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Info guides and mods

453 Towing

Modification Details

Where Is The Towing Eye?

Open the passenger door and pull back the carpet in the footwell, in the polystyrene
footrest block you will see the towing eye. Pull it from the polystyrene block.

On the very early smarts it can be found in the left hand boot storage pocket
Thanks to John Bennett for that bit of info.

Where Does It Go?

Being Towed

Go to the front of the car and look to the left of the number plate, you will see a plastic cap.
Lever this out carefully and keep it safe. Screw the towing eye all the way into this hole.

Towing Another Car

Go to the back of the car and you will notice a plastic cap on the left side of the rear bumper panel.
Lever out the cap and screw the eye in all the way.

Common sense should tell you that you shouldn't be attempting to tow another vehicle that is heavier
than your own, this limits the type of cars you can tow. Remember the smart clutch isn't that good.

If you have a rear carrying accessory like the bike rack, these holes will be used already.

Towing A Trailer

The fortwo and Roadster are not legally allowed to tow anything in any country.
However, it is not illegal to have a tow bar fitted and it will pass the MOT without issue.

Although the smart is not rated to tow any weight, many people use them to pull light trailers.
You have to fit an adapted crash bar with a tow ball on it, these aren't cheap.

Be sensible when it comes to towing, you aren't going to be able to tow even a small caravan unless it is
one of those 2 person teardrop style ones that are barely big enough to get in. Keep trailers small and
light, no longer than the smart and try to keep the weight down to under 100kg to save the clutch.

You can mechanically get away with towing very light loads simply because the smart is rated to carry 2 people
and a maximum of 100kg in the boot. If you have no passenger you can tow about 180Kg but that includes the
weight of the trailer. With a passenger you can tow 100Kg but again this includes the weight of the trailer.

However, it is not recommended that you tow up to this weight
very often as it reduces the operational life of the clutch severely.

The clutch is a dry system like in most cars and lugging excessive loads causes it to slip which
increases wear and causes the clutch plate to glaze, glazing will cause it to slip even more.

If you tow, make sure you have at least £600 put aside for a new clutch (including fitting).

Where Can I Get A Tow Bar?

For the 453, not sure, try

Towing Behind A Motorhome

The Americans love towing a fleet of fuel efficient cars behind their 'gas guzzling' motorhomes,
it wasn't long until the question appeared and the arguements began. Read on, this is the truth.

The smart manual states you should NOT tow for more than 30 miles at a maximum of 30mph they
are just covering themselves as the manufacturer of the gearbox (Getrag) impose no such limits.

Follow these instructions and you will be able to tow for as far as you like.

Where Can I Buy An A-Frame

Don't know. Google is your friend.

If the gross weight of a car is more than 750kg, it is classed as a trailer.
Any car or trailer over 750kg must be braked (brakes operate with the brakes on the lead vehicle).
A good A-Frame supplier will be able to offer you either a wire operated, 
electrical operated or vacuum assisted trailer braking systems.

Smarts (Bullshit) Towing Information

  • Ideally you should only tow if you have experience.
  • The ignition must be on when being towed.*
  • The gear selector must be in neutral N when being towed.
  • Towing speed shouldn't exceed 30mph. (according to smart)
  • Towing distance should be less than 30 miles. (according to smart)
  • A tow bar is better than a tow rope.
  • The towing eyes of the two vehicles should be on the same side.
  • Only use the towing lug to tow.
  • The towed vehicle must not be heavier than the vehicle towing.

*Although smart recommend towing with the ignition on this is quite clearly unnecessary
as long as the gearbox is in neutral and the car can free wheel. If it wasn't the case, you
wouldn't be able to tow a smart that had a flat battery. I believe that smart have put
this so the mileage increases as you tow, of course, you don't want that.

453 Gearbox Settings For Towing

This is a totally separate subject that can be found here.

Towing Legality

It must be mentioned that this particular towbar is for "offroad use only".
The smart 453 was not homologated to tow anything so can't legally tow.

Check your owner's document. Technical permissible maximum towable mass of the trailer will either 
show zero or the field will be left empty. Both of with indicate that it has no legal towing capacity.

You can still legally use the tow bar for tow bar mounted bicycle racks etc. You just can't tow anything.

If you don't believe the V5C (or regional owner's document for your country), look at the VIN plate.

3 Weight Numbers = No Towing

Just below the VIN code are 3 sets of numbers.

The first number is the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). In this case 1150kg.
The next number is the maximum load for the front axle. In this example 505kg.
The final number is the maximum weight for the rear axle. On this car it's 660kg.

The fact that there is only 3 numbers tells you that the car is not legally homologated to tow.

4 Weight Numbers = Yes Towing

If your car is legally homologated to tow, it would have 4 numbers.
Gross Vehicle Weight.
Gross Train Weight. (vehicle + trailer)
Maximum front axle load
Maximum rear axle load.

On these vehicles, Gross Train Weight minus 
Gross Vehicle Weight gives you your maximum trailer weight.

So, the:

Total maximum weight of this car is 1700kg
Total maximum train weight is 2500kg
Maximum front axle weight is 895kg
Maximum rear axle weight is 865kg

Therefore, if you take the maximum train weight and minus the vehicle weight, you get 800kg
So, for this particular car, you can tow a trailer with contents weighing up to 800kg.

It's Legal In My Country/State

It's clear that you aren't actually interested in the truth and you are going to do your own thing anyway.
So why the hell are you even reading the facts if you aren't going to believe them? Substituting
facts with your bullshit made up bollocks isn't going to suddenly make it true.

The Chances Of Being Caught

Slim to none. You have to remember that the police who enforce this rule are generally
ignorant of the rules, even more so than you, and that's saying something.

The people who do know the rules are the insurance company.

If you tow, you are breaking their terms and conditions knowingly so you aren't actually insured.

If you have a crash, you won't be covered and you can be prosecuted.


You know the rules so it's up to you. You are taking the risk.
Very few burglars get caught but that doesn't mean it's OK to do.

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