Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down? [Electric Car Problems]

Investing in an electric car isn’t only beneficial for the planet, but it is also good for your wallet. Comprising fewer mechanical parts to maintain compared to gas-fed or diesel-powered vehicles, electric cars come with a lower maintenance cost.

However, you will be surprised to know that owning an electric vehicle comes with its fair share of problems. Similar to a conventional vehicle, if not maintained properly, an electric car can break down at the most unexpected times, leaving you stranded on the road.

This is when the need to tow an electric vehicle might arise, but little do you know that towing an electric car isn’t as easy as towing a gas-powered one. Read on to learn about common electric car problems and their solutions.

Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down?

Despite the environmental benefits and lower operational costs, there are drawbacks of buying an electric car, just like everything else.

This means that regardless of how sophisticated your electric car is, problems will eventually occur. Whether it’s a broken part, dead battery, or flat tire, you will want to be able to get it addressed and get your car up and running as soon as possible.

So when a misfortune like this happens, can you tow your electric car if it breaks down?

Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down? Well, the short answer to the aforementioned question is a resounding NO! You cannot tow an electric car with any of its wheels on the ground. Not that it’s impossible, but doing so can end up causing significant damage to your electric vehicle.

Primarily because they don’t have transmission, and trying to tow them on neutral can cause a lot of damage to the electric motor. The best and safest way to tow your electric car is with the help of a flatbed truck.

Here’s everything you need to know about towing your electric car in the time of need:

Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down
Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down

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How to Tow an Electric Car?

When taking your electric car on the road, there’s always a risk of it breaking down in the middle of the journey simply because you didn’t plan ahead or parking it in an inappropriate space.

In either case, you will need to tow your electric car to the nearest charging station in order to get it on the road as soon as possible. According to the manufacturers, you must never flat tow an electric car.

Primarily because these cars lack a transmission system which means that the electricity for accelerating and braking, so regardless of what the problem is, you can never disconnect the wheels from the electric motor.

Towing an electric car in such a state can damage the powertrain. Conversely, when it comes to a regular car, all you have to do is put your car on neutral as it allows you to tow the vehicle without the need of rotating the transmission or engine components.

However, for electric cars, with every spin of the wheels, the motor turns. Moreover, in case the system of your electric car comprises a liquid-containing cooling system, the number of revolutions per minute increases the chances of an overheating motor, causing your electric vehicle to break down.

However, due to a significant rise in demand for these vehicles, the roadside assistance organization has developed equipment to safely tow your electric car in your hour of need.

One of the most popular solutions is a flatbed truck. Not only because it is easily accessible, but also because when using a flatbed truck to tow your electric car, none of the wheels remain on the ground. As they pick and carry your electric car instead of towing it.

On the other hand, if the flatbed truck service isn’t available, the next option is calling the rescue patrols. They will start by fixing the freewheeling hub to the rear wheels of your electric vehicle, allowing you to safely tow it without causing damage to any of the essential components.

The temporary wheels will allow your electric car to move independently of the axle, reducing the time you need to tow your vehicle.

However, some electric cars such as a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf do comprise a neutral mode. In such cases, just turn them to neutral to disconnect the motor from the powertrain before towing with the help of another car.

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When Do You Need to Tow Your Electric Vehicle?

Electric cars are known to be the most convenient vehicles to date. However, you may still face some potential electric car problems while cursing on the road. Some electric vehicle issues that call for towing are as follows:

1. Brake Issues

Electric cars aren’t immune to brake issues. In case you are noticing a delay in the brake’s performance and plan to neglect it, there’s a possibility that it might lead to an accident.

Therefore, call a car towing company as soon as you face difficulty in your electric car’s brake system.

2. Flat Tire

Like a regular car, the chances of your electric car ending up with a flat tire are pretty high. Compared to normal cars, electric vehicles are relatively heavy because of the battery, resulting in putting more pressure on the tires.

One easy fix to this problem is by DIY-ing a tire change at the roadside. However, in case your electric car has limited cargo storage and no spare tire, calling a flatbed truck for help is the wise decision to make.

can you tow a broken down electric car
can you tow a broken down electric car

3. Mechanical Breakdown

Neglecting your electric car’s maintenance schedule will result in breaking it down at the least expected time.

A sudden mechanical breakdown can disrupt your everyday chores, making it impossible for you to move your electric vehicle.

Therefore, the moment you start noticing minor mechanical issues, pull your electric car at the side and call the flatbed truck company to get it towed to a nearby mechanic.

4. Battery Problems

Similar to normal cars, electric vehicles can also run out of battery charge. Unfortunately, you won’t always have a charging station nearby. Therefore, you will need to call a reputed electric car towing company to get it moved to the nearest charging station.

Moreover, you can also ask the company to charge your electric car on the spot using their charging truck,

5. Transporting an Electric Car

If you are planning to shift to a new state, you will need to tow your electric car to save time and ensure that it reaches the destination in perfect condition.

Read Do Electric Cars Depreciate Faster?

How to Find the Neutral in Your Electric Car

Most electric vehicles do not have an actual gearbox that can allow you to turn your car to neutral.

However, a few Tesla models do have a neutral mode that works in the same way as a gearbox, allowing the wheels of your electric car to move without having an impact on the motor.

Comparatively, other electric car models comprise a transport mode that helps in restricting battery usage and limiting the speed. Though it isn’t the same, the transport mode can create ease and efficiency when towing your electric car or loading it onto the flatbed truck.

In order to enable the neutral mode of your electric car, turn the shift knob to the left and hold it for three to four seconds. Doing so will light up the letter N that is present below your shift knob.

Note that this is only possible in case of a breakdown. Your electric car won’t shift to the neutral mode if the battery has died.

is it safe to tow an electric car
is it safe to tow an electric car

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How to Safely Load Your EV on a Towing Truck

Want to know where to attach the tow chains to your electric car? Refer to the user manual.

Although most Tesla models have a tow hook located at the lower-left end of the front fender, you will still need to pull the cover in order to access the tow eye slot.

Once the hood is pulled up, rotate the tow eye in the counterclockwise direction until it feels firm and secure. Now pull the tow chain, attach it to the tow eye, turn your electric car in neutral (if possible), and carefully load it onto the flatbed truck.

Note that some electric cars might not have a tow hook, and trying to attach the tow strap directly to the front-end slot can cause structural damage to your vehicle. Therefore, know the requirements of your electric car before trying to tow it directly.

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What Are Some Common Electric Car Problems?

Your electric car is a maze of fuses, relays, wires, and other major electric components.

With electricity continuously flowing through your car, from the infotainment system to the headlights, your electric vehicle completely relies on electric charges, and so even the slightest malfunction can result in breaking down your car. Some common electric car problems are mentioned below:

1. Dead Battery

The battery is the heart of your electric car. Being the ultimate source of power, the battery is the most used component of your electric vehicle. A drained or dead battery is one of the most common electric car issues.

Despite everything else, the battery will eventually die due to continuous usage. You will need to replace it even if the radio is played without the engine running or the headlights are left on.

In short, if your electric car’s battery dies for any of the aforementioned reasons, you will need to jumpstart it to get it back on the road. In case jump-starting your battery doesn’t work, invest in a new one.

2. Malfunctioning Alternator

An alternator is responsible for providing electricity and charging your electric car’s battery. So if the alternator fails, it will drain the battery as now all components of your electric vehicle will be using the battery to power themselves.

The signs that indicate a malfunctioning alternator include; accessory failure, trouble starting, and flickering headlights.

3. Stuck Relay

Relay switches play a critical role in controlling the flow of electricity to several electric car components, including fuel pumps and coding fans.

Although they usually function automatically and work only when it’s needed, if a relay gets stuck in one position, the electric charges will continue to flow even when your electric car is parked, resulting in draining your battery and having a negative impact on its overall drive range.

4. Blown Fuse

Malfunctioning blinkers of your electric car are the primary indicator of a blown fuse. Fuses play a vital role in regulating the supply of electric power throughout the vehicle and ensuring that the charges aren’t overloaded.

Overcharging the battery can result in blowing the fuse, thus breaking the system of your electric vehicle.

5. Solenoid or Fatigued Starter

The starter motor of your electric car is responsible for getting the flywheel spinning, thereby moving the engine.

A loud clicking noise or a loud series of clicks when igniting the engine is the prominent indicator of a malfunctioning starter motor.

6. Failed Spark Plugs

Dirty or loose spark plugs will directly impact the performance of your electric vehicle. Common symptoms of malfunctioning spark plugs include rough or lurching idling.

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned issues, you need to take your electric vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. Negligence of minor malfunctions can result in permanent damage to your electric car.

can an electric car be towed
Caucasian man has broken down electric car on the road he talking on phone to call someone to help or mechanics car service.

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How to Maintain Your Electric Vehicle (EV) | Tips and Tricks

  1. Install a charger at home.
  2. Empty out the trunk before taking your electric car for a long drive.
  3. Know the settings of your electric car.
  4. Don’t skip on regular maintenance.
  5. Keep up with the wheel alignment and tire rotations.
  6. Be extra careful with the regenerative battery.
  7. Always carry a portable charger.
  8. Keep a check on the brake fluid.
  9. Don’t overcharge your electric car.
  10. Be extra careful with your electric vehicle’s battery life during winters.

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Wrapping It Up!

Regardless of the type of electric car you own, it’s best to be prepared for all possible scenarios. However, proper maintenance and care can prevent the need to call a towing service.

In case of an unexpected breakdown, you should always contact flatbed truck professionals to help you tow your electric vehicle to the nearest mechanic.