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Towing one vehicle behind another is called recreational towing. There are three types of recreational towing, and flat towing is one of these.
When you have a Jeep Renegade, it’s a no-brainer that you are likely going to use it to go off-roading. When you have one of those off-road adventures, things may not always go as planned. If you manage to get yourself and your vehicle stranded somewhere, you might find yourself asking this very important question:
Can I flat tow a Jeep Renegade?
The answer is no. You cannot, unfortunately, flat tow your Jeep Renegade. If you were to try to do so, your transmission and other essential components would quite quickly go to car heaven. However, are there other options available? Luckily, the answer is yes.
There are two other types of recreational tows that you can use for taking your Renegade to a place where you can have it fixed:
- Dolly Tow
- On a Trailer
First, though, there are several precautions that you need to be aware of which will be mentioned while discussing these two other alternative options, so be sure to pay attention and take measures to address these concerns accordingly.
This is the method that uses a tow dolly, which consists of a platform with two wheels upon which you can rest the front wheels of your vehicle for hauling. The platform that your vehicle would be half-resting upon is attached to the hitch of the primary vehicle you’ll be driving via a bar.
The whole apparatus looks similar to a small trailer without a bed but with just two extra wheels instead of four like on a proper trailer. This method is supposed to be an easy way to tow a vehicle when you don’t have an entire full-size trailer bed at your disposal.
Dolly towing is mostly used for vehicles with front-wheel drive, although you can use it for a rear-wheel dedicated drive or, in some cases, four-wheel drive as well. However, for the latter two, you would have to make some modifications.
This is the tow that everyone is most familiar with. Flat towing is when you can tow a vehicle by attaching it directly to the primary towing vehicle and have all four wheels of the towed vehicle touching the ground. Generally, it’s easiest to flat tow older vehicles due to their simple mechanics.
This option can be used with vehicles that offer a neutral setting in their transfer cases. Those including this feature can put their vehicles into ‘neutral’ tow mode and have their vehicles flat towed without any problem. The Renegade, however, does not have this option.
This is the option which you have seen already—a lot. Factories transport vehicles to the dealerships on trailers, but why do they always use this method and not any of the others? It’s because it’s the best method out there!
When you tow your vehicle on a trailer with all four wheels on the trailer bed, there are almost zero chances of any drivetrain component damage; plus, this is the safest option of all those available.
Tow dollies are readily available on the market for you to pull the front wheels of your Jeep Renegade upon and relocate your vehicle as needed. With a dolly, only the rear wheels of your FWD Renegade will touch the ground as you travel from point A to point B.
So, to answer the question of whether or not you can tow a Jeep Renegade on a dolly, the answer is yes, but this dolly tow method can only be used for the front-wheel drive variants of the Renegade.
You cannot use this method for the 4WD variants unless you disconnect some of the components mentioned in the trailer section of this article.
The reason you can’t put the four-wheel drive variants on a dolly is because all four wheels are ‘drive’ wheels. This means that these wheels transfer power to the ground, and those wheels which do this can’t touch the ground while being towed.
Fortunately, there is a workaround to this hurdle which we will discuss in detail in a later section. For the moment, though, we will simply delve into how exactly you can tow your FWD Renegade using a tow dolly.
Step-by-step instructions for how to dolly tow your Jeep Renegade with a FWD setup are as follows:
- First, make sure that the dolly is tightly secured to the primary towing vehicle.
- Drive/tow the front wheels of your Jeep Renegade onto the platform of the tow dolly.
- Apply the parking brake.
- Put the transmission in park.
- Turn off the ignition.
- Make sure that the front wheels are properly placed on the dolly by following all of the instructions mentioned in any materials or guides provided by the dolly’s manufacturer.
- Turn on the ignition switch, but don’t crank the engine.
- Hold the brake pedal.
- Release the parking brake.
- Turn the ignition off.
- Release the brake pedal.
By doing these steps, you should have now been able to properly secure your Renegade onto a tow dolly. However, that’s not the end of it. You will also need to make sure that you don’t violate any of the issues mentioned below.
- Make sure that the parking brake is released and stays released when being towed.
- Any damage that is caused due to improper towing is not covered under the New Vehicle Limited Warranty, so make sure that you have followed all the instructions properly.
- There is a risk that the auto park brake feature might engage and cause severe damage. You can turn off this automatic feature by going into the customer programmable features which can be found in the Uconnect settings.
- When towing a vehicle, you should always follow state and provincial laws. Additionally, you can always contact your highway safety offices for any more information.
- Make sure that your steering wheel is securely held in place. If needed, you can strap the seat belt around the steering wheel so it won’t move.
If you have the 4WD variant, you should never flat tow this version of the Renegade. If you do, you will severely damage the drivetrain components, which would be a nightmare, but it’s reality. Be sure to have a trailer arranged if ever needing to tow this variation.
If there’s no way to have a trailer arranged for towing your four-wheel drive Jeep, there is luckily an alternative. All four-wheel drive vehicles have a drive shaft connected to the rear differential. If you are mechanically inclined, making some modifications won’t be a difficult task.
You can use a 10mm or 12mm wrench, depending on the vehicle, to remove the bolts connecting the drive shaft with the rear differential. Once you have removed those bolts, you’ll want to hold the connector in place as it might have some free play in it.
This method will prevent the essential components from moving around inside and causing any damage. The rear differential, however, will still move with the wheels, which isn’t a problem. The driveshaft won’t move though, and that’s exactly what we want.
When you are done disconnecting the driveshaft, you can now tow your 4WD on a tow dolly with its front wheels on the dolly and its rear wheels on the ground. If you can’t find a trailer and you aren’t mechanically inclined, you should try to find someone who is.
No, you still can’t flat tow a Jeep Renegade even if you put it in neutral. If the drive wheels are touching the ground, you are bound to have drivetrain issues develop by towing it with this method.
To prevent expensive damage, have a tow dolly arranged for when you have the front-wheel drive model and a trailer arranged when you have the four-wheel drive variation.
The best method for towing a vehicle is to tow it on a trailer bed with all four wheels on the trailer, whether it’s a front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive—no matter the drivetrain, this is always the safest option.
Be sure to put the vehicle in the front-most section of the trailer as doing so increases stability. If you place the vehicle in the middle or near the end of the trailer, you run a high risk of losing control as the trailer would likely start swaying left and right as you tow.
Using a tow dolly involves a process in which you’ll need an assistant to help you out. In some cases, you might need more than two people to complete the process. If the vehicle has completely given up and isn’t functional, you would then have to attach a hitch and pull it onto the dolly manually.
Additionally, the person behind the wheel will also need assistance to steer it properly onto the dolly. Simply put, it’s a job that needs a minimum of two people. In short, you won’t be able to do it alone and without help.
Tow dollies are expensive. Most of the designs are patented and, because of that, you won’t find them cheap in the aftermarket. Their starting price is $1000+, which is quite excessive, and you can’t carry them around every time you travel either.
The towing vehicle would have to have a hitch, of course, but if your Renegade doesn’t have one, you might be able to get away with it being that way. The Renegade Trailhawk does come with a hitch from the factory, though.
These hitches can be a lifesaver. If you are ever stuck, you can use recovery points and attach the recovery straps/cables to pull yourself out with the help of another Outlander or by doing so manually by using a come-along.
Most of the tow dollies come with all the essential items and equipment needed to hold the vehicle in place. You may, however, need a winch to pull the vehicle onto the trailer’s bed in certain situations. Professional tow vehicles have this type of equipment installed already, but an ordinary Outlander likely will not have that as a part of their standard build.