Let’s all take a second to realize the importance of flat-towing a vehicle properly. You may have seen this story pop up in the last couple weeks about an RV driver who was towing his 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. He made a massive mistake when doing so, and this resulted in a repair bill exceeding $30,000 in damages, not including labor. So, what exactly went wrong here?
Well, to be fair, there were actually a number of mistakes made here. First, and most crucially, the basically brand-new Jeep was left in 4-Low as it was being towed behind the RV. If you’re not aware, the automaker advises that when in this drive mode, you do not go faster than 25 MPH, as it’s made for slow driving on rough terrain. To make matters even worse, the Jeep was also left in first gear, forcing the drivetrain to spin and only adding to the carnage that was about to take place during the tow.
The factory redline for this engine is right around 6,600 rpm. However, with it being towed behind the RV, the Jeep reached speeds of at least 55 MPH, and it’s estimated that the engine hit near 50,000 rpm. As you’d expect, the result was absolute destruction. The crankshaft sheered off, two pistons went through the block, the clutch and flywheel exploded through the transmission bellhousing, and the transfer case was in numerous pieces.
Part of me doesn’t quite understand how you wouldn’t feel the Jeep dragging itself behind the RV, but at the same time, this thing likely exploded very early on in the trip, and the resistance freed up after this point for the rest of the drive. That’s certainly an expensive mistake, especially for a 2021 vehicle with under 10,000 miles on it.
With a repair bill like that, one can only hope that insurance would volunteer to cover it, and likely mechanically total it. Here’s a bit of advice: Always make sure you’re in neutral before flat-towing, or you’ll be in a very similar situation.