Can A GMC Canyon Be Flat Towed?

If you've never towed a vehicle before, there's no doubt you have a lot of questions and concerns. Determining what method of towing is best for your vehicle can be a little tricky and confusing. In order to determine if the popular method of flat towing is right for your truck, you'll need to be familiar with some of your truck's basic components. We've done the research to determine if it's possible to flat tow your GMC Canyon.

You can safely flat tow the GMC Canyon. Flat towing will only work with select GMC Canyon designs, so you'll need to know what trim level and type of transmission you have. Various GMC Canyon owner's manuals state that only 4x4 models that have a neutral and four-wheel-drive low setting can be flat towed. This would include 4x4 trim levels of the following:

  • Elevation Standard Extended Cab
  • Elevation Crew Cab Short Box
  • Elevation Crew Cab Long Box
  • Denali Crew Cab Short Box
  • Denali Crew Cab Long Box

In this post, we'll cover in detail how to flat tow your Canyon. We've also researched some other common questions about flat towing the GMC Canyon. What equipment do you need? Can you flat tow the Canyon behind a motor home? Will flat towing damage the GMC Canyon's components? For the answers to these questions, keep reading!

A GMC truck with huge 22 inch tires and a modified lifted chassis displayed at a car show, Can A GMC Canyon Be Flat Towed?

How to Flat Tow the GMC Canyon

As promised, here are the steps for flat towing the GMC Canyon in detail. For additional information, please consult your owner's manual.

A huge GMC truck parked on a car dealership

1. Position the vehicles

On a level parking surface, position both vehicles so that the towing vehicle is directly in front of the vehicle to be towed. They should be facing the same direction with several feet of space between them.

2. Securely attach 

Securely attach the towed-vehicle to the tow bar. Attach the tow bar to the base plate on the front of the Canyon. Then attach the other end of the tow bar to the receiving hitch on the towing vehicle.

3. Apply the parking brake

At this point, apply the parking brake of the GMC Canyon. Start the Canyon's engine.

4. Shift the transfer case to N (Neutral)

Carefully place the transfer case into neutral. You should test that it's truly in neutral by shifting the transmission into reverse (R) and then into drive (D), then back to neutral. If you've successfully shifted the transfer case into neutral, then your Canyon will not move when you place the transmission into gear.

5. Shift the transmission into D (Drive)

Shift the Canyon's transmission into drive (D), then turn the engine off. Then shift the transmission to park (P).

6. Restart engine

After waiting ten seconds, restart the Canyon's engine.

7. Shift the transmission to D (Drive) 

Shift the Canyon back into drive (D), then shut off the engine again.

8. Disconnect the negative battery cable 

Open the hood and locate the Canyon's battery. Disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery. Secure the cable with the attached nut and bolt to prevent shifting. As an added precaution, you should then cover the negative battery post with a non-conductive material so that it won't touch the battery terminal.

An up close photo of a car battery

9. Shift the transmission to P (Park)

Place the Canyon's transmission back into park (P).

10. Position steering wheel

Turn the Canyon's steering wheel to make certain that the steering column is unlocked. Flat towing any vehicle with a locked steering column will severely damage it, so be sure it's freely turning.

11. Release the parking brake

With your foot on the Canyon's foot brake, gently release its parking brake. Keep the ignition key in the ignition, turning to "accessory," so that the steering column remains unlocked. You're good to go!

What Equipment Do You Need To Flat Tow A GMC Canyon? 

Your Canyon will not come with all of the accessories needed to properly flat tow it safely. We've included the equipment you'll need to get and have installed. If you're not familiar with this type of installation, find a local professional to help.

Base Plate Kit

This is the kit that attaches to the front of the vehicle being towed. This install usually will take between one and two hours. When it's properly installed, the tow bar will attach to the base plate.

To see this model on Amazon, click here.

Tow Bar

The tow bar attaches to the base plate of the vehicle being towed and to the hitch receiver of the towing vehicle.

To see this model on Amazon, click here.

Wiring Kit 

You'll need a wiring kit so that the brake and tail lights on the vehicle being towed will illuminate when needed. Failure to have a wiring kit properly installed is extremely dangerous, especially at night. Make sure to test this prior to the start of your trip.

To view this model on Amazon, click here.

Automatic Battery Disconnect with Switch

This nifty piece of technology will switch the battery of the towed vehicle off at 12V, making it conserve power. This way, your Canyon won't be dead when you arrive at your destination.

You can view this model on Amazon by clicking here.

Supplemental Braking System

The supplemental braking system connects the braking of the towing vehicle to the vehicle being towed. This ensures proper and timely braking of both vehicles.

To view this product on Amazon, click here.

Can You Flat Tow A GMC Canyon Behind A Motorhome?

A Class A RV parked on a designated camping ground

Towing a GMC Canyon behind a motorhome is certainly possible so long as the model Canyon you have attached is a four-wheel drive. You'll want to be sure to follow all instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer prior to attaching your Canyon to any tow system.

Keep in mind that while the Canyon can be towed behind a motorhome, the Canyon is a heavy vehicle. Make sure that you don't exceed the towing capacity of the motor home. This could lead to damaging the engine and transmission. 

Towing a heavy truck behind the motorhome will use up more fuel, and will make for slower acceleration than you might be expecting. Braking will also be much slower. Consider all of this so that you are fully prepared for how differently your motorhome will handle with a GMC Canyon behind it. You won't want to be on the highway with it and be surprised at how it moves.

To find out more about the Canyon's weight, read our post, How Much Does a GMC Canyon Weigh?

Will Flat Towing A GMC Canyon Damage Its Components?

Not following proper towing procedures will most certainly damage your GMC Canyon. And if flat towing isn't recommended for your specific type of Canyon transmission, or if you try to flat tow a two wheel drive Canyon, then it could have devastating consequences for your truck. Be aware of what your vehicle's specs are before you attempt to use any type of towing method. Always consult your owner's manual for questions.

Remember that you can only safely tow a GMC Canyon if it's a four wheel drive. You'll also need to stop every 500 miles or so and start the engine of the Canyon, letting it idle in neutral for two minutes.

Should you follow the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer, you can safely flat tow a GMC Canyon without damaging its components.

In Closing

If you have the right type of GMC Canyon, you can travel across the country with it behind a motorhome. Be sure that the Canyon you're towing is a four-wheel drive and that you stop every 500 miles so that you can start the engine and let it idle for a brief while.

It's critical that you follow the proper steps in getting your GMC Canyon properly attached to the vehicle that's towing it. Make sure you're following all of the steps and that you have all of the needed accessories prior to beginning. When in doubt, consult your owner's manual or have a professional do the installing and attaching until you feel comfortable.

If you would like to learn more about the GMC Canyon, the following posts contain information that you might find helpful:

Does a GMC Canyon Have a Sunroof?

How Many Miles Can a GMC Canyon Last?

How long is a GMC Canyon? [By truck model and trim level]

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