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Why does the owner’s manual say I can’t flat-tow my car?

I own a 2012 Mitsubishi RVR 2WD. The owner's manual says this car can not be flat-towed behind an recreational vehicle unless all four wheels are up on a trailer. Is this true? – Gary

Flat towing refers to the towing of a vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, transmission in neutral and a tow bar attached to the front bumper area.

It wasn't too long ago that any manual transmission and many automatic transmission vehicles could be flat towed without damaging the transmission. However, current-generation models featuring advanced electronics with their multitude of gear ratios are no longer flat-tow friendly. Additionally, many manual transmission vehicles have lost their flat-towable status.

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The primary reasoning behind this deals with the pump within the transmission that supplies oil lubricating all the internal components. When the car is not running, neither is this pump, and flat towing forces the differential and other components to continue rotating without any lubrication. Your RVR 2WD sports a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is especially sensitive to this.

I found it odd that your 2WD vehicle needed to be up on a trailer so I sent an e-mail to Mitsubishi Canada asking for clarification. They sent me a scan from your vehicles owners manual showing all of the recommended towing procedures. Only AWD vehicles require a full trailer; unfortunately, your 2WD CVT vehicle cannot be flat towed, requiring you to purchase a car dolly.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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