Towing can be an intimidating thing to do. It is a motoring skill set that many of us didn’t grow up with a need to learn how to do. Unless you grew up on a farm or hauling vehicles or other such trade that requires a trailer, you likely haven’t spent a ton of time with something in tow. As RV camper trailers and motorhomes become more popular, more people are getting into the towing world. And as you might suspect, this might lead to an increase in towing mishaps, like completely shredding a 2021 Jeep Wrangler transmission.
Can you tow a 2021 Jeep Wrangler in 4-low?
That’s a big hell nope. The Drive sent the word out that they were looking for the worst towing stories they could find, and well, they found one.
A mechanic shared a TikTok video of a white 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that came to the shop to get some service work done. The Jeep was flat-towed behind an RV. Flat-towing is exactly what it sounds like, towing a vehicle with all-four wheels rolling instead of lifting the front-two wheels and only the back two touching the ground.
What made this service appoint so strange to the shop foreman was that the Wrangler had less than 10,000 miles. Toby Tuten, the shop foreman, took one look underneath the Jeep, and his confusion was quickly settled. The carnage underneath was so great that he decided to pull out the phone and start filming.
Leaving the Wrangler in gear was a bad choice
The photos show a pretty gruesome scene underneath the Wrangler. It can be hard to discern what we are looking at first because there are missing or shredded parts. The transfer case exploded like it had a bomb in it. The oil pan got completely blown to pieces, exposing the transmissions innards for all the world to see.
The Drive got to speak with Tuten to get the low down on what exactly happened to this destroyed Jeep Wrangler. He said that once the mechanics got into it, they found the Jeep had been left in 4-low, meaning the gears were all engaged for all-four wheels.
What does all this mean?
4-low is used to crawl at very low speeds to use maxim low-end power to get unstuck or inch your way up some boulders or through a deep mud hole. Forcing this low gear to be dragged at highway speeds is such a bad idea that the only way to really explain it is, well, by looking at the video and photos. Jeep strongly recommends not exceeding 25 miles per hour while in 4-low.
To make matters even worse, the Jeep Wrangler was also left in first gear. This is basically the worst-case scenario turned up to 11. As the drive reports, keeping your car in gear means the driveshaft and rotating assembly for the engine are all engaged. The mechanic did some figuring and estimated that the Jeep’s engine was doing something like 50,000 RPM at 55 mph. In case you don’t know, the redline for the Wrangler is about 6,600 RPM.
Jeep Wrangler totaled by towing
So not only did the transfer case and transmission get obliterated, but the excessive RPMs sheered the crankshaft off and sent two pistons and rods into the block. Not to mention the clutch and flywheel turned into dust, I guess as they were sent through the transmission’s bell housing. Again, if you don’t know, this is the full and utter destruction of 90 percent of the truck’s moving parts.
The Drive says that the mechanics estimate that the price for just the parts to repair the Jeep is somewhere around $30,000. This is likely going to totaled-out because that number doesn’t even cover labor, which would be substantial.
Word to the wise; double check your rig before you set off to towing.