Can you flat tow a GMC Canyon?


Can you flat tow a GMC Canyon?

The GMC Canyon is a rugged pickup that can take you anywhere. For years, it has provided a reliable, hardworking platform, plus excellent performance figures. So, it makes for a perfect option as a flat towed vehicle. So, let’s find out if it’s possible.

Can you flat tow a GMC Canyon?

You can flat tow the GMC Canyon, as long as it’s a 4×4. Thanks to its transfer case, you can shift it into neutral. This truck shares its components with the Chevrolet Colorado, so you can also flat tow the Colorado. Thanks to its relatively low weight, this pickup makes for an excellent towed vehicle.

Many forums and magazines list the Canyon as a viable option for flat towing. These are one of the best ways of informing yourself about the best and worst vehicles to pull behind your RV.

Many community members refer to these as toads or dinghy vehicles (because they resemble a dinghy pulled from the RV). You might need additional information using these terms.

An essential aspect of flat towing these vehicles is that they must be 4×4. If your Canyon is a 2WD, then you cannot use them as toads. Doing so could lead to irreparable damage.

So, we’ve seen that 4×4 is essential for flat towing. In the following sections, we’ll find out which Canyons come with this option.

Why your GMC Canyon has to be 4×4 for flat towing?

The GMC Canyon comes with either RWD or 4×4 options. The differences between the two versions are essential for understanding how flat towing affects them. In an RWD vehicle, the engine drives the rear wheels through a transmission and a differential.

The differential connects directly to the wheels. It helps control the rotation of each so that there’s no loss of traction and no mechanical damage. So, if you tow the vehicle without disengaging the transmission, you are forcing internal components to turn at an unintended rate.

This forced movement can lead to faster wear or complete failure of components like the gears, axles, and seals. The way to avoid this is by disengaging the transmission, but RWD Canyons cannot do this.

4×4 trucks have the engine send power to both axles. They also use a transmission but have a rear and front differential as well. Since they can tackle challenging terrain, most of these vehicles come with low-range gearing. Think of it as a set of larger gears that provide more torque.

To access low-range, these Canyons have something called a transfer case. This set of gears allows the driver to shift from high- to low-range gearing. First, you have to slip into neutral, which disconnects both the transmission from both the rear and front wheels.

Shifting into neutral is vita. This way, the wheels can spin freely, and neither the transmission nor differentials get damaged.

There are several GMC Canyon trim levels, but not all of them come with 4×4. Also, there are various configurations, such as the standard cab and crew cab and short or long beds.

So, these are the GMC Canyon trim levels that you can flat tow. Remember that they have to be 4×4 options:

  • Elevation Crew Cab with short and long beds
  • Denali Crew Cab with short and long beds
  • Elevation Standard body with an extended cab
  • AT4, all versions.

So, we’ve discussed the trim levels that you can flat tow. But, the process isn’t just hooking up the truck and the RV. You need to consider many details, so let’s check them out in the following section.

How to flat tow a GMC Canyon

In this section, we’ll go through a step-by-step process of flat towing a GMC Canyon. Plus, we’ll give some more details that you need to keep in mind when doing so.

Make sure it’s a 4WD

Yes, we’ve been pretty insistent on this aspect, but it’s crucial. First, remember that it has to come with a two-speed transfer case (high- and low-range gearing). In GMC vehicles, you can select either 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low, which are necessary for flat towing.

Position the vehicles correctly

It’s essential that both the Canyon and the RV area at a level surface. Also, they must be aligned, with considerable clearance between them.

Attach the vehicles

You must attach the tow bar to the towed vehicle. To do this, you need to have base plates on your Canyon that connect to the tow bar. Ensure that the tow bar is securely fastened, then attach the other end to the motorhome, using the hitch.

Start the engine

Starting the engine allows you to shift into neutral with proper lubrication. Then, when the engine is running, it helps distribute oil to vital components inside the transmission.

Shift transfer case into neutral

Twist the knob on the dash until you reach an N (for neutral), which will disengage the transmission. To ensure that the vehicle is in Neutral, shift into Drive and Reverse. It shouldn’t move. Leave the shifter in Neutral.

Turn the engine off and leave in ACC/ACCESSORY option

If your Canyon comes with a start button, you can press it once without stepping on the brake to ensure that the steering doesn’t lock.

Disconnect the negative battery cable

This step is vital because it ensures that there is no current left in the system. Plus, it avoids any unwanted electrical damage. Cover the battery terminal (known as a post) with a non-conductive material to prevent additional sparks.

Check steering is unlocked

Move the steering wheel to ensure the steering column isn’t locked. If it’s locked, the wheels won’t turn with the RV, leading to an accident.

Release the parking brake

Press the brake pedal and release the parking brake. Since the surface is level, the vehicles shouldn’t roll. Now, you’re good to go.

If you have any questions or comments, always be sure to check the owner’s manual for more information. It’s also important to know if your dealership covers flat towing under warranty. Since the GMC Canyon is so popular for this, it shouldn’t be an issue.

We’ve seen the steps for safely flat towing your GMC Canyon, so here are some of the tools that you require to do so.

These are the tools you need to flat-tow a GMC Canyon.

Baseplate kit

A base plate attaches to the front of the tow vehicle. It’s easy to install, taking no longer than two hours. But, you have to keep in mind that the base plate is vehicle-specific, and you might need to go through minor modifications.

Tow bar

Triangular in form, this bar connects the towed vehicle with the RV. Ensure that it fits the base plate kit.

Wiring harness

Your towed vehicle needs functioning tail and brake lights. This wiring sends power from the RV to these and other vital components.

Supplemental braking system

These kits help power the towed vehicle’s brakes so that both the RV and the dinghy vehicle stop simultaneously.

These are the essential tools. But you can also include better rear-view cameras and automatic battery disconnect switches.

Closing thoughts:

Many people wonder whether they can flat tow a GMC Canyon. This article aims to answer this and also provide critical tips for doing so safely.

You can flat tow the GMC Canyon, as long as it comes with a two-speed transfer case, and you can shift into 4-low. With these options, this truck is one of the most popular options for flat towing.

Can you flat tow a GMC Canyon?

Weighing in at 4,180 pounds, the Canyon isn’t very heavy, which means most RVs can tow it easily. Plus, thanks to its transfer case, there are no restrictions on speed and clearance.

The process is straightforward and easy, but there are some precautions that you have to take. First, ensure that you follow all the steps in the owner’s manual to avoid any damage.

Flat towing is an excellent way of taking a backup car with you on those long trips across the US. Of course, the GMC Canyon is a perfect option. Hopefully, this article answers all your inquiries on the topic.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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