Can you tow a Mercedes automatic?


This article will take a look at permitted towing methods for Mercedes Benz cars with automatic transmissions and answer the question Can you tow a Mercedes automatic? Followed by some instructions while towing the vehicle.

Can you tow a Mercedes automatic?

Yes, you can tow a Mercedes automatic only when the automatic transmission can shift into Neutral. If there is a malfunction in the vehicle and transmission cannot be put into neutral then the vehicle must be raised and transported to the nearest dealership.

 Mercedes Benz passenger cars use automatic transmission with 7 to 9 speeds. For 4matic models, this automatic transmission is connected to a transfer case.  An electronic selector lever sends a signal to an intelligent servo module located on the transmission which is used to shift the transmission into P, R, N and D.

 Mechanical parking brakes are no longer used on the latest models. An electric motor connected to the rear axle brake calliper engages the rear brake and acts as an electronic parking brake. Before towing a Mercedes automatic electronic parking brake must be released and transmission should be in N (neutral)

Following are the permitted towing methods. Note, towing methods differ concerning vehicle equipment. Read the owner’s manual before towing the vehicle.

  • Towing with both axles on the ground also known as flat tow
  • Towing with rear axle raised

Towing with Both axle on the ground

 Vehicles with automatic transmissions can only be towed with both axles on the ground for a distance of less than 50 km and speed should also be less than 50 km per hour. Towing eye must be properly installed and straps or towing bars can be used to connect the vehicle which is used for towing.

A tow bar connected to the towing eye is the best way,  as the braking force on the vehicle that is being towed is reduced. The tow bar will help maintain a safe distance between the vehicles.

The towing capacities should not be exceeded as damage to the tow eye can happen. If a strap is used to tow then it can snap off and cause damage due to a whip-like effect. The gross weight of the vehicle that is being towed should be less than the gross weight of the vehicle used for towing.

Following are the checks which should be performed to ensure the vehicle can be safely towed with both the axles on the ground.

  • 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.
  • Make sure that the battery is connected and charged.

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.

Towing with the front axle raised.

The new generation cars namely A, B, GLA, CLA  have dual-clutch automatic gearbox. 2 wheel drive variants of the NGC cars can be easily towed by raising the front axle and releasing the parking brake on the rear axle. If NGC models with all-wheel drive powertrains cannot be towed by this method.

The front axle can be raised by using a lifting device like a crane connected to the towing eye on the front side.

Dollys as shown in the image can also be used to raise the front axle and tow the vehicle.  NOTE for the method the ignition must be off and vehicles used for towing will behave differently as both the vehicles depend on the braking force of a single-vehicle. Hence always take greater braking distance when towing.

Towing with the raised rear axle.

This towing method is only permitted when the steering wheel is locked and cannot be released. Vehicles with 4matic or all-wheel drive are not permitted to be towed by this method.

With the rear axle raised, it is no longer required to release the parking brake and shift the gearbox into neutral which also makes this method favourable for vehicles with rear-wheel drive.

The NGCs have front-wheel drive and must never be towed with raised rear axle even if the gearbox is put in neutral. Towing over an extended distance can damage the mechanical components of the dual-clutch transmission.

To summarise use the following table as a quick guide before selecting towing method

Type of drivetrain/ towing methodBoth axle on the groundFront axle raisedRear axle raised
Rear-wheel drive Vehicle with automatic transmission Yes, maximum 50 km at 50 km/h              NOYes if steering lock is engaged and front wheels are in fixed centre position 
Front-wheel drive vehicles with DCT automatic gearboxYes, maximum 50 km at 50 km/hYes, release rear parking brake      NO
4Matic vehicles,Yes, maximum 50 km at 50 km/h            NO              NO

4 Matic vehicles must be properly secured to the transport platform when Using of zero degrees flatbed towing truck. It is also the safest method to tow a Mercedes Benz car, As most of the cars have all-wheel-drive systems and complex driver assistance systems on board, it is recommended to raise the vehicle completely and transport it to an authorised workshop.

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 with automatic transmission Mercedes Benz offers the ability to tow the vehicle with both axles on the ground. The restriction to towing is because complex drivetrain components like transfer cases, power take-off units, and differentials can be damaged if towed at excessively high speeds or over long distances. 

FAQs: Can you tow a Mercedes automatic?

Can you tow an automatic Mercedes C class?

Yes, automatic Mercedes c class can be towed for a maximum of 50 km at 50 km per hour. Check the gross weight of c class from the vehicle identification plate before towing.

Is it safe to tow a car with automatic transmission?

Yes, if the automatic transmission is shifted to neutral it can be towed. Follow towing instructions in the owner’s manual and do not exceed the distance and speed limit set by my manufacturer.

Can you push an automatic Mercedes?

Yes, An automatic Mercedes can be pushed after releasing the parking brake and shifting the gearbox into a neutral position.

Can you tow a 4matic Mercedes?

Yes, A 4matic Mercedes can be towed for a maximum of 50 km at 50 km per hour. Do not tow 4matic Mercedes with the front or rear axle raised.

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.