Subaru Weight Limit/Should I trek a cast iron wood stove cross country?

Hello! I’m currently in New Hampshire, about to drive back across the country to Oregon. Here’s the question, my partner found a free wood stove made of cast iron, weighing 425 pounds. She wants to take it with us in the back of the Forester. We need a stove but is it worth it gas mileage wise as well as possible strain it might put on the car? I’ve heard the suggested weight limit for my car is 900 pounds. Thanks

Just like having 2 big people in the back seat, I would do it! Probably will not affect the gas mileage too much, Got an 1893 Round Oak here. Also some older one with cooking plates, more of a squat type at the cabins. What’s your stove?

I don’t think its any big thing as long as you can get the tail gate closed so you don’t suck exhaust in. It’ll give you a little ballast with the winds going across South Dakota.

Just add up everything, see if it’s within the limit. Sounds like you have 900-425=475 pounds to work with. As long as you’re within limits, and everything’s inside (I don’t like roof racks), you’ll be fine. Maybe burn a little more gas, that’s not much $$. Just make sure the stove is good enough to be worth the trouble.

And drive carefully. You don’t need 425# of cast iron slamming into you if you stop quickly. Add a few car lengths to your normal following distance and drive the speed limit if you don’t already, unless you are sure you are not going to meet traffic along your route. An alternative is to rent a trailer for the trip.

Hmmm. Have stove, will travel. The real problem will be getting the stove in and out of the Subaru. If you do get it in the vehicle, I recommend you secure it with some strong straps to some part of the car so it won’t shift.

I would check into having the stove shipped. I doubt that any tie down points would hold that thing in place in an accident. Also what if you have to change a tire in the middle of nowhere?

+1 to Volvo’s post. I would not feel comfortable driving cross country with a 425 lb woodstove in the back. Unless you can get its full weight forward of the rear axle, it’s going to reduce the weight on the car’s front end, and that may have undesirable consequences in crosswinds. And, should the worst happen, that thing might turn into a killer.

I’d leave it in NH and get one in Oregon.

We just returned from Oregon and while we were there, the state had some serious wildfires. One route in our plans was just reopened the day we had planned to travel that highway. It had been closed due to the fires. You may want to check to see if the part of Oregon where you are moving will allow the use of wood stoves. Unless,you have your own wood supply and are willing to split the wood, hearing with wood is that you have to buy is pretty expensive. On our travels through Oregon we saw acres and acres,of wind turbine generator farms. It might be cheaper to heat with electricity.

Why waste the energy…tow it. You will need to either dismantle it or get four guys with weak minds and strong backs to help load and unload. It will not be pretty doing it unless you can build wooden slats to slide it forward and Barack over the carpeting…then pump up your tires. Personally, I would tow it…500 lbs on a light 200 lb utility trailer is nothing for this car. It will be much safer and you won’t know it’s there. Trust me, towing this weight is safer and easier on the car then carrying it…please trust us on this. I doubt you can get the weight forward enough for safety for one thing. You can then overload the rear tires. Secondly, you do need luggage room to travel.

Your car is rated to tow 1500 lbs but carry only 900. With stove, two people and luggage, you will be near the limit. With a trailer, you have weight to spare. That tells you a lot about how the car was designed to move weight.

Truck or minivan or midsize SUV…no problem inside. This is a compact SUV based on a compact car.

Sell the stove in NH and buy a replacement in O.


“or get four guys with weak minds and strong backs . . .”

So that rules me out, because I’ve got a weak mind AND a weak back


The stove and the weight should not be an issue. The only issue is if you plow into someone and 400 pounds of cast iron rockets forward.
Lash it down and pack the rear seat with stuff; preferably softer stuff.

I came upon a head-on wreck one night and stopped to try and help get the guys out. The drunk who caused the accident was ok with just a minor head gash. The 2 guys in the pickup he hit were in bad, bad shape with heavy blood loss.
The pickup had some 5 gallon cans of roofing tar in the back and several of them went clean into the cab and burst open. What wasn’t covered in blood was covered in tar.
The ER was going to be on overload that night cleaning up the mess… :frowning:

The Buick the drunk was driving lost its motor and transmission when they ripped out their mounts, went through the radiator and grill, through a barbed wire fence, and landed 50 feet or so out into a wheat field.
The above might illustrate the word “momentum”. Drive carefully and never assume the other guy is going to do the right thing.

Can you dismantle the stove and spread the pieces around?(BTW,is it a Vermont Casting?) wood heat is expensive nowadays if you have to buy the wood(wood pellets are cheaper in some areas)
I basically use it for emergency heat and a booster,for thr heat pump system,this area is mostly forested and most people will not let you get firewood on their property and you need a permit to get dead and downed on “public land”

There is a movement starting to eliminate wood burning that I think is going to catch on like wild fire. There are are articles in the paper and letters to the editor talking about eliminating fire places, camp fires, and so on. I don’t agree and think its silly, but one might reconsider the long term viability of a wood burner near the left coast. I’m not sure who it is behind the movement.

Drove through rural northern California several years ago. Layers of smoke hanging in the trees from all the wood burning. Cough, cough…

Besides what’s already mentioned…I wouldn’t put a used wood stove inside my vehicle. You’ll have to drive the whole way with the windows down. If it’s new…better have real good tie-downs.

oh my goodness, thank you everyone for all of your very detailed comments. We’re leaning towards a no for safety reasons at this point!

I’m on the fence here.
Will it actually FIT in there ? ( four people lifting 100+lbs each )
Can you tie it down ?
By the time you make something, like cardboard or wood, to slide it IN to the vehicle…THAT remains a sliding surface …and… One slip during braking or cornering…even acceleration…and you could bust out a window. An accident or evasive maneuver will turn it into a projectile.

On the bad side…; had a mechanic’s top tool box in the back of my hatchback…which slid a bit to the rear…and after a little driving, hearing it slightly tapping on the back window by now…BAM ! no more back window !
On the good side…; We used to STUFF my 92 Explorer to the gills with band gear and guys…or tow a trailer too…and have been all over the four corners and resevations and the only problem…just once …was scary brake fade trying to stop all that wieght.

IF you can get it in there without tearing up your interioir trim…
IF you can tie it down.
Then take it with you.

Otherwise …ship it …trailer it…or don’t take it at all.

@jliz You are thinking in the right direction in leaving the stove behind.