Can You Tow A Tesla? [Why Can’t You Flat Tow Any Electric Cars]

A number of things can lead to having your Tesla towed. However, are you doing it correctly? Some people think simply because it is a car, you should just go ahead to tow it like an internal combustion vehicle. That might not be the case.

Can you tow a Tesla? When you want to tow a Tesla, it is advisable to transport it on a flatbed truck or something similar. If you must tow the Tesla, make sure the back wheels are on dollies so as to keep them off the ground while the front wheels are raised and attached to the tow vehicle.

If you are wondering why this is the case, keep reading to understand more. We help you understand if towing can damage your Tesla and still show what is the best way for transporting a Tesla.

Reasons for Towing a Tesla

The most common reason people have to tow their Teslas is that they run out of power. This happens when you did not plan well for your trip.

We recommend that you always plan your stops so that you know where to get a proper recharge and keep driving your Tesla rather than having to tow it.

Another reason could be that you have a flat tire and you cannot patch it to get to the next shop for repair. Luckily, Tesla comes with the option of calling the Road Assistance team for help. They will send you someone close to you so that you can get help.

Sometimes it could be a mechanical breakdown. So, the only solution is to have the vehicle towed or carried to the nearest service center for Teslas. We advise that you get the right towing service preferably a flatbed to carry the Tesla off the ground.    

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Can Towing Damage the Tesla?

Can You Tow A Tesla

There is a reason why Tesla recommends you transport any of their models in a certain way. The aim is to ensure you do not cause damage to the motors as you tow the vehicle.

When you go through the manual, you should find all the information on how best to have the vehicle towed or transported. As always, the manufacturer knows best how to utilize the vehicle to maintain it in good standing.

So, what kind of damage can you expect from towing a Tesla?

Teslas have motors on each wheel that drives the vehicle. When you tow a Tesla and like a conventional car, you are likely to generate excessive heat in the wheels. Keep towing long enough and you might damage the motors.

It might not seem like much, but there are many Teslas that have been killed because their owners decided not to follow the advice from the manufacturer.

Since Tesla recommends transporting your vehicle in a certain manner, you might have to pay out of pocket in case you ever damage your motors. So, rather than voiding your warranty, make sure to use the recommended transportation methods.

Can You Flat Tow a Tesla? Is it Possible?

Can You Flat Tow a Tesla

It could be that for some reason you are stranded with your Tesla somewhere and you need to get it to a shop for repair. Should you consider flat-towing it?

Flat-towing is when you have all four wheels on the ground and the Tesla is pulled by another vehicle in front of it. Well, you cannot flat-tow a Tesla as it generates heat and energy while you are towing. This can easily damage the car’s battery and other key electrical systems.

What if you are looking to take your Tesla with you on a road trip and you already have an RV?

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Rather than pulling it behind you all the way, we recommend you get a trailer attached to the RV and now have the Tesla carried on the trailer. It is safer and you would not have to void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Will Tow a Tesla Recharge its Batteries?

You might have heard of regenerative braking. This is where the electric motor in the wheels can generate current as the wheels keep turning. This would be possible when you are flat-towing a Tesla. However, is it even advisable?

Well, in theory, this seems like a good idea where now the vehicle becomes a big alternator. It also means, the more you tow the chances of recharging your batteries too.

If you check out some YouTube videos, you might find some people who were bold enough to try. That is what the video below talks about.

YouTube video

As much as on the surface it looks like it is something you can do, we do not advise that you even consider it. The risks associated with towing a Tesla are greater than the additional few miles you might get from towing the Tesla over a long distance.

Tesla Tow Eye Hooking Location With Pictures

If the need to pull the Tesla onto a flatbed arises, be sure to ONLY pull the vehicle from the properly installed tow eye.

  • Tesla Model 3

can a tesla be towed

The Tesla Model 3 has its tow eye hooking location on the front bumper on the left side.

  • Tesla Model S

can you tow a tesla

The Tesla Model S has its tow eye hooking located on the lower bumper compared to the Model 3 shown above.

  • Tesla Model Y

can tesla's be towed

Model Y tow eye hooking location is the same as Model 3. That is on the left side of the front bumper. However, you can still get a back tow eye hooking position too. It is on the right side of the lower bumper.

  • Tesla Model X

can you flat tow a tesla

The tow eye hooking location for a Tesla Model X is found on the lower bumper on your right. Simply remove the tow eye cover to access it.

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How to Tow a Tesla Properly

In case you have an issue with your Tesla and it needs towing, make sure that you always have all four tires off the ground. The aim is to ensure the tires do not spin during the whole transportation time.

You should not use a method that Tesla does not specify. Always adhere to instructions including how to load it onto a trailer and have it strapped correctly. If you have any damage caused by improper transporting of your Tesla, then the warranty will be voided.

So, what are the approved methods for transporting a Tesla?

Carrying the Tesla on a flatbed truck or similar transportation mode is highly recommended. When it is on a flatbed truck, the Tesla can face any direction.

If you have a flatbed truck, here is the process of loading the Tesla onto the flatbed;

  • Start by locating the tow eye of your Tesla vehicle. It is located in the front trunk
  • Find the tow eye cover on the front bumper. Press hard on the cover to release it
  • Once it is released, insert the tow eye into the opening and secure it safely by turning it counter-clockwise
  • Go ahead to attach the cable to the tow eye
  • Activate Transport mode before winching it slowly onto the flatbed truck
  • Once the car is on the flatbed, make sure the tires are secured to avoid it from rolling off
YouTube video

If it is a must you have to transport the Tesla vehicle without a flatbed, then lift the front wheels and put the back wheels on dollies. This still helps in ensuring that all the wheels are off the ground. This method is only recommended for short distances up to 55 km.

There can also be risks of having to tow with dollies attached. Try to maintain a slow speed to ensure you do not damage the dollies. Of course, the vehicle should be facing forward.

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What is the Tesla Transport Mode? When Should You Use It?

Transport mode in a Tesla is vital when you have to get the Tesla onto a flatbed truck. Its job is to keep the parking brake disengaged as you winch the vehicle onto the flatbed truck.

When the Transport Mode is active, you should see a message on the screen telling you that the vehicle is free-rolling.

Take note that the mode can only be activated when you have power. It does not have to be much, but just enough to use the touchscreen and activate the mode. Also, the vehicle must be able to detect the key. If the key is unavailable, the mode cannot be activated.

Here is how you can activate the Transport Mode in a Tesla

  • Ensure the Tesla is in Park
  • Chock the Tesla’s tires or simply make sure it does not move
  • Press and hold the car’s brake pedal and then go to the touchscreen
  • Go to Controls > Service > Towing. Once you tap on Towing, the touchscreen displays a message alerting you how to tow your Tesla properly.
  • Under the Towing page, you should see Transport Mode. Press and hold on to this button until it turns blue. At this point, the vehicle is in free-rolling mode.
  • Shift back to into Park to cancel Transport Mode

In case you have no power or the electrical systems make it hard to operate the touchscreen, you can always use tire skates or self-loading dollies.


Can Tesla Roadside Assistance help with towing?

Yes. So long as the vehicle is still under warranty, you are entitled to receive roadside assistance from Tesla. Simply contact the team and you should have a team dispatched to your location to help with getting the Tesla to a service center.

What direction should the Tesla face while towing?

It depends on the method you are using to two the Tesla. When you have the Tesla on a flatbed truck, the direction does not matter. Just make sure you have it secured even at the tires. As for any other towing method, ensure that the car is facing forward with the front wheels raised while the back wheels are on dollies.

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How far can you tow a Tesla?

It should not be a problem carrying it on a flatbed truck. You can get it anywhere you want no problem. However, if you put the back wheels on dollies, the maximum distance you can tow is 55km.

Can AAA tow Tesla?

AAA can tow your Tesla with no problem. So long as you have a valid membership, it should be possible to tow the Tesla to where you want. If you find that you might need AAA services, go ahead and get proper membership.

How much does it cost to tow a Tesla?

It depends on who is towing your Tesla. If you have to hire an independent company for towing, expect to pay around $109 as it is the national average. However, if you opt for the Tesla Road Assistance service, it is free for the first 80km so long as you are covered under warranty.

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