If you’re an RV owner who likes to travel with a car in tow, you might be wondering: can you flat tow a Tesla? Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing, involves towing a car with all four wheels on the ground, and it’s a popular method of towing for RV enthusiasts. However, flat towing a Tesla isn’t as straightforward as it is with other vehicles.
The short answer is that it’s not recommended to flat tow a Tesla. Tesla is an electric vehicle, and its wheels generate power when they rotate. Towing a Tesla with all four wheels on the ground can cause damage to the car, including overheating and combustion. Tesla manufacturers warn against flat towing of any model. However, there are alternative methods of towing a Tesla that are safe and won’t damage your car.
Understanding Tesla’s Unique Design
Tesla is known for its innovative and unique design, which sets it apart from other electric cars on the market. All of Tesla’s vehicles are all-electric, which means they do not have a traditional gas engine or transmission. Instead, they are powered by a battery and an electric motor.
The battery in a Tesla is located on the bottom of the car, which helps to lower the center of gravity and improve handling. Additionally, the electric motor is much smaller and simpler than a gas engine, which allows for more space in the car’s interior.
One of the most unique features of Tesla’s design is its regenerative braking system. When the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator pedal, the car’s electric motor slows down and generates electricity, which is then stored in the battery. This helps to extend the car’s range and reduce wear on the brakes.
When it comes to towing a Tesla, it is important to understand the unique design of the vehicle. For example, Tesla vehicles do not have a traditional transmission disconnect feature, which means that they cannot be flat towed using a tow bar. Instead, Tesla recommends that all of their vehicles be towed on a flatbed truck to avoid damage to the vehicle and voiding the warranty.
However, some sources suggest that it is possible to flat tow a Tesla Model S or Model X using a flat tow bar and a flat tow dolly, as long as the front wheels of the vehicle are off the ground. It is important to engage the parking brake, put the car in neutral, and disconnect the drive shaft before towing to ensure the safety of the vehicle.
In some Tesla models, there is a “Tow Mode” feature that allows the car to be towed at speeds of up to 70 mph without causing damage to the vehicle’s motor or transmission. This feature can be activated by accessing the vehicle’s settings and selecting “Tow Mode.”
Overall, understanding Tesla’s unique design is crucial when it comes to towing the vehicle. It is important to follow Tesla’s recommendations and use caution when attempting to flat tow a Tesla.
Can You Flat Tow a Tesla?
If you’re an RV owner looking to flat tow a Tesla, you may be disappointed to learn that it’s not recommended. Tesla strictly forbids all owners from flat towing their Tesla vehicle, including the Model S, X, 3, and Y.
Flat towing is when a vehicle is towed with all wheels on the ground, typically behind an RV. However, most electric cars, including Teslas, cannot be flat towed because the drive train cannot be pulled at high speeds for long periods. This can cause damage, overheating, and even combustion.
If you absolutely need to tow your Tesla, the only safe way to do so is by using a flatbed trailer or dollies for both front and rear wheels. A flatbed trailer can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 depending on its condition, size, brand, and features.
To use a flatbed trailer, you’ll need to drive your Tesla onto the trailer and secure it with straps or chains. This can be a time-consuming and potentially dangerous process, so it’s important to follow all safety guidelines and procedures.
It’s also worth noting that Tesla offers a roadside assistance program for all its vehicles, which includes towing services. If your Tesla breaks down or needs to be towed for any reason, you can contact Tesla’s roadside assistance team for help.
Overall, while it’s technically possible to flat tow a Tesla, it’s not recommended or advised by the manufacturer. If you need to tow your Tesla, it’s best to use a flatbed trailer or contact Tesla’s roadside assistance for help.
Potential Damage from Flat Towing
Flat towing a Tesla can cause significant damage to the vehicle. Tesla recommends that all of their vehicles be towed on a flatbed truck, and any other method may void the warranty and cause severe damage. Here are some potential damages that can occur from flat towing a Tesla:
Stress on the Transmission
Flat towing a Tesla can cause stress on the transmission, which can lead to significant damage. Tesla vehicles do not have a transmission disconnect feature, which means that the wheels are still turning even when the vehicle is in neutral. This can cause the transmission to overheat and fail, leading to costly repairs.
Damage to the Battery
The battery is one of the most critical components of a Tesla vehicle, and flat towing can cause severe damage to it. When the wheels are turning, the motor generates electricity, which is then sent back to the battery. This can cause the battery to overcharge and potentially damage it.
If a Tesla is flat towed and damaged, the repairs can be costly. Tesla vehicles are not like traditional gas-powered vehicles, and repairs can only be done by Tesla-certified technicians. This means that repairs can take longer and be more expensive than traditional repairs.
In conclusion, flat towing a Tesla is not recommended and can cause severe damage to the vehicle. It is essential to follow Tesla’s recommendations and only tow the vehicle on a flatbed truck to avoid costly repairs and voiding the warranty.
Alternative Towing Methods for Tesla
If you’re a Tesla owner and need to transport your car, you might be wondering about alternative towing methods. While flat towing is not recommended for Teslas, there are other methods that you can use to transport your vehicle safely.
One option is to use a trailer to transport your Tesla. This is a good choice if you need to transport your car over a long distance or if you’re moving to a new location. You can rent a trailer from a local rental company or purchase one if you plan to use it often. Make sure to choose a trailer that is the appropriate size for your Tesla model.
Another option is to use dollies to transport your Tesla. Dollies are small, wheeled devices that you can attach to the front or rear wheels of your Tesla. This method is suitable for short distances, and it’s essential to ensure that the dollies are compatible with your car’s weight and size.
A flatbed truck is a good option if you need to transport your Tesla over a long distance. This method is safe and reliable, and you can rent a flatbed truck from a local rental company. Make sure to choose a truck that is the appropriate size for your Tesla model.
Wheel lifts are devices that attach to the wheels of your Tesla and lift them off the ground. This method is suitable for short distances, and it’s essential to ensure that the wheel lifts are compatible with your car’s weight and size.
A tow dolly is a small trailer that you can attach to the back of your car to transport your Tesla. This method is suitable for short distances, and it’s essential to ensure that the tow dolly is compatible with your car’s weight and size.
A tow bar is a device that attaches to the front of your Tesla and allows you to tow it behind another vehicle. This method is suitable for short distances, and it’s essential to ensure that the tow bar is compatible with your car’s weight and size.
A flatbed trailer is a good option if you need to transport your Tesla over a long distance. This method is safe and reliable, and you can rent a flatbed trailer from a local rental company. Make sure to choose a trailer that is the appropriate size for your Tesla model.
Flatbed Tow Truck
A flatbed tow truck is a good option if you need to transport your Tesla over a long distance. This method is safe and reliable, and you can hire a flatbed tow truck from a local towing company. Make sure to choose a tow truck that is the appropriate size for your Tesla model.
When transporting your Tesla, it’s essential to use the appropriate towing equipment. Make sure to choose equipment that is compatible with your car’s weight and size, and follow all safety guidelines to ensure a safe and successful transport.
Tesla’s Towing Features
Tesla vehicles are known for their advanced features and capabilities, but when it comes to towing, there are some limitations to keep in mind. Let’s take a closer look at the towing features of Tesla cars.
Tesla vehicles come equipped with a tow mode, which can be activated through the Controls menu on the touchscreen display. This mode allows the car to be towed safely and without causing any damage to the vehicle. Once tow mode is activated, the car will automatically shift into neutral and the parking brake will be released.
In the event that the car needs to be towed, Tesla vehicles come with a tow eye that can be attached to the front of the car. The tow eye is located in the trunk of the vehicle and can be easily accessed when needed.
Controls and Controls Menu
The Controls menu on the touchscreen display is where users can access various settings related to towing. In addition to activating tow mode, users can also adjust the suspension height to make it easier to attach a trailer or hitch.
The touchscreen display on Tesla vehicles provides users with a wealth of information related to towing. The display shows the car’s speed, range, and battery level, as well as any warnings or alerts related to towing.
While Tesla vehicles are not designed for heavy-duty towing, they do come equipped with features that make it possible to tow smaller loads safely and efficiently. By activating tow mode and using the tow eye, Tesla owners can rest assured that their vehicle will be able to handle towing tasks with ease.
Safety Precautions While Towing a Tesla
When it comes to towing a Tesla, safety is of utmost importance. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind while towing a Tesla:
Use Proper Equipment
Make sure you have the proper equipment for towing a Tesla. This includes a tow dolly or trailer, as flat-towing a Tesla can cause serious damage to various components in the car and void the warranty. Additionally, make sure the equipment you use is rated for the weight of the Tesla you are towing.
Engage the Parking Brake
Before towing a Tesla, engage the parking brake to ensure the car does not roll away. This is especially important if you are using a tow dolly, as the car’s wheels will not be secured to the ground.
Secure the Straps Properly
When using a tow dolly or trailer, make sure the straps used to secure the Tesla are properly tightened and secured. This will prevent the car from shifting during transport and causing damage to itself or other vehicles.
Check the Braking System
Before towing a Tesla, check the braking system to ensure it is functioning properly. This includes checking the brake pads, rotors, and calipers. If any issues are found, have them addressed before towing the car.
Follow Proper Hook-Up Procedures
When hooking up the Tesla to the tow dolly or trailer, follow proper procedures to ensure the car is properly secured. This includes attaching the tow eye to the car’s front end and ensuring the tow dolly or trailer is properly aligned with the car.
By following these safety precautions, you can ensure a safe and successful tow of your Tesla.
Understanding Tesla’s Warranty and Towing
When it comes to towing a Tesla, it’s important to understand the company’s warranty and service policies. Tesla states that all of their vehicles must be towed on a flatbed truck. Any other tow method may very well damage your vehicle and even void your warranty.
Tesla’s warranty covers most repairs and replacements for up to 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, if your Tesla is damaged due to improper towing, the warranty may not cover the repairs. It’s crucial to follow Tesla’s guidelines for towing to avoid any potential damage to your vehicle.
In addition to towing, Tesla’s warranty also covers various other components of your vehicle. For example, the battery and drive unit are covered for up to 8 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. Tesla’s warranty also covers any defects in materials or workmanship for up to 4 years or 50,000 miles.
To ensure that your Tesla is properly maintained and serviced, it’s recommended that you follow Tesla’s service schedule. Tesla recommends that you bring your vehicle in for service every 12,500 miles or once a year, whichever comes first. This will help keep your vehicle running smoothly and ensure that any potential issues are addressed before they become major problems.
Overall, it’s important to understand Tesla’s warranty and service policies when it comes to towing your vehicle. By following Tesla’s guidelines for towing and regular maintenance, you can help ensure that your Tesla stays in top condition and that any potential issues are addressed promptly.
Charging a Tesla After Towing
If you have recently towed your Tesla, you might be wondering how to recharge its battery. The good news is that it is possible to tow charge a Tesla, but there are some important things to keep in mind.
Firstly, it is crucial to note that not all electric cars can be flat towed to recharge. However, Tesla Model 3 can be flat towed to recharge its battery. To do this, all four wheels of the Tesla must be on the ground, with the transmission in neutral and a tow bar attached to the front bumper.
Before towing, you must ensure that the battery has enough electrons to be fully “awake” and can shift into drive. If the battery is completely drained, you may need to use an external charger to get it started.
Once the battery is awake, you can tow the Tesla to a charging station. Tesla’s Supercharger network is the fastest way to recharge your vehicle, and there are over 25,000 Superchargers worldwide. You can find the nearest Supercharger station using your Tesla’s navigation system or the Tesla mobile app.
It is important to note that towing a Tesla to a charging station will not fully charge the battery. The amount of charge you will get from towing depends on the distance you travel and the speed at which you tow. Therefore, it is recommended to use a Supercharger to get a full charge.
In summary, flat towing a Tesla Model 3 to recharge its battery is possible, but you need to ensure that the battery has enough charge to be “awake.” Once the battery is awake, you can tow it to a charging station, but it is recommended to use a Supercharger to get a full charge.
Tesla and RV Towing
If you own a Tesla and an RV, you may be wondering if it’s possible to flat tow your Tesla behind your motorhome. Unfortunately, Tesla does not recommend flat towing their vehicles due to the potential damage it could cause to the components of the electric vehicle.
According to Tesla’s official guidelines, the only safe way to tow a Tesla is on a flatbed trailer. Flat towing can put unnecessary stress on the vehicle’s wheels, suspension, and drivetrain, potentially causing damage. It can also violate your manufacturer’s warranty, leaving you with costly repairs.
While it may be tempting to try and flat tow your Tesla to save on transportation costs, it’s simply not worth the risk. Instead, consider using a trailer to transport your Tesla to your destination.
If you’re unsure about your RV’s towing capacity, it’s important to check the owner’s manual or consult with a professional. Towing a heavy load can put a strain on your RV’s engine and transmission, leading to costly repairs.
In summary, flat towing a Tesla behind an RV is not recommended by Tesla and can potentially cause damage to the electric vehicle’s components. It’s best to use a flatbed trailer to transport your Tesla to your destination and ensure that your RV has the proper towing capacity to handle the load.
Additional Considerations for Towing a Tesla
When it comes to towing a Tesla, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind beyond the fact that flat towing is not recommended. Below are some important factors to consider before towing your Tesla.
If you need to transport your Tesla for an extended period of time, it’s important to engage Transport Mode. This feature is designed to reduce the risk of battery drain during transportation. To engage Transport Mode, go to the Controls menu on the dashboard, select Safety & Security, and then choose Transport. This will disable certain features of the vehicle, such as the air suspension and the wake-up function, to help conserve battery power.
Towing a Tesla can put a strain on the electrical system, especially if the vehicle is being towed for an extended period of time. It’s important to monitor the battery level and ensure that the vehicle’s electrical system is functioning properly throughout the towing process.
The cooling system in a Tesla is designed to keep the battery and other components at a safe operating temperature. When towing a Tesla, it’s important to ensure that the cooling system is functioning properly to prevent overheating.
The tires on a Tesla are designed for performance and efficiency, but they may not be suitable for towing. When towing a Tesla, it’s important to ensure that the tires are in good condition and properly inflated to prevent damage.
If you do experience a problem while towing your Tesla, it’s important to contact Tesla Roadside Assistance for help. Tesla’s roadside assistance team is available 24/7 to assist with towing and other issues.
It’s important to check local regulations before towing a Tesla. Some areas may have specific rules and requirements for towing electric vehicles.
Overall, if you need to transport your Tesla, it’s best to use a flatbed truck or trailer. If you must tow your Tesla using another method, be sure to take the necessary precautions and monitor the vehicle carefully to prevent damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tesla’s official stance on flat towing their vehicles?
According to Tesla’s owner’s manuals, flat towing is not recommended for any of their vehicles. Tires spinning while transporting the vehicle can cause overheating, severe damage, and even fire hazards in some cases.
Is it possible to flat tow a Tesla Model 3?
Yes, it is possible to flat tow a Tesla Model 3, but only with a flat tow bar and a flat tow dolly. A flat tow bar allows the vehicle to be towed with all four wheels on the ground, while a flat tow dolly keeps the front wheels of the vehicle off the ground.
What precautions should be taken when flat towing a Tesla?
Before flat towing a Tesla, it is important to ensure that the vehicle’s battery is not dead. Additionally, the vehicle should be placed in neutral and the parking brake should be disengaged. It is also recommended to keep the speed below 55 mph and to avoid sharp turns.
Can a Tesla be towed behind a motorhome?
Yes, a Tesla can be towed behind a motorhome, but only with a flat tow bar and a flat tow dolly. It is important to follow the recommended precautions when flat towing a Tesla.
Can you tow a Tesla on a tow dolly?
Yes, a Tesla can be towed on a tow dolly, but only with a flat tow dolly. It is important to follow the recommended precautions when flat towing a Tesla.
Can a Tesla be towed if the battery is dead?
No, a Tesla cannot be towed if the battery is dead. If the battery is dead, it is recommended to use a flatbed tow truck to transport the vehicle.
Madison Cates has had a love for cars since childhood, where she grew up watching her dad tinker with vintage Camaros in the garage every weekend. After she graduated from LeTourneau University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, she jumped into freelance writing and eventually found her way to back to her roots to become a journalist in the automotive industry.