Can You Flat Tow A Jeep Cherokee?

Can You Flat Tow A Jeep Cherokee? The Ultimate Guide

Can You Flat Tow A Jeep Cherokee?

So, you’ve got yourself a Jeep Cherokee, eh? Nice choice! These machines are built for adventure, no doubt about it. But now, you’ve got another ride an RV, perhaps? and you’re thinking about how to make the two play nice on a cross-country journey.

The idea that’s probably popped into your mind is flat towing. You know, hooking up the Jeep behind your main vehicle with all four wheels down, cruising down the highway as if you’re in a mini convoy. It’s a tempting thought, isn’t it? But hold on a second.

Before you go hitching your Jeep to the back of your RV, you’ve got some questions that need answering. The big one: “Can I actually flat tow a Jeep Cherokee?” Well, you’re in the right place because we’re about to dig deep into that question and give you all the info you need.

The Basics: What is Flat Towing?

Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. What in the world is flat towing, anyway? To put it simply, flat towing is the act of pulling a vehicle with all of its wheels on the ground. This is also known as “four-down towing” or “dinghy towing,” in case you come across those terms. Flat towing is a go-to method for many Rivers, campers, and off-road enthusiasts because it’s pretty darn convenient.

So, why would you even want to consider flat towing? First off, it’s often easier to set up compared to other methods like dolly towing or trailer towing. There’s no need to lift the vehicle onto another platform, which can be a hassle. Second, your towed vehicle let’s stick with our example of a Jeep Cherokee can serve multiple purposes once you reach your destination. Think off-roading adventures, local errands, or even as a backup in case your main vehicle runs into trouble.

So there you have it the lowdown on flat towing. It’s a method that has its pros and cons, but for many, the benefits far outweigh the downsides. Intrigued? Stick around as we dive deeper into how this all applies to your Jeep Cherokee.

The Nitty-Gritty: Flat Towing a Jeep Cherokee

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of flat towing a Jeep Cherokee specifically. First off, can you do it? The short answer is yes, most Jeep Cherokees are designed with towing in mind. But, and this is a big but, not every model or year is suitable for flat towing. So, make sure to consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer for the final word.

Now, what’s the upside of flat towing your Jeep? One of the major pros is versatility. Once you reach your destination be it a campground, beach, or mountain range you can unhook your Jeep and head out on local adventures. Think about the possibilities: off-roading, sightseeing, or running errands while your RV or other main vehicle stays put.

However, there are some downsides. For instance, the miles you clock while flat towing do count towards your vehicle’s overall mileage. Plus, flat towing can put extra stress on your car’s drivetrain and tires. So, the takeaway here? Flat towing a Jeep Cherokee is doable, but make sure you’re well-informed and prepared.

How to Flat Tow a Jeep Cherokee

So you’ve decided you’re game for flat towing your Jeep Cherokee. Awesome! But hold your horses before you set out on your great adventure, there are some key steps you need to follow.

First up, let’s talk gear. You’ll need a high-quality tow bar to connect your Jeep to the towing vehicle, safety chains as a backup, and an auxiliary braking system to make sure your Jeep stops when your main vehicle does. Getting these items squared away is crucial for both safety and legality.

Now, the actual process. Attach the tow bar to both vehicles, making sure it’s secure. Hook up the safety chains for that extra layer of security. Then, install and engage the auxiliary braking system. Oh, and don’t forget to put your Jeep in neutral! One last piece of advice: do a test run. Check all connections and take a short drive to ensure everything’s hunky-dory.

And there you go! You’re all set to flat tow your Jeep Cherokee. Make sure to double-check everything, and then you’re ready to hit the road.

Gear You’ll Need

So you’re all pumped and ready to hit the road, but wait a minute what about the gear? If you think you can just hitch your Jeep to another vehicle and call it a day, you’ve got another think coming! Let’s run down the checklist of essentials you’ll need for a smooth flat towing experience.

  1. Tow Bar: This is the biggie the tow bar is what actually connects your Jeep Cherokee to the vehicle doing the towing. Make sure it’s compatible with both your Jeep and the towing vehicle. You’ll want a high-quality, durable tow bar that can withstand the weight and stress.
  2. Safety Chains: Think of these as your safety net. In the unlikely event that the tow bar fails, these chains will prevent your Jeep from becoming a runaway risk. Attach them securely to both vehicles.
  3. Auxiliary Braking System: This system ensures that your Jeep brakes when your towing vehicle does. Trust us, this is a non-negotiable. Different states have different laws about this, but even if it’s not mandatory where you are, it’s a smart safety measure.
  4. Baseplate: This attaches to the front of your Jeep and connects to the tow bar. It’s what makes the secure connection between the two vehicles possible.
  5. Wiring Kit: This kit enables your Jeep’s brake lights and turn signals to sync with the towing vehicle, making sure other drivers on the road know what you’re up to.
  6. Towbar Cover: While not strictly necessary, a cover protects your tow bar from the elements when not in use.

Alright, once you’ve gathered all this gear, you’re pretty much good to go. Just remember, always opt for quality equipment it’ll pay off in the long run.

Steps to Flat Towing

Ready to get this show on the road? You’ve got your gear, and now it’s time to put it to work. Flat towing your Jeep Cherokee involves a sequence of steps to make sure you’re doing it safely and effectively. Let’s break it down.

  1. Installation Time: First off, install your baseplate onto the front of your Jeep. This is what your tow bar will connect to. Make sure it’s snug and secure.
  2. Hook ‘Em Up: Attach the tow bar to the baseplate and to the towing vehicle. Double-check that all connections are secure.
  3. Chain Reaction: Now’s the time for your safety chains. Loop them between both vehicles as a backup connection.
  4. Brake It Down: Install your auxiliary braking system. Test it to make sure it engages when your main vehicle’s brakes are used.
  5. Wire Up: Connect your wiring kit so that your Jeep’s brake lights and turn signals work in tandem with the towing vehicle.
  6. Neutral Territory: Shift your Jeep into neutral. This is crucial; otherwise, you could damage your car’s transmission.
  7. Test Drive: Before hitting the open road, take a short test drive to ensure everything’s functioning as it should be.

And there you have it! You’re all set for your flat towing adventure. Just remember, safety first; always double-check your setup before embarking.

Safety Measures

Ah, safety the one thing we shouldn’t skimp on, especially when we’re talking about towing a vehicle. Believe me, the last thing you want is to see your beloved Jeep Cherokee doing the cha-cha on the freeway behind you. So let’s put on our responsible hats and delve into some essential safety measures you need to consider.

  1. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect: Before each trip, give your towing gear a thorough once-over. Look for signs of wear and tear and make sure all components are securely fastened.
  2. Test Your Brakes: Seriously, test that auxiliary braking system every time. You want to be certain it engages when your towing vehicle brakes.
  3. Mirror Check: Make sure your towing vehicle has extended side mirrors. You need to have a clear view of both your main vehicle and your Jeep behind you.
  4. Light it Up: Ensure all lighting connections are working. Your brake lights, turn signals, and other indicators should be in sync between both vehicles.
  5. Follow the Speed Limit: Don’t push your luck. Observe speed limits and remember that your stopping distance will be longer when you’re towing.
  6. Regular Check-ups: Make pit stops to check your setup. Ensure that your connections are still tight and that there are no issues with your Jeep or your gear.
  7. Know the Laws: Different states have different towing laws. Make sure you’re in compliance with speed, length, and auxiliary braking laws in each state you travel through.

So there you have it! Taking these safety measures seriously will help ensure a worry-free flat towing experience. You’re investing in peace of mind and that’s priceless.

Legal Requirements and Regulations

Let’s talk about the legal side of things. Yep, it’s not the most exciting topic, but you’ll thank us later for saving you the headache or worse, the heartache of getting slapped with a hefty fine or facing legal woes. Different states, and even countries if you’re up for some international adventure, have different laws and regulations concerning flat towing. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  1. Braking Systems: Many states require auxiliary braking systems for towed vehicles. Failure to comply could result in fines or legal complications.
  2. Towing Speeds: Some states impose speed limits specifically for towing situations, which may be lower than the general speed limit.
  3. License Plates: In some jurisdictions, you may need special license plates or permits for your towed vehicle. Make sure to research and apply for these ahead of time.
  4. Lighting and Signals: Most laws stipulate that your towed vehicle must have functional brake lights and turn signals that are synchronized with the towing vehicle.
  5. Safety Chains: While we’ve mentioned these as a good safety measure, in some places they’re a legal requirement.
  6. Towing Weight: There are restrictions on how much weight you can tow, which can impact whether or not you can flat tow your Jeep Cherokee depending on its weight and the towing vehicle’s capacity.
  7. State-by-State: Rules can change as you cross state lines. Keep an updated guidebook or app that you can consult as you move through different jurisdictions.
  8. Insurance: Check with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered while flat towing another vehicle. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Getting all your ducks in a row legally can seem like a daunting task, but think of it as your road map for a smooth, hassle-free journey. Ignorance of the law excuses no one, as they say, so arm yourself with the knowledge you need to flat tow responsibly.

What Can Go Wrong?

Ah, the dreaded “what can go wrong” discussion. Sure, you’re raring to go, but a little caution never hurt anyone. You know the saying, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”? Well, it applies here too. Let’s run through some things that can go south when you’re flat towing your Jeep Cherokee:

  1. Brake Failure: If your auxiliary braking system malfunctions, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Imagine trying to stop your towing vehicle, but your Jeep just keeps on gliding scary stuff.
  2. Detachment: Picture this you’re cruising down the highway, and suddenly, you see your Jeep in your rear view mirror, parting ways with you. A loose tow bar or safety chain could lead to this nightmarish scenario.
  3. Transmission Damage: Forgot to put your Jeep in neutral? You might end up with some costly transmission damage.
  4. Overheating: Towing can put extra strain on your towing vehicle’s engine, leading to overheating. Keep an eye on those temperature gauges.
  5. Legal Troubles: Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse. You could get hit with fines or legal action if you’re not compliant with towing regulations.
  6. Poor Visibility: Without proper mirrors, you could easily end up in a fender-bender or worse. Always ensure you can see the road behind you clearly.
  7. Fuel Efficiency: Towing another vehicle will make your fuel efficiency take a nosedive. If you don’t plan accordingly, you might find yourself stranded without a gas station in sight.
  8. Wear and Tear: The additional stress of towing can speed up the wear and tear on both vehicles, leading to more frequent repairs and shorter vehicle lifespans.

So, now you know what could go wrong. But don’t get too freaked out! With proper planning and attention to detail, you can mitigate these risks and have a safe, enjoyable flat towing experience.

Common Mistakes

Listen up, folks! If you think you’re immune to making mistakes while flat towing your Jeep Cherokee, think again. Even seasoned drivers slip up, so let’s shed some light on common blunders.

  1. Skipping Gear: Forgetting vital equipment like safety chains or an auxiliary braking system isn’t just risky it could be illegal.
  2. Ignoring Legal Requirements: Many people think they can just hit the road without considering state laws or regulations, only to get slapped with a hefty fine.
  3. Skipping the Test Run: Failing to test your setup before the actual journey can lead to all kinds of problems.
  4. Poor Visibility: Not using extended mirrors or ignoring your blind spots are accidents waiting to happen.
  5. Forgetting Maintenance: Neglecting to inspect your gear regularly might lead you down a road you don’t want to take.

Ways to Avoid Trouble

Alright, we’ve looked at the doom and gloom, but how can you steer clear of these pitfalls? Let’s cut to the chase.

  1. Checklist Mania: Create a detailed checklist of all the gear you need and legal requirements you must meet. Stick to it like glue.
  2. Test Drives: Never skip this step. A short test drive can catch any issues before they become big, hairy problems.
  3. Regular Inspection: Before every trip, check your gear for wear and tear. Replace anything that looks questionable.
  4. Be Law-Abiding: Research and adhere to all state and local laws concerning flat towing. When in doubt, consult the experts.
  5. Consult Manuals: When all else fails, read the instructions. Vehicle manuals can provide valuable insights on safe towing practices.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to a safer, more enjoyable flat towing experience. After all, better safe than sorry!

Alternatives to Flat Towing

So, you’re having second thoughts about flat towing your Jeep Cherokee? Don’t sweat it! There are plenty of other options to get your vehicle from point A to point B without making you bite your nails. Let’s unpack some alternatives.

  1. Tow Dolly: This option elevates the front wheels off the ground, reducing wear and tear. It’s a popular choice, but keep in mind, it adds extra weight to your towing setup.
  2. Trailer: This is your go-big-or-go-home option. A trailer lifts all four wheels off the ground, offering the most protection but also requiring a towing vehicle with a higher towing capacity.
  3. Shipping Services: If you’re not in a rush and prefer to fly to your destination, you can always hire a car shipping service to transport your Jeep. It’s convenient but can be costly.
  4. Driveaway Service: This involves hiring someone to drive your vehicle to the destination. This is a good option if you’re uncomfortable towing your Jeep yourself, but you’ll rack up mileage.
  5. Public Transport: Sometimes the simplest option is to park your Jeep and take a train or bus. While this may not be ideal for every situation, it’s an option worth considering.
  6. Rental Cars: If you’re only going to be at your destination briefly, it might be more practical to rent a vehicle rather than bringing your Jeep along.

Each of these alternatives comes with its own set of pros and cons, not to mention varying costs. So weigh your options carefully. One thing’s for sure: you’ve got choices, and that’s always a good thing.

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Trailer Towing

Ah, trailer towing the granddaddy of all towing methods. When you opt for a trailer, you’re basically saying, “I want my Jeep Cherokee to ride first class.” All four wheels of your Jeep will be off the ground, enjoying a bump-free journey. But hold your horses, this luxury comes at a price.

  1. Pros: Firstly, this method is kinder to your Jeep no added mileage or wear and tear. Secondly, trailers often come with their own braking systems, giving you added control and safety.
  2. Cons: Trailers are heavy, so your towing vehicle needs to have a beefy towing capacity. They’re also expensive and can be tricky to maneuver, especially in tight spaces.
  3. Setup: Rigging up a trailer involves securing your Jeep with straps and chains. You’ll also need to hook up the trailer’s electrical system to your towing vehicle for brake lights and turn signals.
  4. Cost: Trailers can set you back a pretty penny, both in terms of initial investment and the added fuel consumption due to the extra weight.
  5. Legalities: Since trailers are considered separate vehicles, they often have their own set of legal requirements, including separate license plates and sometimes even insurance.

In a nutshell, trailer towing is the Cadillac of towing options it’s plush and secure but comes with its own set of challenges and costs.

Dolly Towing

Dolly towing, or using a tow dolly, is like the middle child of towing methods. It’s more involved than flat towing but less so than trailer towing. In this setup, your Jeep Cherokee’s front wheels are lifted off the ground, while the rear wheels roll freely.

  1. Pros: Less wear and tear on the front tires and less complex than a trailer. It’s also typically easier to set up and cheaper to rent or buy than a full trailer.
  2. Cons: The rear wheels are in contact with the road, which means you’ll still accumulate some mileage and wear. Also, you have to consider whether your Jeep’s drivetrain allows for the rear wheels to be on the ground for an extended period.
  3. Setup: Hooking up a dolly involves positioning your Jeep’s front wheels onto the dolly and securing them with straps or chains. Like trailers, dollies also often have their own lights and braking systems.
  4. Cost: A tow dolly is generally less expensive than a trailer but still adds weight to your towing setup, affecting fuel efficiency.
  5. Legalities: While usually less strict than trailer laws, some states require tow dollies to be registered. Always check local regulations to stay on the right side of the law.

To sum it up, dolly towing offers a nice compromise between the ease of flat towing and the security of trailer towing. Choose wisely based on your needs and you’ll be golden.

Frequently Asked Questions

So, you’ve made it this far and you’re still hungry for more info? You’re in luck! Let’s dive into some FAQs that could clear up any lingering questions.

  1. Can any Jeep Cherokee be flat towed?
    • Well, not exactly. It depends on the model year and the type of transmission. Always consult your owner’s manual or a Jeep dealer to be sure.
  2. Do I need a special license to tow a Jeep Cherokee?
    • Generally, no. But it wouldn’t hurt to double-check local and state laws, as some jurisdictions have weight-based requirements that might require a special permit or license.
  3. How much does it cost to set up my Jeep Cherokee for flat towing?
    • The cost can vary widely based on the gear you choose. Expect to spend anywhere from a couple of hundred to over a thousand dollars.
  4. Is it legal to flat tow in all states?
    • The short answer is no. Laws vary by state, so do your homework before hitting the road to avoid running afoul of the law.
  5. What should I do if something goes wrong while towing?
    • Keep your cool and pull over safely. Assess the situation and call for roadside assistance if needed. If it’s a minor issue and you have the necessary tools, you might be able to fix it yourself.

There you have it! Answers to some of the most burning questions about towing your Jeep Cherokee. Remember, when in doubt, always consult the experts.


Alright, folks, let’s wrap this up. Towing your Jeep Cherokee isn’t something you should dive into without doing your homework. Whether you opt for flat towing, dolly towing, or trailer towing, each method has its own set of pros and cons, as well as unique legal requirements. Don’t just wing it plan carefully and consider your needs and limitations.

Safety should be your top priority, so make sure you invest in high-quality towing equipment and don’t cut corners during the setup process. And remember, when it comes to towing, practice makes perfect. The more you know, the less daunting the whole process becomes.

So, next time you plan a road trip and want to bring your trusty Jeep Cherokee along, you’ll know exactly what to do. Safe travels, and may the road be ever in your favor!

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