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Can a Honda Element Be Flat Towed?

Flat towing is a favorite among RVers because it makes towing your car super easy. 

Unfortunately, though, you can’t flat tow just any vehicle. 

So, that leads us to our question: is it possible to flat tow a Honda Element?

Yes, You can flat tow certain Honda Elements. In general, you can flat tow an Element if it is a four-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle and has a manual transmission. For Elements with automatic transmissions, you need to check your owner’s manual for further information. 

In this article, I will explain whether you can flat tow a Honda Element as well as what will happen if you try to flat tow an Element not designed for it. 

Then, I will detail what you need to flat tow an Element and how to prepare your Element for flat towing. 

I will end this article by discussing whether you can flat tow other Hondas, such as the CR-V. 

Can I Flat Tow My Honda Element?

A gray Honda Element parked in front of Welcome to Utah signage.

Whether you can flat tow your Honda Element really depends on the year and trim. 

For the most part, you can flat tow any Element with a manual transmission and 4-wheel or rear-wheel drive. 

You can also flat tow some automatic Elements. 

Just make sure you always check your owner’s manual to ensure it is safe to flat tow your specific Element. 

To find this information, you generally need to look in the section of the owner’s manual under “Towing.” 

Within the “Towing” portion of your manual, you will likely find a subheading called something like “Flat Towing,” “Four-down Towing,” or “Dinghy Towing.”

Here is where you should find the information about whether you can flat tow your Element. 

If you no longer have a physical copy of your owner’s manual, you can find an online version here

Or, if you still can’t find the info you need, you should contact Honda’s customer service

On their site, they give you the option to reach them through phone, email, Twitter, live chat, or physical mail. 

Additionally, when searching for this information, you should make sure you understand Honda’s recommendations for flat towing your car. 

For instance, you typically shouldn’t travel over 65 mph (105 kph) when flat towing any vehicle. 

If you don’t follow the rules, you can easily damage your car. 

What if I Flat Tow a Honda Element That Isn’t Designed for It?

If you flat tow a vehicle not designed for flat towing, you can harm the transmission or drive train. 

In some cases, you can damage these parts of the car beyond repair. 

What Do I Need to Flat Tow a Honda Element?

Towbar and jockey wheel with power connection and trailer lock.

In the following sections, I will describe the necessary equipment you will need to flat tow a Honda Element. 

Tow Bar and Tow Bar Base Plate

If you are going to flat tow your Element, you need to ensure you get the right tow bar and base plate. 

In general, the most important factor to consider when choosing a tow bar is your vehicle’s weight. 

Honda Elements typically weigh between 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg) and 3,700 pounds (1,678 kg) without anything in the vehicle. 

Thus, you will need a Class III tow bar set up since they can carry up to 5,000 pounds (2,286 kg). 

A Class II tow bar will be too small because it can only handle up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg). 

And when picking out a tow bar, you should just go ahead and buy a standard tow bar since they are pretty simple to use. 

Next, after you’ve got your tow bar, you will need a tow bar base plate. 

These plates bolt onto the bottom of your car so that it can accept a tow bar. 

Generally, it is best to get a custom base plate for your Element so you can be sure it fits correctly. 

A quick Google search for “custom base plate” will provide you with plenty of sites that allow you to order a base plate made for your specific Element. 

RV Hitch Receiver

Now, you need to get yourself an RV hitch receiver. 

And when buying a hitch receiver, make sure it fits the vehicle you are using to tow your Element. 

Additionally, ensure that the hitch receiver height is no more than 3 inches (7.6 cm) higher or lower than your base plate. 

If it is, you will also have to get a hitch adapter to get the hitch to the right height. 

Finally, you must remember to get a Class III hitch receiver because these receivers can carry up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg). 

A Class II will not work because it can only carry a maximum of 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg), which is less than what an Element weighs. 

Dinghy Towing Harness and Auxiliary Braking System

When towing a Honda Element, you will also need to buy a dinghy towing harness to sync the lights on your Element and RV. 

In most states, it is illegal not to do this, so doing so is necessary. 

You should also think about getting an auxiliary braking system. 

These systems make it so that your RV brakes do not have to work harder to stop the extra weight of your Element. 

Using an auxiliary braking system allows your RV to stop faster and makes it less likely that your brakes will fail. 

How to Prepare a Honda Element for Flat Towing 

Below I will describe how to prepare a Honda Element for flat towing. 

But, just keep in mind that these are general rules, so they won’t necessarily be the same for your particular Element. 

If you want to ensure you are flat towing your Element correctly, you should contact Honda for more specific information. 

General steps to flat tow a Honda Element: 

  1. Properly connect all of the equipment mentioned above
  2. Start your Element’s engine
  3. Press down on the brake and shift through all of your Element’s gears 
  4. Shift back to drive and then neutral 
  5. Let the engine run for a few more minutes, and then shut it off 
  6. Turn your Element’s ignition to ACC 1 to ensure the steering wheel stays unlocked 
  7. Make sure the radio and any other electrical equipment, including lights, are off 

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can now tow your Element. 

And when towing, remember that you should never exceed 65 mph (105 kph), or else you could damage the transmission. 

Furthermore, don’t forget that if you tow your Honda for an extended period, you must stop every eight hours and perform steps two and three above to keep your transmission lubricated. 


Unfortunately, when it comes to whether you can flat tow a Honda Element, there isn’t a yes or no answer. 

So, you need to check your owner’s manual or contact Honda to find out whether they recommend flat towing your specific Element.

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