View Full Version : Towing a 2003 Honda Odyssey

05-19-2010, 09:47 PM

I want to tow an 03' Odyssey on a dolly. I understand most Honda's cannot be towed with a tow bar including our mini van. I acquired a Master Tow 80THD with Hyd Brakes to do the job which meets all the weight and width requirements..

A few questions from a procedural standpoint for those of you out there with experience on this.
1- Once you climb the vehicle into the tire slot, do you set the parking brake once parked?
2- if yes, do you leave the transmition in Park as well as the parking brake set for the towing? IOW, does the parking brake locks all 4 tires?
3- Is there any minimum time you recommend running the engine before driving the vehicle after towing? Honda doesn't have any info on that.
4- Is there any speed limit while towing that I should be aware of (not road limit) that could make handling of RV more difficult if not observed?
5- Any gouge on how often should I grease the bearings on the dolly and check brake fluids?

Thanks in advance

Chuck v
05-20-2010, 12:11 AM

I tow the Acura MDX four down and it is an AWD. I did quite a bit of searching about this topic and found many older Honda models are can be towed. How did you come to believe that your car cannot be towed?

The Remco site states that your vehicle is tow ready without any modifications and gives specifics here:
http://www.remcotowing.com/vehicles/273 ... &year=2004 (http://www.remcotowing.com/vehicles/2739?make=526&model=751&year=2004)

The Roadmaster site also lists proper base plates for your Honda...


05-20-2010, 06:23 AM
Hi Chuck,

I could not find specific towing information on the owners manual so I went to the local Honda dealer and asked. They said with the exception of some civic models, all Honda vehicles should not be towed as it will overheat the transmission and eventually leading it for failure.

Do you know If you set your parking brake does it hold all 4 wheels or just the drivetrain (FWD) ? Thanks again.

Chuck v
05-20-2010, 11:56 AM
Sorry, I don't know the specifics of the parking brake on your Odyssey. You can try jacking up one rear wheel and see if it is free to turn when the parking brake is set.

Yes, the Honda dealers are pretty non-committal on the tow capabilities of their models -- most likely an inoculation against warranty claims, etc. My Acura specifically has a section in the manual on being towed behind a motor home with a detailed procedure to set it up in regard to cycling through the gears to circulate the transmission fluid prior to towing. If a brain dead owner did not do that conscientiously, it might result in more service claims than the manufacture thought they were liable for and so they just quit publishing that the MDX was tow capable after the 2005 model year...


05-20-2010, 08:03 PM
I also own a 2009 Accord that the owners manual states it is not designed for towing. However, it does say that if due to damage you must tow it with the front wheels on the ground, you must turn the engine on, step on the brake and go through all gears and go from D to N to ensure transmission fluid flows in all gears.

My Odyssey operates with the same limitations, but I was concerned towing it flat for long periods of time. You are also limited to 50 MPH max speed and 35 MPH continuos. Thanks for your input.

Chuck v
05-20-2010, 09:35 PM

I double checked with the Motorhome Magazine dinghy towing guide for 2003 http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/output.cfm?ID=201493 and it only lists the CRV, Element and Pilot as recommended for towing flat, so I stand corrected.

My Acura MDX (similar mechanically to the Pilot...) also is approved for flat towing up to 65 MPH and 8 hours with out reinitializing the transmission cycling regimen...