The owner of a 2018 Fiat 500 recently discovered what happens when you forget to take your car out of gear while towing it behind an RV. Photos and video of the remarkable mechanical damage caused by the mistake recently found their way online.
According to a video from the Just Rolled In YouTube channel, the owner brought the car into the shop because it wouldn’t start after being flat towed. The result, as can pretty plainly be seen, is that the transmission exploded and the engine seized.
Speaking to The Drive, the technician estimated that, because the RV had been driven at speeds of up to 80 mph (129 km/h), and the Fiat had been left in first gear, the 500’s engine could have spun at up to 15,000 rpm at points.
That resulted in this truly cataclysmic amount of damage. In the video below, you can see the technician pulling on different parts of the transmission casing that have been blown clean apart and are flapping in the wind.
The technician said that the owners of the Fiat 500 had been on a road trip to the Grand Canyon when this occurred, so if you were driving in that area and came upon a big puddle of slippery transmission fluid, now you know why.
Unfortunately for the owners, the Fiat appears to have otherwise been a good car. Endowed with a five-speed manual transmission and having driven just 44,000 miles (70,811 km), it’s a shame to have so thoroughly destroyed the powertrain.
Fortunately for the technician, the owners had a sense of humor about the whole incident and “were actually laughing that they did this by accident and weren’t mad.” They weren’t even mad when he quoted them $18,000 for repairs.
Since the Fiat 500 could have retailed for less than that when it was new, the insurance company opted to total it, and it how sits in a junkyard.