Towing can quickly turn into a disaster if you don't know what you're doing. That's why you should at least look up the basics first, lest you blow up your brand-new Jeep Wrangler—or total your Fiat 500 by flat-towing it in first gear at highway speed.
The above picture of an utterly obliterated 2018 Fiat 500 with only 44,000 miles was posted to Reddit under r/justrolledintotheshop, while a video of its undercarriage was posted to YouTube. The mechanic who captured them explained to The Drive that the Fiat's owners hooked up the car behind their RV on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, flat-towing it the whole way. Unfortunately for them, they left the Fiat's five-speed manual transmission in first gear before setting off.
How far the car was dragged along isn't known, but it's not important. With the RV reaching speeds of about 80 mph on the trip, the technician estimates its 1.4-liter engine was forced to SPEEN as high as 15,000 rpm. By the time it reached its destination, the drivetrain was what you'd politely call borked. It was so ruined, in fact, that the owners couldn't even disengage the clutch.
On return, they brought it in for diagnosis, and the problem would've been apparent from the moment the car was on the lift. But when the technician reported what they saw, and quoted $18,000 to replace the engine and transmission, the owners weren't mad—they were tickled. As the technician put it, "the customers were actually laughing that they did this by accident and weren't mad."
Because the Fiat originally retailed for about $17,500, the insurance company totaled it and sent it off to a junkyard. Let this Fiat fiasco serve as a costly reminder (albeit at someone else's expense) to do your homework before towing as an amateur. Skip a couple of steps, and you might end up being the one written about next—or worse, dragged by Reddit commenters who only know one joke. Fix it again Tony, huhuhuh.
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