The other day, a friend and I were discussing the vehicles that can be used as a tow behind vehicle. For those that might not know, this is called “flat towing”. We were discussing trucks that could be flat towed and he mentioned the Ford F-150 truck.
I didn’t know if it could be flat towed, so I did some research and this is what I found.
Can A Ford F150 Be Flat Towed?
Yes, you can flat tow the Ford F150 pickup truck as long as it is the four wheel drive (4WD) version. If you do not have a 4WD version, you may consider dolly towing.
Some older model F-150’s have restrictions on flat towing, so keep reading to learn more.
However, your Ford F150 must be equipped with a four-wheel-drive to do so. This is crucial and if you do you know what four-wheel drive means, to put it simply, it means when the engine is on, it sends power to the transmission which is then divided equally on all four wheels. Or, if you want a more in-depth definition, here is a good one found online:
Four-wheel drive, also called 4×4 or 4WD, refers to a two-axle vehicle drivetrain capable of providing torque to all of its wheels simultaneously. It may be full-time or on-demand and is typically linked via a transfer case providing an additional output drive shaft and, in many instances, additional gear ranges.
So you can flat tow your Ford F150 but you need to ensure that it is indeed equipped with a four-wheel drive. If you are not sure, you can check your driver’s manual (sometimes referred to as an owner’s manual). There should be a section dedicated to towing and it will tell you if your Ford F150 is equipped with a four-wheel-drive or not.
If you have lost your owner’s manual or if you had bought your F-150 used or pre-owned and the previous owner did not give you the owner’s manual, then you can do a quick internet search.
If all else fails and you want to be one hundred percent certain, you can always call your local Ford dealer. You can tell the representative your Ford F150, year, and trim level, and he or she can let you know if your Ford F150 is equipped with a four-wheel-drive or not.
Is the Ford F150 Ideal for Flat Towing?
Some trucks, SUVs, and vans can be flat towed if needed but others were engineered and built to be flat towed. Luckily for Ford F150 owners, the Ford F150 seems to be one of those cars that were built to be flat towed.
Here is what Car and Driver’s online article, titled “Best Cars to Tow Behind an RV: Everything You Need to Know,” says: they are all for flat towing the Ford F150.
From 2009 to 2018, Ford made the F-150 perfect for towing behind a Class A motorhome. It is the ideal size to have behind your RV, while also providing extra space for carrying bikes and other camping related gear. Your F-150 will need to be equipped with a four-wheel drive to make it flat-towable.
Also, any F-150 made before 2012 will need to have a manual-shift transfer case because recreational towing isn’t allowed if a vehicle has an electronic-shift transfer case. You’ll find that the F-150 has no speed limit or distance restrictions, just like the Wrangler.
How Do You Tow A Ford F150?
Now that you know it can be done, you are probably wondering how it can be done, right? Well, luckily for all your Ford F150 owners out there, the steps are quite simple.
Please note: Before you get started, it is important to check all of your surroundings. Make sure no young children are hanging about the area where you are about to tow your Ford F150. Also if this is your first time, be sure to read some articles on how to flat tow your Ford F150.
If you are more of a visual learner, then there are plenty of great videos to watch on how to flat tow your Ford F150. Or if you are more of a hands-on learner, then do not be afraid to ask a friend or family member who has flat towed their Ford F150 before to lend you a hand.
You can either watch him or her flat-tow their vehicle (or at least set it up) or you can have him or her be in the car with you, instructing you, as you flat tow your Ford F150.
This is important to mention because flat towing your Ford F150 incorrectly can cause lasting (permanent) damage to your engine or transmission.
● Step 1: Fasten The Base Plate
- The first step is to fasten the base plate kit to the rear of your towing vehicle (please note, you should the type of towing vehicle should be chosen based on its size and how well it works with your Ford F 150).
- The specifics do depend on the model of your Ford F 150).
● Step 2: Fasten the Tow Bar
- Next, you will want to fasten the tow bar to your desired base plate. You can use as many attachment points as possible.
- Please note specifics vary based on the base plate kit that is being used.
● Step 3: Level the Tow Bar
- Step three is leveling out the low bar in accordance with the height of your Ford F 150.
- If you are wondering why Ford F150s might be of different heights please consider that many Ford F150 owners (or just car owners in general) choose to get bigger rims for their vehicles. The bigger rims hence, add a lot of height to the vehicle.
● Step 4: Fasten the Tow Bar
- Next, you will want to fasten the tow bar to the frame of your Ford F150.
● Step 5: Connect the Tow Bar
- Step five will be you connecting the tow bar wiring from your chosen towing vehicle to your Ford F150.
● Step 6: Connect Your Safety Cables
- Step six is connecting your safety cable and linking it to the long cable from the towing vehicle hitch to the base plate arms on your Ford F150.
- If you are unsure about how to do this, be sure to look up a picture so you know what the base plate arms on your Ford F150 look like.
● Step 7: Fasten the Supplemental Braking System
- Next, you will want to securely and properly fasten the supplemental braking system designated for your Ford F150 model.
● Step 8: Press the Engine Button
- For step eight, you now must begin your Ford F150 setup process by pressing the engine’s start-stop button and making sure that you are not pressing the brake pedal while doing so.
- This step might be a bit counter-intuitive for some people since they are used to pressing on the brake when they start their cars.
● Step 9: Check for the Green Light
- Step nine is a simple one, make sure that the button blink green.
- Once it does, then you can press the brake pedal.
● Step 10: Change the Four Wheel Drive to 2H
- For step ten, you will want to press the brake pedal while turning the four-wheel-drive mode selector to 2H. Then, you will want to shift the transmission to the neutral position.
● Step 11: Shift the Four Wheel Drive Mode
- After you set it to neutral, you will want to shift the four-wheel-drive mode selector from 2H to 4L five times.
- Please note this will only work if you complete this step in under seven seconds.
● Step 12: Check for the Display Message
- Now the last step, step twelve, is quite simple. All you do is take a look at your instrument cluster reading. You should receive a message saying “Neutral Tow Enabled Leave Transmission in Neutral.”
- And there you have it, you are done.
The Ford F-150 can make a great tow behind truck as long as it is properly equipped. Knowing that manufacturers like Ford are frequently updating and changing their transmissions and 4WD transfer cases from year to year, it’s always a good idea to check your owners manual and/or with your dealership to make sure nothing has changed between the writing of this article and the current model yet.