I’ve read where a front wheel drive vehicle towed on a dolly should be towed front wheels up. Obviously. But what about a VW BUG or a CHEVY CORVAIR, can they be towed backwards? The most weight (engine etc.)would be lifted as with the front of a front wheel drive.

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The objective in towing a front wheel drive vehicle with the wheels on a dolly is to prevent unwarranted wear on the drive train, which would happen if the vehicle was flat-towed, that is, merely pulled with wheels on the ground.

Some manufacturers explicitly state that a particular model is not to be flat towed, as some transmissions require that the engine be running to provide fluid flow in the transmission. I have read of some people who will flat tow for short distances by leaving the engine running with the transmission in neutral!

In the case of an air-cooled VW, a vehicle with which I have had some experience, a flat tow in neutral facing forward would be less damaging than a similar circumstance with an automatic transmission. The wear factor is likely to be about the same as operating the vehicle the same distance. I cannot advise of this aspect if the VW has an automatic transmission, nor can I advise regarding the Corvair.

Towing a rear-wheel drive on a dolly with the vehicle pointed backwards adds the complication of the steering wheels being in a position for which they are not designed. For the sake of this discussion, we will expect that one has been able to solidly secure the steering wheel with the steering pointed perfectly straight ahead (behind?) because even a bit of off-center positioning will add wear. If there is any free movement in the steering wheel, disaster looms.

The front end alignment has caster, camber and toe-in/out as part of the adjustments. These adjustments are performed with the vehicle in a flat position. When the vehicle is on a dolly facing aft, all three adjustments are no longer valid. This will result in increased tire wear as well as increased drag for the tow vehicle.

Some useful information is also available in a similar post: Why is towing a manual transmission car, in neutral, with the drive wheels on the ground, considered safe?

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