Should you use Tow/Haul mode on the highway?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Should you use Tow/Haul mode on the highway? We will explain what tow-haul mode is, why do you need it and when to avail of it. We will also give you a few practical tips for towing on the highway. 

Should you use Tow/Haul mode on the highway?

It is not necessary to use the Tow/Haul mode on the highway, as there is no real reason to do it. Estimating that you will be having the same speed for a considerable time, but having the Tow/Haul mode on you will only succeed in using more fuel and driving at higher rpm. 

The Tow Haul button is located to the right of the steering column or at the end of the gear stick, depending on your vehicle model. A few key points:

  • Push the button whenever you need more pulling, braking or steering force to compensate for a heavy trailer or load.
  • When you do, the trailer drag indicator will appear in the lower half of the speedometer.
  • When in Tow/Haul mode, you will notice that the system maintains lower gears longer when accelerating or decelerating. You will notice it even more on mountain roads. Tow/Haul mode also gives you better engine response and adds engine braking to help reduce vehicle speed.
  • To turn it off, simply press the trailer tow button again.

What exactly is the Tow/Haul mode and when to use it?

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. 

The main goal of the Tow/Haul mode is to give you better engine response and more power to the engine brake to help you brake the vehicle. 

When towing with the Tow/Haul mode on, be careful to:

  • Obey local speed limits, especially on descents.
  • Beware of the wind which can destabilize your vehicle and what you are towing.
  • If the “car-caravan” assembly exceeds 7 m (23 ft), you must leave an interval of more than 50 m (165 ft) with the vehicle in front of you.
  • In sections with more than two lanes, use only the two right lanes, even for overtaking.

Practical tips for towing on a highway

No matter if you are using the Tow/Haul mode or not, there are some basic rules you must follow when towing a caravan or trailer on the highway. These tips are meant to keep you, your passengers and other drivers safe. 

  1. Adjust the mirrors. Before starting your trip with your trailer, make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted. Position them to cover as wide an angle as possible, giving you a better overview of what is behind you.
  1. Turn the steering wheel to the left so that the trailer goes to the right. The trailer hitch acts as a pivot point between the trailer itself and the vehicle pulling it. While doing this, if you turn the steering wheel to the left, remember that the trailer will steer to the right. And vice versa.

By using one hand to operate the steering wheel by its base to adjust the steering, you will probably have a better chance of getting it right.

  1. No sudden movements when towing on the highway. Take the time to concentrate and avoid abrupt manoeuvres that could cause you to lose control of the trailer. Backing up too quickly could also catch an obstacle around you.
  1. Single axle trailer, be careful. Trailers with only one axle are more likely to swivel than those with more than one. Walletization could happen faster than you think.
  1. Practice on smaller roads before hitting the highway. It is a practice that makes perfect! So if this is the first time in your life to tow a trailer, you might not look like a champion. The further back you go with a trailer, the more you will master the technique. You will even develop your own stuff.
  1. Take a break if necessary. By making sure you don’t obstruct the entire traffic, you can stop to take the time to observe your surroundings. This tip could come in handy if you need to back up a long distance.
  1. Use technology if available. Some modern vehicles are equipped with technology that makes the ordeal of backing a trailer much easier, such as the Tow/Haul mode. If your vehicle has one, take the time to familiarize yourself with these systems, which will make your life a lot easier.
  1. Braking while towing a caravan or trailer on the highway. . The added weight of caravans and trailers that are hitched to moving vehicles is particularly felt whenever users want to brake. In fact, when the driver of a vehicle carrying coupling brakes, the weight of the caravan or trailer continues to push the vehicle forward, which has the effect of hindering the braking, thus lengthening the stopping distance. 
  1. Travel with a trailer in windy weather. Finally, trailers and caravans, especially tall ones, are extremely sensitive when subjected to strong crosswinds. Motorists must therefore be particularly careful when travelling in sections of roads particularly exposed to crosswinds, but also at crossings or when overtaking a heavy goods vehicle. Now may be a good time to use the Tow/Haul mode!

What is the maximum speed you can go when towing on the highway?

This is how fast you can drive when towing a caravan or trailer:

  • 60mph – on a highway or dual carriageway;
  • 50mph – on a single carriageway;
  • 50mph – other roads outside the urban area;
  • 30mph – built-up areas.

The required and advisable thing is to circulate in the right lane whenever possible. The rest of the lanes should only be used to overtake or when the traffic density forces them to be divided, as well as to facilitate the entry of other vehicles that want to join the road. In fact, driving on the left lane for no reason is punishable.

If driving on the right and we only use the rest of the lanes to overtake, traffic is more fluid and risk situations are avoided, such as a car travelling on the right having to change lanes twice to overtake another vehicle that circulates through the centre. It is also dangerous to overtake on the right, which is also prohibited. 

The safest thing is to maintain a uniform flow in circulatory flow. If we always go to the right, we avoid that many cars go zigzag, trying to overtake, thus avoiding risky situations.

The bottom line

When you enter a highway, adapt your speed to the rest of the vehicles travelling, except those that exceed the speed limits! Choose the correct lane for the speed with which you feel most comfortable and always give directions if you change lanes.

While Tow/Haul mode may not be too helpful on the highway, it certainly will help you in windy conditions and on mountain roads. 

Do you have any comments, tips or questions on the content? Feel free to contact us!

FAQ on Should you use tow-haul mode on the highway?

Is it bad to drive in tow-haul mode?

It is not bad to drive in tow/haul mode, but keep in mind that with the mode on you will use more fuel and run at higher rpm. 

When should you not use tow-haul mode?

You shouldn’t use tow-haul mode if there are icy or slippery conditions. Also, the tow-haul mode doesn’t do too much if you are in high traffic or on the highway. 

Should you always use tow-haul when pulling a trailer?

You do not have to always use a tow-haul mode when pulling a trailer. But you should use it when you need more pulling, braking or steering force to compensate for a heavy trailer or load.

Does tow mode make the truck faster?

Tow mode may make the truck faster, depending on the vehicle and your load. The tow mode can boost your vehicle’s torque and will change shift points to highest rpm limits. 

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.

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. 


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!