Can I tow an automatic car if the engine is on?

Broken down due to low transmission fluid (possibly I am getting a sensor error).

Is it possible to tow the automatic car about 5 miles at a low speed 25 mph?

Are there any risks involved.

  • The car is a 2014 Audi A3 1.4 if this helps
    – user30609
    Apr 29, 2020 at 19:50
  • 2
    If the fluid is low then there is a risk - get it towed on a flat-bed
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 29, 2020 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


As best I can tell, the A3 is a FRONT wheel drive vehicle. If so, then there is no issues towing it with the rear wheels on the ground.

That assumes, of course, that you are using a towing service that will life the front. Otherwise, get a towing service that will put the entire vehicle on the bed and move it for you.

No, you should NOT tow an automatic transmission vehicle with the drive wheels on the ground.

  • 1
    Yah, no flat towing. The OP should be able to use a tow dolly, though ... put the drive wheels up on the dolly and have it. Apr 30, 2020 at 1:36
  • 1
    @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 why cant you tow it in neutral? It should free wheel? With engine idling it would have power steering and brakes. Apr 30, 2020 at 11:54
  • 2
    You cannot tow a automatic transmission vehicle on its drive wheels because input from the output shaft will NOT drive the oil pump and lubricate the transmission.
    – jwh20
    Apr 30, 2020 at 12:20
  • @SirSwears-a-lot - If the transmission is low on fluid, you run the risk of it not pushing fluid with it running. With that, you are going to burn it up even faster. As jwh20 said without the engine running it gets ugly. Tranny pumps are usually attached to the torque converter and the TC is attached to the engine ... no running engine, no fluid distribution: fried components; more cost to repair. Apr 30, 2020 at 13:48
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 What about with the engine on? as OP has asked? Short distance? Apr 30, 2020 at 21:48

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