How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler

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This post details how we flat towed a Jeep Wrangler behind a Class A gas RV. In our opinion, Jeep Wranglers are one of the best vehicles to flat tow behind a motorhome. We also wrote a post on why we choose the Jeep as our tow vehicle if you want to read that first. Driveline modifications are not required to flat tow the Jeep Wrangler. There are a wide variety of different options for tow bars, supplemental brake systems and brake light wiring harnesses. I will discuss some of the options in this post and provide specific directions on how to flat tow a Jeep Wrangler.

What is Flat Towing?

Flat towing a car behind an RV means that the vehicle is going to have all four wheels on the ground. In order to do this without damaging the vehicle, the wheels need to spin freely without engaging the driveline. For most vehicles, simply putting the transmission in neutral is not enough to flat tow them. As a result, most cars aren’t able to be flat towed.

During our research on how to flat tow a car we learned that, as a loose rule, many front wheel drive cars with a manual transmission can be flat towed.

In terms of vehicles with an automatic transmission and four wheel drive, the options became much more limited and it wasn’t always clear which models could be flat towed.

  • One model year might be flat towable while the next model year wasn’t.
  • There were even differences within specific models of the same year. For example, one version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee with a specific 4×4 system was flat towable, but a model with the other 4×4 system or two wheel drive wasn’t flat towable.
  • In the end, we learned that the only way to know for sure was to look at the owners manual for the exact vehicle (model, year and options) we were interested in flat towing. The manual will state whether that particular vehicle is flat towable and if so, how to properly tow it.

One of the things that drew us to the Jeep Wrangler is that most years and variations are flat towable. Be aware however that there are a few which are not, particularly the limited number of two wheel drive versions they produced. ALWAYS read the manual to know for certain.

According to the 2020 manual for the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator models, both the automatic and manual versions are flat towable.

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler


1. Tow Capacity

First, make sure your RV can safely flat tow a Jeep Wrangler. Most motorhomes and even some Class B vans have a 5,000 lb towing capacity which will accommodate a stock Wrangler. Additional accessories (bumpers, winch, lift kit, etc) and the amount of cargo that will be stored in the vehicle can greatly effect the total weight and push the it beyond 5,000 lbs.

Most truck stops have scales where you can weigh the vehicle. Make sure to do this fully loaded with a full tank of fuel and subtract the weight of driver / passengers who are in the vehicle when it is weighed (since they won’t be in the vehicle while it is being towed). Our Jeep Wrangler with accessories and cargo weighed in at 4,500 pounds

Note: When shopping for an RV, do not take the dealer’s word on towing capacity. They are simply there to make the sale. Check with the RV manufacturer or consult the RV owner’s manual to find out what the towing capacity is. We met a couple who were lied to about how much their RV could tow and found out after the purchase that they didn’t have the capacity to tow their truck.

2. Install a Baseplate or Fully Integrated Bumper

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler - Bumper
Rock Hard 4×4 Bumper with Tow Brackets

A baseplate or specialized bumper is required to attach the Jeep Wrangler to the tow bar coming from the RV. The baseplate bolts into the Jeep’s frame underneath the front bumper and is somewhat hidden from view. One concern we had with the baseplate was it reduced the Jeep’s approach angle. That meant we would run the risk of damaging it during an off roading adventure.

If you have an aftermarket bumper or plan to get one, there may be clearance issues to consider with a baseplate. It’s possible sections of the bumper may need to be cut away so it doesn’t interfere with the baseplate.

A fully integrated bumper replaces the stock Jeep bumper. There are tow brackets required to attach to the tow bar to these types bumper. We went with this option and purchased the aluminum front bumper from Rock Hard 4×4.

If you already have an aftermarket bumper on the Jeep, Blue Ox makes an adapter that attaches to the clevis on the bumper. Although they are expensive, I’ve spoken to people who have them and said they love them. Keep in mind, they will only fit clevis’ with a 1″ pin. Blue Ox also makes universal adapters that can be bolted onto the bumper (this would require drilling).

3. Choose a Tow Bar

The tow bar connects the Jeep Wrangler to the RV so it can be flat towed. There are several tow bar options on the market. Some tow bars offer an integrated system where supplemental braking for the Jeep is built into the bar such as the ReadyBrute Elite Tow Bar. Other tow bars require additional braking systems such as the Blue Ox.

We decided to purchase the ReadyBrute Elite because it was the simplest solution. The built in braking system is based on inertia. When the motorhome brakes, the Jeep pushes against the tow bar and this actuates a lever on the bar that pulls a cable connected to the Jeep’s brake pedal. This mechanical action doesn’t require any additional electronics and for us that means less to go wrong.

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler - Attaching
Kait Attaching the Tow Bar to the Jeep

4. Supplemental Braking – Electronic or Mechanical?

There are many electronic braking systems on the market. Most use some type of actuator that pushes down on the Jeep’s brake pedal in proportion to how hard the motorhome brakes. The system usually consists of a main unit mounted in the motorhome that communicates with the unit mounted in the Jeep.

One popular system is the Roadmaster InvisiBrake that doesn’t require anything to be connected/disconnected when attaching the Jeep to the motorhome. Keep in mind, systems like the InvisiBrake, are permanently installed. This may present issues when it comes time to sell the Jeep Wrangler.

As mentioned in above, we decided to go with the ReadyBrute Elite for the built in mechanical braking system. This is a simple system that is very fast to connect/disconnect with few things that can go wrong. We can also visually inspect the parts to look for possible issues every time we connect the Jeep. Installation was relatively easy (they have a great installation video online), the most difficult part was trying to route the brake cable through the Jeep.

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler - Brake
ReadyBrake Cable Attached to Jeep Brake Pedal

5. Break Away Kit

A break away kit is designed to activate the Jeep’s brakes if/when something happens and the Jeep breaks away from the motorhome while driving down the road. This kit is essential and required in most states. The obvious benefit is that if something happens, the break away system will engage the brakes to help slow the Jeep and help minimize damage to the vehicle and others on the road. Some supplemental braking systems come with a kit and others, such as the ReadyBrute Elite, require a separate brake away device to be purchased.

6. Tail Lights

We use a plug and play wiring harness by CoolTech that connects the Jeep’s brake lights and turn signals to the motorhome. Installation of the harness into the Jeep’s wiring took about 10 minutes however I spend over an hour trying to find the best way to route the wires underneath the Jeep to the front bumper. We were able to use the 4 pin umbilical cord that came with the kit as we didn’t have any additional wires from a electronic braking system which would require the use of a 7 pin umbilical.

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler - Wiring
CoolTech’s Wiring Harness and Umbilical

Mopar also makes a wiring harness, similar to CoolTech’s that will plug into a port under the glovebox. From what I have read, this is just as good of an option for wiring the Jeep to the motorhome at about twice the cost and a bit more difficult to install. The Mopar harness does offer a 7 pin connector, so if you decide to get an electronic braking system, this may make it easier to connect all of the wiring to the motorhome.

7. Putting Your Jeep in Tow Mode

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler - Tow Mode
Kait Putting the Jeep in Tow Mode

After you’ve installed all the necessary components to flat tow your Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator, it’s time to connect your Jeep to your RV. Each tow bar, braking system and wiring harness will be different so refer to the owner’s manual for each on the proper procedure to hook up your Jeep to your RV.

Once the Jeep is connected to your motorhome, it needs to be put in tow mode. We recommend referencing your specific Jeep manual and follow the steps for putting it in tow mode. Some guides we found online have incorrect information. The process is simple, but you have to follow a specific procedure, otherwise you could damage the vehicle. The manual also includes instructions on how to take the Jeep out of tow mode.

While the procedure is straightforward, we recommend referencing your manual every time you put the Jeep in tow mode. It’s easy to miss a step and the extra few seconds it takes to reference the manual may save you a huge repair bill if you do something wrong. We were at a campground once and had to chase down a couple who were dragging their vehicle because they’d forgotten to put it in tow mode.

8. Perform a Visual Inspection

After the Jeep is connected and in tow mode, perform a visual inspection. Have someone stand behind the vehicle to ensure that the brake lights and turn signals are working properly.

Visually check all connections, pins, etc to ensure that everything is hooked up properly. Remember that you’re towing a few tons behind the RV and even if you’re in a rush, it only take a couple minutes to make sure everything is properly connected before you drive off.

9. Monitor Your Jeep

It’s good practice and peace of mind to have a rear camera installed on your RV so you can visually check on the Jeep while you’re going down the road. Some people also install a small LED light either in the RV or on the dash of the Jeep that illuminates when the Jeep’s brakes are activated. By placing the LED light on the Jeep’s dash you can see it with the rear view camera.

Disclaimer: This post is simply meant to be informational and walk you through how we set up our specific Jeep to be towed. Before purchasing any products, please make sure they fit your particular Jeep, read all manuals and consult a professional for installation.

Thinking of getting a Small Class C RV? Check out our list of the Best Class C RV Manufacturers.

Leave a Comment

49 thoughts on “How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler”

  1. The Jeep service Mgr. Tells me that my 2020 Cherokee Trailhawk will add odometer miles while being flat towed. Next time I flat tow I will attempt to verify this. If true surely someone has figured out how to disable the wheel rotation sensor(s)…

    Reply
  2. You gave inaccurate information to Joe Montgomery. When your towed is connected to the RV with headlights on, the towed tail lights, not the stop lights must be on. When stepping on the RV brake pedal, the towed brake lights must come on, then off when pedal is released. Turn signal lights must operate simultaneously on both vehicles. Also, when hooke up, do not turn on the towed headlights. That action will also try to operate the RV headlight and running lights. The overload will blow the fuse in the towed.

    You said the Invisibrake is permanently installed. It can be removed and transferred to another towed after removing components. I has a vacuum pump to maintain brake vacuum for a more nuanced application of towed brakes. Something like Brake Buddy can simply be lifted out of one towed and placed in another but that fails to take into account the breakaway switch and wiring.

    During your discussion of how much weight can be towed, one must take into account gross combined weight rating. It is likely the weight of the towed will have to be less than, say, 5,000 lb, even though that is the given limit because of the weight of the loaded RV. When in doubt, get each wheel of both vehicles weighed by an RV service that does that and they will provide a printout to compare with RV specifications and also the correct tire pressure for your measured weight, not the maximum pressure molded into each tire’s sidewall.

    We bought a new Honda CR-V in 1999 and a new 32 ft Bounder in 2000. We have close to 150,000 miles on the RV and all but about 5,000 of those miles towing the Honda. That means the Honda has about 175,000 miles plus another 135,000 miles not registered on the odometer. We don’t do off-road exploring. Both have been maintained and are still doing well. The all-wheel drive Honda weighs about 3,200 lb, is lighter than a Jeep and has a better predicted reliability record. Unfortunately, for the last five years or so no Honda is towable after going to a Constant Velocity Transmission (CVT), Every year Motor Home magazine and the FMCA, magazine Family RVing, lists all the current crop of cars that can be flat towed plus special instructions to do so, such as shift, key, fuse(s), etc. If fuses have to be removed, both magazines have advertisers that can provide fuses extension with switches, thus eliminating requirement to pull fuses. This information for many previous years is available on-line form the magazine publishers.

    Reply
  3. I have a silly question. We will be traveling at night. I am towing a Jeep Wrangler. With my tow package and braking system the Brake lights work on the jeep and the turn signals as well, But do I need to put the lights ON the jeep when moving at night? They don’t come on when I turn on the lights on the Class A motorhome.

    Reply
    • If you are asking if you need the front lights ON the Jeep, the answer is no. If you’re asking if the brake lights need to come on when you turn on your headlights, the answer is yes, you need brake lights that are ON when traveling at night. If yours aren’t coming on when you turn on the headlights but they work when you brake/use signals, then something either isn’t wired correctly or not working.

      Reply
  4. Hi Joe,
    Is there a rule of how close one should not come to maxing out one’s Class C RV towing capacity? I’m thinking of buying a jeep wrangler weighing about 4,000 lbs plus any extra items stored in the jeep should increase the weight closer to the 5,000 RV max towing capacity. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Personally, I would feel comfortable going all the way up to the max. That said, I doubt you’d get your Jeep up to 5k pound. Ours, with stuff was 3,500. Also, if you load it up to 5k you’ll be over the GVWR of the Jeep.

      Reply
  5. Thank you for posting this, very very insightful. I think i’ll go with FWD and a tow dolly since I won’t be doing a rock climbing ?

    Reply
  6. How much braking power is REALLY there with this mechanical-inertia system? With the engine off there is no vaccum supplied to the power brake system (thus NO power brakes). Sitting in my driveway with the engine off in my 2010 JUK, I get very little pedal travel, pushing with all my leg strength.

    Reply
    • You can install a vacuum booster pump from Jegs Racing for $200 that resolves this. It’s for race cars with poor vacuum, but also works for a toad. You’ll want to ensure that your rv or tow vehicle charges your Jeep battery while the pump is on.

      Reply
  7. Hi, we have a 2017 thor 22′ freedom elite with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. When towing our 2012 jeep wrangler there is a slight drifting feeling, is this normal. We have a blue ox tow bar assembly

    Reply
  8. Hey Joe – I did a tonne of research and am settling on basically your exact tow package (we have a jeep wrangler unlimited). Just wondering before I buy – do you continue to like the system, and have you experience any issues? I wonder if the braking cable will corrode and not function well. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Jeff – We sold the motorhome and Jeep and are now in a Class B van with no tow car. The braking system was great and we never had any issues with it. The cable is aircraft grade stainless steel so there was no corrosion when we sold the system. If we were to tow a car again, I would go with the same set-up.

      Reply
  9. We have a 2010 Jeep Wrangler automatic 4 wheel drive that we are towing behind a class A motorhome using the Roadmaster invisabrake system, everything went fine until we turned a hard corner and somehow the Jeep brakes were activated. In the Jeep manual it says to leave the key in acc position,If in error that we had it in run position would that be what would have caused the brakes to activate ?After pulling over the ESP/BAS and the ESC lights were on in the Jeep, Why do we need the Jeep ignition on at all ? It was not the Invisabrake applying the brakes per the LED monitoring system.

    Reply
    • I believe Jeeps before 2012 had the locking steering column. Thus needing the key. I had a 2007 Wrangler toad which required the key. I also added a battery disconnect because the Jeep was pulling about 6amps which could drain your battery in one day. Enjoy!

      Reply
  10. Hey Joe,

    Enjoyed the video and the the blog on this subject. We’re new to the towing game but we wanted to see if you know the answer to the question; Do we need to disconnect the battery or even pull fuses? We have a 2013 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited and want to tow it behind our Class A. We have a Roadmaster Tow bar, Baseplate and Even Brake onboard.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!
    Dale

    Reply
    • Hey Dale – We did not have to do those things with our set-up. Typically that’s only done on vehicles who’s steering wheel locks (which it doesn’t for most Wranglers). I don’t know how the Even Brake system works but unless you need to pull fuses or the battery for it, then I don’t think you’ll have to. Check your owner’s manual and it will give you step by step instructions on how to put the Jeep in tow mode.

      Reply
      • I have a 2008 wrangler Sahara and the steering locks. The key has to be in the ACC mode to tow. The owners manual says to disconnect the the negative battery terminal. I want my break lights to work when I’m towing since I have Breakmaster system. What fuse can I remove to prevent the battery from discharging with the key in ACC mode?

        Reply
  11. Hey guys!
    I found a sweet little ‘96 Wrangler that I would like to tow behind my 3500Sprinter. I had no idea how expensive a bumper was but I think it’s going to be the best way to go. Question, what is the least expensive bumper that will mate to the Ready Brute tow bar? Thanks in advance! I love how helpful RV’ers are!

    Reply
  12. I have a 17 Jeep JK coming soon and I am wondering if the cooltech harness lights the side marker lights on the jeep with the tail lights.

    Reply
  13. Joe,
    You mentioned that aftermarket bumpers have clevis points that can be used as tow points using the Blue Ox adapters. However, after doing some research, most of these points are not rated for towing and manufactures state they should not be used for towing. That struck me as odd because they are there to pull a jeep out of a mud bog or up and over large rocks. I was told by a major supplier that they are not designed for sustained loads that towing would present nor have the bumpers been tested for this. I also came under the impression that the tow points must bolt directly into the bumper as the Hard Rock bumper does. I think AEV’s bumper also does this. So one has to be careful using an aftermarket bumper for towing a Jeep, it needs to be rated for the task. It could become a liability nightmare if and accident were to occur as a result of a failure of a bumper that was not rated for towing.
    John B

    Reply
    • Hey John,

      Great information and thank you for the comment. The beauty of the Rock Hard’s tow points is that they bolt directly into the Jeep’s frame – through the same bolts used to attach the bumper to the frame. For me, this was the best and most secure way to do it.

      Joe

      Reply
    • I have a smitty built XRC mod bumper on my 08. Smitty build said all there bumpers built for jk’s Are rated to tow from D rings. I have a ready brute elite. And they made me a custom Clevis with 7/8 pin. Works like a champ.

      Reply
  14. Our ’93 Wrangler, manual trans. fuel pump died at a gas station. Towed jeep home for repair but found the transfer case was in 4 wheel high instead of neutral and transmission was in neutral after 100 miles. Did I damage anything??

    Reply
  15. I just purchased a 2008 Wrangler to tow behind my 30 ‘ Class A and the owners manual talks about disconnecting the negative battery cable before towing. I haven’t seen anyone talk about this in the set up process. Is it necessary.
    The jeep is a 6 speed manual 4 wheel drive.

    Any Ideas ?

    Reply
    • If your Jeep has a steering lock (most don’t) then you would need to put the key in the “Accessory” mode in order to keep the steering wheel unlocked while you’re driving. If you don’t have the negative terminal disconnected then the battery will drain while you drive. If your steering wheel does not lock, then I don’t know why you’d have to disconnect the terminal.

      Reply
      • Run a charge lead with your inline lighting….that way you have the ability to use the Jeep lights ‘brakes and turn signals’ and have the comfort of getting the battery recharged through the RV. Never draining your battery.

        Reply
        • You don’t have to worry about that with most model year Wranglers as they don’t have locking steering wheels and the ignition remains off while driving. If you use the CoolTech wiring harness, the lights are powered by the coach and there is no drain on your Jeep’s battery.

          Reply
    • Randy, we have the same Jeep Wrangler and and have towed it all over the country. First of all put your transfer case in neutral, and shift your transmission into 5th gear. You do this as you want to have the internal transmission pumps working. Now turn your key to the 2nd off position, as this will allow your front wheels to steer when you go around a curve or make a turn. If you go to the 3rd position, they will lock up. Always test before hitting the highway. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  16. How do you adjust the Ready Brake cable? On mine I put it just tight enough that the Jeep brake lights do not come on. I can check this be ensuring the RV lights are off or by looking at the third light on the Jeep. Do you have any pointers on adjusting the cable for best results? I can tell you for sure you will know if its too tight. The RV will definitely not move normally. My question is what’s the quickest way to hook up and still gain braking from the Wrangler.

    Reply
    • We followed the instructions that came with the unit. We left a little slack and I drove the RV while Kait sat in the Jeep and checked to make sure it was breaking correctly. Once you have cable set, you shouldn’t have to adjust it for a while. In 15k miles we haven’t had to adjust ours again.

      Reply
  17. Hi i am curious which if any Rockhard tow bar braket kit you used. There are three as far as i can tell 1 Reese tow bar braket kit
    2Blue Ox
    3 Road Master
    I called Ready Brute today and they told me they have to have the dimensions of the tow bar braket kit to make the tow bar work .

    Thx for your time Pat

    Reply
  18. Thank you for this post! My wife and I have the RV bug but have been holding off because we can’t afford a diesel to pull our Wrangler Unlimited (Willy’s Wheeler, we love it!) – Your post made my week! I haven’t been looking at gas RVs because the Wrangler is at the top of their towing capacity.

    How is towing the Jeep up mountains with the gas? Any regrets towing with gas?

    Reply
    • JC – We were in the same boat until we met some new friends who are towing a Grand Cherokee with their gas coach and had no problems. We have no issues towing the Jeep and when we’ve gone up some serious inclines in the Rockies, we were only going about 30-35 mph but the RV chugged right along. We have also met people with diesels who have issues with overheating going up those same grades.

      The most important thing however will be the GVWR and GCWR of the coach. The GVWR is the max weight of the RV and the GCWR is the gross combined weight of RV plus toad. Our GVWR is 22,000 and GCWR is 26,000 – so if we max out our tow capacity (5,000) then we loose 1,000 on the GVWR. This will limit your CCC (carrying capacity) and why we chose this specific RV – our CCC is over 4,500 lbs so we have enough buffer for the Jeep plus all the things we want to carry. We saw some RV’s that we would only have 400lbs of CCC after you add in the extra weight of the Jeep, us, a full tank of water, etc.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  19. Thanks for the great review, I am just now starting to look into toad details per your advice when we spoke. I was leaning toward blue ox, but the Ready Brute looks pretty cool. We will be setting up our 2007 Ford Edge for towing, looks to be a pretty straightforward process.

    Reply
    • John – we thought the most difficult decision for us was which braking system to get. There are so many out there and so many variations you can get lost trying to figure it out. It came down to reading reviews and hearing stories about the electronic systems going bad. The only negatives we read about the ReadyBrute was when people didn’t have the brake cable properly adjusted (a very simple fix) or they had a hard time trying to route the cable through the engine compartment.

      Reply

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