Can You Engage Tow/Haul Mode While Driving?

Are you wondering if you can engage in tow-haul mode while driving? Well, do not worry, you can. There are no dangers you need to worry about if you do so but keep in mind your vehicle will use more fuel. 

The vehicle’s tow-haul feature enables the driver to adjust the engine’s performance for better vehicle control when towing a heavy load. It helps compensate for the weight by providing better traction and braking. 

However, keep in mind that these benefits are less noticeable on the highway or in heavy traffic situations. 

This article takes you through the benefits of the tow/haul mode and how it is engaged. You can get to know how the engine changes its performance when the features are engaged. Our driving tips for towing at the end are essential for effective maneuvers when towing. 

What Does Tow/Haul Mode Do? 

Tow/haul mode is a feature in SUVs, pickups, trucks, and vehicles with automatic transmissions. The mode allows the driver to automatically switch to a lower gear by pressing the tow/haul button. 

Once engaged, the engine moves to a lower gear providing better traction and braking when accelerating or decelerating. Tow/haul mode allows the vehicle to have more braking power and better engine response. 

What Does It ACTUALLY Do In Tow/Haul Mode?

Can You Engage Tow/Haul Mode While Driving? 

You can engage the tow/haul mode while driving, whether on or off the highway. Recall that the benefits of the tow/haul feature are not noticeable when driving on the highway. Save the fuel and reduce the engine’s RPM turns by using the feature off the highway. 

Engaging the tow mode is easy with just the press of the tow/haul button. The button is usually located on the right side of the steering wheel or at the end of the vehicle’s gear stick

Keep in mind that the location of this button depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Check the user’s manual for further clarification. 

When Should You Use The Tow/Haul Mode? 

You do not need to use the tow/haul mode when cruising on the highway, even when towing a heavy load. The reason behind this is that there are no noticeable changes in the engine’s performance due to the road and traffic conditions.

The speed of your vehicle remains mostly constant when the tow mode is on or off the highway. It is advisable to consider turning it off since the feature consumes more fuel and lets your vehicle run at higher RPMs. 

However, the tow/haul mode is highly beneficial when driving up a steep slope and coming down. Wind conditions and a heavy trailer can cause a lot of instability when driving on such roads.

The tow/haul mode helps the vehicle become more stable by ensuring the engine is more responsive for quick actions

Does Tow/Haul Mode Increase Towing Capacity? 

Tow/haul mode is beneficial when towing a load within the vehicle’s towing capacity. It ensures your car’s transmission is not overworked and boosts the towing process. This feature reduces the shifting cycles, and the gear may shift earlier to give maximum torque. 

Therefore, the tow/haul mode does not increase your vehicle’s towing capacity. It rather tunes the performance of your transmission system to enable better handling when you tow a heavy load. Which in turn provides the illusion of increasing the towing capacity. 

Read more: Dodge Charger Cranks But Won’t Start: Why? How To Fix It?

How To Get The Tow/Haul Mode Engaged

Proceed to follow the following steps to get the tow/haul mode engaged: 

7 steps to get the tow/haul mode engaged
Have a better experience when towing trailer/ caravan with these steps
  1. Check the towing condition of the trailer you are carrying. Ensure you need more braking power, traction, pulling, or steering power before engaging the tow/haul button. 
  1. Proceed to locate the tow/haul button once you have determined you need more towing performance due to the behavior of the heavy load.
  1. Press the haul button, and the vehicle’s transmission will kick in to adjust itself for heavy trailer compensation. 
  1. Look at your vehicle’s speedometer to check for the trailer drag indicator. The indicator should be on once the tow button gets engaged. Pay attention to the lower half of your vehicle’s speedometer, where the indicator is usually visible. 
  1. Pay attention to how the behavior of the engine changes. The engine becomes more responsive when the tow mode is on. The braking also becomes more accessible and more powerful. Shifts in the performance are more noticeable on irregular roads as well as steep slopes. 
    You may also notice the transmission stays in lower gears more often while decelerating and accelerating. 
  1. Let the vehicle remain in tow mode till you are satisfied. You do not need the feature to be on anymore.
  1. Press the tow/haul button again to turn off the feature. 

Read more: Blown Head Gasket In A 5.7 Hemi Engine: Symptoms And Causes

Driving Tips For Towing/ Hauling 

Towing, especially towing a heavy load, can be dangerous on the highway and along mountain roads. It is easy to get sidetracked by overtaking vehicles and the high speeds on the roads. 

Below are a few tips that can help you avoid some dangerous towing habits and ensure your trailer/ caravan arrives safely. 

5 Driving Tips For Towing 
Here are some tips that can help you avoid some dangerous towing habits and ensure your trailer/ caravan arrives safely
  1. Do not exceed maximum towing speeds – Ensuring you do not exceed 60 miles per hour when towing on a highway/ dual carriageway. The recommended top speed when towing off the highway is 50 mph same as towing on a single carriageway. 30 miles per hour is the highest recommended speed for residential/ constructed areas. 
  1. Avoid sudden motions – It is important to note that sudden movements can lead to your vehicle losing traction and making it hard to break. Engine response time may slow when making abrupt maneuvers.
  1. Get better viewing angles from the mirrors – It is essential to observe the trailer regularly when towing. The mirrors should be adjusted perfectly to provide a wider viewing angle of the things behind. This, in turn, will help you make the necessary adjustments and movements and respond faster to a situation that may affect the towing. 
  1. Use the tow/haul mode – Use the feature to get better engine performance, traction, braking power, and handling when towing. 
  1. Pay attention to the weather – Note that strong winds affect the movement of tall and heavy trailers/ caravans. The tow/haul mode is vital in these conditions. However, do not use the tow mode in icy conditions as this will affect the vehicle’s traction and can cause a slippery condition, causing an accident.  


The tow/haul button is a crucial feature that anyone with a trailer should pay attention to. The tow/haul button is more useful when driving on mountain roads, slopes, rough roads, and less on the highway. Moreover, your vehicle consumes more fuel when the tow mode is turned on, and the RPMs are higher too.

Leave a Comment

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