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ourfmca

Towing A Smart Car

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We purchased a new 2009 Smart car just for towing " flat four". Owners manual says "Yes"! We have towed this over15000 miles with no problems. No warming up trans. etc. Put the trans in neutral, leave key in ignition accessory position, disconnect battery and you're "Good to go"! One tip: attach a bungy cord from steering wheel to under front seat! This will eliminate a nasty steering wheel back lash on slow tight turns. The car is so lite I dont bother with a brake control. Another tip" When re-connecting the battery, hold down on brake pedal before turning key to on position! The transmission has to re learn the codes. It takes about 10 seconds. When the "P" park symbol shows on the dash the car will start and you are finished. Hope this helps! I had to learn the hard way!

You don't need to disconnect the battery.

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I flat towed a 2008 Cabriolet for two years, with no problems. Then I decided to change cars, went for a Mini Cooper, bad mistake. Went back to a 2012 Cabriolet. What I need to know is, will the Blue Ox BX8848 wiring kit work on the car without causing any problems? I ask this because I do all of my own work to set the car up for towing, and I would rather not have to take the rear off in order to do the tail lights.

I tow a 2012 read "mule mans" answer and my comment and you're good to go. I put in a wiring harness and diodes for my Roadmaster ( Don't know anything about Blue Ox which I assume is basically the same.) system. You get to the taillights from the back compartment. It's easy to run the wiring harness, but you need to take the front end and side bottom fairing off to run it if you're going to mount it permanently. Which happened to be quite easy. Good luck. Look at attached photo, Wiring adapter in the top grill, and tow bar adapters with covers, in the lower grill.

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This is what I use. You can find them cheaper on eBay. Also there is an adjustable one out there. That would of been my choice if I didn't already have this one.

I also tow a Jeep Liberty, and have towed a Chev. Colorado pickup without having to change the tow-bar setup. Works perfect and gives you about an extra foot for the car to turn around tight corners. Photo's of my setup with parts stored when not in use, this is a 6" drop.

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/6-high-low-drop-hitch/21578

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In the instructions for flat towing a Smart it says after releasing the brakes with the car in neutral to remove the key. Ok, How. You can not turn the key to "0" without putting the transmission in "P".

However, I did read somewhere that there is a way to do it by removing a pin from the ignition switch which will allow the key to turned to the "0"position and be removed. Unfortunately, I don't remember (age related CRS) where I read it. I know it was on a forum but, don't know which one.

For now, it stays in position 1.I'd really prefer "0" and remove the key.

Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks

Fred

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We purchased a Smart car to tow behind our motorhome. Were told it was towable. We find out that it is towable but only at 30 MPH for max of 30 miles. We are going to have to trailer it. Any suggestions for Smart car tow-ers?

First off, YOU LEAVE the ignition key in! If you want your doors locked use your spare key.

On the other subject you can tow the car at any speed. I don't know where you guys are getting your information.

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The instruction were written by the French, not Americans. First they are telling you to put the brake on.

No need, if your car is hooked up to your tow-bar as it won't roll. As far as the towing bit they are referring

to a tow truck situation- 30 mph etc.

All you have to do when you have the car hooked up to the tow bar is just

1. Put the car into neutral.

2. Turn the ignition key to the farthest left position, leaving the key in the ignition.

3. Forget everything else anyone else tells you to do.

I also use a bungee cord from the bottom of the steering wheel to the front lower seat frame. Not tight &

not too loose. This helps getting the steering wheel ,and tires back to center when you're making tight turns.

Now after you're all ready with everything else you need to do with your camper, is drive off on your trip at

any speed you desire. I pass up semi's on the highway and my smart hasn't exploded in the last 3 years

of towing it.

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I wish I had seen this a long time ago. I have been towing my SmartCar for 3 years and have never had a problem. I tow 4-wheels down. I do not use a battery disconnect and have never had problems with the batteries.

I hope you have been towing and enjoying the SmartCar.

Martha Barnes, F-003291, Merritt Island, FL 32953

yrosef3291@aol.com, 321-501-0301

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Thanks for all of your reply's.

I will be installing the tow system this weekend including the brake system (SMI Stay In Play) and the wiring harness and diodes for the tail lights.

My Tow vehicle is a 2003 Rialta.

I hope to trial tow the Toad Sunday.

Fred

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Just a follow up on my trial run. Not much to say. It went perfectly. No issues with the Smart or the Rialta. I expected that I would feel Smart back there but, didn't feel it at all. I was easy at first since I didn't know what to expect but, finally took it out on 64 and headed to Richmond running between 60 to 70 when the traffic permitted and everything was rock solid and the Rialta was able to keep the mileage up to just above 18MPG. Down just a hair.

I did as suggested here and used a couple of bungee cords to return the steering to center when in slow turns and they also worked well. My wife sat in the back for a while until we were convinced all would track well and then came up front and we just kept going for a while.

I went with the Smart Tow system www.smart-tow.com and am very pleased with it. They modify the crash bar by strengthening the tow bar and adding new longer tow points to the bar and pinning them an welding the pins at 4 areas. I've read somewhere that someone tried to tow a SC with the existing tow points and it did not work. The difference between the existing and modified crash bar is very noticeable.

The Tow bar weighs less than 20 lbs. And is easy to setup.

I also added the SMI Stay-In-Play braking system and use diodes to connect the lights up.

I'm very happy with this setup. However, a question is evident. The key in the car. Is it possible to buy just the base key, no transmitter/receiver to use to leave in the ignition switch while under tow? 300 bucks for a key to leave in the car is a little steep.

Fred

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We have a 2012 Smart Car and we tow it 4 wheels down . We do use a battery disconnect when towing, We use a RoadMaster Falcon all terrain towbar, with hidden brackets. It tows great we have no problems at all, it goes around corners like someone is driving the car. We keep the back camera on to make sure it is still there because you really don't know you are towing it. We had the tow Pkg. put on at Camping World and they did a great job.

We put a switch on the Battery disconnect so you don't have to pull up the floor to turn the battery on and off.

Also Camping World had a special on installing the pkg. $210. and it took 7 hours to install, taking the front off the car was scary to watch.

Tom & Kathy Manoff

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I have towed my 2011 Smart for two Passion Cabriolet many miles. No problems until today. Hit a Major HUGE pothole. Now with battery disconnected it swishes left and right, loud clunking noise. Battery connected does not swish. Pulled it back home still not right. Will ck more tomorrow. Too disgusted today to think about. 

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Last reply was 3 years ago!

All the ones, I have seen in the past 2 years, are siting on trailers!  Some things should not be towed, Smart Car, Fiat 300 & 500 come to mind.

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Towing 4 down is OK for SOME smart cars.  Ours is the newest generation (453, 2016 or newer in US) 2017 gas engine with the DCT transmission.  As far as I know on the 2016 and newer models you can only tow the DCT transmission (automatic) 4 down, not the manual transmission and not the electric drive.  I know that defies logic as you would think the manual would be OK.  As I understand it the manual transmission doesn't have the type of internal lubrication required to tow 4 down, at any rate Mercedes says only the DCT transmission.  There is a specific procedure that is printed in an update to the owners manual (not in the original manual). The update is available on the smart website or at the smart car of america website : https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f497/453-official-flat-tow-instructions-126105/

We use the ReadyBrute Elite tow bar with Blue OX baseplate and light diodes.  The install can be done DIY but it takes awhile as the entire front body panel has to be removed to attach the baseplate to the frame. It was a little intimidating at first but just follow the instructions and you will be fine. The baseplate attachment points are 14.5" from the ground so we didn't need a drop hitch as our RV hitch is 15" off the ground.

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Forgot to comment on the diodes for the tail lights, it was an easy install and works great.  On our 2017 I didn't have to remove any body panels, just pulled the tail light housings and ran the wires to them, the diodes fit inside the tail light housings.

You really need to check the flat tow procedures for your specific year, model and transmission.  The procedures for getting the transmission into true neutral are different from year to year, etc. and some models can't be towed at all. For example, the procedures for the 2016+ models clearly state to follow the steps sequentially EXACTLY as described in the manual and disconnect the battery. I understand some people do not and have not had issues (i would guess older models).  The battery disconnect on the newer models is not so much about keeping the battery from discharging, more importantly it keeps the ABS and ESP from kicking in and keeps the transmission from pulling itself out of the neutral state. These cars are "Fly By Wire" and everything is controlled by the computer, the driver really just steers (sort of, the ESP can override driver input) so disconnecting the battery at least on the newer models is critical.

 

That said, if you follow the instructions to the letter they are great tow cars!

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On 5/17/2009 at 4:19 PM, ourfmca said:

We purchased a Smart car to tow behind our motorhome. Were told it was towable. We find out that it is towable but only at 30 MPH for max of 30 miles. We are going to have to trailer it. Any suggestions for Smart car tow-ers?

NOT SO, I have a 2009 that I tow without problems.  There is a procedure that requires step by step turning key and holding break and wait for electronics to shut down etc.  I have a battery shut down so I do not burn up the battery since the key is left in but far to left as possible but it allows the steering wheel lock to not lock.  It is in owners manual I believe. 

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On 7/2/2009 at 2:03 PM, rcexplorer@gmail.com said:

Just had a problem with my Smart ABS light staying on. The Bedford Ohio Smart service center stated that the breaks got too hot and over heated the sensor. They believe the Breaking system puts just a little pressure on the breaks.

We are unsure and are still testing. :rolleyes:

I have ABS light on and same day the check engine light went on and the wrenches went on, took to mechanic and he put the computer on to see the faults and it read lots of electrical faults and when having cleared the faults, the brakes locked up and he had to put it up to get the brakes to release.  NOW says it is an "electrical catastrophic event" and tried a ABS module but says that did nothing so...... not sure.  It is my tow vehicle and has worked great for a couple of years. IF any ideas please let me know.  My mechanic does all German cars but he is stuck and I do not want to take to MB dealership, THEY will rip me off.

 

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Know nothing about your wind up toy, it never was built for America to begin with!  Maybe MB will fix it, for a lot less, since they have all the diagnostic computers! 

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I was under the impression that most states require a braking system in the toad. How many of you are not using that with the smart car. And what cost to put face place. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, parisha said:

I was under the impression that most states require a braking system in the toad. How many of you are not using that with the smart car. And what cost to put face place. 

 

 

Welcome to the forum. I think you are trying to say Base Plate. 

I would not want to get into any kind of accident and not have a auxiliary braking system.

Bill

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On 6/28/2019 at 5:32 PM, parisha said:

I was under the impression that most states require a braking system in the toad. How many of you are not using that with the smart car. And what cost to put face place. 

 

 

not under 3000 lbs 

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1 hour ago, hammer55 said:
On ‎6‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 7:32 PM, parisha said:

 

not under 3000 lbs 

The statement (under 3000) is not true in all states. New York and North Carolina is actually under 1000#, California, Nevada, and Idaho, are under 1500#, Mississippi is under 2000#, most of the others is under 3000#, while still others are actually higher. One needs to know the laws for all states that you are going to travel through and obey them because there is no reciprocal agreement between states concerning the braking laws. Here is the best list as of this date. http://www.brakebuddy.com/towing-laws.html

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not true, california is 3000, I live here and have checked it out, and tow my smart on a motorcycle trailer the is rated for 3500 lbs, but has a weight limit of 2950,  so I guess it is not totally wrong, my smart car weighs 1800 lbs, and the trailer is 600lbs 

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