Will towing damage the automatic transmission

Will towing an automatic transmission in neutral with the engine not running damaged?

Given that hybrid cars are becoming more common and that hybrids usually have an automatic transmission, I'll give a hybrid-specific answer.

With Toyota hybrids, there is a top speed that is imperative to be aware of when towing the car while idling with no engine running. The reason for this is that the car contains a planetary gear set with three shafts: one goes to the wheels and to the motor generator 2 (MG2), another goes to the internal combustion engine (ICE), and the third goes to MG1.

Now when the ICE is stopped and the car moves forward, the MG1 turns quickly in the opposite direction. Without the ICE, the MG1 can actually overturn.

With my car (a 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid), I believe the limit at which the MG1 will overspeed is 80 km / h. This information is based on the observation that the electric vehicle (EV) lights are never switched on at speeds above 80 km / h, but the EV lights may occasionally be switched on at speeds below 80 km / h.

Now I don't remember what the manual says about the maximum towing speed, but I would try to be safe and consider the 60 km / h limit to be even lower (in fact, it's illegal in Finland to drive a car with a rope pulling at a speed of over 60 km / h). Compliance with this lower limit eliminates the possibility of MG1 overspeeding.

Of course, since this car is electrically controlled, you will not be able to put the transmission in the N position without electricity. You may need a jump start to use the N position.