Originally Posted by grumpy0374
You need to READ your owners manual. It clearly states that the ignition switch must be in the ON position. The ON position unlocks the electric steering. Hope you haven't done any harm so far.
Leaving the key in the ignition switch, in the OFF position only unlocks the steering wheel, NOT the steering, which MUST be unlocked so the Subi can track behind your rig.
For info that has changed from my 2013 Subi, in which the owners manual states the ignition switch must be in the "acc" position.
I need some more clarification on this. I have towed my 2016 Forester about 500 miles so far with the key in the off position. I watched carefully when I made my first corner to make sure the front wheels turned, and the car tracked well while driving down the highway. No damage as of yet as far as I know.
My reading of the 2016 manual tells me that the steering and braking will be difficult without the engine running. I see nothing about the power steering being unlocked in the acc. position. Also, with the car sitting still and the key in the off position, I can turn the steering wheel as far to the left and right as it will go with the wheels also pivoting. When I put the key in the acc. position and engine not running, the steering does not become easier.
Remo says the manual transmission Forester is towable with no restrictions. I have consulted other websites where this discussion is taking place and found others who are towing with the ignition in the off position with the key left in the ignition. Also one cannot take the key out, locking the steering, and then place the key back in the ignition and assume the steering is unlocked. In that case you have to turn the ignition on and then back to the off position.
I thank you for your response because it has caused me to do some more checking and testing. I certainly don't want to do damage because I do understand that my warranty may have been voided by towing the car behind a motor home. I hope that others may offer opinions and practices regarding this subject. I would also share that I used to tow a VW New Beetle with manual transmission and left the ignition in the off position with the key left in the ignition like I am wanting to do with the Forester. In both vehicles the steering does not lock until the key is removed from the ignition. The only difference is that the VW had the traditional power steering pump while the Foresters now have electric power steering.