Flat Towing Jeep Gladiators and Wranglers

Flat Towing Jeep Gladiators and Wranglers

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | Andrew Boyle

One of the joys of driving a Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator is the absolute freedom and flexibility that they provide. If you are a keen traveler or an off-road enthusiast with an insatiable appetite for 4-wheeling, a Jeep 4X4 may be a necessary addition to your travels. That’s why the Jeep Wrangler is the most commonly flat towed vehicle. While the Jeep Gladiator is comparatively much younger than the Wrangler, it is just as desirable as a flat tow vehicle.

If you want to hit the roads in an RV and see as much of the country as you can, then you will find that an RV is considerably less flexible than a Wrangler of any sort. That’s why many RV owners opt to tow an additional vehicle.

Flat towing, also called dinghy towing, is the process of towing a vehicle behind another, with all four wheels of the towed vehicle touching the road. Not all vehicles can be flat towed, however. Modern vehicles sometimes have transmissions that require the car to be turned on and running to keep oil circulating properly through the transmission. So before you go ahead and hook a tow bar up to your vehicle, be sure to check that it can be flat towed in the first place.

Can a Jeep Gladiator or Wrangler Be Flat Towed?

Camper Flat Towing Jeep Wrangler

Yes they can. Regardless of their model or transmission option, any Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Gladiator can be flat towed without issue. That being said, you can't just tie your Jeep to the tow vehicle and hit the road. Here’s what you have to do in order to prep your Wrangler or Gladiator to be flat towed.

First off, you need to make bring your Wrangler to a complete stop on a flat and level surface behind the tow vehicle.

If your Jeep is equipped with an automatic transmission, then press and hold the brake pedal and shift the transmission into neutral. If you are driving a manual, then you need to press the clutch down in addition to the brake.

Now, it's time to turn off the engine. Once the engine is off, shift the transfer case into neutral, and then restart the engine.

At this point, shift the transmission into Reverse. After this, release pressure on the brake pedal (and clutch if applicable) for several seconds to ensure that there is no vehicle movement. If you are driving an automatic vehicle, repeat this process but with the vehicle in drive instead. Once you can confirm that your Wrangler or Gladiator is firmly planted on flat ground, you can turn the engine off once again.

Flat Towing Tow Hitch On Wrangler

Then, engage the parking brake. If you are driving an automatic, then you need to shift the transmission into Park; if you are in a manual, shift into second or third gear. It’s best to double-check that the engine is off before shifting into park, as that can cause serious damage to your transmission.

While it does seem a tad counterintuitive to leave your Wrangler or Gladiator in park while towing it, putting it in another gear would cause the transmission fluid to not circulate correctly, also potentially causing it damage.

Things To Know About Flat Towing Jeep Gladiators and Wranglers

JT Towing Watercraft

There are a few extra things that you should know about dinghy towing your Jeep Gladiator or Jeep Wrangler. First off, a lot of people are concerned that flat towing will increase your vehicle’s odometer. That is not the case. Since the speedometer on all Jeep Wranglers and the Gladiator is electric, then no miles will be added to the total when the engine is off. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep track of towed miles, however, as flat towing can still put some stress on your vehicle in the long run.

Another thing to keep in mind is that neither a Wrangler nor a Gladiator should ever be dolly towed. This is when only two wheels are touching the pavement. This type of towing would interfere with the vehicle’s 4WD system and cause some major damage. As long as there are four wheels on the ground, it is fine to tow.

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This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.