Wednesday, January 19, 2022


Owner destroys brand-new Jeep while flat towing it. You won’t believe the damage!

By Nanci Dixon
A 2021 Jeep Rubicon with less than 10,000 miles was recently brought in for service to a dealer in Florida. The Jeep was in for repair after being flat towed behind an RV. What the owner found out should scare everyone with a tow vehicle. Read carefully.

Jeeps are known for their ease of flat towing, but only when the directions are followed. Instead of neutral, the owner had put the Jeep into 4-Low. Jeep clearly states in the owner’s manual, “Do not go over 25 MPH in 4-Low.”

Pulling in 4-Low at 55 MPH or more revved the engine to over 50,000 RPMs. The factory redline is 6,000 RPMs. As the wheels turned so did the driveshaft and transmission. The engine was rotated.

The crankshaft was sheared off. Pistons and rods went through the block. The clutch and flywheel slammed into the transmission bell housing and took out the input shaft. The back of block gone and the convertor hit. Flat towing in the wrong gear basically destroyed the engine.

The repair and replacement cost was more than $30,000 just on parts alone! Nope, the factory warranty doesn’t count here and it’s unknown how insurance will handle it.

Moral of the story? READ the manual! Double-check and check again. Perhaps keep a checklist handy?

Watch the video below for the mechanic’s first reaction when he sees the damage after this Jeep was flat towed. You won’t believe it.

WARNING: THE F* WORD IS USED SEVERAL TIMES IN THE VIDEO. Turn off your volume before viewing if you are offended by bad language. The visual is enough to get the point across.


Jeep Reviews: Which is best to flat tow?
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2 months ago

The video has been edited and no bad language but definitely shows the damage!
Mistakes do happen – but that was a doozie!
Maybe a camera inside the toad showing conditions while driving might help. It helps just having a rear camera on our rig but more visual aid might not hurt😳

2 months ago

Our 2019 Jeep KL (Cherokee) is easy to tow. These need to have the Active Drive II “transfer case”. But not only follow the manuals instructions. We always do a walk around, check lights are working, and finally one of us watches the front wheel rotation when pulling forward (just to make sure there is no unusual noise or drag).
We only caught ourselves once, in 3 years, where the Emergency Brake engaged. We usually check the Emergency Brake light. We were a bit complacent since we normally have not had problems with the Emergency Brake engaging. We weren’t checking it religiously, as we should. I did however feel the extra drag after engaging drive.
There a several conditions that can set the Emergency Brake automatically. Such as opening the door while setting the “transfer case” in Neutral.

9 months ago

I read about all the unfortunate costly mistakes of others, so I paid the price and bought a drive-on trailer for my vehicle.

9 months ago

Mistakes do happen and this one was costly. I towed my car for several years all over the U.S. 4 down behind my motorhome. This requires I turn on my keys in the ignition to unlock the front wheels. Last year on a trip to Florida I stopped at a gas station removed my keys from the car and locked it. Went inside for food and upon return, jumped in the motorhome and headed down the road. Arrived at my destination about 100 miles down the road. Didn’t think about the car until I went to unhook. The two front tires were worn to slicks. I was fortunate they did not blow out. Luckily no other damage. Cost me two new tires.

Dry Creek
9 months ago

And that’s the reason we always do the “pull test” before heading out.
Once the person driving the Jeep up to the towbar has held it in place long enough for everything to be connected, they will place the transfer case in neutral and the parking brake is released. Then place the transmission in any forward gear and let the clutch out. The Jeep should not move. Then, the driver places it in reverse and repeats that operation.

If there is no motion or the Jeep doesn’t stall out, the shifter goes into 6th.

Finally, the other person hops in and does a double-check. Finally, I usually pull forward slowly while the wife conducts a walkaround. All wheels should move smoothly and none should drag.

It’s really not that complicated.

Richard R Block
9 months ago

it seems to me that his math is a little off if the manual says do not tow over 25 mph in 4 low and red line is 6000 rpm. I am assuming they would not over 25 mile mph in 4 low if that was over red line. so at 50 the engine would be turning at 12,000 rpm and at 75 mph it would be turning at 18,000 rpm no where near the 50,000 rpm quoted. I am not saying the engine shouldn’t have exploded I am just saying I believe his math is off. Anytime you try to run something 2 or 3 times over its limit bad things will happen

Ron T.
9 months ago

I remember being on foot in Roswell, NM when I heard a terrible screeching noise coming down the street. It was a Class A towing a Jeep with the front wheels turned hard to the right. Last I saw it made a left turn onto the main drag just squealing away. Hopefully somebody was able flag them down while the cost was just two tires.

9 months ago

I clicked on the video link above and get the message “Video Unavailable This Video is Private”. Rats!!!

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeyn

Sorry, Galeyn. It worked when we published the article. I’ve just switched out the code, so this video is working (for now!). It’s really something to see! Sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for letting us know about them shutting down the link to the video. Take care. 😀 —Diane at

Bob P
9 months ago

You can’t fix stupid.

Donald N Wright
9 months ago

Big deal, replace the engine, transmission and maybe the drive train.

Bob P
9 months ago

$30,000 parts plus $20,000 labor.

2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

After just paying around $50k for it to begin with. Like others said was always careful after hooked up and out to neutral put in forward and then reverse and make sure it was for sure where it belonged. Pretty simple.

Dick & Sandy from near Buffalo, NY now in Florida
9 months ago

Just go on YouTube and look up 2021 wrangler jeep destruction for the video…

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
9 months ago

Thanks, Dick & Sandy. It worked when we published the article. I’ve since replaced the URL, so hopefully this one continues to work. Have a great day! 😀 —Diane at

Gary F Broughton
9 months ago

Worked in RV park for several years and seen people leave with vehicles in gear or brakes locked. Leave with power cords, sewers, hoses still connected. Trailer doors open, dropped 5th wheels onto pick up beds. Enter or leave the wrong way. Learn to drive or tow on first trip into the mountains.

Bill T
9 months ago

I flat tow a Wrangler and I always ensure the Jeep transfer case is in neutral by moving the motor home forward slowly to see if all 4 wheels are turning easily. If the Jeep is not fully in neutral it will lurch and the wheels will not rotate smoothly. A good article to reiterate the importance of taking your time on departure.

Tom F
9 months ago
Reply to  Bill T

My understanding is that in any recent model Jeep with automatic transmission that the transfer case should be in neutral while the auto trans should be in Park. Is this correct? Jeeps are a bit more complicated to tow…

Glen Cowgill
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom F

I have a 2014 Honda CRV and did have a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and now have a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is by far the easiest to set up to tow. Put transfer case in neutral as per manual, if done right the shifter will automatically go to park. Don’t have to leave key in ignition to unlock steering wheel. Do make sure all the windows are up as my wife rolled down the windows to say hi to a friend and then forgot to roll the window back up. Must have been five gallons of water from the rain storm we went through.

9 months ago

That’s what happens when you are born with no common sense. This owner certainly wasn’t playing with a full deck.

Bob P
9 months ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

I disagree with your statement about born without common sense, God gives us a brain with all the necessary capabilities for common sense. I blame the parents for not teaching common sense, when we are born according to “experts” the only thing a baby knows how to do is nursing whether a breast or bottle, from that point on it learns through experiences of everyday life until it reaches school age where the removal of most common sense begins as teachers today are only interested in preparing the child for college. Not life. Between parents lack of spending time teaching their children about the things they’ll need in life, both are preoccupied with their careers to teach their children anything except how to watch video games on their iPad or computer. Common sense is learned at home, if today’s parents didn’t learn common sense as they were growing up they’re not going to be able to teach their children. We are now experiencing lack of common sense in our second generation.

Will (
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Dr4Film and Bob P: Sometimes mistakes simply happen. They could have towed it successfully 50 times before this. Casting aspersions on the individual and their parentage really doesn’t contribute to helping others learn.

Rule 2 of the “commenting rules” that we have to check the box indicating we’ve read each time we comment:

“Please be civil in addressing and referencing other commenters and stay focused on RVs and/or the topic of the article.”

9 months ago

 👍  👍  👍 

John Crawford
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob P


9 months ago

What! Read the book?