What Is The Tow/Haul Button? How to Use Tow/Haul Mode

You may have noticed your vehicle is equipped with a button labeled “Tow/Haul.” It is only found on SUVs, trucks, and pickups. It is important to know what the tow/haul feature is and when to use it. There are certain times when you should engage tow/haul mode and we are going to explore them here. Whatever your load, make sure you know how to pull it safely and efficiently by using the built-in tow/haul mode.


Quick Answer

The tow/haul button is located either on your dash, console, or near your shift lever. When you push the button, it activates the tow/haul mode of your vehicle. When activated, the tow haul button puts your vehicle in a lower gear and provides more torque by shifting earlier. There are two factors to consider when determining whether you should use tow/haul mode. One is the weight of the trailer or cargo you are hauling. The other is road conditions. If your load is small, like a bicycle or luggage rack, you won’t need to engage tow/haul mode. If you are pulling something bigger, you may need it. Tow/haul mode is recommended if you are traveling along a road with lots of hills and dips, and when towing off-road.

If you’ve never driven a vehicle with the tow/haul feature before, you might not be sure what it is and when or how to use it.

What Is the Tow/Haul Button?

There are several benefits to using the tow/haul button. When pulling a heavy load, it allows you to have more control, it gives you more torque, and it protects your transmission.

Better Control Using Tow/Haul Mode

It is important to maintain control while driving and tow/haul mode helps maintain control while pulling bigger loads.

Tow/haul mode helps with control: The tow/haul mode can help drivers maintain control on hilly roads by engaging engine braking mode. Engine braking mode helps slow the vehicle down and can help especially if you are towing downhill.

Tow/haul mode gives the engine more torque: Tow/haul mode can give your vehicle more torque: that is, it gives the extra boost your vehicle may need to pull the heavier load.

Tow/haul mode protects your transmission: When tow/haul mode is engaged, the shift patterns are adjusted. In tow mode, the transmission will downshift sooner than it would normally when going downhill.

How To Use Tow/Haul Mode

When you are towing a heavy load, you may find you need a little more power to pull it up a hill. You might also like to have a little more control over the load. The tow/haul mode can accomplish both things.

Step 1: Review your vehicle’s towing capacities: Every vehicle has a towing capacity that can be found in the owner’s manual or on the driver-side door jamb and should be strictly followed. Before you decide to haul your load, make sure you don’t exceed this limit.

Step 2: Attach your load securely to your vehicle: Depending on what you’re hauling; you may encounter different ways to secure your load to your vehicle. Some common attachments are a rear receiver hitch, 5th wheel hitch, bumper hitch, and gooseneck hitch. Make sure your load is attached securely following proper procedure for whichever type of hitch you are using.

Step 3: Engage tow/haul mode: Once your load is safely attached, you will need to engage tow/haul mode. This is done simply by pushing the button labeled “tow/haul.” If you get started on your journey and realize you forgot to engage tow/haul mode, not to worry because it can be engaged either while you are driving, or while you are stopped.

Step 4: Enjoy a smooth ride: Towing cargo using tow/haul mode can help you have a smoother and safer ride, especially in an area where there are hills.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Tow/Haul Mode

The tow/haul mode on your vehicle is a pretty simple feature but it can be confusing for people who have never used it or needed it. Here are some commonly asked questions about tow/haul mode and the answers to them:

Can I drive in tow/haul mode if I am not pulling anything? You can have your vehicle’s tow/haul mode engaged with or without pulling a load without causing any damage to the vehicle. Tow/haul mode adjusts the shift schedule and not the gear ratios and this makes it easier to get to a lower gear and stay in a lower gear while accelerating.

Do I have to use tow/haul mode if I am pulling something? If you are towing something and the transmission is often shifting, you should use tow/haul mode. Engaging tow/haul mode increases line pressure and changes shift schedule in your transmission giving you an extra power boost. You may find that if you are towing your cargo in a flat area, tow/haul mode is not necessary.

Does tow/haul mode use more fuel? When using tow/haul mode, you will use more fuel because it keeps the shift point higher which in turn increases the RPMs while driving. The higher shift point helps with maneuvering hills while pulling cargo. The weight of your cargo can also cause you to use a more fuel while towing.

If my vehicle does not have tow/haul mode, can I add it? Some older model vehicles are not equipped with a tow/haul mode. You can invest in having a tow package installed on your vehicle. If your vehicle is pre-wired for towing, you just need an adapter that costs about $45.00. If the vehicle is not pre-wired, it is unlikely tow/haul mode can be installed but don’t worry, you can still tow by manually shifting into a lower gear.

Now, whether you have a small trailer or a big camper to pull, you know how to use the tow/haul mode to get the best performance out of your vehicle and the best experience towing.


I hope you now have a better understanding of what the tow haul button on your vehicle is and how to use it. This knowledge should make towing anything with your SUV, truck, or pickup a piece of cake.

Leave a Comment