What the Manual Says About Towing - 2009 Honda Fit Sport Long-Term Road Test

2009 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: What the Manual Says About Towing

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Got a 2009 Honda Fit, Sport or otherwise? Want to tow with it?


Here is what the 2009 Honda Fit owner's manual has to say about that: "Your vehicle is not designed to tow a trailer. Attempting to do so can void your warranties."

No surprise there. Not that you could ever find a hitch for one, although they probably do exist somewhere.

But the Fit turns out to be a champ at being towed, as in behind a motorhome. Dinghy towing, they call it. You know, the motorhome is the big yacht and your Fit is the launch you use to get to shore to buy groceries.

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Flat towing a Fit is totally acceptable and will not void your warranty, provided you follow a few steps that Honda outlines in the owner's manual.

The basics:

Don't exceed 65 mph. Severe transmission damage will occur otherwise.

Leave the ignition key in the accessory position so the steering wheel does not lock. You'll need to keep another key on your person so you can lock the car, of course.

Make sure the radio is off, the dome lights are off and unplug all accessories from the cigarette lighter (oops, power point) so you don't run the battery down while the key is in the accessory position.

Manual transmission:

Keep the shifter in neutral (duh)

Release the parking brake (double duh).

Here is where it gets a little tricky.

Automatic transmission:

Make sure the transmission fluid level is topped off, but do not overfill it.

Start the engine.

Press the brake pedal and move the shift lever through all its positions. (Slowly, I suspect)

Shift to the D position and hold for 5 seconds, then shift to N. Let the engine run for three minutes, then turn it off. Do remember to put the key back into the accessory position.

Release the parking brake (there's that "duh" again).

They also warn that if you go from R to N instead of D to N, then all hope is lost and severe transmission damage will nevertheless occur. D to N, got it?

And if you tow for more than 8 hours in one day, you must repeat this procedure every 8 hours.

With the automatic, what they're trying to do is make sure oil gets to the right places before you shut the engine off. Priming the system, I suspect, so that the moving gears can then slosh it around once you get underway. Manual transmissions don't care about any of this, because they self lubricate just fine.

That the Fit automatic can be flat towed is rare. Not unheard of, but rare. Many cars simply can't self lubricate their autoboxes sufficiently when the engine is off.

Expect to see a lot of these latched on behind snowbird motorhomes in the coming months. A 2009 Honda Fit doesn't cost a lot, automatics can be towed with no aftermarket mods (other than the tow bar), they're light and easy to tow, they get excellent gas mileage, and they can haul a lot of stuff.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,790 miles

PS: For the record, nothing is hitched in these photos. It's all an illusion.

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