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When to Use Tow Haul Mode: Top 6 Situations

Updated: Jun 6


When to Use Tow Haul Mode

A vehicle with a tow haul mode may make you wonder when to use it. Tow/Haul mode is a valuable feature in automatic-transmission vehicles that optimizes performance while towing or hauling heavy loads.


There are other situations where it can also come in handy. The tow-haul mode adjusts transmission shifting, enhances engine braking, manages transmission temperatures, and improves overall control and stability.


Keep reading for more information on when to use tow haul mode and when it is advisable to stick with your regular driving settings. So let’s get right into it.


When to Use Tow Haul Mode: 6 Things to Keep in Mind


Use Tow Haul Mode

As a driver, we constantly make decisions that can impact our safety and that of our vehicles. One such decision is when to use the Tow Haul mode in our vehicles. According to towing service experts, here are the six main reasons to use Tow Haul mode:

  • No 01: Towing or Hauling Heavy Loads

  • No 02: Improved Acceleration and Deceleration

  • No 03: Enhanced Engine Response and Braking

  • No 04: Managing Transmission Temperatures

  • No 05: Transmission Preservation

  • No 06: Preventing Gear Burnout and Damage

Let’s discuss these in detail:


No 01: Towing or Hauling Heavy Loads


Engaging in Tow/Haul mode gives your engine and transmission a much-needed rest when you're carrying a heavy load on hilly terrain. This mode is specifically designed to adjust shifting patterns and keep the engine within its power band.

It reduces strain on the engine and transmission, promoting safer and more efficient towing experiences. Also, it can help maintain the speed, preventing unnecessary downshifts and surging.


No 02: Improved Acceleration and Deceleration


Get ready for a smoother ride with improved acceleration and deceleration features. Tow haul mode keeps your engine in its power band, reducing the need for excessive gear shifting.


Utilizing the tow haul mode reduces the strain on your brake pads and rotors during downhill descents by controlling deceleration with engine braking.


No 03: Enhanced Engine Response and Braking


You'll notice a significant improvement in engine response and braking when you engage the Tow/Haul mode in your vehicle. This mode provides the necessary power to aid in pulling heavy trailers or loads by increasing torque and horsepower.


As a result, maintaining a steady speed and handling the extra weight uphill or from a stop becomes much easier. The tow haul mode feature extends the life of your brakes, and helps them last longer.


No 04: Managing Transmission Temperatures


In tow/haul mode, your transmission's temperature is effectively regulated, and heavy loads or strain are prevented from causing damage. This feature reduces shifting, which helps keep the transmission in a lower gear for longer, preventing it from overheating due to increased load and stress.


No 05: Transmission Preservation


Preserving your vehicle's transmission is crucial when towing or hauling heavy loads; tow-haul mode can help. It optimizes RPM and prevents excessive engine strain during deceleration.


When driving in tow haul mode, the transmission holds gears longer than in normal driving mode. This allows for smoother and more controlled shifting, reducing the risk of abrupt downshifting. Abrupt downshifting can increase RPM and potentially damage the transmission.


Tow haul mode adjusts the shift points of the transmission to better suit heavier loads, providing a more stable driving experience. When carrying a heavy load, it facilitates acceleration and protects the engine's transmission.


No 06: Preventing Gear Burnout and Damage


When hauling or towing heavy loads, it's essential to prevent gear burnout and damage. That's precisely why tow haul mode is an important feature to use. This specific mode protects your transmission by locking up gears quickly and unlocking them sooner, optimizing gear engagement.


When towing or hauling, ensure your vehicle operates within its appropriate power band to avoid costly repairs in the future. Please do so to avoid transmission damage and costly repairs.


Can you switch to tow haul mode while driving?


Changing your driving mode to tow haul will make braking and stopping easier while towing heavy loads. This feature allows your car's engine to shift to a lower gear, providing more power and torque. It also helps prevent gear burnout and transmission damage by reducing strain.


But note that using tow haul mode unnecessarily can decrease fuel efficiency and increase wear and tear on your engine. So, if you're towing or driving in hills, consider using this feature for a smoother ride.


Should I use tow haul mode on the highway?


Can you switch to tow haul mode while driving

If you're towing on the highway, using tow haul mode is a good idea. This feature improves acceleration and engine braking, making towing safer.


Not only does it provide a smoother driving experience, but it also gives you more control over your vehicle's speed, and it reduces strain on your transmission.


In tow-haul mode, your engine will remain in its optimal power range for longer, resulting in less wear and tear on your transmission and a reduced risk of overheating.


Is tow haul mode good for racing?


To hit the racetrack, you may wonder if activating your vehicle's towing feature will give you an edge. The truth is, the tow haul mode isn't designed for racing. It's meant for hauling heavy loads and providing better control while driving downhill.

While it may help with braking and downshifting during a race, it won't necessarily improve your acceleration or top speed. Using tow haul mode during a race could actually hinder your performance.


It keeps your vehicle in a lower gear even when coasting off-throttle, which can cause unnecessary drag and slow you down. Plus, the transmission may shift at lower RPMs than optimal for racing, reducing your power output.


Tow Haul Mode: Your Ultimate Towing Companion for Safety and Efficiency


While some argue that using tow haul mode all the time is not ideal, it is essential to consider the benefits it offers when towing heavy loads. By engaging in tow haul mode, you can effectively reduce strain on your vehicle and improve control, especially when driving uphill.


And consistent use of tow haul mode can prolong the life of your transmission by reducing heat buildup and preventing unnecessary shifting.


But, engaging in tow haul mode before starting, stay in lower gears longer, let off the gas when going downhill, and avoid sudden acceleration or braking.


Also, manual shifting may be necessary for certain driving conditions. When and how often to use tow haul mode depends on your driving circumstances. By following these guidelines, you can ensure safe and efficient towing.

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