Whether a Honda CR-V can be flat towed has several factors. Get it wrong and you’ve got a big invoice to pay with your mechanic.
So, with that in mind, this guide explains what you need to know about flat-towing Honda CR-Vs (or not as the case might be). Here’s a short answer first but please read on if you don’t want to damage your ride.
Can a Honda CR-V be flat towed? Yes, a Honda CR-V can be flat towed but only those that were manufactured as the 2014 model or below. However, before flat-towing your Honda CR-V, no matter what year, always consult the user manual in case yours has a specific model difference.
That’s the “catch-all” answer. Don’t leave it there though as below are more details to make sure you understand everything you need to do before flat towing safely and correctly.
Disclaimer: Check with your dealer or the manufacturer before flat towing a Honda CR-V so you know for 100% certain that your model and year is ok to be towed in this way.
Can a Honda CR-V be flat towed behind an RV / Motorhome?
All Honda CR-Vs can be flat towed behind an RV (provided they are 2014 models and below). They come standard with a 4-wheel drive system, which means you must have all 4 wheels on the road, or you’ll damage the 4WD system.
On the upside, you don’t have to worry about raising any of the wheels. By definition, this means you can’t tow these model CR-Vs on a dolly as all 4 wheels will need to be in contact with the road.
Honda CR-Vs also don’t have to worry about engine damage from dry running, as towing your vehicle will spin the wheels which runs the engine even while it’s switched off. Thankfully the Honda CR-V engine can lubricate itself even when switched off, so no need to worry about any possible engine damage.
Finally, in many cases, most people will tell you not to flat tow an automatic, but Honda themselves say that the CR-V is safe to flat tow. If you’re in any doubt you should always consult the car manual, as it will state whether your vehicle is capable of being flat towed without sustaining any damage.
- Can Honda CR-V 2021 be flat towed: No, you can’t flat tow a 2021 CR-V as it will damage the transmission.
- Can a 2019 Honda CR-V be flat towed: No, the 2019 CR-V is not approved for flat towing.
- Can a 2017 Honda CR-V be flat towed: No.
- Can a 2014 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
- Can a 2013 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
- Can a 2009 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
- Can a 2008 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
- Can a 2006 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
- Can a 2004 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
- Can a 2003 Honda CR-V be flat towed: Yes.
In most cases, cars need to be towed with the correct equipment, in the Honda CR-V’s case you’ll need a good tow bar.
A tow bar (view on Amazon) allows you to keep an even distance between the car being and the vehicle in front. A tow strap or hook wouldn’t be safe on even a smaller SUV like the Honda CR-V. It’s always important to secure the tow bar properly.
The advantages of a tow bar are the aforementioned equal distance between the towed car and the puller, but also the sturdiness of the tow bar. As tow bars are made of much stronger metals it’s very unlikely they’ll break. They also add a bit more stability for the car being towed, which makes greatly increases the likelihood of collisions.
Tow bars are also designed for much longer journeys. If you’re going to be on the road for long periods the tow bar is perfect, not just for its durability and reliability, but for the peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about smacking the car into the back of your RV and you don’t have to worry about detachment and losing your towed vehicle.
Handy Hint: Here’s the best oil you can use in a CR-V.
With all the above discussed, we’re going to distill all the most important things to keep in mind when flat towing a Honda CR-V. There are some limitations to keep in mind to avoid causing unnecessary wear and tear, or even possible damage.
- Keep the speed limit below 100 KPH (65 MPH) this is the max speed for flat towing safely.
- Use a tow bar – you can’t use any other equipment for CR-V.
- Keep all 4 wheels on the ground to not damage the 4WD system.
- If you’re unsure about your CR-V, always look at the manual as it has the specific details for your particular model.
The Honda CR-V (2014 and below) is an excellent vehicle for flat towing for a bunch of reasons.
- The CR-V is a small SUV, meaning it’s lightweight and easier to control..
- Its mileage is great – this is a car built to last over long-haul journeys.
- Can fit up to 5 passengers or be used for storage.
- An RV is an amazing mobile base but can be awkward to explore any nearby areas, the CR-V is perfect for this .
This YouTube guide by RVing Live The Dream explains all the steps you need to take to set up your CR-V for flat towing.
The steps are summarized as follows:
- Start your car ignition.
- Cycle through all the gears.
- Once that’s done leave on neutral and turn off the ignition.
- Switch off the display and any electronics (lights etc) to preserve the car battery.
- Turn the ignition key to the first line (the first line after the circle).
- Inspect the brakes and check the car is aligned properly with the RV or pulling vehicle.
- Always consult the manual for your specific model if you’re not sure about anything.
No – sadly the 2021 Honda CR-V uses a CVT (continuously variable transmission) which needs a powered pump working to lubricate transmission systems.
If you try and flat tow with this then you’ll cause significant damage to the engine. This will be very expensive to repair and can keep the car off the road for a long time.
No, the latest Honda CR-V models are not flat towable. The new transmission systems in the latest models cannot withstand being run without fuel anymore.
This is primarily due to new standards for newly made cars – they generally speaking have to be a lot more fuel-efficient.
If you’re asking this question it means your Honda CR-V is a newer model. If you want a CR-V that is compatible with flat towing then you need to get any model made in 2014 or older.
Newer models (2015 onwards) are no longer compatible with flat towing.
There is a selection of Honda cars that are compatible with flat towing – they are as follows:
- Honda Accord Sport (with manual transmission).
- Honda Fit (2014 onwards – must have a manual transmission).
- Honda Pilot (2012 model).
- Honda CR-V (only models 2014 and older).
Always check what the model year is, and always ask the dealership if the particular Honda they are selling is flat tow compatible.
Many of the older ones are but you can potentially get specific models (like the Honda Accord) that do support being flat towed. This list isn’t exhaustive either, the local dealership will always have more information for you.
What is flat towing?
Flat towing is when you pull a car across a surface – usually with the help of another vehicle. It’s a way of getting a vehicle from one place to another without starting the engine. It can also be called dinghy towing, or neutral towing.
There are many reasons that you might want to flat tow your car. One of the most common reasons is due to a puncture, some kind of fault, or maybe even a smashed windscreen, basically any faults which would prohibit the vehicle from being roadworthy.
Another important reason is that it can be towed by an RV, which can be useful if you’re going somewhere in your RV but you need a smaller secondary vehicle. In this case, having a flat tow-ready vehicle can be incredibly handy.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that all cars have got to have better fuel efficiency/mileage and as a result, most manufacturers are using dual-clutch transmissions or CVT (continuously variable transmission) and you can’t flat tow these vehicles.
The Honda CR-V is one such vehicle if manufactured after 2014.