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Can a Ford Explorer Be Flat Towed? (Read This First!)

Owning a SUV that is considered to be the all-rounder must feel great. We are talking about none other than a Ford explorer.

However, it’s the minor issues that may seem to give you a headache. Under many unexpected circumstances, your ford explorer may not act the way it is supposed to. 

And fairly enough, there would be situations due to which you may feel the need to tow your ford explorer. However, here comes the actual question, can a Ford explorer be flat towed? 

If the same query has been mindstorming you, then you are at the right place. Today we are here with a detailed discussion on whether or not Ford explorers can be flat towed or not. 

Therefore, to get rid of all your confusions, bear with us till the end.

Ford Explorer flat towed

Ford explorers cannot be flat towed. However, there are certain conditions under which you can flat tow a ford explorer. With the help of the right supplies and support you can flat tow a ford explorer. Additionally, you should find your required information regarding flat towing in the manual. 

Before we get onto the fact whether Ford explorers can be flat towed or not, we need to understand what and how flat towing works. 

Flat towing is also alternatively known as ‘four-down towing’ or ‘dinghy towing’. The process includes attaching a tow bar onto your vehicle, SUV or pickup. And then, letting the car roll along with its own tires. 

This sort of towing is considered safe, only if your vehicle is designed to be flat towed. To figure out if the vehicle can be flat towed or not would be mentioned in the manual. If you are unable to find the necessary information, you may consult your manufacturer. 

Additionally, if your vehicle is not designed to be flat towed, flat towing the car may cause damage to your vehicle. However, vehicles like Ford explorer 4×4, should not be flat towed. Flat towing might damage the transmission of the car. 

There are multiple things that need to be in favor for your vehicle to be flat towed. A vehicle needs to have a rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. 

Or, a four-wheel drive and a manual transfer case that can be put on neutral, then there’s a scope that your vehicle can be flat towed. 

It is not specifically unsafe to flat tow your ford explorer. However, there are certain models that can be flat towed. Also, flat towing those certain models wouldn’t cause any damage to your Ford explorer.

Ford ExplorerCan it be flat towed?
2021 Ford ExplorerCannot be flat towed
2020 Ford ExplorerCannot be flat towed
2019 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed
2018 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed
2017 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed
2016 Ford ExplorerCannot be flat towed
2015 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed
2014 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed
2013 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed
2012 Ford ExplorerCan be flat towed 

Can a ford Explorer Sport Trac be flat towed?

A ford explorer sport trac that is 4WD that would be flat towable. However, if it is 2WD, it wouldn’t be possible to flat tow it.  

Additionally, even if you are determined to do so, keep in mind that it is not recommended. In terms of a longer explanation, it can be done, only if it needs to be done. Your Ford explorer sport trac can be flat towed if you do not have any other options. 

However, in the worst expected scenarios, it could severely damage your vehicle. Also, if you are unsure about whether or not you are supposed to flat tow a ford explorer sport trac, you can check the owner manual of your vehicle. 

There you should be able to find your necessary information. 

In most common cases, people do not enjoy reading the manual, especially if it’s a brand new vehicle. However, you may wanna give your owner manual a read, to keep yourself prepared for such moments.         

What year Ford Explorer can be flat towed?

The Ford explorers that were built within the time frame of 2011-2017, can be flat-towed. However, you cannot flat tow the ones that are manufactured in recent years.   


As told before, the Ford explorers that are manufactured in recent years aren’t suitable for flat towing. However, if the Ford explorer is manufactured to have a 3.5 liter engine, you can flat tow it.   


Additionally, the same goes for the 2018 Ford explorer model. A 2018 model Ford explorer is flat towable if it has a engine that is 3.5 liter.


In a 2017 Ford explorer, if it has an engine of 3.5 liter, it is flat towable. Whether the engine is ecoboost or duratec, it will not have any sorts of impact on the towing procedure. 


A 2015 Ford Explorer model can be flat towed if it has an engine that is 3.5, or 3.7 liters. These vehicles can be towed using a tow dolly. 


Like 2015 model 2014 Ford Explorers can also be flat towed if their engine is 3.5, 3.7 liter. You may use a dolly to flat tow these vehicles. You can simply use the front wheels of the vehicle, however, it is not relevant for the AWD models.    


A 2013 Ford Explorer with an engine of 3.5 to 3.7 liter would be preferable for flat towing. The front wheels of the vehicles can be used while towing. 


Just like a 2013 model Ford Explorer the 2012 Ford Explorer vehicles are also towable.

However, the AWD models are an exception. 

Can you tow a Ford Explorer behind a motorhome or RV?

You can tow a Ford Explorer behind a motorhome or RV. However, there are certain conditions that need to be in your favor before you plan on flat towing. For example, if you are planning to flat tow a 2018 Ford Explorer, it must have an engine that is 3.5 liter. 

Additionally, if it is more than that, let’s assume 4 liters, you will need a dolly or a trailer. Moreover, it would be best to contact your manufacturer before towing them behind a RV or motorhome.

What is needed to flat tow a Ford Explorer?

Before you move on to the parts that are required to flat tow a Ford Explorer, you would want to make sure that it will not cause much damage.

Here are a few things you may need to flat tow a Ford Explorer: 

A base plate kit: 

The first thing you would need is a base plate kit. You would wanna look for a base plate that is a confirmed fit to your Explorer.

A tow bar: 

A tow bar with long tele-scoping arms are always appreciated. They are better at maneuvering.        

Safety Cables: 

Using a safety cable will ensure that your vehicle is completely and securely attached with your tow vehicle.            

A supplement braking system:     

A supplement braking system is required to prevent all sorts of unpredictable accidents. A supplement braking system would cause your vehicle to brake as soon as your towing vehicle brakes.

How to flat tow a Ford Explorer?

To flat tow your Ford Explorer you can use a dolly, RV or a motorhome. Here are a few steps you can follow to tow a ford explorer: 

Connecting the dolly with the rear of the vehicle: 

First things first. Start with ensuring that you have all the pieces which include 2 pieces of connector bars, both pairs of wheels and a breaker bar. You may want to connect the dollies with the rear of your vehicle and adjust the connectors.  

Placing the connector bars properly:

You may wanna place the connector bars in the middle of your vehicle and make sure if it fits correctly. 

Once you have both the connectors in place, measure out the width of the wheelbase. Place one bar in front of the rear wheel and one in the back of the rear wheel. 

You would also want to ensure that you have the most flat piece of connector bar at the wheel for maximum support.    

Securing your connector bars with dolly: 

The next step is to ensure that your connector bars are securely attached with your dolly. They must be connected parallelly. 

Using breaker bar to jack up the vehicle: 

With the help of  a breaker bar jack up the vehicle. Then lock the dollies in place. And secure the tires firmly on the dollied on either side. 

And you’re good to go!  

Final thoughts

Under certain conditions a Ford Explorer can be flat towed. Depending on the model and manufacturing time, you may be able to flat tow your Ford Explorer. However, the recent models do not allow flat towing. Additionally, flat towing the vehicles forcefully can cause damage.