Tow Haul Mode: What You Need to Know Before Hitting the Road

Tim Miller

Curious about the meaning of the tow/haul mode indicator or button?

In this article, I’ll provide you with valuable insights on how to interpret and when to use this mode.

Let’s dive into it!

What Is the Tow/Haul Mode?

The tow/haul mode is designed to improve performance when towing or hauling heavy loads. This mode is available in many modern vehicles, particularly trucks and SUVs.

If you plan on towing a trailer or boat, for example, you’ll need to activate the tow/haul feature by pressing the button on the dashboard or center console near the gear shifter. 

After pressing the button, the tow/haul indicator will illuminate in the instrument cluster, indicating that the tow/haul feature is activated. To deactivate, simply press the button again.

The appearance of this button or light can differ based on the specific make and model of the car. Provided below are examples of how this light is displayed in various brands:

Tow Haul Mode

What Does Tow/Haul Mode Do?

When engaged, the tow/haul mode helps the transmission to hold gears longer and shift less frequently, which helps the engine to maintain its power and reduce heat buildup.

You may observe that the transmission downshifts earlier than usual when driving downhill.

This feature also activates engine braking, which uses the vehicle’s engine to slow down the vehicle instead of relying solely on the brakes. This can help to reduce wear and tear on the vehicle’s brake system and provide greater control when towing or hauling downhill.

When to Use Tow/Haul Mode?

Here are some situations when it may be appropriate to use tow/haul mode:

  • Towing or hauling heavy loads: This mode is designed to improve the performance and handling of your car when carrying a heavy load.
  • Driving in hilly or mountainous terrain: It provides better control when descending steep grades.

Many of my clients often ask me: “Should I use tow/haul mode on the highway?” If you have the same concern, please take a seat and let me explain.

This feature can cause the transmission to shift at higher RPMs, which can lead to increased fuel consumption and wear and tear on your vehicle over time. 

So if you are not towing or hauling a heavy load, using the tow/haul feature on the highway may not be necessary or even recommended.

One thing to keep in mind is that DO NOT use the tow/haul mode when driving in icy or slippery conditions. This is because the feature could make the transmission downshift more quickly, which can lead to a loss of traction and control on slippery roads. 

Additionally, the increased engine braking can make the vehicle more prone to skidding or sliding on icy or slippery surfaces.

What’s Next?

Overall, the tow/haul mode is useful for those who regularly need to tow or haul heavy loads, as it can help enhance performance and reduce wear and tear on the vehicle.

Have you ever used this mode? 

Feel free to share your experience and how you like it in the comments section below.

Share this article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Information sourced from the owner's manual.