Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Williston, Fl
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I asked a question in another thread regarding applying a bungee cord to the steering wheel while flat towing a Smart 453. The replies were all addressing the transmission, not the steering. This was all before I had the modifications needed for flat towing, because I hoped to have an answer before towing. Since no answer came, I decided to try without the bungee, as the wheelbase was redesigned for the 453.
The transmission issue is confusing, so I think another way to clarify it is this: If you have a clutch pedal, you have a manual transmission; if there is no clutch pedal, you have the automatic. The electric Smart and the Smart with a manual transmission cannot be flat towed; the automatic transmission can be flat towed if you follow the factory instructions. I followed the instructions, but I had to convince my shop to install a battery disconnect without a charging circuit (I won).
The factory instructions have you putting the shifter in the manual lane, pulling it rearward for several seconds until you see "6" in the gear indicator on the computer display. When the "6" came up, I heard a click from the engine compartment. It is important to have the ignition on, but the engine must not be running. Once you get the "6", release the shifter and turn the ignition off, but leave the key in the ignition. This keeps the steering from locking. If you want the car locked, you would have to use a second key and manually lock the doors, because after you turn the ignition off, you have to disconnect the battery. You couldn't use the remote to lock it because the battery is not connected. Get a second key (about $200) if you want to make sure no one runs beside you to break into your car while you tow it.
I pointed one of my rearview cameras at the windshield so I could have a clear view of what the steering wheel was doing. The car followed me without incident for 121 miles. No wobble.
I followed the instructions for taking the car out of flat tow mode, and the car drove perfectly - except the check engine light was on. The next day, I took it to the Smart Center at the Gainesville, Fl, Mercedes dealer. They checked the car for me and found nothing but a defective battery, which they replaced.
In summary, to flat tow the 453, I did not need the bungee cord; I followed the factory procedure to put the car in flat tow mode, and then take it out again at the destination. The tow went perfect, and the Smart Center check the car after the tow and found no damage.