Does Tow Haul Use More Gas? Let’s Find Out

Have you ever wondered if using ‘Tow Haul’ mode in your vehicle means you’ll be visiting the gas station more often? 

In this post, I’ll break things down. Does ‘Tow Haul’ mode actually guzzle more gas, or is it just a myth? 

I’ll give you the full explanation so you can make smarter decisions when towing heavy stuff.

Keep reading to learn how it uses more gas and how it works in general.

Does Tow Haul Use More Gas?

Yes, using tow haul mode can make your gas disappear faster. Here’s why:

When you turn on Tow Haul mode, the transmission and engine are reconfigured to optimize performance for heavy-duty tasks like towing or hauling.

This means the transmission holds onto lower gears for longer, allowing the engine to deliver more power to handle the added load effectively.

Additionally, in Tow Haul mode, the engine tends to turn to higher RPMs because it needs to produce more torque. 

Higher RPMs mean the engine uses up more fuel per unit of time. 

The throttle response is also heightened, so even slight pressure on the gas pedal results in more fuel injected into the engine to produce immediate power.

Tow haul mode is great for maintaining speed and control while towing, but be ready for your gas gauge to drop a bit quicker because of these tweaks in how your vehicle acts.

How Does Tow Haul Mode Work?

Tow/haul mode is like a special setting in your car’s automatic transmission, especially useful when you’re towing a heavy trailer or carrying a big load. 

It’s designed to make your driving experience smoother and safer in these situations by making a few critical adjustments to how your vehicle behaves.

Here’s a breakdown of all the things it does:

  • Shift Points: Instead of shifting gears frequently, tow/haul mode keeps the transmission in its current gear longer. This provides more power when you need it, like when you’re going uphill with a trailer.
  • Throttle Response: It makes the gas pedal more sensitive. This means a smaller push on the gas pedal will get a stronger response from the engine, helping you accelerate more easily when towing.
  • Engine Braking: When you’re going downhill, normal driving might make you rely on your brakes a lot to slow down. But tow/haul mode does something smarter – it uses the engine to help slow you down instead of just your brakes. This is better for your brakes and makes your descent more controlled.
  • Cooling: It adjusts the vehicle’s cooling systems to prevent the engine and transmission from overheating during demanding towing situations.
  • Stability Control: Some cars have stability control systems that work together with Tow/haul mode to keep your trailer stable and maintain control.
  • Torque Converter Lockup: This feature is like a connection in your transmission that helps your engine and wheels work together more efficiently. Tow/haul mode can engage this connection at lower speeds to reduce wear on your transmission when you’re cruising with a heavy load.

Tow/Haul mode changes how your car drives to make it easier, safer, and more efficient, without you needing to worry about all the technical details.

When To Use Tow Haul Mode?

Tow haul mode is like your trusty sidekick when you’re towing something hefty. Here’s when you should consider using it:

  • Towing Heavy Loads: This one’s a no-brainer. When you’re towing a trailer, boat, or anything substantial, engage tow haul mode. It’ll make sure your vehicle can handle the extra weight more effectively.
  • Climbing Hills: If your journey involves climbing steep hills while towing, tow haul mode can be your best friend. It keeps your engine in the power zone, helping you ascend those inclines with confidence.
  • Descending Slopes: When going downhill, especially on long, winding descents, tow haul mode’s engine braking feature can assist in maintaining control and reducing wear on your regular brakes.
  • Quick Acceleration: If you need to accelerate rapidly with a heavy load, like merging onto a highway, tow haul mode’s responsive throttle can come in handy.
  • Safety and Stability: Tow haul mode can enhance the stability and handling of your vehicle when towing, making it a good choice for maintaining control in challenging driving conditions.

Does Tow Mode Make You Faster?

Tow haul mode won’t make your car go faster like a sports car. But it can make some things feel quicker and smoother.

In tow haul mode the gas pedal responds faster. So, you can speed up more quickly, especially when you’re towing something heavy.

When you’re going uphill with a heavy load, tow haul mode can make it feel easier. You won’t slow down as much, so it might seem like you’re going faster.

This mode also makes your car feel steadier. All of these can give you a sense of moving faster even though tow haul mode doesn’t make you faster in terms of speed.


How fast can you go in tow/haul mode?

Tow haul mode doesn’t make your car go faster. You will still drive at the usual speed limit, just like in regular mode. 

How much weight for tow/haul mode?

Tow haul mode is for hauling heavy stuff, like trailers or big loads. Weight limits vary by car, so look in your manual or ask the manufacturer for the specifics.

Is it OK to drive in tow haul mode all the time?

No, it’s not a good idea to always drive in tow haul mode. It’s only for towing heavy stuff or challenging roads. Leaving it on when you don’t need it can waste gas and put extra stress on your car.

Final Thoughts

So yes, tow haul does use more gas when you’re towing heavy stuff.

It tweaks your vehicle to handle the load better, but it also makes the engine work harder, which means you’ll be making more trips to the gas station.

But don’t sweat it! You don’t have to use tow haul mode all the time. Save it for those moments when you’re playing the role of the heavy-duty hauler. 

In your everyday drives or when you’re rolling light, just keep it off to keep that fuel gauge happier. 

Make this mode your go-to when you need that extra oomph for the big hauls.

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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