Honda Civic Towing Specifications

by Dave Hendrickson

The Honda Civic Sedan is designed primarily to carry passengers and their cargo -- up to a total of 850 lbs. That said, with planning and preparation your Civic Sedan can tow a trailer that weighs up to 1,000 lbs. when loaded. But remember: That 1,000 lbs. includes the weight of the trailer itself.

Maximum Weight

Civic models other than the Hybrid have a cargo capacity of 850 lbs.

A Honda Civic can carry 850 lbs. of cargo and passengers. So, for example, if you have four 150-lb. passengers, you can still comfortably carry 250 lbs. of cargo (4 times 150 equals 600, plus 250 equals 850). On a Civic Sedan, a portion of that cargo weight can be used to tow a trailer.

Tongue Weight

The weight that a trailer actually applies to the trailer hitch is called the "tongue weight." The "tongue" is the bar that extends forward from the box of the trailer to the hitch on the car. It includes the "coupler" -- the portion of the tongue that slips over the ball of the hitch. When a trailer is loaded properly -- with 60 percent of the load in the front half of the trailer and 40 in the back half -- the tongue weight will be approximately 10 percent of the total weight. A loaded trailer weighing 1,000 lbs., therefore, has a tongue weight of roughly 100 lbs. Use the tongue weight when you are calculating the total load you are carrying. To use the earlier example, a Civic Sedan carrying four 150-lb. passengers and towing a properly loaded 1,000-lb. trailer will still be able to carry 150 lbs. of luggage in the car (4 times 150 equals 600, plus 100 lbs. of tongue weight, plus 150 lbs. of luggage equals 850 lbs.).

Check the Tongue Weight

Fortunately, you will be working with weights that can easily be measured with a bathroom scale. When you place the tongue of the trailer on the scale, make sure that the weight does not go above 100 lbs. The trailer must put weight on the hitch. If it doesn't, it can actually lift the rear of the car, which could affect both your breaks and your ability to maneuver.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR, is the total allowable weight of the vehicle, with passengers, cargo and trailer tongue weight. For the Civic DX, the LX and LX-S models in the United States, and the Canadian DX-G, the GVWR is 3,671 lbs. For the EX-L, the U.S. EX and the Canadian Sport, the GVWR is 3,737 lbs. The Si has a GVWR of 3,924 lbs.

Gross Axle Weight Rating

The Gross Axle Weight Rating, or GAWR, is the maximum allowable weight on each axle. The Civic DX, the LX and LX-S models in the United States and the Canadian DX-G have a GAWR of 1,940 lbs. on the front axle and 1,731 lbs. on the rear axle. The EX-L, the EX model in the United States and the Canadian Sport are rated at 1,973 lbs. on the front axle and 1,764 lbs on the rear axle. The Si can bear 2,094 lbs on the front axle and 1,830 lbs on the rear axle.

Civic Hybrid, Coupe and GX

Honda warns that the Civic Hybrid, Coupe and GX are not designed to tow trailers. Attempting to tow a trailer with these models can void your warranties.

About the Author

Dave Hendrickson has been writing and editing professionally since 1980. He has received awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, Virginia Press Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Hendrickson holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera blue trailer image by Diana Mastepanova from Fotolia.com