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Can You Flat Tow Subaru Outback? (Quick Answers)

Let’s admit it, Subaru outback is popular and how. You would see a couple of them on every road. 

And when it comes to setting on for long journeys and trips with friends and family, these wagons deliver performance and consistency. 

Speaking of journeys, you may be wondering if you can flat tow a Subaru outback to make things even more convenient. 

Subaru outback flat tow

You can flat tow a Subaru Outback with a flatbed trailer, given the speed is limited to 20 mph and the total distance traveled is no more than 31 miles. Moreover, you can only flat tow Subaru Outbacks that have a manual transmission. Flat towing the vehicle on an RV or a dolly can be damaging.

Well, flat towing is when a vehicle is carried by another vehicle, with the one that is being flat towed has all its wheels on the ground. While flat towing is simple, requires additional help, and has its advantages, it can have serious damage to a Subaru Outback. 

When it comes to a Subaru Outback, we already know the car is hardy and does well with all terrains. However, flat towing can cause damage to its transmission system in quite a serious way. 

If you wish to flat-tow a Subaru Outback, the only recommended way is to flat-tow it on a trailer, that too at very low speeds and a cutoff distance. What’s more important to remember is that it is never advisable to flat-tow a Subaru Outback with automated transmission. 

A lot of people prefer RVs as a means to tow off other vehicles, but with a Subaru Outback, the flat towing should be carefully dealt with. On the other hand, dolly towing should never be an option for carrying a Subaru Outback. 

Subaru Outback ModelCan be flat towed
2008 Subaru OutbackNo
2015 Subaru OutbackYes
2018 Subaru OutbackNo
2019 Subaru OutbackYes
2020 Subaru OutbackYes
2021 Subaru OutbackYes

Can you tow a Subaru Outback with an RV

Unlike dolly towing, you can tow a Subaru Outback with an RV. However, that too comes with the expense of damaging the Subaru’s AWD and transmission system. 

You may want to remember that you should only tow a Subaru outback at the back of an RV if your vehicle is of a manual transmission. 

A Subaru Outback with automatic transmission should never be flat towed with an RV. In these cars, the transmission fluid is dependent on the engine. The fluid flows if the engine is running, and stops when the engine stops. 

If you still have an RV and a Subaru Outback to be towed, you would have to use a trailer at low speeds. Make use of the ball and receiver hitch that is integrated with most of the RVs but more importantly, ensure that you are not exceeding the RV’s capacity. 

Can a Subaru Outback be towed on a dolly

The company forbids towing a Subaru Outback on a dolly, and there are no two ways about the risks and potential damages that this can have on your vehicle. 

When towing a Subaru Outback on a dolly, you would only be able to lift two of the four wheels off the road, with two running on the road. 

This would adversely damage the transmission system of your Subaru or worse still it could permanently hurt the AWD or all-wheel drive mechanism. 

The damage may be more severe since it would go unnoticeable. This is because most of the internal parts like the clutches take on the impact. 

Not only would this incur heavy mechanic costs, but it could also mean that your car could spin off the dolly at any time during the towing. 

Can you flat tow the Subaru outback with automatic transmission? 

Low speed or high, bigger distance or shorter, you cannot and should not flat tow a Subaru outback with automatic transmission

This holds for whichever mode of transfer you are using, whether a flatbed trailer and RV or a dolly, the latter being a debarred territory with both manual or automatic transmission. 

When the transmission is manual, the gear change is dependent on how the driver changes the clutch, while on automatic transmission, the gear change is automated. Hence, there is no control over the flow of fluid. 

In such cases, when the Subaru Outback is flat towed, the transmission system gets broken, causing damages to internal parts as well. 

However, if you have no other options and you are stranded with an automatic transmission Subaru outback that needs to be flat towed, you would have to get the trailer, no matter how short the distance is. 

3 reasons why you cannot flat tow Subaru outback with automatic transmission 

The company warns its customers of its consequences and gives enough reason to follow through. Here are a few reasons you need to avoid flat towing Subaru Outbacks with automatic transmission. 

Damaged transmission System:

The most apparent and severe problem that affects Subaru Outback with the automatic transmission when flat towed is the transmission system. 

When such a car is flat towed, two of the wheels will be lifted while two will be running, namely the driven wheels. Since during the towing, the output shaft would not be getting greased, the transmission would get damaged most severely. 

Harms internal parts of the vehicle:

It’s not just the transmission system that takes the hit. Some of the most crucial parts of the engine including the clutch, shaft, gears, and valve body may all become worn out in the process. 

The transmission fluids in an automated transmission stop when the engine does not run, given the two wheels, are still on the road. In turn, this could create more glitches in the Subaru’s brakes and converter as well. 

Repairs are expensive:

In an attempt to save a little harder work, you would flat tow your Subaru Outback with automatic transmission, not knowing that the damage incurred would be expensive enough to put a hole in your pocket. 

If the transmission system or the AWD mechanism of your car required to repair, let alone replacement, you would be staring at a bill of $1000 to $3000

How to flat tow a Subaru outback? 

Although not the best course of action for your vehicle, sometimes you may be left with no other option. 

If you are ever, in a situation where you would have to flat-tow a Subaru outback, you would want to do it the right way. 

The following points help you understand how a flat towing a Subaru outback does not have to be too damaging. 

Find two points in your Subaru Outback:

At first, you would need to find two points in your Subaru Outback, which you could find covered in plastic. All the while, make sure someone is in the driver’s seat in the Subaru Outback as well. 

As you do, you would not need to attach the tow hook. Keeping enough clearance space from one bumper to another car, attach the two vehicles with a wire rope or chain. 

Turn the key to “on”:

You would need to turn the key to “on”, and keeping it that way, you would need to proceed. Make sure the key does not turn to lock or turn off. 

Turn the transmission to neutral mode:

It is imperative that you turn the transmission to neutral mode and then let go of the brake. Here you would need to line up the rope, slowly and steadily as hasting up the process could cause damage. 

Using a trailer is recommended:

Flatbed towing using a trailer is recommended for Subaru Outback. This would have the Subaru parked on the trailer and hence have all the wheels lifted. 

You would only have to make sure that the capacity of the trailer is sufficient for the weight of the Subaru Outback. 

Lighting system:

Remember that flat towing a Subaru Outback would require a lighting system. This works like a warning system for both you and the other drivers on the street. 

Final Thoughts 

Flat towing a Subaru Outback is not recommended unless it is an emergency. If you have to flat tow a Subaru outback, make sure you stay at very low speeds and only tow a small distance. You may flat tow a Subaru Outback with a manual transmission, using a trailer more preferably.