Towing vehicles, including Jeep, behind RVs is a common practice among motorhome owners. This often poses a question to many owners.
Does towing a Jeep put miles on it? If the Jeep has a mechanical odometer and it is being flat-towed, towing will put miles on it. But if the Jeep has an electronic odometer, towing won’t put miles on it, regardless of the type of towing.
I will elaborate more on this below. Keep reading to learn everything you need.
Does Towing a Jeep Put Miles On It?
A direct answer to this question may not always be right. It is a bit tricky to determine whether towing a Jeep puts miles on it. You need to consider factors like the odometer type and tow type to get the correct answer.
Check the Odometer Type
Odometer technology plays an important role in determining whether towing a Jeep puts miles on it or not. Jeeps made before 2000 used to have mechanical odometers. These odometers were connected to the gear via cables.
When the gear spins, it dictates the odometer to move. If you have a front-wheel drive Jeep and the wheels are touching the ground, they will roll while towing the vehicle. As a result, miles on the odometer will increase.
The odometer technology changed after 2000. Though all manufacturers didn’t stop using mechanical odometers right away, many of them did. So, you can find some vehicles made after 2000 that have mechanical odometers. But after 2005, all vehicles have electronic odometers.
These odometers don’t depend on the gear only. Instead, they check if the engine is turned on or if the transmission is engaged. If you put the transmission of your 2004 Jeep Wrangler to neutral and turn the engine off, towing won’t add miles to it. Know About Should I Buy a Jeep Cherokee With Over 100k Miles
Check the Tow Type
Jeep or similar vehicles can be towed behind RVs in three settings. They are;
- Dolly Towing: In dolly towing, RVers use a tow dolly that connects to the RV’s hitch. The dolly has two small wheels with two slots for the front wheels of the vehicle to be towed. Once the front wheels of the Jeep are driven onto the platform, they are secured with straps.
But the rear wheels are still on the ground, and the vehicle stays a bit inclined. If your Jeep has a front-wheel drive system, wheels won’t spin in this type of towing. Only the rear wheels will spin, and it won’t put miles on the Jeep.
- Flat Towing: Flat towing is suitable for all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicles. In this case, all four wheels are on the road, and the vehicle remains flat.
The transfer case is put to neutral. Towing this way can put miles on the Jeep if the odometer is mechanical.
- Trailer Towing: Finally, trailer towing means loading the Jeep onto a trailer and connecting the trailer to the RV through a hitch. As no wheels of the Jeep move in this process, it won’t put miles on the Jeep.
What Tow Type Is the Best for a Jeep?
It depends on the model and manufacturing year of the Jeep. Depending on the model year, your Jeep can have different specifications. Let me explain this a bit more.
As I mentioned before, if you have a front-wheel drive Jeep that was made before 2000, it should have a mechanical odometer. As long as you use a tow dolly or a trailer to tow the Jeep, the front wheels won’t spin. So, the miles on the odometer won’t increase.
But if you flat tow this Jeep, the front wheels will spin, and miles will increase. So, dolly towing or trailer towing is the best for an old Jeep. I prefer dolly towing because trailers are much heavier than dollies.
What if you have a newer Jeep? If your Jeep is made after 2000 and has a four-wheel or all-wheel drive system, miles on the odometer won’t depend on the tow type. Instead, it will depend on the transmission and the engine.
If you put the transfer case in neutral and turn off the engine, towing won’t add any miles to the Jeep. In that case, flat towing is the best option because you don’t need to transport any dolly or trailer. Remember, two-wheel drive Jeeps aren’t suitable for flat towing.
Check answers to some common questions related to towing a Jeep.
Q: Does towing a Jeep damage it?
A: Not unless you use the wrong setting. As long as the transmission is neutral and the engine is shut off, towing won’t damage your Jeep. But if the transmission is in drive, towing can damage internal components. Also, flat towing two-wheel Jeeps can damage the transmission.
Q: How fast can you tow a Jeep?
A: It depends on the capability of the RV that is towing the Jeep and the hitch setup. If you have an RV with a powerful engine and are towing a Jeep Wrangler, I suggest going no more than 70 miles per hour. You should also check the maximum towing speed limit for your state to be safe.
Q: Which Jeep models can’t be flat towed?
A: You shouldn’t flat tow the Jeep Compass and the Jeep Renegade. Flat towing can damage their powertrains. If they are two-wheel drive, you can use a dolly. And if they are four-wheel drive, you can use a trailer.
Towing a Jeep behind an RV is common because the Jeep gives access to terrains that the RV doesn’t. But on paved roads, driving two vehicles isn’t necessary. This is why RV owners tow their Jeeps when on the roads. But the question, ‘Does towing a Jeep put miles on it?’ swirls around.
If you tow Jeeps with a mechanical odometer, flat towing will add miles but dolly towing won’t. And if the Jeep has an electronic odometer, no towing type will add miles to the odometer if the transfer case is neutral.