, Gladiators, All 4×4 models of the Patriot and Liberty, and select models of Jeep Cherokees.

If you don’t do it right, it can damage your rig. Follow these simple tips to make sure your rig and your Jeep make it to your destination damage-free.

You should always check your manual to see if it’s compatible with flat towing.

So, let’s get to the steps to flat tow your Jeep, whatever model it may be.

The very first thing you’re going to need to install a tow bar, safety chains, and towing lights. These are all going to be legally required. Optional in most states are supplemental brakes and a hitch box extension.

If you have a rig with beefy brakes and a quality braking transmission system, then you are probably safe to forego the supplemental braking system. Of course, check your state regulations, as they are required in some states.

A hitch box extension isn’t going to be required in all cases. But if you find that you need some added clearance, a hitch box extension is a good idea.

Follow the procedure below to flat tow your Jeep. These instructions are from the manual for a 2020 Jeep Wrangler. Check your owner’s manual for instructions for your specific model.

  1. Bring the vehicle to a complete stop on level ground.
  2. Press and hold the brake pedal.
  3. Shift the transmission into neutral, or depress the clutch on a manual transmission.
  4. Turn the engine off.
  5. Shift the transfer case into Neutral.
  6. Start the engine.
  7. Shift the transmission into reverse.
  8. Release the brake pedal and clutch on manual transmissions. Ensure there is no vehicle movement.
  9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 either in drive (first gear for manual transmissions).
  10. Turn the engine off.
  11. Apply the parking brake.
  12. Shift the transmission into park or place manual transmission in gear. The vehicle should not be in neutral.
  13. Attach the vehicle to the tow bar.
  14. Release the parking brake.

That’s it! Now you are good to go!

Can you tow an automatic Jeep Wrangler behind an RV?

As with a manual Jeep Wrangler, an automatic Jeep Wrangler can be flat towed behind an RV without issues or damage risk.

Regardless of model or transmission option, any Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Gladiator can be flat towed. But there is a process to towing an automatic Jeep Wrangler.

The first thing you need to do is bring your Jeep to a complete stop behind your RV.

This should be on a flat surface, so it doesn’t roll away on you.  Shift the gear shift into NEUTRAL and turn off the engine. Once the engine is off, shift the transfer case into NEUTRAL. Then, restart the engine.

Now, shift the gear shift into REVERSE and release the brake pedal. The Jeep should not move. If it does, check to make sure the transfer case is in neutral.

Now do the same thing in DRIVE. Shift the gear shift into drive and let off the brake. The Jeep still should not move.

Turn the engine off, and shift into PARK.

Leave it there and hook up to your tow bar. I know the idea of keeping your vehicle in PARK to tow it seems weird. Putting it in any other gear will cause the transmission fluid to not circulate correctly.

This could lead to transmission damage.

Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on the car?

Flat towing a car behind an RV will not put miles on the car’s odometer. However, with other methods, it will obviously add wear and tear to any tires touching the ground, and if the ignition is on in the car, it may impact the odormeter.

2010 and later Jeep Wranglers are towed with the ignition off. As a result, the odometer won’t be counting mileage.

If the ignition is powered on or in the accessory position, you will likely rack up miles.

But generally, if the ignition is turned off on any vehicle, mileage won’t count on the odometer. That doesn’t mean you won’t get wear and tear on your vehicle, though.

You will still get wear, and mileage, on wheels, wheel bearings, and other turning parts, though. If you have an older vehicle with a mechanical odometer, you will put mileage on the odometer.

Mechanical odometers count tire rotations.

Electronic odometers work by sending electronic pulses to the gearbox from a magnetic sensor placed near the gearbox. So the engine has to be running for electronic odometers to count mileage. source

Some, like Class A, B, or C motorhomes, have motors. Others, like travel trailers and 5th wheels, do not.

To learn more about the differences between motorhomes and RVs, check out this recent article. I get into 5th wheels, camper trailers, and all classes of motorhomes. I explain the difference, prices, and much more including the 1 key difference that everyone must know before buying one.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can a Jeep Wrangler be towed on a dolly behind my RV?

A Jeep Wrangler should not be towed on a dolly behind an RV. No 4WD or AWD vehicle should be towed with only 2 wheels off the ground. Dolly towing can damage the 4WD system and cause major mechanical damage.

Dolly towing can also cause excessive wear on the clutches and other internal parts of the transmission and transfer case.

So, you won’t be able to see the damage, but you’ll likely be able to smell it or feel it the next time you try to drive your Jeep.

You won’t be able to evaluate the extent of the damage without tearing down the transmission or transfer case. Extensive damage will result in a costly repair bill. But even just determining the amount of damage can result in a hefty bill. The time and effort that goes into removing and evaluating a transmission is pretty rough all on its own.

In fact, Jeep’s Owner’s Manual for the 2020 Wrangler specifically states,

“DO NOT tow any 4WD vehicle. Towing with only one set of wheels on the ground (front or rear) will cause severe transmission or transfer case damage. Tow with all four wheels ON the ground, or OFF the ground (using a vehicle trailer).”

If you’ve never owned a Subaru Outback, you might not know that it can’t be towed on a dolly, either. It should always be towed with all four wheels on the ground or on a trailer.

To read more about how to tow a Subaru Outback, just read this recent article. I get into all the crucial details to avoid damaging the transmission.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How big of an RV do I need to tow a Jeep?

Towing a Jeep isn’t as difficult as towing some other vehicles. There’s a reason that you see so many of them being towed behind RVs.

They are simply designed that way. They are not, however, designed to be towed on a dolly. They should either be flat towed or on a trailer.

Luckily, flat towing a Jeep is super easy! There are a few year models of Jeeps that are not flat towable. Be sure to always read your owner’s manual to be certain.


Photo which requires attribution:

Jeep’s Highway by Zhang Yu is licensed under CC2.0 and has been cropped, color-adjusted, with a text and graphic overlay.

Cassandra & Jeff Campbell

Cassandra and Jeff Campbell travel on and off with their 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. They write extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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