Here’s A Quick (And Expensive) PSA On How NOT To Flat-Tow Your Jeep Wrangler

This is what getting your engine up to 50,000 RPM looks like

Jeep Wrangler Exploded Engine
(Image: sbcsdime210, via TikTok)

This hurts on a deep, deep level.

You may have seen a grenaded engine before, but even if you have take a moment to experience the horror that is this Jeep Wrangler’s 3.6-liter V6. Or, at least what’s left of it. The Drive reports on the TikTok video shown below, posted by user sbcsdime210 (screenshot above is also credited to him, from the video), showing an utterly devastating failure caused by an RV flat-towing the Wrangler while leaving it in gear.

Friendly PSA: Don’t do that.

2018 Jeep Wrangler
There are places where it’s appropriate to use first gear and low range…rolling down the highway obviously isn’t it.

It’s even worse, as not only was the transmission in gear but the transfer case was also left in 4-Low. That’s a great idea when you’re actually driving the Wrangler in tricky off-road conditions where you need the transfer case to do its job, multiplying the engine’s torque to give you a better crawl ratio — making more of what power the engine has available while staying in control (and not redlining the engine). The effect of flat-towing the Jeep in gear with the transfer case engaged was effectively running the engine at a stratospheric 50,000 RPM…with predictable results.

Occasionally, you’ll see stories where an interference engine (like the Pentastar) gets over-revved and valves come in contact with the pistons. Not good. But this goes way beyond that level of damage, since we’re actually looking up at its remains from underneath. Not only is the oil pan gone, but so is part of the engine block, the crankshaft’s obliterated, the input shaft and a good chunk of the transmission bell housing are destroyed…and so on and so on and so on.

It’s bad, obviously, but then comes the worst part: “Stay tuned for an estimate!” My wallet’s quivering in fear and it’s not even my Jeep. The upswing here — not that any of you fine folks out there in the TFL community would dream of doing this — is to make sure everything’s disengaged (per the owner’s manual) before flat-towing your rig.

I’m still cringing, you guys.

Thanks to the Drive and Rob Stumpf for the information in his story. From the carnage, a learning opportunity.