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Old 02-01-2020, 07:02 AM   #1
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Towing 2019 Honda Fit with auto trans setting

We recently bought a 2019 Honda Fit with automatic transmission with the thought of using it as a toad. Our old car, a 2016 Jeep Renegade 4 wheel drive was not towable except on a flat bed trailer and the combined weight was too much for our 2018 Winnebago Fuse.

The Honda Fit is a front wheel drive and we have ordered a dolly to use in towing it but I can not get a straight answer out of the Honda service folks about the proper transmission setting when towed on a dolly. I ws first told to place the auto transmission in Neutral to tow it on the dolly. When I asked them why not use Park since it seemed safer they hemmed and hawed and agreed that the rear wheels were free to turn in Park and it would probably be OK, but kept saying to use Neutral. When I cornered one of the advisors and asked straight out why I could not use Park he told me it would be OK in Park, but he seemed very reluctant to say so.

The problem is that I don't know why they did not want to tell me to use park to begin with since the car might roll off of the dolly in Neutral. Is anyone towing a 2019 Hooda Fit with auto transmission on a dolly? And, if so, do you leave the vehicle in Park? Or Neutral?
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:58 AM   #2
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When you think about it from their point, it may make more sense. What happens if they tell you to tow and give you their best thinking but you have a wreck and the tow is involved in a big lawsuit? They get involved and it may cause them a ton just to say they are not responsible. So why do they want to get involved?
Towing a car does involve a certain level of higher risk and I would not want my business to be involved. Yes, it does make it harder to get the straight answer but I also see why.
Have you seen the case where the couple are charging the airline for kicking them off because they smelled so bad? If a business has to pay out the big bucks to defend things, they soon stop getting involved!
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:46 AM   #3
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We are happily towing our automatic Mini Cooper on a dolly in park with zero problems..The only reason I could see for leaving the car in neutral would be when you are tightening the hold down straps over the front wheels because there is a small amount of movement there until the straps are firmly in place..then you could put it in park and switch the ignition off...I have found that there is little or no movement on the dolly once everything has settled..as stated earlier, any salesman would never commit to admitting the car can be towed because of legal ramifications in case of any future accidents or problems down the road..
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Morich View Post
When you think about it from their point, it may make more sense. What happens if they tell you to tow and give you their best thinking but you have a wreck and the tow is involved in a big lawsuit? They get involved and it may cause them a ton just to say they are not responsible. So why do they want to get involved?
Towing a car does involve a certain level of higher risk and I would not want my business to be involved. Yes, it does make it harder to get the straight answer but I also see why.
Have you seen the case where the couple are charging the airline for kicking them off because they smelled so bad? If a business has to pay out the big bucks to defend things, they soon stop getting involved!
I don't see the logic. They are not telling me to not tow. They are telling me to tow putting the automatic transmission in Neutral rather than Drive. That is what is puzzling me.
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:27 PM   #5
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We are happily towing our automatic Mini Cooper on a dolly in park with zero problems..The only reason I could see for leaving the car in neutral would be when you are tightening the hold down straps over the front wheels because there is a small amount of movement there until the straps are firmly in place..then you could put it in park and switch the ignition off...I have found that there is little or no movement on the dolly once everything has settled..as stated earlier, any salesman would never commit to admitting the car can be towed because of legal ramifications in case of any future accidents or problems down the road..
Thanks. We almost bought a Mini Cooper but it was just a bit too low for us. We are not quite as nimble as we used to be ...

My concern is whether or not there is something specific about the Honda Fit such that we should use Neutral instead of Park. It is good to know about the Mini Cooper but I suspect that the engineering that went into it is different from that for the Honda Fit and perhaps it has some bearing. I hope not, but perhaps, and that is why I asked about it.
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:11 PM   #6
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Consider the rear wheels of your Honda Fit are just like wheels on a trailer..they are totally disconnected from any part of the Honda's transmission so if the question was concern about wrecking the tranny towing with a dolly there is nothing to worry about..except to make sure the emergency brake is off! However trying to tow 4 down then certainly there is cause for being cautious and in some cases the manufacturer will advise against it.There are also special instructions regarding 4 wd and all wheel drive and then you must stick to the manufacturers instructions..its a whole new ball game with that set up..
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:06 PM   #7
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Consider the rear wheels of your Honda Fit are just like wheels on a trailer..they are totally disconnected from any part of the Honda's transmission so if the question was concern about wrecking the tranny towing with a dolly there is nothing to worry about..except to make sure the emergency brake is off!
That is exactly what I have been worrying about and that is why I posted the question. I had hoped that someone with a 2019 automatic Honda Fit might have been dolly towing and could let me know of any issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reniram View Post
However trying to tow 4 down then certainly there is cause for being cautious and in some cases the manufacturer will advise against it.There are also special instructions regarding 4 wd and all wheel drive and then you must stick to the manufacturers instructions..its a whole new ball game with that set up..
The automatic Fit can not be flat-towed. That would have been a lot simpler because (1) I have experience flat-towing and (2) there is less to worry about. Just the RV, the car and the tow bar. Unfortunately that does not work in this case. The manual can be flat-towed but not the automatic.
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Old 02-01-2020, 05:33 PM   #8
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The logic is pretty simple for them. When asked, don't involve themself in anything that might come back to hurt them.
I would be in much the same place if I were in a business of giving advice. I don't " think" there would be any harm but then why place myself at any risk when just choosing not to give advice is much safer.
When a drunk falls over the railing at a ballgame, the person who built the stadium may be listed as a defendant!
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:04 AM   #9
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The logic is pretty simple for them. When asked, don't involve themself in anything that might come back to hurt them.
Right. But that would mean telling people they can not tow, not telling them to tow with the transmission in Neutral. Telling them they can not tow is the simplest way to stay out of trouble. Telling them to use Neutral or telling them to use Park are both higher risk actions.

But they are not saying "Do not tow". They are saying tow this way, not that way, so they are not taking the low risk course.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:54 AM   #10
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No direct experience, but I think REMIRAN has it right. The back wheels are freewheeling either way so park or neutral doesn’t matter. But the front wheels are a bit better off when you are in neutral because they are disconnected from the drivetrain. Any small movements of the front wheels are not going to be working against the drivetrain. Probably not a big deal if you forget and leave it in Park, but may as well follow their advice..
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:27 PM   #11
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Park vs Neutral isn’t going to keep your car on the dolly with all the bouncing down the road. The tire straps and backup safety chains are what do that.

More importantly, depending on the type of dolly, your steering wheel needs to be able to turn. If it locks in park, that may be the why. Most newer cars don’t have steering wheel locks anymore.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:57 PM   #12
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The other concern about towing in Park is that is is very easy to have the Electric Parking Brake auto apply itself when you turn off the ignition with the vehicle in Park. It will be a bad day if you drove off after that happened. Destroyed tires best case, fire worst case.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:38 PM   #13
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AJ Mike: We have a 2018 Honda Fit automatic on a Tow Dolly and tow it with transmission in park with emergency brake off. No issues ; 1072 miles so far. Owner’s manual states it can me towed with front wheels on a dolly. Issue is the steering wheel not the transmission. The type dolly we have requires the wheel to NOT lock - must be free to move. Check your manual for your model.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:12 PM   #14
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Why Ask

Actually on a tow dolly you can to a Front wheel drive in any gear you want and not damage the drive train because the front wheels are off the ground. The thing I am trying to figure out is why you would ask the dealer and then shop for a different answer.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:00 AM   #15
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Actually on a tow dolly you can to a Front wheel drive in any gear you want and not damage the drive train because the front wheels are off the ground. The thing I am trying to figure out is why you would ask the dealer and then shop for a different answer.
I am not "shopping" for a different answer; I am trying to understand.

I asked the dealer and the techs gave me an answer, but could not explain why it was the case. When I pressed them as to why they responded that I could use either. Given that I wanted other opinions.

The real problem is the using Neutral instead of Park seems like it would be more dangerous since the front wheels are free to turn and could more easily roll off the dolly. Given that I wanted to know why it was better to use than Park. Had the techs at the dealer said "Use Neutral and here is why you don't want to use Park" I would not have posted my question on the forum.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:29 AM   #16
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AJ Mike: We have a 2018 Honda Fit automatic on a Tow Dolly and tow it with transmission in park with emergency brake off. No issues ; 1072 miles so far. Owner’s manual states it can me towed with front wheels on a dolly. Issue is the steering wheel not the transmission. The type dolly we have requires the wheel to NOT lock - must be free to move. Check your manual for your model.
Thank you. That is exactly the information I have been looking for.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:46 AM   #17
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Why neutral

The reason they want you to tow in neutral is to avoid unnecessary stress in the transmission housing. When your car’s shift lever is in the Park position, an internal lock in the transmission is set to freeze the axle. When using a dolly, there can be some front to back and axle movement and rotation during turns that could stress this transmission lock.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:45 AM   #18
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The reason they want you to tow in neutral is to avoid unnecessary stress in the transmission housing. When your car’s shift lever is in the Park position, an internal lock in the transmission is set to freeze the axle. When using a dolly, there can be some front to back and axle movement and rotation during turns that could stress this transmission lock.
Thanks Jim; I can see the logic. Just the same, the 2018 owner’s manual says nothing about this and the people AJmike was dealing with (apparently) didn’t bring that up. As such I’m just wondering how much of an issue it really is. We leave it in park on the dolly tow and have had no problems. We have a 4000 mile “grand circle” tour of San Diego - Seattle - Glacier - Yellowstone - Santa Fe - San Diego coming up....with the Honda Fit on “Dolly”...towed while in “park”....will post results upon return.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:59 AM   #19
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Yup, I get it.

For most situations, I agree that leaving it in Park shouldn’t pose a problem so I’m not surprised that your way has been successful. If you have ever rebuilt an automatic transmission, however, you would see that these Park ‘locks’ involve engaging the drive train to a cast aluminum housing.

If I felt strongly about wanting it in Park, I think I would just make sure that after the axle is strapped down, the car is started, put into Drive and then back into Park to ensure all the Initial stress on the transmission is eliminated.

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Old 02-10-2020, 11:01 AM   #20
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BS

My sincerest apologies for bursting some bubbles here, but the REAL answer to the confusion is this: Those much recommended "trained" Honda Service people (in spite of their Certificates) are often times even less informed than the customer asking the question. I.e., they don't know the answers to many questions. Consequently, they are liable to tell you anything to get you out of their face.

We bought a new 2016 CRV which: a. Occasionally refused to proceed from a stop which made left turns across traffic more than a little dangerous, and b. Overheated the engine without an "Overheat Indication" on the instrument panel. Though the vehicle was "in Warranty", the local Honda Dealer Service Managers were unable to diagnose or explain either issue. Some of their explanations were simply absurd. Sold the CRV.

We towed a 2019 FIT to Canada on a dolly in PARK with no ill effects. However, I fail to see an issue with towing a FIT on a dolly in NEUTRAL. The dolly we used had both front wheel straps and safety chains around the front axles. No way that FIT was coming off the dolly.
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