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Old 11-18-2018, 09:17 AM   #1
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2017 Malibu LT Towable

Has anyone had experience towing a 2017 Mallibu LT? We bought ours last year with the intent on towing when we begin full timing. Now we are months away from the adventure & need to make a decision on whenever to spend the money on the base plate installation & tow package. Keep hearing stories about other supposed towable that makes me cautious of proceeding.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:38 PM   #2
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I don't know about the 2017 model, but we have flat towed a 2008 model many miles with no problems
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Old 11-19-2018, 07:54 AM   #3
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I flat-towed a 2016 Malibu LTZ until I recently traded it for my current Jeep Wrangler. It towed fine - put in Neutral, needs 2 fuses pulled (I had a switch installed for that) - limited to 65mph towing speed. not a problem for me, that's pretty much the speed most truckers seemed to use when we went from MD to AZ, 2 years back and to FL last year).

If the switch fails (mine did - the original installer didn't allow for the wires of the bypass switch enough room coming out of the fuse block and one of the wires eventually broke from the stress, making it look like I had a charging problem. That was the only issue).

I used a blue-ox baseplate (small grill areas on the lower front fascia get snipped to allow the baseplate to be accessed), but otherwise the baseplate was unobtrusive), and the Blue-ox tower.

Check your owner's manual regarding recreational towing - flat towing shouldn't be a problem - and it will tell you which fuses to pull.

Enjoy the adventure!

best,

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Old 11-19-2018, 08:18 AM   #4
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We purchased our MH and 2015 Malibu this past spring. We also used two rocker style switches to bypass three fuses. We purchased a Blue Ox tow plate and Avail tow bar. The Malibu tows fine, and had to use a 8" drop bar to keep the towbar setup within the 3" of level guideline. We're happy with the setup as well as the Malibu, but you do need to realize how low the Malibu sits to the road which means you have to be a little careful when navigating any steep inclines as the drop hitch bar can hit the road. It hasn't been an issue so far, but I am inclined to take some measurements and see if I can get by with a 6" drop bar to provide a little extra clearance. Towing it behind our Newmar gasser, the car can get really dirty when you hit wet roads, but I haven't had any problems with stones chipping the paint or windshield.

If I do have any chipping problems, I'd consider purchasing the Protect a Tow system because it is quite affordable and gets some pretty good reviews.
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:25 AM   #5
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....I only needed a 4" drop on my hitch. No issues with it even getting close to dragging.
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-Oh View Post
....I only needed a 4" drop on my hitch. No issues with it even getting close to dragging.
That is the advantage to towing a Jeep or other vehicle that sits higher than the Malibu. In my research, I never found any discussions of this and if I had known more about it, I may have opted for a different tow vehicle. Fortunately, the Malibu hasn't been a problem and I really don't want to spend the bucks to get another vehicle set up for towing. If I ever decide to change vehicles, I would seriously consider something that sits higher.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scbwr View Post
That is the advantage to towing a Jeep or other vehicle that sits higher than the Malibu. In my research, I never found any discussions of this and if I had known more about it, I may have opted for a different tow vehicle. Fortunately, the Malibu hasn't been a problem and I really don't want to spend the bucks to get another vehicle set up for towing. If I ever decide to change vehicles, I would seriously consider something that sits higher.
Let me clarify: The 4" drop was for my previous 2016 Malibu. I currently use NO drop for the Jeep. The Malibu towed just fine - just be sure the fuse bypass switch is setup solidly. The Jeep is a bit easier - no fuses to pull: Just hookup and go. It takes about the same amount of time to hookup: Malibu: Trans in NEUTRAL/Flip the switch to bypass the fuses. Jeep: Put transfer case in neutral/trans in PARK.

I like not having the extra piece on the hitch, although the Malibu was about 600lbs lighter as well, plus it's a nice car.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:29 PM   #8
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Not all Malibu's can be flat towed (Dinghy)

I gave up trying to find which 1.5 liter Malibu's can be flat towed and which cannot. You must have the 1.5 liter engine (not the 1.8 or 2.0) AND the 1.5 must be WITHOUT the "active shutters". If the vehicle is equipped with active shutters it will have the RPO code VRI.RPO Stands for Regular Production Options.You can find a list of RPO codes for a malibu you're considering on a sticker on the glove box door. Sometimes these stickers are located in the drivers doorwell near the tire information sticker. When you find the list of RPO Codes, if you see "VRI" you cannot flat tow that vehicle. Period. If you do not, and it's the 1.5 liter engine, you are good to go!
The Owners Manual will clarify this but it will not tell you if you do or do not have the active shutters. That's why the RPO sticker is the end all tell all. Maybe the Window Sticker mentions it if new or conveys with a used car for sale.
This is what a typical RPO sticker looks like (see attached).
Hope this helps! Took me a couple of hours of research on various sites to come to this conclusion.
I'm considering a used Malibu but haven't made my mind up yet as of this posting.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input - changed my mind.

As you can see my original post was a year ago. After considering the issues associated with towing the Malibu, (especially the low clearance - I have a 2003 Travel Supreme on a Spartan chassis that already sits pretty low itself), I found and bought a 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2 door Sport last February. Still have the Malibu, but not for towing. I find the Jeep easy to tow (after getting over putting the transfer case in neutral but putting the transmission in Park to tow - talk about counter-intuitive). Takes me about 5 minutes to set up or tear down.
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:59 AM   #10
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Malibu

Reodad,


Glad you're liking your Jeep. I'm a city boy and would like to have one car as a daily driver/toad with automatic. I currently have a 2013 Fiat Abarth 5 Speed manual that is a wonderful toad but I do long for a more comfortable ride with an automatic trans.
I had no idea about the clearance issues associated with the Malibu's so thanks for mentioning that. After doing more research I see what you were talking about. It seems that you have to upgrade to an LT or LTZ to get the bigger wheels for more clearance. I'm well aware of all of the options available for toads with auto trans, but I'm not crazy about most of them. Don't really want a CRV, Wrangler (no offense), Equinox, Sonic, Spark, SRX, Fit, etc

Maybe a Grand Cherokee, but poor reliability ratings make me a tad nervous about them.



Anyway, I was merely posting what I learned about the Malibu for others that may be searching these forums like I recently did.

I got a bargain on a low mileage 2010 Honda Element SC with the intent of converting it to a toad, but I'm not sure I'm "feeling it". I know late model Elements like mine are no longer manufacturer authorized for flat towing but am convinced it would not be a problem. Decisions decisions. Luckily I'm not in a rush.


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Old 12-15-2019, 07:33 AM   #11
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Good luck on your search

My Wrangler is the automatic trans with transfer case 2 door sport. So you can get the automatic. But the ride is a little jerky and rough at times. No problem for me but doesn't make the DW too happy at times. But she loves the turning radius. Its fun to drive. Put Perilli tires on and that made a considerable difference in smoothing out the ride, but it is the short wheel base Jeep, so you can only do so much. With the Jeep also the best mileage I get is around 17mpg, whereas with the Malibu I get in the 30s. So you give and take on these decisions.
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