What does tow haul mode do?
If you are driving a large SUV or pickup truck, you might have noticed a tiny button with the “tow-haul” designation. While drivers often put such drive assist systems to the side, this option could truly make a difference in your driving experience, especially while towing something.
So, what does tow haul mode do in cars that have this option? The tow haul mode practically changes the pattern of your gear shift cycles and keeps the car in the RPM range where peak power is accessible. If you want to see how handy this mode truly gets, this guide will make a perfect intro to it.
Tow haul mode basics and how it works
The tow-haul mode is only available on SUVs, trucks, and pickups that come with an automatic transmission. It helps generate enough power which helps cope with heavy loads that you might attach and tow.
Your car can’t know when you are putting that extra weight to tow it, so it comes in handy to tell it yourself by pressing the button. The biggest misconception is that this mode increases the towing capacity of your vehicle since it doesn’t. The load capacity is determined by the manufacturer, and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
However, you can make it easier for the vehicle’s engine and transmission to take the load slightly better with the tow-haul mode. You can easily see what it does by pressing it while looking at your RPM gauge. As soon as you hit that button, the engine will jump to higher revs.
Think of it this way – if you are just cruising in your truck while towing a heavy load at the back, all that extra weight pressures the transmission. The throttle response is also lowered by the weight, so it might seem like your vehicle struggles to keep up with the weight. The additional pressure negatively affects both your transmission and the engine.
Benefits of tow haul mode for your vehicle
The tow haul mode comes with several crucial benefits that not only relieve the pressure off from your transmission but also save the engine and the brakes. Here are some of the main benefits of the tow haul mode:
- Keeps the RPM in the optimal range to preserve the transmission
- Gives you a sort of engine braking to make the brakes last longer
- Ensures that the engine performance is compatible with the weight
Although modern-day trucks and SUVs come with engines that have enough power for towing, the benefits of this mode are unprecedented. It can also be used to boost the overall performance even while you are not towing anything.
Still, it’s mostly advisable to use it as you are carrying extra weight or going down a steep hill. It prevents “riding the brakes” and therefore prolongs their life span.
How does this mode help preserve your transmission?
Perhaps the most important aspect of the tow-haul mode is its rejuvenating effect on the transmission. Well, at least it will save you from excessive wear and tear that frequently happens as you drive with a bit of extra weight.
You can imagine how this reflects your transmission by towing some weight without the tow-haul mode active. In this case, you’ll probably achieve a certain speed level and cruise with the weight attached. However, once there comes a time you need to take a turn or two, or even climb up the hill, the pressure on your transmission gets tremendous.
It doesn’t help that most drivers simply floor the throttle to tackle the situation. Sudden acceleration will make your engine struggle to speed up due to the weight. The transmission will shift gears regularly, which wouldn’t hurt the engine or the transmission without the weight.
However, since you’ll be having some extra weight attached, you’ll be “suffocating” the engine and the transmission. Frequent shifts will just result in faster wear and tear, while the tow-haul mode makes the up-shifts occur at a much higher RPM range. Because of this, the engine will have enough power to take on the hills and turns, while the transmission will only conduct the necessary gear shifts.
Engine braking effect
Another useful aspect of the tow-haul mode is the sense of “engine braking” that you get with this mode. If you are driving an automatic car, you are probably not aware of the term as much as drivers of manual cars are. This allows you to slow down even without using your brakes by downshifting and letting go of the gas.
While the revs will jump at first, if you don’t push the throttle, your car will slow down as the revs consolidate. Even if the brakes completely fail on manual cars, you can downshift to slow down using engine braking until you eventually stop.
That’s what the tow-haul mode lets you do with modern automatic trucks as well. The RPM range will take downshifts earlier than regularly, similarly to driving a manual car. So, you can take down steep hills even without riding the brake. This will let your brake pads last longer, and it won’t damage your transmission regardless of what many drivers think.
Engine performance coordinates with the weight
As mentioned, the extra towing weight you put on your car also requires a different engine performance. Especially if you are driving a naturally-aspirated V6 or V8 engine, keeping the RPMs low just to kick down the pedal won’t do any good for your engine.
The tow-haul function keeps your revs in that sweet spot where the power is easily accessible as soon as you hit the throttle. You can see this by pressing the button while cruising with weight – the RPM range will jump to around 3000 revolutions per minute.
So, the engine will perform the same as it would on lower revs but without the additional weight.
If you’ve been wondering “what does tow haul mode do” now you know the basics behind it. It simply helps adjust the transmission and engine’s performance to the added weight, so these systems don’t wear and tear.
You can also use it to enjoy a bit more aggressive ride if you are driving a powerful V8 machine, but it’s primarily used for towing situations.
Does the tow haul mode give more power?
The tow haul mode doesn’t give you more power, it simply keeps the RPM range higher so you can handle the towing weight more adequately.
Does tow haul mode save gas?
No, the tow haul mode doesn’t save gas and it even makes your engine use more fuel due to the higher RPM range. That’s why it’s advisable to only use this mode while driving with additional weight.
Does tow haul mode increase the towing capacity?
Tow haul mode doesn’t increase the towing capacity of your truck as it simply relieves the engine and the transmission by less frequent gear changes and a higher RPM range.
When to use tow haul mode on the Silverado?
You should use the tow haul mode on the Silverado if you need a bit of additional engine power to carry the weight, or if you are driving down a steep hill.