Unleashing the Towing Power of the Subaru Forester- Everything You Need to Know!

If you are considering purchasing a Subaru Forester or already own one, you may be wondering about its towing capacity. Known for its versatility and reliability, the Subaru Forester is a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike. Understanding its towing capacity and safely towing with it can further enhance your driving experience. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about towing with a Subaru Forester.

What is the towing capacity of the Subaru Forester?

The towing capacity of the Subaru Forester varies depending on the trim level and model year. Generally, the towing capacity for a Forester ranges from 1,500 to 1,500 pounds. It is important to check the owner’s manual or consult with a Subaru dealer to confirm the exact tow rating for your Forester, as it can vary based on the selected options or add-ons.

What items can the Forester tow safely?

With proper equipment and towing techniques, Forester owners can tow a variety of items, including small trailers, campers, boats, and jet skis. However, it is crucial to note that towing weight should never exceed the Forester’s maximum tow rating. Also, exceeding the towing capacity can cause damage to the vehicle or loss of vehicle control, leading to hazardous driving conditions.

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How does towing affect the performance of the Forester?

Towing with a Forester can impact the performance of the vehicle. When towing, the added weight can reduce the Forester’s acceleration and braking power and increase stopping distances. It may also cause the Forester’s engine to work harder and reduce fuel economy. Therefore, it is essential to adjust your driving habits and allow more time to accelerate and come to a stop. You must also maintain your Forester with regular oil changes, ensure the brakes are in good condition, and monitor tire pressure regularly.

What are some tips for safe towing with the Forester?

To ensure safe and successful towing with your Forester, follow some of these critical tips:

  • Honor the vehicle’s weight capacity and make sure you match the weight of the loaded trailer against the Forester’s towing capacity.
  • Ensure that the items you tow are correctly loaded and evenly distributed on the trailer.
  • Install a trailer hitch, tow hitch, and wiring harness that meet your Forester’s specifications.
  • Always use the appropriate safety chains when towing a trailer.
  • Take time to practice towing in an empty parking lot before embarking on long-distance travel.
  • Adjust your driving habits and allow more time to accelerate, brake, and come to a stop.
  • Check your Forester’s transmission fluid and periodically inspect your brakes.

Towing Accessories

There are also some useful towing accessories you can consider investing in, including:

  • Rearview cameras, which can provide you with a clear view of the trailer and help with backing up.
  • Weight distribution hitches, which can help to keep the Forester level and distribute the weight of the trailer.
  • Trailer sway control devices, which can improve the Forester’s stability when towing in windy conditions.
  • Trailer brake controllers, which can provide added braking power to the trailer.
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Subaru Forester vs Competitors

Compared to its competitors in the compact SUV category, the Subaru Forester has a respectable towing capacity. For instance, the Honda CR-V has a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds, while the Toyota RAV4 has a tow rating of up to 3,500 pounds. However, it is important to keep in mind that a vehicle’s towing capacity is not the only consideration when comparing different models. The performance, stability, and safety features of the vehicle should also be considered when selecting an SUV for towing.


1. What is the maximum weight that a Subaru Forester can tow?

The maximum towing capacity for a Subaru Forester is typically around 1,500 to 1,500 pounds. However, it is essential to confirm the exact rating by checking the owner’s manual or consulting with a Subaru dealer.

2. How do I install a hitch on my Forester?

You can have a Subaru dealership install a hitch on your Forester. Alternatively, you can buy an aftermarket hitch and have it installed by a professional mechanic.

3. Can I tow a trailer with my Forester if I have a CVT transmission?

Yes, you can tow with a Forester with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). However, due to the different transmission setup and unique features, you must follow specific guidelines for safe towing.

4. What should I do if my Forester seems unstable when I am towing a trailer?

If you notice any instability while towing with your Forester, reduce your speed and evaluate the cause of the problem. Overloading the trailer, uneven weight distribution, or equipment malfunction can cause instability.


The Subaru Forester is a capable and reliable SUV with a decent towing capacity. However, when towing, it is crucial to follow safety guidelines, respect the vehicle’s weight capacity, and maintain your Forester correctly. By doing so, you can harness the Forester’s full towing capability and make your towing experience safe and stress-free. Now that you have the insights you need, go ahead and enjoy your next towing adventure with your Forester!

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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