Lake-Link Home

Subaru towing capacity

1/11/20 @ 12:48 PM
User since 5/8/02

I have  a 2015 Subaru Forester, the manual says I can tow 1000# unbraked, 1500# braked.

I am looking at 2 boats, 1 is 1100# (no problem towing), the other is 1800#.

I have spoken with 2 Subaru dealerships, 1 says that "off the record" I should be okay to tow the heavier boat, possibly put brakes on the trailer, which would be okay with me. The other is going right by the manual, of course he's going to say don't do it.

I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with how much a vehicle an REALLISTICALLY tow, and that is the key word here, realistically. !!!

You don't have to preach to me on the mechanical drawbacks of parts wearing out quicker, we all know that.

Any input you could give me would be appreciated.

I haven't pulled the trigger on the boat yet, I have a little time to mull this over.

I don't know if the manufacturers give a lower rating just to CYA , as they say, because I have towed items behind different vehicles in my 50 years of driving that I know have exceeded the towing capacity of the vehicle. most of my trips are probably well less than 100 miles. I may make one to three trips a year where I need to drive maybe 150 to 300 miles.

Thanks is advance guys, I know someone here has had to have some experience in this matter.

1/19/20 @ 8:51 AM
MEMBER since 2/16/04

My wife's 2016 Forester (touring package?) comes with a larger hitch socket and claims to tow 1500 pounds, according to the manual. When my old Suburban craps out I might have to tow with hers. My boat and trailer rig weighs less than a thou, but I do load it up for vacation.

1/14/20 @ 8:38 AM
User since 5/29/16

Get something designed for towing, it doesn't even have to be a pickup even though that is what I would get

1/13/20 @ 8:05 PM
User since 9/3/11

I tow with a 2009 Honda CRV 2.4 4 cyl..18 to 29 mpg. Boat wth all accessories is 1150 lb..tow capacity on vehicle is 1500lb. No problems for 10 yrs. Travel to MNand northern WI alot...could use more power. But its doable 

1/13/20 @ 5:52 PM
User since 5/8/02

I want to thank all of you who have given thoughts and opinions on this matter.

The way it looks, I am leaning heavily to the lighter boat. I currently have a boat the same size and weight and have been towing that with my Subaru for about 3 years now , so far with no bad side effects, in fact it is hard to tell that there is anything behind the truck when I do tow it. I have taken longer trips and it does cut into the mileage, but I expected that. I just have to use some common sense as far as speed on the freeway and distance between me and the vehicle in front of me.

The one thing with the lighter boat is that I can get some very desirable options, such as spot lock on the trolling motor, extra seats and a few other goodies, since the lighter boat is about $4000 less that what I had originally planned for with the heavier boat.

I still need to talk to the boat rep to see what he is going to throw in on the deal. I will see him at the boat show.

Thanks again people !! 

1/13/20 @ 12:32 PM
User since 10/3/12
Good point from Mr Bass. The engine and tranny arent the only limiting factors. Chassis strength,  tires and suspension are also considered when determining tow capacity. 

1/13/20 @ 12:31 PM
User since 12/26/10

Can't say much if it has a CVT transmission,but if it is traditional type,install a cooler and temp gauge.Understand the limits and should be ok if you don't exceed them.You will get miserable fuel mileage at higher speeds.I generally look at towing capacity,and use 2/3rds of that.A friend has a slightly older Forester,and pulls a utility trailer with a zero-turn mower.Does not go highway speeds though.

I once used someones 1989 S10 4x4 with 2.8 V-anchor,and that sucked towing a 16' Lund Alaskan.Got about 8-10 MPG@55 MPH.And had to drop it into 2nd to pull some small hills.Can't remember what towing capacity was on it,it should have been rated for a Radio Flyer wagon max!

1/13/20 @ 10:41 AM
One shot one kill
MEMBER since 8/12/02

Not a Subaru , but my wife had a Chevy Equinox  . About THE Same Size and capacity  . My mechanic said don't believe it . My small boat was less than 1000 lbs , and he said it would still eat up the transmission. 

Now she has a Subaru . No hitch . I'll use mt Traverse for that .

1/13/20 @ 10:04 AM
User since 6/12/10

There are a bunch of different factors when it comes to determining the towing capacity.  Vehicle power, braking ability, wheel/tire limits, transmission cooling, tongue weight etc.  In the grand scheme of things the car company is just trying to cover their butt and what they put in the book for your towing capacity is what they're willing to stand by for the warranty.  My opinion is that they have a lower towing capacity listed than what the vehicle can actually handle, but how much is a risk you'll be taking.  My car has 400 hp and 480 torque which is plenty enough to pull almost anything, but the towing is listed at only 1000lbs.  In this case the low profile wheels and clearance in the wheel wells are the limiting factor for my vehicle. Not to mention the trans isn't setup to pull things, its set for acceleration and gas mileage.  Like someone else said, 5 miles back from Home Depot and I'll support you doing it, but a 200 mile trip is just not a good idea in my opinion.

1/13/20 @ 6:50 AM
User since 7/11/01

If your boat was a kayak, then yes.  Suburu is not a boat owners vehicle.

1/12/20 @ 11:41 AM
Brent Hess
MEMBER since 12/18/07

I don't have any experience specifically with Subaru, but I have towed trailers that were close to the towing capacity of the vehicle. 

My wife's old Ford Explorer SUV (6 cylinder) had a 3,500 pound towing capacity.  My glass boat with motor weighed around 3,000 pounds.  I typically pulled our boat with my Silverado, but the Explorer had more room, so I thought about taking it on vacation.  

That said, before hooking up the boat to the Explorer and heading north, I decided to give it a test run.  The vehicle performed horribly, the tranny kept down shifting, had no acceleration - overall, it was bad experience. 

Decided to take two vehicles on vacation...  The Explorer to hold the kiddos, and the Silverado to pull our boat. 

Guess my point is, our boat was 500 pounds less than the rated towing capacity of the Explorer, and I wouldn't recommend it.  

On the flip side, put the same boat behind any V8 truck, and you don't even know the trailer is back there unless you look in your mirrors. 

Towing a trailer that equals or exceeds the towing capacity of the tow vehicle makes for a long, miserable drive....

The Woodlands Resort
(262) 661-3968
Advertise here
Advertise here
Please take a moment to visit our sponsors. Without them we would not be here.