Can You Flat Tow A Mazda 3? [And How To]

Did you recently have car trouble and wondered if a Mazda 3 can be flat towed? Or maybe you’re planning to go on a vacation somewhere and want to bring your Mazda 3 along, safely towed at the back of your RV? Well, wonder no more because we have the answer plus all the explanations for you.

Mazdas, in general -not just Mazda 3- cannot be flat towed. The equipment that is used to tow a Mazda safely flat can damage the front end. Additionally, modern internal components can be damaged if you flat tow your Mazda 3.

However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot bring your Mazda 3 on your vacation towed behind your RV at all. There are special ways to tow a Mazda 3, and you can find out all about them in the succeeding sections. Read on!

Can you flat tow a Mazda 3?

In the past, many cars with manual transmissions, including some Mazda 3 models, could be flat towed. Some automatic transmission cars were also flat tow-friendly. However, modern vehicles have electronics controlling the gear ratios, making flat towing unsuitable.

The Mazda 3 has a pump in its transmission system to supply oil for lubrication. When the car is off, the pump doesn't work, and flat towing can cause damage due to lack of lubrication in components like the differential.

A black Mazda 3 photographed at a small parking lot with a Mazda 3 sticker on the side doors

Some models have steering wheels that lock when the ignition is off. In such models, flat towing is not an option, as the front wheels won't turn.

How to Disengage the Electric Parking Brake on a Mazda 3

EPB Locks Rear Wheels When Engaged

Newer Mazda 3 models have an Electric Parking Brake (EPB). It locks the rear wheels when turned on. This can make flat towing hard unless you disengage it properly.

Two Methods to Cancel EPB Auto Operation

There are two methods possible: the first involves switching the ignition on, turning off AUTOHOLD, pressing the EPB switch continuously for 2 seconds or longer until a sound is activated, then releasing the EPB switch and switching the ignition off within 5 seconds after the sound activation.

The second method also starts with switching the ignition on and turning off AUTOHOLD but then requires switching the ignition off while keeping the EPB switch pressed.

In both methods, a sound and a change in the EPB switch indicator light's flashing pace confirm the cancellation of the auto operation. It's also advised to shift the shift lever to the 1st gear or the R position for a manual transmission or shift the selector lever to the P position for an automatic transmission when parking the vehicle and to use wheel blocks.

It's important to note that the auto operation might not cancel if the vehicle is parked on a steep slope.

Additional Safety Steps When Parking

To ensure the safety of both the vehicle and others on the road, it's recommended to seek professional advice for flat towing. Contacting a Mazda dealership or a professional towing company can provide clarity on the necessary steps for flat towing a Mazda 3.

Before attempting any towing, it's crucial to consult with professionals or the local Mazda dealership about the EPB disengagement and other necessary preparations to prevent any damage to the vehicle and ensure safe towing practices.

Get Professional Advice on Flat Towing

For safety, talk to experts about flat towing a Mazda 3. Contact a dealer or tow company for help on:

  • Disengaging the EPB
  • Other steps to prevent damage
  • Safe towing practices

How to tow a Mazda 3?

Now that we know exactly why Mazda 3 cannot be flat towed, let’s talk about how Mazda 3 can be towed.

Two-wheeled tow dolly

A tow dolly is equipment that you can connect to the tow hitch by using a tow bar. You can use it to lift the powered wheels of a Mazda 3.

An FWD Mazda 3 can be towed by lifting and resting its front wheels (the powered wheels of an FWD Mazda 3) on the tow dolly. An RWD vehicle can rest its rear wheels on the tow dolly so that it can be towed.

A tow dolly is made up of two wheels, an axle, and a tongue.

Are tow dollies legal?

Tow dollies can be legally used in most states but only in the recovery of vehicles that broke down. The law in these states will treat your car as a trailer if you tow it with a tow dolly and it is not broken down. As a trailer, it will have to abide by all the laws on trailers, like rear lights and braking.

If you are towing a car that has more than 3,000 GVWR, then you’re required to have brakes on the tow dolly. This is a requirement in all 50 states.

Car trailer

Car trailers are four-wheeled car carriers. It lifts your Mazda 3 off the ground and holds it in place. It allows you to haul your car while it is on top of the car trailer.

This option is not only great for Mazda 3 with AWD, but it can also be used to haul larger Mazda vehicles because most car trailers have very high capacities.

Car trailer vs. tow dolly

A red colored Mazda 3 moving on the road

Let’s take a closer look at these two devices that can be used to tow a Mazda 3 regardless of model version and trim. Then, we’ll identify the possible strengths and weaknesses of each.

Car trailer

The biggest advantage of a car trailer is that it prevents wear and tear on your Mazda while it is being transported because all wheels are safely carried by the car trailer. Additionally, car trailers are safer to tow or haul compared to tow dollies.

Its only disadvantage is the cost. It is obviously more expensive than a tow dolly because of its size.

A car trailer is also a must if you’re considering moving your Mazda 3 over long distances. This is also your only option if your Mazda 3 is equipped with an AWD drivetrain.

Tow dolly

Its main advantage is affordability. It is a hit for those looking for an affordable way to transport their Mazda 3. Additionally, it makes more sense to use it if you’re moving your Mazda 3 over a short distance only.

Its biggest disadvantage is that it is more complicated to set up despite its smaller size. It has weight capacity limitations, distance limitations, and safety concerns. Moreover, your Mazda 3’s rear wheels are exposed to wear and tear while a tow dolly is transporting it.

Additionally, you cannot use a tow dolly if your Mazda 3 uses an AWD drivetrain. It can only be used for a Mazda 3 with FWD.

Choose a tow dolly over a car trailer if you’re going to move your Mazda 3 over a short distance only—like within the same city or state.

The JCHL universal vehicle tow dolly car wheel basket straps with flat hooks come as a 2-pack. Check it out on Amazon.

Important note

Do not use a tow dolly with your Mazda 3’s rear wheels on the tow dolly and the front wheels on the ground. Mazda 3 uses FWD from its first-generation models to the present.

If you use your tow dolly with the front wheels on the ground, then it defeats the purpose of using a tow dolly to prevent powered wheels from moving during hauling.

How to fasten your Mazda 3 to a car trailer?

A red colored Mazda 3 parked on the side of the highway, What Are The Best Tires For Mazda 3

Now that we’re done talking about how to tow or haul your Mazda 3—with consideration to the drivetrain that it is equipped with—it is time to talk about how to secure it on a car trailer properly.

Tiedown hooks

Some Mazda 3 models and trims come with tiedown hooks, a tiedown eyelet, and a lug wrench. The tiedown hooks are used to secure your Mazda 3 to a car trailer.

The tiedown eyelet and the lug wrench can be found near the spare tire compartment in Mazda 3 Hatchback trims. It can be found inside the tool bag with the jack lever in Mazda 3 Sedan trims.

Safety reminder

Never use the tiedown eyelets (front and back) to tow your Mazda 3. The eyelets are only designed to secure your Mazda 3 to a transport vehicle.

Removing the tiedown-hook covers

  1. Wrap a flathead screwdriver with a soft cloth. This will prevent any damage to the bumper while removing the tiedown-hook covers.
  2. Carefully insert the screwdriver under the cover while applying a constant force. Do not use too much force to avoid damaging the cap or scratching the painted bumper.
  3. Store the caps somewhere safe so that you can replace them afterward.

Installing the tiedown eyelet

  1. Insert the tiedown eyelet into the opening.
  2. Insert the lug wrench into the eyelet at the opposite end of the tiedown eyelet.
  3. Rotate the lug wrench until the tiedown eyelet is securely screwed into the bumper opening. The tiedown eyelet could disengage if it is not tightly screwed into the bumper.
  4. Do the same thing to the two tiedown-hook openings.
  5. Hook the tying ropes into the tiedown eyelets. Make sure they are securely fastened on both ends.

What are some important things to remember when towing a Mazda 3?

A series of different colored Mazda 3s at a dealership

Now that we’re done talking about the ways to tow your Mazda 3 let’s talk about some important things to remember once you’re on the road with your Mazda 3 in tow.

These protocols help ensure your safety and the safety of other motorists around you while you haul your Mazda 3.

Do not drive on highways, if possible.

You will need to maintain a low speed whenever you tow a vehicle. Driving on highways with a load and running at a slow speed might endanger you and other motorists.

It is best to take alternate routes that do not have a lot of cars on the way to your destination.

Limit your speed

Always remember that you’re hauling a car, not running a race. Limit your speed to 25 mph or less.

A lower speed makes it easier for you to control both vehicles. Additionally, high speeds make it almost impossible for you to predict possible problems that can happen on the way to your destination.

A lower speed also makes it easier to stop if there is a need to make a sudden stop.

Limit yourself to short-distance trips.

It is best to limit your trips to short distances while you’re hauling your Mazda 3. Short-distance trips reduce the strain on all the vehicle components involved because you can reach your destination faster.

If you will need to travel a far distance, it is better to hire a professional service to tow your Mazda 3 for you.


When you prepare your Mazda 3 for towing, make sure that it is aligned to the towing vehicle—an RV or such. Well-aligned vehicles make it easier to maintain good synchronization and performance from the vehicles involved.

Hazard warning lights

Turn on the hazard warning lights on the towing vehicle and the towed vehicle. The hazard warning lights make other motorists more aware of the vehicle being towed and the towing vehicle.


A gray Mazda 3 hatchback

A Mazda 3 cannot be flat towed, but it can be towed using different methods. Follow safety guidelines while towing to help ensure the safety of the Mazda 3 driver and the safety of other motorists.

There are also guidelines to be followed to secure the Mazda 3 on a car trailer.

If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in the following articles too:

Can You Flat Tow A Ford Fusion?

Can A Hyundai Accent Tow A Trailer?

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