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can a civic pull a small trailer?

I have a 2002 honda civic. I completely understand that the civic is not built to pull a trailer, and that doing so would impact handling and breaking. However, it's all I've got, and I don't want to get something else just to occasionally pull a trailer. The load would be about 350 pounds including the trailer and the weight would be distributed properly. The ride would be mostly around 50-55 mph, not a lot of stop and go. What do you think - would it damage the car?
<br/> thanks,
<br/> Joe


  • edited February 2010
    Why don't you just rent a truck when you need it? Civics are not the best vehicle to install a trailer hitch.
  • edited February 2010
    350 pounds should not hurt anything..IF, IF you can properly install a hitch..There is not much to bolt it to...Your temperature gauge will let you know if it was a bad idea..
  • edited February 2010
    I've installed a hitch on most cars I've owned, even those that aren't recommended for towing...great for bike racks etc. and "towing". It's like "Crocodile Dundee"; and that's not a knife, now this is a real knife...350 lbs, now that isn't towing.
    Proper hitch installation for the proper tongue weight is your real problem. If it can't be done appropriately...don't do it.
  • edited February 2010
    Check your owner's manual. I bet it says not to tow with your Civic. If it does, don't tow with your Civic. When you need to haul things, rent a truck.
  • edited February 2010
    For those recommending not towing, what is the specific part of the car that it would hurt - the engine, transmission, suspension?
  • edited February 2010
    Before you can tow you need a hitch. See it you can find one for your Civic and what the cost is installed.

    The automatic transmission in the Civic isn't very robust. It holds up ok in the car but doesn't handle stress well. Stress means lack of maintenance, running hot in the mountains, etc. People that put bike carriers on the top of their Civics and go blasting down the highway at 75 mph are more likely to have transmission problems.

    If you get a hitch and stick with your 350 lbs (which is about lightest trailer I've ever heard of), stay under 60 mph, and don't take the trailer into the mountains you might not hurt your car. What happens to many is once the hitch is on the car, the trailer gets either bigger, or gets overloaded and they end up towing much more than 350 lbs. Once you have the trailer you'll tend to take it longer distances, on interstates, and up and down some hills. That's when the car winds up dead on the side of the road.

    If use your trailer you should have more cooling for the motor, more cooling for the transmission, and more robust CV joints, drive shafts, and brakes. The Civic needs upgrades of all these systems for and significant over the road towing.

  • edited February 2010
    Let's assume you do have a hitch and 350 is the max including trailer you need to move. There's nothing magically different on the strain of the drive train between towing and loading 350 lbs. of "lardos" in the back. I would argue that if the weight is kept within reason of 350 lbs, the fwd Civic would certainly be better balanced with just 10%-20% tongue weight and lower tire load. Again, this all assumes you can safety hand a hitch. 350 lbs, if I didn't make myself clear, hasn't quite reached the stage of towing IMO. If my old two stroke SAAB could do a 12' aluminum with a motor in the trunk at about 500 lbs..this is fine.
    BTW, don't be seating those "lardos" in the back at the same time. Be considerate of total load capacity.
  • edited February 2010
    I would expect you to wear out your rear struts and experience a loss of traction on the front wheels, which do most of your braking. You should also expect premature transmission failure.

    What I don't understand is, if your owner's manual says not to tow with your Civic, why isn't that enough for you? Why do you need extra justification to follow Honda's recommendations? Isn't the fact that they designed and built the car enough to take it for granted that they know what is best for the car?
  • edited February 2010
    dagosa, I have a question.

    If your total towed weight (including trailer) is 350 lbs., that must be a pretty small trailer with pretty small wheels. Would it not provide rolling resistance aside from its weight?

    My personal opinion is that any cargo that, combined with the trailer, weighs 350 lbs. total, must be small and light enough to fit inside a U-Haul van or in the back of a U-Haul pick-up truck, which the OP can rent locally for a very reasonable price. This is especially true if you consider the cost of the trailer and hitch.
  • edited February 2010
    "If your total towed weight (including trailer) is 350 lbs., that must be a pretty small trailer with pretty small wheels. Would it not provide rolling resistance aside from its weight?"

    I hear where you're coming from and you make a good point, but according to the Civic Forum discussion on this matter, Civics towing is not recommended and still, Civic owners do tow ski doos, snowmobiles etc. effectively with a total weight much greater than 350 lbs.
    They do have a load capacity of 850 lbs.
    Is there rolling resistance, yes; increase wind resistance, yes. But consider the added load to driver and gear of 350 lbs on suspension, drive train, tires and positioned mostly in the rear of the fwd car. This compromises the handling and safety. A tongue weight of less than 15% of that weight, makes the car much more stable. You know from past discussions I'm a fanatic on towing safety and towing 350 lbs with a Civic, is much safer and with less stress on the drive train, than towing the rated 3500 lbs with a minivan.

    Of course this discussion is mute if you have no safe way of mounting a hitch....but I had access to a good "welder " so it wasn't the case with my old Civic and Saab 2 stroke. Would I do go over 55. no; and do it all the time, no. But the unnecessary hitch on my wife's RAV, made a great pick up point for my tractor when she rolled it on it's side in a they do have other uses.
    I'm out of breath and my two fingers hurt Whitey !

This discussion has been closed.