The Wrangler is a fine off-roading beast. But, even this all-powerful SUV tends to break down in the middle of the road. When that happens, there’s very little you can do except to use another vehicle for towing. How do you do that, though? Well, that’s why tow bars were invented! They are sturdy, reliable, and easy to set up and use.
With the right Towbar for Jeep Wrangler, you’ll be able to save your four-wheeled friend from a dire situation. As for this guide, I made it specifically for folks that are just getting into off-roading and don’t know the first thing about these bars and how to use them. But, even if you’re a seasoned vet, I’m sure this post will be of help. Alright, let’s get to it!
#1: Checking the Bar’s Towing Capacity
So, your Jeep gave up on you, and now you’re looking for a way to get it to the nearest auto shop. If there’s a fellow driver nearby, the best course of action would be to ask for a “lift”. It doesn’t matter what kind of a vehicle will be in front of the “chain”. It all comes down to whether it will be able to pull the Wrangler. SUVs, trucks, RVs, and even sedans can do the towing as long as they’ve got enough power.
That’s why you should always check the capacity of the towing vehicle and the tow bar. This describes how much weight it’s capable of pulling without breaking down. Measured in pounds, the capacity of the bar can be as low as 2K or as high as 7-10K. A standard-edition Wrangler weighs +/- 4K pounds. Top-tier models with bigger engines, wider bodies, and hardtops will be heavier, of course. Still, most mid-size cars should be able to tow it.
#2: Setting Everything Up
We just figured out what capacity is all about. The next step is to connect the Jeep to the towing vehicle and hit the road. This is called flat towing, by the way, or four-down towing. Basically, it’s when the other car is doing all the driving, but the towed vehicle (in our case, the Wrangler) is rolling behind on all four wheels. Alright, how are we going to make this work? Well, if there’s a hitch receiver on your “tower”, that’s great news.
If not, you can get one for $30-50. The tow bar connects to the RV, truck, or SUV that’s gonna do all the heavy lifting through that hitch receiver. On the other side, the bar will have a set of “arms” that attach to the Jeep using the brackets on the front bumper. Base plates will work as well, as long as they’ve got mounting spots. For some heavy-duty towing, it might be better for the brackets to be bolted directly into the vehicle’s frame.
#3: Adjusting the Transmission
This is important: you can’t do flat towing with every single vehicle out there. Some cars have certain types of transmissions that require the engine to run. Otherwise, the fluid won’t circulate properly, which will (potentially) lead to a breakdown. That’s not the case with the Wrangler, though: you can turn it off completely and just tow the SUV with absolutely no worries. And this applies to all models, makes, and generations.
There are still some things that you need to take care of, however. Start by bringing the Wrangler to a complete stop on an even surface (so that the wheels don’t start rolling all of a sudden). Next, hit (and hold) the brake pedal and set the gearbox to neutral. This applies to automatic transmissions. With a manual unit, press the clutch down as well. Now turn the motor off, set the transfer case to neutral, and restart the engine.
#4: Getting the Wrangler Ready
We’re almost there. Switch the transmission into Reverse mode and let go of the clutch and brake pedal. With a fully automatic Jeep, go into Drive instead. Moving on, turn the motor off one more time and activate the parking brake. Owners of manual Wranglers should set the gearbox to the 2nd or 3rd gear; on an automatic Jeep, go straight into Park. Make sure the engine is, indeed, switched off.
If it’s still running, switching into Park will ruin the transmission. Alright, that’s it! I know this seems to be a lot of work, but it really isn’t. You can set the right transmission mode in a minute or two and ensure the fluid will flow properly while you’re towing the vehicle.