How to tow a car with automatic transmission
In recent years, the popularity of cars with automatic transmission has grown at times. It is easy to explain, because it is easier and more comfortable to drive a car with an “automatic” (especially in urban mode).
The automatic “gearbox” switches gears independently and allows the driver not to be distracted from the road. But one should pay for pleasure. It is actual also in case of automatic transmission.
But the price is not the only payment for comfort. There are a number of restrictions when operating cars with “automatic”. One of them is the special rules of towing.
Thus, many till now consider that the car with automatic transmission cannot be towed and used as a tractor.
But everything is real. The main thing is to take into account the simple rules, which will be discussed in the article.
Let’s talk about the technical side of the issue
The first thing to note is the existence of several types of automatic transmissions, differing in design and operating principles:
1.The torque converter automatic transmission is a classic version of the transmission, the feature of which is the absence of communication between the wheels and the power unit. The torque converter acts as a clutch, and transmits the rotation to the wheels at the start of travel. At the same time the torque itself is transmitted through the transmission oil;
2.The variator is a continuously variable transmission, which has no gears as such. Structurally, a variator is several pulleys, between which the belt rotates. The sides of the pulleys can shift to one side or the other. The gear ratios change continuously (depending on the acceleration or deceleration of the car). Variators are considered some of the most comfortable;
3.Robotic automatic transmission is structurally similar to “mechanics” with the difference that all the work is performed by the servo drive (the latter is controlled by an electronic unit);
4.Preselective automatic transmission – a version of “robot”. Structurally, the device is two gearboxes, which are in a common housing.
Despite the diversity of gearboxes, there should be no confusion – the rules of towing for all cases are almost identical.
How does everything happen from a technical point of view?
After the motor is started, the oil pump is started, which disperses the oil through the parts of the automatic transmission.
If the engine is not started, there is no oil supply to the gearbox either. The result – the elements of the gearbox work for wear and tear and can fail.
Another peculiarity of “automatic machine” is that while towing the car, the whole mechanism of the gearbox works, just like during normal operation.
It turns out that the gears are left without lubrication and quickly overheat.
The result depends on a number of factors – duration of towing, type of automatic transmission, quality of components and so on.
In the best case, it is possible to manage with oil replacement, and in the worst case – serious repair because of wedge of pinions. One should not allow for such cases, as automatic transmission repair is an expensive service.
That is why the manufacturers prohibit towing with flexible or rigid chain at once, giving preference to full loading on the wrecker.
Can a car with an automatic transmission be used as a tow vehicle?
Before towing another car with an automatic transmission, it is still worth reading the manufacturer’s recommendations. The documents specify the parameters (weight, distance and speed mode), allowed for a particular brand.
If there are no manuals at hand, the driver bears all risks (including risk of box breakdown).
The increased load on the car with automatic transmission leads to the increase of heat generation in a torque converter. At the same time, the gearbox will wear out faster due to the excessive loads on the elements of the automatic transmission.
Practice has shown that it is recommended to mount an additional radiator in the cooling system of the “box” when using the trailer on a regular basis.
Besides, it is worth to check coolant level in the system before the beginning of the process itself.
The car, acting as a tractor, should move slowly. At the same time the control should be switched to manual mode.
Implementation of this advice allows you to reduce the load on the torque converter and, consequently, reduce wear and tear of the main elements.
The movement begins with a range of “one” (mode of the first gear). As soon as the number of revolutions increases to 3-3.5 thousand, you can move the knob to the second position (L).
After that, engage gear D and make sure the overdrive is disengaged.
Application of higher speed is undesirable, sudden braking and jerking should be excluded.
At the same time, remember that jerking the cable leads to an increase in shock and dynamic load, which multiplies the pulling force.
It means that at the moment of jerking, the “pulling” car receives the load exceeding 2-3 times the weight of the car going ahead.
In order to eliminate the described risks, it is better to tow with a rigid coupling. There is an opinion that the device for a rigid coupling takes a lot of space. In practice, such devices are compact.
Rules and procedure for towing a car with an automatic transmission, sequence of actions
As long as the car is serviceable, we do not think about the problems. But what to do if the car refuses to drive? The best variant is to call a recovery service and send a car to service station by full (in a pinch) loading.
If this option doesn’t suit you, the classical towing is also acceptable, but you need to follow some rules.
Below, let’s consider variants of towing cars with “automatic transmission”, except for four-wheel drive cars.
It is desirable to tow the 4×4 cars only in one way – completely loaded on a platform.
Proceed as follows:
1. Look in the service book and understand what the manufacturer recommends. Typically, the manual describes the basic requirements for speed, distance, and type of towing.
Pay attention to the requirement to start the engine or not, it all depends on the type of automatic transmission and car brand. This is a very important point. As a rule it is necessary to do it.
The requirements for towing depend on the type of gearbox:
-Cars with a 3-speed automatic transmission can be towed at speeds up to 30 kilometers per hour. The distance is up to 30 km; – Cars with 4-speed automatic transmission can be towed with a maximum speed of 50 km/hour. In this case, the distance is limited to 50 km; – cars with 5-6 speed automatic transmissions are subject to the same rules as for the 4-speed “box”. -In any case, it is worth revisiting the documentation and making sure the requirements are met.
3. Look at the position of the automatic transmission knob – it should be in the “N” position.
Ensure that the ATF (Transmission Fluid) is topped up to the upper level of the reservoir. The increased volume of oil will provide protection against transmission overheating. When towing is complete, the excess should be drained out.
5. In case of brake system or steering failure on the towed vehicle, flexible coupling is prohibited.
Transportation may only be carried out on a rigid hitch or by tow truck.
When doing this, you must start the engine (see the manual and the car) put the automatic transmission knob in neutral.
Thus, it is possible to summarize the following:
-ACPP in neutral position; – towing a car with an automatic transmission is carried out for a limited distance – up to 100 km, – a nominal distance of 30/50 km (depends on the number of gears in the automatic transmission); – the speed of the car playing the role of a tow vehicle should not exceed 50 km / h; start the car or not depends on type of automatic transmission and car brand (look the manual to the car); – towed car must not have more weight, than the “towing” itself; – driving speed – not higher than 50 km/h; – it is desirable every 20/30 km to stop for oil to cool down in a box; – it is prohibited to tow four-wheel drive cars. The only way out is a tow truck.
In case you exceed the speed limit, the gearbox is out of order or you need to tow it for more than 100 km, you need to lift the front wheels. Otherwise the automatic transmission will overheat and fail.
So if there is no possibility to tow with a flexible cable, the alternative option is a rigid hitch.
At that, the least dangerous way is to transport a car by means of loading it to the tow truck. As a result, this solution is cheaper than the subsequent repair of the gearbox.
Cars with automatic transmission require special care. First of all, it concerns heating of a box and its basic elements.
In summer, warming up takes minimum time. Another thing is in winter, when reaching the working temperature of “automatic transmission” occurs with a big delay.
Before driving, it is worth to drive automatic transmission’s handle on different positions, trying not to linger in each of them.
In addition, when towing a car in winter, consider the following recommendations:
-It is better to tow the car on a rigid coupling; -When driving in the dark (in bad weather), the car’s headlights in front should be on; -In icy conditions you should move with less speed (up to 30-40 km/hour). Results
The car with an automatic transmission is very fastidious to towing and requires a special approach. Is it possible to call a tow truck? – Do it.
Otherwise, follow the advice given in the article.Ignoring the rules can cause a serious breakdown and the output of an expensive unit out of order.
How to tow cars with automatic transmission and not to spoil the “automatic machine” at the same time
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The prospect of being left in the middle of the highway in a car that for various reasons refuses to go anywhere is very real for any driver. And if within the city limits you can easily and inexpensively use the services of a tow truck, then at a considerable distance from the nearest settlement car owners often resort to towing with a cable and a towing car. But what to do if the car is broken down with an automatic transmission?
1. Can cars with automatic transmissions be towed?
Which cars with automatic transmissions can be towed and which can’t?
We hasten to please owners of cars with automatic transmissions – such complex units can be towed even with the engine turned off, observing a number of obligatory rules of towing cars with “automatic machines”.
Before you start towing, be sure to read the manual, which by unwritten rules should be in the glove compartment of your car. Some models of automatic transmissions are strictly forbidden to be exposed to external loads, including the ones, which appear while towing when they are not working.
Such devices include cars with automatic transmission with nine or ten gears. They are notable for special complexity of construction and big amount of rubbing details, such boxes start overheating almost right after towing and may fail even without going a couple of kilometers.
Conventional classic automatic transmissions have a system of pressurized oil supply to the friction parts, which include brass bushings, friction blocks and shafts. Naturally, there will be no oil pressure when the engine is off, and the wear and tear on the parts when towing, if the engine is not running, will increase noticeably.
2. Towing rules
Towing a vehicle is an even more complicated and dangerous type of vehicle movement than simply driving a functioning vehicle normally. An important consideration when towing is to have two experienced drivers, one to tow the faulty vehicle and the other to drive it.
There are uniform towing requirements for all cars – let’s combine them with the rules for towing cars in an automatic transmission:
1. Before you start driving, be sure to put the key in the ignition, otherwise the rotation of the steering wheel will be stopped by the action of the stopper.
2. Remember to put the automatic transmission in neutral. If the lever lock is engaged when the engine is off, press the Shift button to unlock the rocker handle and put it in “neutral”.
Despite the fact that the allowed speed of towing up to 50 km / h, if it is not covered by road signs, you should keep a low speed – no more than 20-30 km / h, otherwise there is a risk of premature overheating the box and increase the cost of repairs in multiples.
4. The distance for towing cars on automatic transmissions – no more than 10-20 km at one approach. After each of them it is necessary to give the car to stand, that the rubbing elements of a box had time to cool down.
5. The maximum distance over which you can move a car with an automatic transmission without causing critical damage to it is 50 km. According to the manufacturers’ assurances, after this km the oil remaining in the shafts will finally pour out into the oil pan and will stop to lubricate the rubbing elements of the box.
Note that if the engine is running, you may tow the car at any speed and for any distance, but only at neutral speed.
If not, and towing in the usual way for your box is forbidden, then for the front-wheel drive cars you can use a rigid coupling in the fork lift, which can be rented for a very symbolic amount of one and a half to two thousand rubles per day.
Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars have the opportunity to remove the driveshafts, as a result of which the clutch of the engine with the wheels will completely disappear, and it will be possible to tow the car to the nearest service station as many miles in the usual way, with a cable without the risk of damaging anything in the gearbox.