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Can A Honda HR-V Be Flat Towed?

Flat towing is a convenient way to bring your vehicle with you when traveling by RV or other oversized vehicles.

When you flat tow, you self-tow the vehicle with all four wheels on the road. Unfortunately, flat towing can stress critical parts like the drivetrain or transmission, which is why only certain models can be towed this way.

A Honda HR-V cannot be flat towed due to the structure of its transmission. Towing an HR-V with its drive wheels on the road causes extensive damage to the drivetrain and transmission. The best way to tow your H-RV is on a flatbed trailer or with a tow dolly.

Both setups are more technical than flat towing but will protect your vehicle from serious damage. 

If you choose to flat tow your HR-V, you also risk voiding your warranty, meaning any repairs are your responsibility. 

Always check your owner’s manual for the best way to tow your vehicle.

What Happens When You Flat Tow a Honda HR-V?

A white Honda HR-V on the road on a sunny day.

A few years ago, the ability to flat tow a vehicle depended on whether or not it had a manual transmission. At the time, most cars with manual transmissions could be put in Neutral and flat towed without issue.

However, both manual and automatic transmissions have improved with technology, and these advancements now require different vehicle care and maintenance. 

Currently, most Honda HR-Vs have a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This type of transmission only works properly when the vehicle is running. 

The primary concern is lubrication. The pump responsible for supplying oil to the vehicle’s internal parts doesn’t operate when the car is off. 

When a vehicle is flat towed, the drive wheels turn, rotating these internal parts. Because the engine is off, these parts will not receive proper lubrication, increasing friction and damaging them. 

Drivetrain and transmission damage from flat towing is especially true for HR-Vs with automatic transmissions, but even recently produced models with manual transmissions cannot be flat towed safely. 

Moreover, flat towing an HR-V can also damage the exterior. You can end up with dents, scratches, or worse, damage to the wheels and tires.

While cosmetic damage rarely affects the vehicle’s performance, you may still need repairs to avoid further problems in the future.

Fortunately, there are safe and reliable ways to self-tow a Honda HR-V without damaging critical parts.

What’s the Best Way to Tow a Honda HR-V?

Flatbed and dolly towing are the two best ways to tow your Honda HR-V. 

Flatbed towing is the best way to tow any model of HR-V. This method uses a flatbed trailer to haul the vehicle while keeping all four wheels stationary and off the ground.

Dolly towing is a good alternative for HR-Vs with two-wheel drive. It uses dollies to raise the vehicle’s front drive wheels while allowing the rear wheels to roll freely. 

Both setups require specialized equipment and some technical knowledge, so consult with an expert before towing your Honda HR-V.

Flatbed Towing a Honda HR-V

Loading an HR-V to a flatbed trailer involves three simple steps:

  1. Driving the car up the trailer ramp.
  2. Parking the car.
  3. Securing the vehicle to the trailer (preferably using a four or eight-tie-down system).

Flatbed towing has numerous advantages – it doesn’t involve any powertrain adjustments, and the trailer wheels are close to the center, ensuring you don’t have balance issues when driving.

Additionally, your HR-V has little to no chance of wear on its parts as the drive wheels aren’t spinning, the engine is off, and the keys are out of the ignition.

Flatbed towing is the most expensive way to tow a vehicle, and unfortunately, most HR-Vs are restricted to this method. However, if your HR-V is two-wheel drive, you can use dolly towing instead.

Dolly Towing a Honda HRV

Dolly towing is cheaper than flatbed towing and involves raising the front drive wheels with dollies and leaving the rear wheels on the ground. (Don’t worry, you won’t rack up any miles since the rear wheels aren’t connected to the engine and odometer.)

Don’t lift your HR-V by the bumper when getting it on the dollies. It isn’t designed to hold the car’s weight.

You’ll also have to release the parking brake.

If you can’t get your HR-V on the dollies safely or cannot release the e-brake, you should consider flatbed towing instead.

While dolly towing may be more convenient or cost-effective, it does come with a higher risk of damage to your vehicle.

The rear wheels can wear out sooner, causing issues with handling. Your HR-V is also more exposed – if you run into poor driving conditions, it can lead to problems with both vehicles.

To avoid damaging your HR-V, only dolly tow over short distances. For long trips, use a flatbed trailer.

What Happens When a Towing Company Incorrectly Tows Your HRV?

A worker from a towing company secures a car on the towing truck platform.

Most towing companies have trained employees that handle your vehicle with care.

In rare cases, however, your HR-V could be towed incorrectly. The most common complaints are bumper damage, damaged/deflated tires from improper setup, or minor damage, including dents and scratches.

To receive compensation, you must prove in court that the towing company is responsible for the damages.

The biggest challenge for most drivers is providing enough evidence. The towing company can claim the vehicle was damaged before they towed it.

A good practice is to take photos of your HR-V before and after towing. You can also take a video of them hooking up your car.

Finally, have someone with you during the process to support your case, if needed.


While your Honda HR-V is a great vehicle to have on a trip, it cannot be flat towed to your destination. 

Previous models with manual transmissions could be flat towed without problem; however, modern vehicles aren’t built to handle the drive wheel rotation without the engine running. 

If you do flat tow your HR-V, you risk damaging the transmission and drivetrain and may void your warranty as your owner’s manual will explicitly recommend against it. 

Instead, your manual will recommend flatbed or dolly towing. 

Flat towing is the safest but most expensive way to tow a vehicle. Dolly towing is effective but only appropriate for vehicles with front-wheel two-wheel drive. 

When you have a professional towing your HR-V, take photos before and after to ensure you can be compensated for any damage.

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