Can You Flat Tow a Subaru?

You can safely flat tow a Subaru—as long as they have a manual transmission.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Regardless of the year or model you own,
vehicles with manual transmissions can be flat towed with the transmission in neutral. Subaru vehicles with automatic transmissions can only be towed with all four wheels off the ground.
Flat towing, sometimes called "four-down towing" or "dinghy towing," involves attaching a tow bar to a suitable car, SUV, or pickup and letting it roll along behind the vehicle towing it. However, if your car isn’t made to be flat towed, you could cause some serious damage—and even void the warranty.
Here to discuss how to safely flat tow a Subaru is
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Can you flat tow a Subaru?

Yes, you can flat tow a Subaru—but only if it has a manual transmission. 
Keep in mind that Subaru does not recommend flat towing, instead advising owners to tow their vehicles with all four wheels off the ground (i.e., via a flat-bed truck). However, flat towing is possible if you are careful and meet certain conditions (which we’ll discuss in just a minute). 
Regardless of the year or model you own, your Subaru cannot be flat towed if it has an automatic transmission
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How to safely flat tow a Subaru 

If your Subaru has a manual transmission, it is possible to flat tow it—but you will need to be cautious! Subaru suggests that the traveling speed is limited to less than 20 mph and the traveling distance to less than 31 miles
Additionally, you should never rely on flat towing if your car is experiencing transmission failure, if your vehicle’s damaged condition interferes with safe towing, or if your route includes long-distance downgrades or steep slopes.

Safety tips

Before flat towing your Subaru, you want to make sure that you’re following all of the necessary safety precautions so that you don’t cause any damage to your car—or worse, other vehicles.
Here are some very important safety tips:
  • Ensure that the tow rig on the vehicle you’re using to tow your Subaru is up to the task. Check its towing capacity and make sure your Subaru is below the weight limit.
  • Never tow a vehicle with passengers inside of it—this is not only unsafe, but it’s also illegal
  • The vehicle that’s being towed should always have its transmission switched to “ON” so that its tail lights are activated. 

Step-by-step directions 

Now that you have safety in mind, you’re ready to flat tow your Subaru. Follow these simple steps:
  1. Safely attach your Subaru to your towing vehicle by following your tow kit’s exact instructions. 
  2. Use your key to switch your Subaru’s ignition to “ON.” 
  3. Release your Subaru’s parking brake.
  4. Switch your Subaru’s transmission to a neutral position.
  5. Take up any slack in the tow line to prevent damage to the Subaru and towing vehicle. 
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