Can a Mercedes be flat towed?


This article will explain when and how to safely flat tow a Mercedes Benz car, what are the restrictions and checks required before flat towing a Mercedes. Lastly, this article will answer why flat towing over long distances is not recommended and list alternative towing methods.

Can a Mercedes be flat towed?

Yes, it is possible to flat-tow a Mercedes Benz car. But there are restrictions to this towing method. Vehicles can only be towed over a limited distance of less than 50 km and the speed limit should be  30-40 km per hour. The vehicle must also be prepared by installing a towing eye and properly securing the tow bar to another vehicle. Towing eye covers should be kept at a secure location. 

Following are the checks which should be performed to ensure the vehicle can be safely flat towed.

  • Check if the ignition of the vehicle can be turned on and neutral can be engaged.
  • The parking brake should disengage
  • Check if the steering can be turned if the steering lock is installed in the vehicle make sure it is unlocked.
  • Check installation of towing eye and tow bar.
  • Check the gross weight of the vehicle that is being towed, if the gross weight is higher than the permissible limit then the towing eye can be damaged. 
  • Always refer to the owner’s manual for towing instructions and the gross weight of the vehicle.
  • Deactivate parking assists system and driver assistance systems like Distronic, which can cause the vehicle to automatically brake.

When to flat-tow a Mercedes Benz car?

  • When the vehicle runs out of fuel and the nearest gas station is located within 50km.

In cases of wrong fueling of a vehicle, do not start the engine.

  • There should be no fault in the drivetrain of the vehicle and neutral can be safely engaged.
  • All four wheels must be okay and rotate freely. 
  • The main battery should be good and fully charged as the defective main battery can cause vehicles to go into emergency parking mode. 

When to avoid flat towing a Mercedes Benz car?

  • Towing for longer distances (greater than 50km), it is better to raise the entire vehicle and then transport it.
  • Parking brake is jammed on any wheel and the vehicle cannot be moved.
  • Vehicles with automatic transmissions use a servo module to shift the transmission into neutral, if the transmission cannot be in neutral then the vehicle cannot be towed.
  •  If the vehicle has a steering lock and it cannot be released.

Important things to keep in mind while towing the car

During towing keep the ignition on and key inside the ignition switch, this will keep the steering lock disengaged. Never open the driver and front passenger door while the vehicle is being towed. Opening the doors can cause the parking brake to engage and damage the gearbox.

Always drive as straight as possible and drive slowly since the engine is off in the vehicle that is towed, excessive braking force is required to stop the car.

Why is flat towing not recommended?

Vehicles especially four-wheel drives have mechanical moving components like front and rear differentials, transfer case which uses transmission fluid from the gearbox to lubricate gears. When the vehicle is turned off this fluid is not being circulated which can cause irreparable damage to the transfer case and differential.

Hybrid vehicles have a drive motor integrated between engine and gearbox, this is powered by a high voltage electric battery. As the vehicle is being towed this motor can heat up and if it goes in recuperation mode damage to the high voltage components can happen. Hence it is better to have the vehicle transported rather than towed.

A vehicle equipped with an airmatic suspension system can drop to a critical level when the vehicle is stationary for a long time, if the vehicle ride height cannot be raised then towing is not recommended.

Alternative towing methods.

The use of zero degrees towing trucks is the safest method to tow a Mercedes Benz car, As most of the cars have all-wheel-drive systems and complex driver assistance systems onboard, it is recommended to raise the vehicle completely and transport to an authorised workshop.

If the vehicle has rear or front-wheel drive, then raising the drive axle and towing can be done safely. However, if there is a fault in the gearbox and the vehicle cannot be in neutral then a free-wheeling device must be installed on one of the drive wheels before towing the vehicle.

Many Mercedes Benz models with high ground clearance can be loaded and transported on flatbed trailers.

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

Can a Mercedes be serviced anywhere?

Can a Mercedes Benz drive itself?

How long can a Mercedes diesel engine last?


Even Though Mercedes Benz has an automatic gearbox and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system it can be towed with all-wheel wheels on the ground. Follow the speed limits and safety instructions while flat towing. Using a tow bar instead of straps will prevent accidents if the vehicle is switched off and needs excessive braking force

FAQs: Can a Mercedes be flat towed?

What vehicle cannot be flat towed?

A vehicle equipped with electronic steering locks cannot be released due to any malfunction. Electronic parking brake actuators can malfunction and jam the brake calliper on the rear wheels, in such a situation the vehicle cannot be flat towed.

Can you tow an automatic Mercedes?

Yes, Mercedes Benz with an automatic gearbox can be towed for distances less than 50 km and at low speeds ideally between 30-40 kmph.

Can 4matic be towed?

4matic is an all-wheel-drive system used in Mercedes Benz, it is possible to tow a 4matic model with a moth axle on the ground and the speed of 40kmph up to a short distance of 50km.

Is it okay to put an automatic car in neutral?

It is perfectly safe to put an automatic car in neutral. The neutral in the automatic gearbox is similar to neutral in the manual gearbox. No power is transmitted to the wheels when the vehicle is in neutral.

Can you tow a manual car in neutral?

Yes, any car with manual transmission can be towed in neutral without any restrictions over distance. Always refer to the owner manual for towing instructions