So you are planning the RV trip you have been talking about for the past year with the whole family? You are looking forward to being on the road with your motor home and your family. There’s just one problem – how are you going to take your Lexus? Could you potentially flat-tow it with the RV?
A Lexus cannot and should not be flat-towed because it does not have the right design or structure to withstand this process. Lexus vehicles were not made to be flat towed as it can cause serious damage to the vehicle according to Lexus customer support service.
So if you still want to take your Lexus on your family RV trip, you’ll need to find a different way to bring it along. So what are some of the alternatives for towing a Lexus? This is where you might need to improvise or perhaps consider leaving it at home altogether.
What is Flat Towing?
Flat towing is also known as dinghy towing. It is the act of pulling one vehicle behind another with all four wheels on the ground. It is one of the easiest ways to pull cars since it does not require a flatbed or any kind of fancy towing mechanism. Therefore, it is less time-consuming to set up because the only equipment that is required is a flat tow kit. This all depends on your car, that is if it can be safely flat-towed.
One of the advantages of flat towing is the simplicity of it; being able to connect and disconnect your vehicle without stress is definitely nice. You can also tow it behind your RV or truck without the need to lift two wheels into the air or to put the car on a bed above ground. This is why flat towing is easy and doesn’t require a lot of time to set up. You can tow the car with all four wheels on the ground.
The disadvantage here is that not all cars can be flat-towed simply because not all cars are designed for this setup. extensive damage can be caused to your vehicle. Most Toyotas and Lexus models fall in these categories of being advised not to be flat towed.
Can a Lexus be Flat Towed?
Lexus does not manufacture vehicles that can be flat-towed because of the damage caused to the transmission system. This may also be because Lexus manufactures many car models that are not very adventure friendly but are meant more for luxury.
There is are some aftermarket parts that can be bought to allow you to do some version of a flat tow to a Lexus, but unfortunately, Lexus did not design their cars with flat towers in mind.
In the not too distant past, most vehicles were created with a manual transmission which made it much easier for the car to be flat towed. Unfortunately for us most cars nowadays are built using automatic transmissions which make it much more difficult for the car to be flat towed. Most automatic transmissions have been adapted to make cars able to be flat towed, but unfortunately, Lexus cars are not one of them. (source)
In most transitions, there is a pump that is constantly lubricating the transmissions. In the Lexus, this pump will not work unless the engine is running. So when the wheels start turning and the drive shaft moves, it will cause significant damage to the transmission of your Lexus. Like I mentioned previously, there are some aftermarket items that can be bought. This includes a lubricant pump that can be installed, however, it is connected to the battery of your Lexus which can be quickly drained, and if it stops working there would be no way of you knowing until you realize your transmission is completely destroyed. If it is really worth important for you to flat tow your Lexus then this could be an option, but overall it seems a bit risky.
Another option is that you could disconnect the driveshaft from the transmission. There are kits that you can buy that can help you do this. Unless you are a professional mechanic you may need help installing and removing these kits. Disconnecting would make it so that the driveshaft and transmission do not recognize that the wheels are moving and therefore you would not put any miles on your Lexus either. The speedometer would also not register. This may be worth it, but you may end up paying a good amount of money to connect and disconnect your driveshaft, and if it is not done correctly could cause even more damage. (source)
Doing both of the things above can also be risky because many Lexus vehicles are covered by a warranty and making modifications to the car may void that warranty in the case that your car is damaged.
There are a few others like Toyota and Scion that don’t allow users to flat tow because of the way the transmission is built.
What Other Cars Can be Flat Towed?
The most ideal vehicle for flat towing is going to be one that has rear-wheel drive and runs on a manual transmission. There are also some 4 wheel drive vehicles that can be placed in neutral that work just fine in a flat tow situation.
There are many other things that can prevent a vehicle from being able to be flat towed. This can make it really difficult to know if your vehicle is eligible to be flat towed. Honestly, the best thing to do is check the owner’s manual of whatever car you drive and look at the towing requirements.
It can be difficult to determine which ones are flat tow capable because every car company builds their cars just a little differently. Automatic transmissions on a Honda may run just a little bit differently than an automatic transmission on a Ford. Though they may be built around the same idea, they may have different ways that they run. You can also call the manufacturer if you still aren’t sure and they can help you know what the best way to tow your car might be. (source)