Can you use cruise control while towing a boat?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you use cruise control while towing a boat? We will explain when it is indicated to use cruise control and when it is better to switch it off. 

Can you use cruise control while towing a boat?

Yes, you can use cruise control while towing a boat. As long as you are not exceeding the towing capacity of your car and the weather permits, cruise control will help you just like it does when you are not towing a boat. 

Using cruise control is recommended in the following instances: 

The use of cruise control is recommended on departmental, national or motorway type roads. These long straight lines must benefit from a smooth and safe circulation. This is the case on long journeys. You should avoid having to overtake, as this implies acceleration.

On the other hand, it becomes dangerous to activate cruise control in the following instances:

  • on a winding road where you have to downshift and accelerate time and time again.
  • on a road with obstacles (work zones indicated with an orange triangular sign).
  • when going downhill, because the governor has no effect on the braking device. You end up speeding.
  • in the city, where its use is simply to be forgotten, because of the dense traffic, the bends in the streets, other users such as pedestrians or cyclists and signage.
  • on a wet road, because the accumulation of water on the roadway can cause the vehicle to slide (a phenomenon called aquaplaning or aquaplaning).

Note: Newer vehicles are equipped with a traction control system that deactivates the governor if the drive wheels no longer adhere to the road or if they lock up.

What is cruise control?

The function of this driver assistance technology is to maintain a steady speed on the road, without having to press the accelerator pedal. It is very useful when the traffic is fluid and the road does not present possible dangers for the various road users.

For the record, the ingenious inventor of this speed control device was blind! On the pretext of annoyance during the conduct of his lawyer who slowed down when he spoke and which accelerated when he was silent, he decided to create what he called the Speedostat, in 1945. Subsequently, improvements were made to this system. The constant speed takes various names: Controlmatic, Touchomatic, Pressomatic.

This driving aid consists of:

  • a vehicle speed sensor. It is located at the output of the gearbox and is sometimes coupled to the ABS lock detector.
  • of an engine control unit, the Engine Control Module (ECM). The ECM controls engine speed by playing the role of the driver’s right foot pressing the accelerator.

Adaptive cruise control – ACC

These new models have the ability to calculate the safety distance, which is a minimum of 2 seconds, between your vehicle and the one in front. Thus, the regulator adapts the speed so as not to come too close.

This system is associated with the sensors placed at the front of the car, it is the anti-collision radar.

This adaptive regulator encourages the driver to comply with road safety rules and to maintain the necessary reaction time in the event of emergency braking of the vehicle driving in front.

How to activate and deactivate a cruise control?

The cruise control controls are often on the steering wheel. In this case, they take the form of buttons or a wheel. They can also be located on the side in the form of a lever or a stalk.

When getting into a new vehicle and before setting off, familiarize yourself with the dashboard and locate the cruise control handle. You can’t afford to detach your attention to find the right press or the lever that activates the system when you are speeding on the freeway.

How to activate the regulator?

The joystick is used to activate the cruise control, choose the speed and return to classic mode.

For an automatic transmission automobile, start by entering the desired speed on the governor. For example, if you are on a road limited to 60 nph and you want to drive at 80 km / h, you record this data. The automobile thus moves forward at cruising speed without having to accelerate to maintain it. If a rib appears, don’t touch anything, the pace modulates on its own.

For a car with a manual transmission, you will first need to drive at the speed you want to maintain and engage the cruise control. If you change gears, the latter will deactivate.

Set: the vehicle stabilizes at the speed indicated on the odometer.

Coast: to decelerate

Resume: to return to the last recorded speed.

Cancel: to deactivate the system.

How to deactivate the regulator?

The regulator is deactivated by simply pressing the brake pedal or the clutch. This reflex comes quickly with the experience of driving. On automatic boxes, you must use the stop command.

What is the difference between a speed limiter and cruise control?

The Speed ​​Limiter (DLV) or Adjustable Speed ​​Limiter Device (DLRV) is an electronic limiting system of the maximum velocity of the car. When activated, it allows the driver to maintain the pace and vary speed without exceeding the limit he does not want to exceed.

This technology supports good driving. The responsible motorist activates it to avoid speeding. If this happens, an audible signal sounds.

Unlike cruise control, you can use a speed limiter in town. The control buttons look the same, but their function differs. By 2022, all cars sold in the EU will have to be fitted with a smart limiter that automatically adjusts the maximum possible speed.

To remember :

• The limiter limits the speed below a certain limit.

• The regulator maintains a regular speed

The advantages and disadvantages of using cruise control while towing

The advantages of using cruise control relate to vehicle safety, ecology and wallet. The governor significantly reduces fuel consumption. By maintaining the pace, you do not accelerate inadvertently, you pollute less and you save on your fuel.

You no longer risk being noticed by a turret radar that measures your speed at 200 meters distance. You avoid painful tickets and a loss of points on your license due to exceeding the maximum authorized speed.

The disadvantages relate to driving: Overtaking is longer and safety distances are reduced. This technology makes driving passive and monotonous. The motorist’s vigilance is reduced and drowsiness lurks. It can only be used from 30 mph depending on the vehicle model and on straight, open and dry roads.

To avoid lowering your guard, always keep your foot close to the accelerator pedal, do not bend your leg! Your attention must be maximized at all times while driving. The decline in vigilance is responsible for a large number of road accidents.

Final thoughts

The traditional cruise control has a very simple operation, the system associated with the speedometer sensor detects the speed of the vehicle and takes control of the accelerator to accelerate more or less as necessary at each moment to maintain the speed that the driver has previously programmed.

While it is not the ideal situation, you can use cruise control while towing a boat. We recommend you use the Tow/Haul mode instead if your vehicle is equipped with this function. 

The Tow/Haul mode is an option that causes your vehicle to move in a lower gear, allowing the engine to brake to slow down, in addition to the use of the brakes. We suggest you press it at any time if you need more traction, stop, or power the power steering to compensate for a heavy trailer or load. 

If the Tow/Haul mode is activated, the system will hold lower gears longer when accelerating or decelerating. You will be able to notice it even more on long slopes and on mountain roads, but as we said, it will not do many things on a highway. 

If you have more questions on the content, do not hesitate to contact us!

FAQ on Can you use cruise control while towing a boat?

Does cruise control damage transmission?

The sensors that the cruise control is using can indeed damage the transmission. If you are having issues with it, it is best to have the problem diagnosed in time and see if the transmission issue is from the cruise control or something else. 

Should I use 4×4 when towing a trailer?

It is not recommended to tow a trailer on dry pavement with the vehicle in 4-wheel drive. You should instead use a 2-wheel drive. 

Is it better to tow with overdrive on or off?

It is better to tow with overdrive off when you are pulling a heavy load on a hill or if there is heavy traffic. 

Can you tow a caravan using cruise control?

You can definitely tow a caravan using cruise control, although many caravans and trailer manufacturers do not recommend this. The risk is that when you climb a hill with a heavy load and cruise control decides to brake or slow down, you may cause an unwanted accident and put yourself in harm’s way.


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