Can You Tow it Behind a Motorhome - 2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ Long Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ: Can You Tow it Behind a Motorhome?

February 13, 2013

2013 Subaru BRZ

You can tow any car behind a motorhome if you use a trailer. But that's not the preferred method for motorhome aficionados. The ideal scenario is pictured above: a so-called "dinghy" vehicle rolling behind on its own four wheels, ready to be unhooked and driven around on side trips while the motorhome sits parked with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode.

This towing technique goes by many names: dinghy towing, flat towing and four-down towing to name a few. As you can imagine there are mechanical implications for the car involved.

The strictly pavement-only 2013 Subaru BRZ isn't the first sort of car that comes to mind for this activity but, then again, not everyone who tours the U.S. in a motorhome is looking to explore off road when they stop. You could be planning to tour the racetracks or interesting winding mountain roads of this country in your retirement. Why relegate yourself to something overly pedestrian?

Is the 2013 Subaru BRZ up for it? Can you flat tow it behind a motorhome?

In a word, no. In two words, forget it. In three words, bring a trailer. And it doesn't matter if we're talking about the automatic or the 6-speed manual transmission. Both are similarly prohibited.

2013 Subaru BRZ

Automatic: nope.

2013 Subaru BRZ

Manual: nope.

It's not as if Subaru doesn't know what this is. They use the common term right there in the owner's manual.

No huge loss, I suppose. The BRZ isn't a perfect match for this demographic. It would have always been the outsider's choice. But I am curious why the 6-speed manual can't manage it.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 10,860 miles


  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I would guess it is because internal lubrication of the transmission requires that the input shaft be moving, which means the engine must be running. If that is how it works flat towing would spin the main shaft and burn up the transmission because trans fluid would not be circulating. Did you do an undercarriage post with your lift? Can the driveshaft be disonnected easily at the rear diff? If it can then I would think flat towing shouldn't be a problem.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I agree, but the point of flat-towing behind your motor home is that you just disconnect the hitch and wiring harness for the lights, then drive it away. If you have to reconnect a driveshaft before you can drive the car, then you might as well tow it on a trailer.

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    i'm going to take a guess and say it's because it is so low to the ground. does this car have a rear differential oil cooler? i thought these things were all open diffs? the manual is a curiosity maybe the clutch never fully dissingages? does it have an electronic parking brake that engages itself as a safety feature? SO MANY unanswered quesitons? it has to be because it is so low to the ground that potholes could=totalled car so that makes a trailer necissary.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    These cars have LSD. Could that be why?

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    The LSD issue is interesting, but they are always self-lubricating. Still, a Torsen is a unique animal. I have to squint real hard to imagine what's going on in a back-driven Torsen that is essentially in coast mode for hundreds of miles. Could be that. I tend to think the prohibition has to do with the Toyota influence. They have historically shied away from this sort of usage because they don't think owners will follow instructions and they'd rather avoid warranty disputes. And the graphics in this manual look exactly like a Toyota owner's manual, not a Subaru one.

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