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Advice About Towing with a Subaru Outback XT

22897 Views 24 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  KansasMatthew
Hi All,

I know lots has already been written about towing with an Outback but unfortunately I still a bit confused and would welcome any advice, suggestions or opinions, about towing a utility trailer with a Subaru Outback. (My wife and I are moving ~3000 mi from Pennsylvania to Vancouver, BC and plan to buy a utility trailer to bring the minimum necessary clothing, books, furnishings)

In particular, then, a few very specific questions. Thanks in advance for your time and help.

1. Does anyone have any experience with the *real* towing capacities of a 2007 Subaru Outback (XT, MT). Factory specs say I should be able to tow 2700 lbs safely with my factory installed class I hitch, but I get nervous thinking about dragging all that weight up through the Rockies...Should I expect the smell of a burning clutch? Any advice?

2. It seems that trailers with larger wheels are more stable and probably easier to take cross country. I've found a nice 5x8 with 15" wheels, which looks more solid than the usual Walmart 12" wheel version, but of course it's heavier by ~250 lbs.). Any preferences?

3. Most trailer forums emphasize suggest strongly that a trailer over 1,000 lbs or so should be fitted with breaks, which makes sense. Anyone do this themselves and/or know the approx. cost?

4. Any advice for the, um, lead-footed among us about optimal towing speeds to keep the car in good shape?

Thanks again!

21 - 25 of 25 Posts

Again, the OP's post is like 2 years old.... - don't you think ade678 reached his/her destination by now?

Cm'on guys - wake up now?
Ah lol, please can we lock this? I will accept my lashings. I should have pm-ed.
Ah lol, please can we lock this? I will accept my lashings. I should have pm-ed.
Actually, I have found it interesting nonetheless. I have a 2011 Outback, base model with the CVS transmission and a 2015 mid-grade model also with the CVS transmission. Got a hitch on both but the book says they have a tow capacity of about that of a small riding lawnmower.

I'm not sure if I can actually really tow Anything!
Subaru2017tngaliner 5 hours ago
Best Answer
Thankful for the information . Just read the owners manual and wow . The main tell that i found here is that it says in the owners manual that you can not drive continuously for over 5 minutes up a uphill grade with outside temp above 104 degrees. Wish I knew Wish the salesman stopped me. Waited 20 years to buy a all wheel drive. You are so correct. Think of it this way You can't drive up a hill for more than 5 minutes forget about the temperature.My father was toyota transmission mechanic. Think about driving for 1 hour up a grade @ 80 degree temperatures. I could keep going here . The bottom line here is that a tongue weight of 200 lbs On this vehicle is really about the maximum. Any kind trailer hitch should be considered almost cosmetic. The dealer even sells 2"adapters for the oem hitch. The point is i bought this car assuming that it could tow a tent ⛺ trailer that weighs 1850 lbs. I paid extra for the 3.6 touring oops. Both Subaru and the Subaru salesman know that this is not a car for towing. The dealer knew my intent was to tow I was told it was under rated at 2700 lbs. Tongue weight is the most important thing I missed 200 lbs . I would not recommend buying any kind after market hitch Stick with factory. Do not listen to the after market. My suggestion is if you are going to tow get the oem hitch And buy the 2" adapter from a dealer. The owners manual claim towing is hard on the engine first as they go down the list they also finally include the transmission. In my opinion the transmission is the only concern here. Really anything beyond a utility trailer on flat ground is pushing it. And don't think a disingenuous this is going to going to honor your warranty especially if you have a after market hitch I have a special bit of of hate for deceptive marketing. I will never forgive Subaru for this. And most important the dealer. I will spend the rest of my life telling people my story. I will also be the first in line for the class action that will follow. No No No towing anything even a small teardrop trailer up mountain roads is just gambling. My plan was a trip to the sierras. I guess I'm not a happy camper
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Subaru2017tngaliner about an hour ago
Best Answer
Subaru knows the answer and they give it to you in the owners manual. One more time to me the answer is simple. If drive more than 5 miles up hill and it's hot outside your screwed and you warranty is void. Imagine going to the sierras like I was going to do never ending inclines . One big problem here is that the Subaru is not being honest and telling buyers. What is really unforgivable is when give the information to the Subaru salesman and they still sell you the car
Holy thread resurrection!

This is like a zombie, it keeps coming back to life.

Not sure what the most recent poster is complaining about - it's pretty clear on the Subie documentation what its towing capacity and limitations are. If they aren't good enough, buy another vehicle or a different trailer.

And, as far as the claim of "If drive more than 5 miles up hill and it's hot outside your screwed and you warranty is void": read the owner's manual closely. It says that "damaged caused by towing is not covered under warranty". It doesn't specify OEM, aftermarket, hot, cold, or hills. Damage caused by towing is not covered.

That poster says he (she?) has an 1850 lb tent trailer and a 3.6 Touring (not sure about the year).

The '17 book says (for CVT):

When towing a trailer on a long uphill grade continuously for over 5 miles (8 km) with an outside temperature of 104F (40C) or above, the max trailer wt is 1500 lb.

Below those limits, you are back to the normal 1000 unbraked and 2700 lb braked.
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