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RV towing tips: What does the tow haul button do?

By Cheri Sicard
Does your truck or tow vehicle have a tow or haul button? What does that button do? Do you need to always use the button when towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel?

I didn’t know any of these things when I first discovered the tow haul button on my new (to me) 2500 Dodge Ram. The owner’s manual was not a whole lot of help either.

Having a tow vehicle with the option of a tow haul button was something new to me.  Likewise, I was happy to find the short, informative video below from the National RV Training Academy that explains all.

Exactly what does the tow haul button do?

For those who don’t understand this button, it can do several things to improve your RV towing experience, including:

  • Changing the engine braking settings on your vehicle to make it easier to slow down and come to a stop.
  • Enhancing control while towing up and down steep grades.
  • Augmenting transmission operations when towing a heavy load.

Perhaps just as important as what the tow haul button can do, is what it can’t. The video also busts through a couple of common tow-haul button myths.

Different types of trucks have different features that can influence how they tow.

Ford does things a little bit differently than Rams, for instance. So they also talk about some of these other features, mostly having to do with braking, so you can have the best towing experience.



The video also gets into frequently asked technical towing questions about using cruise control for towing, including when it does and does not make sense. Personally, I don’t like cruise control even when not towing, so it was not something I ever considered.

The video is done by two guys who clearly have a lot of mechanical, RV, and technical towing experience. It was supposed to be a “two-minute tips” video, but it actually runs six minutes, so viewers get some valuable extra info. Check it out!

##RVDT1919

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Ed D.
5 days ago

Do I have to turn off the tow button, when I am in cruise control?

Ed Fogle
6 days ago

Missed a couple of things they said in the myths portion because they talked so fast I couldn’t understand. Could not make out what the smaller guy was saying about using adaptive cruise control and getting stuck behind a semi. His sentence was truncated and didn’t convey any information. I agree with Ramon Milam.

SingleMaltScotch
7 days ago

Tow/Haul Mode differs too much between manufacturers and models. You would literally need engineers from each of the manufacturers to explain the ins-and-outs for each model.

I tow a Winnebago 1800BH with a 2014 GMC Acadia, and this is what I know my tow/haul does — and it may do more that I don’t know — but it would be very dependent to my vehicle alone (a Chevy Silverado probably functions very differently):

— engine and transmission profile remaps
— runs alternator at full output
— increases line pressure for fluids
— remaps thermostat for cooling fans
— changes directional blinker speed (6 blinks per cycle vs. 3 without)
— induces more engine braking
— drivetrain prioritizes peak RPM torque vs. prioritizing MPG needs
— I could be wrong, but based on talking to some folks at GM, emissions codes are less likely to set due to the remaps, so that you don’t encounter pulling timing on certain air/fuel mixtures if there is a temporary imbalance

Hank Smith Jr
7 days ago

Sucks gas like crazy

Ken
7 days ago

For Bill…….

At the instant a blow out occurs…..the WORST thing you can do is apply the brakes. Steady or SLIGHTLY accelerated speed offers better control in those first few seconds while you assess the situation to maintain control and plan your next move.

Professional drivers have covered this for years.

As for tow/haul on a Class C……that engine and transmission are already hauling serious weight just with the home attached to the chassis. It works great for assisting with engine compression braking on long downhill slopes. Just tapping the brake pedal causes the transmission to step down for you. You can always manually use the gear selector of D 3 2 1 at times also.

BoinLV
7 days ago

Reportedly increases voltage to camper connection (to compensate for wire distance) in my 2011 GMC 3500HD. Nice when travelling with refer on DC.

bill
8 days ago

I’d like to hear what others do with t/h on a class c. I figure that since the e350 was originally built as a van and now a 6000# load in the form of a loaded RV coach has been added that that is reason enough to use t/h all the time
Thoughts?

Ramon Milam
8 days ago

Watched the video, it was 6 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Cheri Sicard
8 days ago
Reply to  Ramon Milam

I guess they can’t all be winners for all people. I, for one, did learn something.

tom
8 days ago

My Ford E-450 has tow button. I use when I’m towing. Makes everything smoother and gas mileage improves a little. Especially, in Flat land Florida.
Cruise control is nice, just set it and go.

bill
8 days ago
Reply to  tom

Until a tire blows and the cc happily pushes you to your doom before you can even think to touch the brake..

Last edited 8 days ago by bill
Shaggy
7 days ago
Reply to  bill

If you don’t know how to drive…

Dick Snyder
6 days ago
Reply to  bill

Hey, Bill, NEVER hit the brake following a blowout. Accelerate to maintain direction then slow down slowly while pulling off the road.

Bill
5 days ago
Reply to  bill

You should know to hit the Cancel (or Off) button without having to think. See other comments re brake.

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