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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to all who've providing invaluable insight into the Element's towing performance. I read everything I could find before my wife and I bought a teardrop trailer a few months ago.

We'd been towing this 1000 pound "little guy" to local campsites recently with absolutely no issue whatsoever, and decided last weekend to have a real test... Up to Big Bear Lake here in Southern California. The road tops out at close to 8,000 feet, and is every bit a twisty, turny mountain road. Before that was freeway speeds and long 6% climbs on a toll-road. For the latter, just dropped the manual transmission into fourth, and cruised along at just over 60mph. No problems, and the temperature needle never budged.

On the mountain roads, which at times were more like 10+% grades, the Element didn't blink. Handling was great, and gas-mileage took about a 2mpg hit.

Next up: a long trip from Southern CA to the Redwoods!

Just wish more people saw the potential of this car, and Honda kept making them. Ours is now 10 years old but only has 87K miles on it. Our desire is to get at least 5 more years of pleasure from it. After that, I just don't see any other cars that look as promising.
 

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A cool Setup! Just getting to think about one also!
 

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i wouldn't tow with my E

those are very cool little trailers. I've seen one up close. I am still very skeptical about towing with my E, especially an auto tranny. I've been a firm believer in always having a larger more powerful tow vehicle than needed. I've towed boats and travel trailers before but only with large v8 motors and heavy duty transmissions with electric brakes. trust me, it is no fun being stranded somewhere far from home because you've got a blown transmission, or radiator overheating. hasn't happened to me, but to my friends it has. Over time, the trans components take a beating, even with reg maintenance. I just don't think the E was ever designed to be a tow vehicle. period. Just because it CAN tow, doesn't mean it SHOULD tow. The E is rated to tow no more than 1500 lbs max. That's not counting the cargo and passengers which cannot exceed 670 lbs. With four passengers, let's say two adults that weigh 200 and 170 each, 2 teens that weigh 120 each, your at 610 lbs leaving only 60 lbs for cargo. it adds up fast. I can see MAYBE towing a light single axel utility trailer, but thats it. Just my .03 cents folks.
 

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Zapo, you may be confusing payload with tow limits. The payload would be passengers, gear in the car, and tongue weight of the trailer you are towing. A 1500lb trailer produces a tongue weight of 150 lbs. At worst, subtract the tongue weight from payload, and you get 525 lbs. That leaves enough for 2 adults and some gear, or 2 adults, kids, and light gear. A trailer that weighs 1000 lbs probably has another 250 lbs of gear, supplies, etc, which leaves 250 lbs in which to add more gear to the trailer or shift the gear from the E to the trailer.

So the E can safely tow 1500 lbs and stay within safe payload limits. You'll seriously dent your gas mileage, and the transmission needs more service, but you can do this.

That said, there are better vehicles for towing, especially heavier loads.
 

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Dave-

thanks. actually, I know the differences. I should have been more clear. I know it can tow, I just don't think it's a good idea, especially with an auto trans. Going up and down grades, lacking power and using the engine to brake is lots of wear and tear. The E already is underpowered unloaded. Going camping, particularly dry camping, requires A LOT of gear. Food, water, and supplies plus people. Always better to have more tow vehicle than needed than need it and not have it available to you.
 

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Just wish more people saw the potential of this car, and Honda kept making them.
My thoughts exactly!
 

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Zap has an opinion...but I'm all for ras for having actually done the trip and provided real actual data on the findings. Way to go ras, i just recently picked up a 08 AT E and have loads of plans on trips and towing trailers and sights to see. Reading posts like yours really keeps my enthusiasm going and confirms my great purchase :) happy trails
 

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I towed a 670 lb Honda goldwing on a dual axle trailer that weighed 1730 lbs earlier this year, about 100 miles. (2wd Auto). The E didnt seem to give 2 ****s. Did everything it needed to do, no problems. I wouldnt question doing it again. I plan on stiff-hitching a 1967 vw squareback with a curb weight of 2200 lbs later this year. The E is capable. Manufacturers give you guidelines that will keep you from coming in with warranty issues, they seriously undersell their vehicles. The best thing you can do in any towing situation is to hook it all up and get a feel for the car before taking it out for a 300 mile trip. Just be smart about what you plan on doing and keep other drivers safety in your mind as well as your own.
As far as "it cant" or "you shouldnt be doing it"...it's your car, just be smart about it.
 

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I towed a 670 lb Honda goldwing on a dual axle trailer that weighed 1730 lbs earlier this year, about 100 miles. (2wd Auto). The E didnt seem to give 2 ****s. Did everything it needed to do, no problems. I wouldnt question doing it again. I plan on stiff-hitching a 1967 vw squareback with a curb weight of 2200 lbs later this year. The E is capable. Manufacturers give you guidelines that will keep you from coming in with warranty issues, they seriously undersell their vehicles. The best thing you can do in any towing situation is to hook it all up and get a feel for the car before taking it out for a 300 mile trip. Just be smart about what you plan on doing and keep other drivers safety in your mind as well as your own.
As far as "it cant" or "you shouldnt be doing it"...it's your car, just be smart about it.
It's your car, just be smart about it...
+1
 

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Agreed. +3. just my opinion. I'm happy for you guys that do tow. Life is short. Enjoy all you can and be safe!
 

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Keep Your Towing In Perspective

I regularly tow my 2012 HD Ultra on a flat open trailer and experience very little problems. My bike weighs about 900 lbs and the trailer I use weighs 1000lbs. The load always rides safe with no handling issues whatsoever. I would rather have the 5spd manual but the auto still does the job although 4th gear is the optimal traveling gear. It will not stay in 5th, even at hiway speeds on flat ground so 60-65 mph is my top speed. That puts the overall gas milage at about 16.5-17.5mpg each tank. I've been back and forth to Florida twice with no issues at all and anticipate doing it again this March.
 

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If you wanted to be really conservative, you could subtract the weight of the hitch from the 670 new sticker capacity, and figure than any mass increase from upsizing wheels and/or tires will increase braking distance. Also, the 670 rating that you haven't installed any accessories, like side steps, roof rack or box. Then leave your Element parked in your garage and rent a F3500. :LOL: It'll last forever.

Not knowing any of that, I never had a problem hauling 4 adults, and a full load of gear insisde the back that easily topped 1000# at interstate speeds. :lol: The OEM tires lasted 40K miles, and when I changed the brake pads at 40K, they had half their original thickness.

The trailer towing numbers Honda gives are overly conservative, and probably based on handling rather than transmission capacity. Unless you are towing under the worst possible conditions, and foolish enough to speed up or down a real mountain while towing, staying within Honda's 1500/150/650 numbers shouldn't be a problem. A 1500# trailer without electric brakes would increase braking mass 50%, so if you're concerned, get one with brakes..
 

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better safe than sorry

I have a towitch installed and have never used it, offered to tow for a friend recently until he told me it was a 5-7000 lbs trailer. I went home and read my manual and politely declined!
 
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