PinkArnold

Subaru Outback - Subaru Doesn't Recommend Flat Tow?

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We recently had the unfortunate incident of being rear-ended by an 18-wheeler on I-81, totaling our 2000 Toyota Camry dinghy. Entirely the fault of the trucker, nonetheless we are now in need of replacing our toad.

Referencing the FMCA 2013 towing guide, we test-drove a 2013 6-speed MT Subaru Outback.

However, when we reviewed the Owner's Manual, were unable to verify that recreational towing with 4 wheels down was specifically allowed. At the recommendation of our local (Subaru) dealership, we called 1-800-Subaru3 to talk with a Subaru Customer Service representative. The rep stated that Subaru does NOT recommend 4 wheels down towing, other than in the instance of emergency/short distance. If the Subaru automobile was to develop problems that could be attributed to 4 wheel down towing, the warranty could be voided. We would greatly appreciate your feedback. We would want something in writing from Subaru permitting 4 wheel down towing before purchasing the Outback (which we otherwise Really Like!).

Thanks,

Robert

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dougu   

Robert,

You are accurate about the information in the Outback owners manual being vague when it comes to recreational towing. It specifically says not to tow automatic and CVT vehicles faster than 20 mph and for no more than 31 miles. However, there is no such information about towing vehicles with a manual transmission. But there is specific information about the steps needed to prepare the vehicle to be towed four wheels down. During the process of putting together the 2013 Towing Guide, we asked the Subaru rep about this and were told that Outbacks with a manual transmission could be towed four wheels down.

Now, that doesn't help your situation since you are looking for an official document from the company that will protect you should the vehicle have a problem that would be covered under warranty. I read a submission on the Subaru Outback forum in which a letter was sent that specifically stated that the manual Outback could be towed four wheels down behind a motorhome (http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/65-parts-accessories-performance/47889-dinghy-towing-my-new-2013-outback-2.html). I have reached out to my contact at Subaru to see whether you could receive the same letter or at least be put in touch with someone who can officially affirm that the vehicle can be towed four wheels down without voiding the warranty. When I receive an answer, I will relay the information I am sent.

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dougu,

Thank you very much for your excellent reply and link. Having read that, I called 1-800-Subaru3 for a second time and referenced the letter & it's signature. The gentleman I spoke with provided affirmation that the Subaru manual transmission CAN be towed, and that I could receive an email similar to the one in the link. I have not as yet received that email letter. If you hear back from your contact(s), it would be great to know what that yields. Thanks again. Robert

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dougu   

Hi Robert,

I did receive a reply from CDS Supervisor Linda Fouch with Subaru and here is the information she included in her e-mail:

Yes you can tow manual trans behind motor home.


AWD Subaru vehicles with manual transmission can be towed with all four wheels on the ground and the transmission in neutral. When towing a manual transmission Subaru behind your motor home, you would want the transmission in neutral and the key in the 'ACC' position. As all new models are equipped with digital odometers, mileage will not accumulate when being towed.

I hope this information helps. If you have other questions, please let me know.

Doug

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We are looking at a Subaru Crosstrek to tow. We got the same reply from Subaru - can flat tow manual transmission. Has anyone tried the Crosstrek? We are currently towing a 2007 Chev HHR, and the wiring went crazy on our first road trip. Still waiting to find out how bad the damage is. Believe it was from faulty wiring with the Brake Buddy.

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PinkArnold,

I have been flat towing a Subaru Forester for almost 4 years now without any problem. Go for it.

Roch

Roch,

Any special hints on towing a manual Subaru? We are in the process of buying a Crosstrek, manual transmission. Do you use a braking system? What about lights?

PopNDelly

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After reading the 2014 guide for manual transmissions, I decide to go ahead and purchase a manual Subaru today.   Appreciate the heads up.   We almost laughed when we started our conversation with Subaru salesman--"so you intend towing the vehicle behind your RV". He continued to say 2014 is perfect year to flat tow.  The vehicle was "Subaru certified vehicle". I asked if flat towing voided the warranty--he stated no.  Purchase was made in Leesburg FL.   Looking forward to pulling it behind our RV in October. 

 

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slb   

We bought a new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek specifically to be used as a toad.  Although we only brought it into service for this purpose in July we've towed it without incident for about 500 miles.  This discussion prompted me to file a complaint through the Washington State Attorney Generals office. Subaru promptly replied and restated what is listed in our owners manual for flat towing. In their letter they state that "If the customer is following the instructions outlined in the owner's manual listed above, he shouldn't have an issue with towing the vehicle behind another vehicle."  I feel much better now! :) We love our Subaru!

Subaru.jpg

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On 10/9/2016 at 5:43 PM, jj@pwross.com said:

We haven't received any information on the 2017 Subaru Forrester as to 4 wheel down manual transmission towing. We've towed Subaru for many years without a problem.

Hi JJ,

We ordered a 2017 Forester, manual,  (they take 3 months to show up!! - two other friends have also had to wait 3 months). I got an "official"  Subaru letter (after two weeks) that answered 3 of my 4, very specific questions. Pretty vague, typical, call center type of a response. Anyway, there is NOTHING, in the Subaru owners manual that says you can't flat tow this car, or it will void the warranty. That's as good as gold for me ( or any small claims court action that might follow-- if you get my drift). We are going to tow our Subaru UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF !!!

We are thinking Subaru wants to discontinue the manual cars as they do get less gas mileage than their CVT cars. And being a car manufacture, they are under government pressure to increase that mileage each year, so the manuals drag that mileage down, which doesn't help. We think Subaru of America is using that approach. Enjoy your Subaru, we have owned 3 Forester's up here in North Idaho, all with 200,000 miles, or more !!!   

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manholt   

To all of you Newbie's.  Welcome to the Forum!  Thanks to all for your input.

I think the question has been satisfactory and now it can be put to rest...I know it won't be, but there is hope!  :)

Carl

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