Is it possible to tow a car that is in park? Or with the Emergency Brake on?


Can you tow a car that is in park? The simple answer is yes, however towing a parked automobile might cause harm if specific measures are not followed ahead of time. If a car in park is pulled with its wheels on the street, the mechanical lock of the transmission may be broken. One precaution you may take before towing a parked automobile is to make sure your vehicle is in neutral. Another alternative is to pull the car on a flatbed so that the tires are securely fastened. If you’re not sure which towing position is appropriate for your vehicle, consult the owner’s handbook to avoid damage when towing.

Keeping in mind that parking brakes are nearly always only present on the rear axle of most automobiles, the answer is dependent on the powertrain architecture – RWD, FWD, or 4WD/AWD.

In an RWD car, both “park” and the e-brake function on the back wheels, but nothing secures the front wheels. Lift the rear end off the ground, and it’s gone.

Even though all four wheels on FWD and 4WD/AWD vehicles can be secured — the front two via the transmission and the rear via the parking brake (FWD), or all four via the driveline if the vehicle is parked with 4WD/AWD engaged — tow operators can still get around this by dollying wheels at one end and lifting the other off the ground.

Parking brake wires are often not very thick; the inner cables are just 4–5 mm thick at their most susceptible locations. This is readily accomplished with any half-decent set of cable or bolt cutters. As a result, if a tow operator possesses something that can be used to break the cables, the parking brake is readily overcome.

If you truly want to make a tow operator‘s life tough, you should remove the wheels and brace the car with cinder blocks or jack stands.


Is it possible to tow a car when it has the emergency brake on?

When the automobile is not in use, drivers should let off of the parking brake. Vehicles with the emergency brake engaged cannot be hauled in the conventional manner (that is, with two wheels on the street). That being said, if a vehicle is being put onto a flatbed truck for towing, you can be confident that no harm will be done as long as the car is in neutral and the parking brake is not engaged while being hoisted.

When you put an automatic gearbox in park, it sort of locks the driving wheels, which in most automobiles means the front axle.

The differential will still enable the wheels to spin, but because the gearbox is locked, when one wheel spins, the other will turn in the opposite way.

When you press the parking brake, the brakes are activated, generally just on the back wheels, preventing them from spinning.

When a tow truck is dispatched to a vehicle that is in park with the parking brake engaged, the tow operator will do one of two things:

  1. The automobile will be pulled onto the bed if a flatbed truck is utilized, skidding the tires. Because of the differential, one front tire will roll, and the other will slide while spinning rearward. They may alternate when traction changes. Because most parking brakes are ineffective, the back tires will most likely roll against the friction of the brake.
  2. If a “hook” style truck is used, one end of the automobile is hooked onto the truck’s axle lift, and the other end is put on a special cradle dolly with four wheels, so all four of the pulled vehicle’s tires are off the ground.

We can tow a car in park if the emergency brake is not applied since the brake controls one or more wheels that will not be used throughout the towing operation. There should be no harm to your automobile if it is towed with two non-driving wheels on the ground and the parking brake is disengaged. It is typically not a problem to have it towed if you are towing with two driving wheels on the ground and a manual transmission. The same is true for automatic gearboxes, although they should only be pulled short distances and at modest speeds to avoid damage.