What Does the Tow/Haul Light Mean? Activating Tow/Haul Mode In Vehicles! 

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When it’s your initial driving days, it’s normal to get confused between different vehicle controls and buttons. One thing that gathers the attention and focus of most of the new drivers is the different lights flashing on the vehicle, and the two/haul light is one of them. 

Most of the new and even experienced users aren’t aware of the tow/haul button or light, as it’s not generally found in all cars. But as the name suggests, this button helps to tow the car, i.e., pull or push it. 

If you have recently heard of the tow/haul button and have spotted the two/haul light flashing on your vehicle, this guide is the best place for you to be. 

We have compiled a comprehensive guide for you explaining the meaning of the tow/haul button. We will also explore the conditions when the tow/haul light turns on and look into some common tow/haul light problems and their fixes. 


What Is the Tow/Haul Button? 

To make you understand the meaning of the tow/haul light, let us first talk about the actual meaning and purpose of the tow/haul button. 

When there is some heavy load on your car or your vehicle is generally finding it hard to pull forward for various reasons, the tow/haul button on the vehicle is pressed to change the shift patterns of the vehicle. 

Here, the vehicle is moved to low-speed gears and taken out of the higher gears to reduce the number of shifting cycles for it. This is done to prevent the vehicle from spending too much energy in the gear-shifting practice and to stop it from overworking. 


What Is the Meaning of Tow/Haul Light? 

Now coming towards the meaning of the tow/haul light in a vehicle. The first meaning you could interpret by seeing this light on your vehicle is the fact that you have pressed the tow/haul button on your car, which has made the car move to the low gearing mode, and now it’s not consuming too much energy into gear changing. 

Another thing that the tow/haul light could point toward is the poor condition of your vehicle. This light indicates to you that your car needs to get serviced. The tow/haul light could signify a problem with the car’s system or components. 

Similarly, if you find the tow/haul light flashing on your car’s dashboard, it indicates some problem with any of the system’s transmissions. In this case, the light will flash for around 3 seconds before going off. 

The fluid level in the car and the engine’s temperature are some other things that could make the light go on. Let us have a detailed look at each of these reasons and the possible fixes for the problem. 

  • Tow/Haul Button Is Pressed 

As mentioned above, whenever the tow/haul button is pressed, the tow/haul light goes on. Multiple situations and scenarios could compel you to press your vehicle’s tow/haul button. 

When To Press the Tow/Haul Button? 

As evident from its name, the tow/haul button is pressed for hauling or towing. This means you are supposed to pull your vehicle while carrying a heavy load. However, this is only one case when this button should be pressed. Here is a list of conditions and times when you should press the tow/haul button on your vehicle: 

  • Steep Drives 

When traveling at a place with steep and hilly paths, your car needs to use a lot of power to complete the climbing. This is similar to towing a car with a heavy load, and pressing the tow/haul button in such cases makes absolute sense. On pressing the tow/haul mode in situations like these, the brakes and transmission of your car will significantly benefit. 

  • Prevents Overheating 

Another case where you should press the tow/haul button is when you have been driving for a long time without stopping. In such cases, the engine is most likely to overheat over time, increasing the chances of an explosion. So, in such scenarios, activating the tow/haul mode will save your vehicle from going into serious accidents. 

When To Avoid the Tow/Haul Mode? 

Though multiple situations and car conditions compel you to press the tow/haul button, other cases should be avoided when hitting this button. Here are the situations when you should avoid activating the tow/haul mode: 

  • Less Weight 

As the tow/haul button is generally used with conditions containing weight, some people confuse it with any kind of weight. With the tow/haul button, you must remember that it should only be pressed when the car is heavily loaded and needs a large force or power to move forward. So, if your car is carrying a weight lesser than 500 pounds, activating the tow/haul mode doesn’t make sense. 

  • Icy/Snowy Conditions 

Another time when it’s advised not to press the tow/haul button is when you are traveling in icy/snowy conditions. As the tow/haul mode causes an increase in the engine braking, you are likely to lose control with this mode activated on your car. You won’t want to take this risk, especially while driving in icy/snowy conditions. 

  • Vehicle’s Poor Condition 

Another possible meaning of the tow/haul light on your vehicle is the poor condition of your car. There could be numerous reasons that can cause your car trouble in the near future. Whenever you see the tow/haul light flashing while the tow/haul button is off, this could strongly indicate that there is something wrong with your car’s system. 

To fix this problem, take your vehicle to a professional and get it checked to figure out what is causing this issue. 

  • High Temperature 

If you have been driving for the past few hours without pausing, this could affect your car’s engine. The most common thing continuous driving can lead to is overheating the car’s engine. 

If you are an experienced driver, you can judge the engine’s overheating from several other signs and indications, including the engine heating icon in the front. The flashing of the tow/haul light indicates overheating of the engine, which can be fixed by stopping the car immediately, turning off all the controls, and adding coolant along with some other fixes. 

Here is a guide you can check out to know what to do in case of an overheated engine. 

  • Low Fluid Level 

One of the prominent reasons for you to see the tow/haul light flashing on the dashboard is the low fluid level of the car. To keep your car going without any problem for a long time, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the fluid level. However, if you have forgotten to check the car’s fluid before taking it out, its tow/haul light will flash to remind you to check the fluid level. 

You can check out this YouTube tutorial to learn how to check the fluid level of your car if this is your first time doing it. 

  • Bad Solenoid 

Another thing that the flashing of your car’s tow/haul light indicates is the lousy solenoid. If you don’t know already, solenoids are crucial components of a vehicle as they make the ignition system reach the starter mode necessary for starting the car. But if the solenoid of your vehicle has gone bad, you might struggle to start your car in the first place, leading to the flashing of the tow/haul light. 

  • Electric Circuit In-Transmission 

As the tow/haul button is directly concerned with the transmission system of your car, any problem with it can lead to the flashing of the tow/haul light. One such issue which can make the tow/haul light go on is an electric circuit in the transmission. This could happen for several reasons, such as wrong car wiring, damaged insulation, etc. 

You can follow this guide to learn about an electric circuit in the car’s transmission system. 

  • Parked Car 

In addition to continuous driving, continuous parking could also make the tow/haul light go on. If your car has been parked for numerous hours, you will see the tow light flashing when you start it. There is nothing to worry about here as many other lights will flash, too, once you start your car after several hours. 

  • Gear Change 

As the tow/haul light mainly deals with changing the gear shifting on the car, i.e., moving it to the low-energy mode, whenever you shift the gear on your car, for instance, move from Park to Drive, or Reverse gear, you will see the tow/haul light flashing. 


Is It Safe to Switch to Tow/Haul Mode While Driving? 

When it comes to tow/haul mode, it is different from other driving modes and functionalities in the vehicle as it involves a complete change in the gear-shifting energy of the vehicle. This is why many users wonder if it’s safe to switch to this mode while driving. 

Well, it depends on your vehicle. Some cars can easily be shifted to tow/haul mode without having to stop them, while others have to pause driving to activate this mode on your car. So, for the best answer, it’s best to consult the user manual you got with your car. 

However, to add our recommendation, let us clarify that most vehicles out there are built in such a way that switching to tow/haul mode while driving won’t be a problem. But some vehicles have a speed threshold to keep in mind while activating the tow/haul mode. 

We will recommend you stop the car before activating this mode, if possible. This way, your car wouldn’t face any problems in making the necessary changes in its system, and there will be minimum power loss along the way. 


What Are the Negative Consequences Of Not Using the Tow/Haul Button?

Due to the excessive debate regarding tow/haul mode in the market, many users often wonder about the adverse effects of not using this mode. 

As discussed above, this mode is generally activated when you are meant to push your car down when it’s carrying a heavy load. It’s common sense to understand that your car will need a lot of stopping power to go down while carrying a heavy load. 

If we don’t consider the engine braking here, the only stopping power is the brakes. You would have to press the brakes much harder, which causes their heating up, eventually producing too much friction. This can also lead to brake fading. 

In this situation, there are high chances of the car slipping, especially when nothing stops it. Here, the engine braking via the tow/haul button saves the vehicle from going down. It will do so by dropping the gears, increasing the rev, and activating the engine braking. 

So, if you are planning not to use the tow/haul button for moving your car when it’s carrying a heavy load, you better think twice about it. 


Can Tow/Haul Mode Make Your Vehicle Go Faster?

When activated, the tow/haul mode causes the RPM of the car to go higher before gear shifting, and in some cases, this also adds to the vehicle’s speed before each shift. This will make you feel that your vehicle is going a lot faster than before, but the only difference here is in the shifting patterns. 

As far as the vehicle’s speed is concerned, it varies depending on the pressure you put on the accelerator pedal. For instance, if you press it lightly, the vehicle will move slowly and vice versa. 


Does the Tow/Haul Mode Help Power?

The tow/haul mode reduces a vehicle’s shift cycles. As this mode is generally activated when you want to move your car containing a heavy load, it has something to do with the car’s power. 

The fact that it reduces the shift cycle means that it moves the shifting to lower energy mode, allowing the car to use the power to carry the weight. This simply means that it helps in the division of power/energy of the vehicle. 


Conclusion – What Does the Tow/Haul Light Mean? 

In this guide, we have looked at the meaning of the tow/haul light and explored some of the main reasons that could make the tow/haul light flash on your vehicle. We have also tried answering some of the questions you might have regarding the tow/haul mode. 

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the tow/haul mode better, and you no longer need to worry about the tow/haul light flashing on your car’s dashboard. 


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