If you're towing a car with an automatic transmission, it's important that you do it carefully. The transmission can suffer serious damage even if it's placed in neutral. To protect the transmission while under tow, you'll want to make sure that the car is secured in a way that doesn't engage the inner components of the transmission. Here are some tips to help you determine how best to tow that car.
If the car is rear-wheel drive, you'll want to use a hitch and tow bar. Drop the rear drive shaft by disconnecting the universal joint on the rear end of the drive shaft where it meets the axle differential. Just use a wrench to remove the two bolts that hold it in place against the differential and lower the shaft.
Put the bolts back into place so that you don't lose them in transit. Pull on the drive shaft toward the rear of the car to pull it out of the mount. Be gentle so that you don't drop the front end of the drive shaft on the ground. Secure the tongue of the tow bar on the ball of the tow hitch. Tighten the tow bar in place so that it's secure, then lock the safety chains in place around the tires to keep the car secure.
Front and All-Wheel Drive
If you're towing a front-wheel or all-wheel drive car, you'll want to use a tow dolly instead. Attach the tow dolly to the tow vehicle by securing it to the tow hitch. Make sure that the safety chains are locked in place. Drive the front of the car onto the tow dolly and lock the wheels in place using a chain. The rear tires will stay on the ground. If the car is all-wheel drive, disconnect the rear drive shaft in the same manner as you would for a rear-wheel drive car.
Any time you tow a vehicle, you need to make sure that you have functioning brake lights and turn signals. If you're using a tow dolly, you can connect a wiring harness to your car's wiring so that the trailer receives the brake signal indications from your car to activate the lights on the dolly. If you're using a tow bar, though, you'll want accessory lights instead.
With these tips, you'll be able to protect the condition of any automatic transmission when the car is under tow. If you're not comfortable doing it on your own, reach out to a local towing service to retain the services of a flat-bed tow truck driver.