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Old 11-19-2019, 08:47 AM   #1
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Tow haul switch

I drive a new to me 2016 GMC Canyon equipped with a tow package including the tow haul switch. Can I tow without engaging the tow haul? When do I need to engage it? Will I get better MPG with it or without it? Thanks for your all's help
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:49 AM   #2
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On a pickup towing a trailer I'd always use the TH switch. It's not mandatory or anything just a good idea.

Tow Haul mode changes the way your transmissions shifts and holds gears. On some trucks it activates a transmission oil cooler function, too. MPG "might" be a hair better on the Hwy without TH engaged. But don't count on it saving you more than a few pennies.

Importantly, TH mode gives you downshifting control on your transmission that activates every time you tap the brakes. On steep downhills this not only saves your brakes, but can save your life by using engine braking that can help prevent your truck/trailer brakes from overheating.

When we towed a TT with out Ford Expedition we always used TH and felt it helped make the drive better and safer. I now drive a 38' motorhome and use the TH mode only when driving in mountains or large hills. But I know other's like me that use it all the time.

I think you'll find most people will recommend that you use it anytime you are towing.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:12 AM   #3
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It normally changes the shifting points in the transmission for the additional loads. I know Toyota Tundras had a issue if you leave it in tow haul as a employee had this and Toyota told us it was bad to leave it in tow haul. Check your owners manual if you have it or order a replacement.
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Old 11-22-2019, 02:11 PM   #4
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So it will tell you in the manual it’s not Needed unless your exceeding 1/2 your gvwr, and it has zero affect after you are up to highway speeds(But it will not so anything negative if you always left it on towing or not). The best thing about it is the downshifting to slow you as you brake. It also kicks you down over drive gears faster regardless of what the manual says. It has its pluses and minuses the down shifting I wish was a little smarter when you just want to bump the brakes and it drops 2 gears gets annoying but I still use it with our trailers but it shines when your towing something without trailer brakes.
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Old 11-23-2019, 05:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for your help
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Old 11-24-2019, 04:49 PM   #6
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Yes you can and I drive without it ALL of the time. I know better than the switch-enabled electronics when to shift up or down and use the gas pedal to get the transmission to shift when I want it to. I tried the switch when I first started driving the rig and it really did a poor job of shifting, especially going downhill. I manually downshift on steep downgrades, when necessary, to help keep the brakes from overheating. I can not recommend what I do for everyone as not everyone has extensive driving knowledge. If you are not sure of what you need to do during various driving conditions, then by all means use the tow switch. It won't hurt anything and it may be better than doing nothing.

As for getting better gas mileage, I use a OBDII code scanner with active readout of four functions which enables me to "read" what's going on and adjust my driving accordingly. In general, I average about 60 mph (on the interstate), 55 uphill and 65 downhill on small to medium hills. There isn't much you can do on long steep grades, up or down. Once you lose your momentum uphill, all you have left is downshifting and you don't need to put the pedal to the metal, although it will be close. Downhill, well, use your best judgement on braking and keep it below the speed limit. Happy motoring.
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:02 PM   #7
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Living in Central Florida, I did not use it on flatland but it comes in real handy in the hills and mountains. It is absolutely great for keeping you in a lower gear when descending a mountain to keep you from burning up your brakes.
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:58 AM   #8
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Tow Haul Switch

I have a 2012 Cambria 30 C. I usually always engage my tow haul switch when towing my car. It eases my transmission especially when dealing with hills. Plus it acts like an engine brake when going down hills.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:11 PM   #9
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Generally, Tow/Haul engagement locks the torque convertor so when under load the transmission is not "hunting' up and down under part throttle for the suitable gear. It affects fuel mileage somewhat, but saves a lot of wear and tear on the gearbox. I drove a Ram work truck back in the day before I knew whatT/H was, pulling a loaded lrailer, and discovered it used a lot more fuel continually shifting up and down over every overpass rise on the interstate. Once I figured it out, both of us were much happier.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:26 AM   #10
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I figure the button is there for a reason and I use it almost every time I'm pulling the camper. I think the manual does state that its best used when pulling a heavy trailer. It seems like the truck just goes easier with the trailer mode engaged.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:00 PM   #11
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tow haul mode

I pull my 2018 micro minnie w/a 2015 Tundra 5.7Li w/tow package. At least on the Tundra, tow haul modifies engine electronic ignition and valve operation. As the truck/trailer enter an uphill stretch or high elevation operation. you can hear and feel the engine horse-power increase/surge ahead, initially without downshifting. At a point, the transmission will downshift to a lower gear for more torque, and the engine RPM will increase. Don't use cruise control with tow haul mode, unless on relatively flat terrain. i do think tow haul is less fuel efficient; however, less wear and tear on engine and transmission, as the engine does not lug down, but rather turns at higher RPM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by stoney1 View Post
I drive a new to me 2016 GMC Canyon equipped with a tow package including the tow haul switch. Can I tow without engaging the tow haul? When do I need to engage it? Will I get better MPG with it or without it? Thanks for your all's help
I am not familiar with GM products [we tow a 2106ds with an Explorer Sport]. Anytime we are towing, it is suggested that the Tow mode be used. The same with Ford trucks etc. This saves the transmission [6 speed] from searching and shifting constantly especially in hilly environs.
One caveat though: and not to my with Tow mode engaged and a fully loaded trailer, the set speed going downhill, especially on steep highway inclines is relatively fast.
For this I switch to the Manual mode to slow the setup down, saving brakes and transmission. Then once on less aggressive hills, switch back to Tow mode. All of this ensures that driver, toad and vehicle all stay awake, keep safe on hills and dale for ourselves and fellow traveling companions on the highways.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:06 AM   #13
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Each vehicle, load and terrain combo will give different results as to what is best for your driving style. Running across flat land will certainly give a different answer that when driving in real mountain country.
I use it on a motorhome and find it an absolute dream when running down long mountain grades. Running through the small mountains in the East will get a different answer.
Controlling speed on downhill is not much trouble when the grade is only a mile or so long but when you are looking at 6-8 miles of needing to use the engine to brake, T/H is almost vital.
There are times when the grade levels enough that you want to move on up a few miles per hour solet it decide but then when you get to a hairpin curve and want to drop to 15 MPH, the "brain " will drop the transmission when you push the brake.
But how and when will take some experience to get it to fit how you want to drive in any particular situation. I would not use it full time unless you do find the load makes the truck shift more than you want as in small grades like overpasses.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:56 PM   #14
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You don't say which engine you have in the Canyon. If it's the diesel turning on tow haul also turns on the exhaust brake, which is different than engine braking.

In my Colorado Duramax I'll tend to leave tow/haul off when towing on the freeway, unless going down an extensive hill, in which case I want the engine braking. In town or stop and go I like tow/haul. Just see what you like best. It won't harm anything on your Canyon.

In contrast I've driven Ford based small motorhomes and kept tow haul off practically all the time.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:44 PM   #15
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I just remembered that in the Colorado/Canyon the tow/haul switch also increases charging to a "remote vehicle battery." Check the section on Trailer Wiring Harness.
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