Can you tow a automatic rear wheel drive vehicle in neutral with the engine running without damaging the transmission? For a short distance.

  • You should read the owners manual for the specific car. – HandyHowie Aug 13 '18 at 12:04

Most FWD or RWD cars with automatics do not like it, this is because during towing the driveshaft will turn, which turns the output shaft of the trans and some of its internals also, which will not be lubricated for long because the engine is not running. What you can do is start the engine and put in neutral, then tow a short distance, this way things stay lubricated internally.

You should consult your owners manual to get a specific answer about towing for your vehicle.


All automatic transmissions have a button/switch that can override the "parking lock" that prevents you from putting your car into drive, or neutral, while the key is removed (i.e. without the engine on). As long as you place the transmission into neutral, you should be fine.

The lubricants in the transmission are not pumped through the engine, but rather through the centrifugal force of the transmission moving, so you shouldn't have a problem with lubrication, and the engine being off.

  • The fluid in an auto is pumped via the torque converter. If the engine is not running, the torque converter is not turning, therfore the transmission fluid will not be lubricating the moving parts, will not be cooling and will not be operating the hydraulic components. Your answer is bad advice. – HandyHowie Aug 14 '18 at 12:28

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