Everyone knows that RAM 1500s are fantastic vehicles for towing and working, but not everyone knows exactly how everything in the truck works. Modern trucks are complex and have tons of intricate systems, parts, and modes that can be hard to keep up with. Have you ever wondered what that Tow/Haul button on your dash does?
What Does The Tow Haul Button Do On The RAM 1500?
The Tow Haul button on your RAM 1500 causes the transmission to run at a higher RPM before upshifting. When towing or hauling heavy loads through hills or rougher terrain, the tow haul mode keeps the truck from shifting too much, giving you more power and preventing wear on the transmission.
We’ll go over when you should and shouldn’t use the tow/haul mode in your vehicle, as well as what tow/haul mode does to make your truck better at towing. Keep reading below to find out how to get the most from your RAM 1500.
What Effect Does the Tow/Haul Button Have on my Vehicle?
The primary purpose of the tow/haul mode in your pickup is to give the vehicle the most consistent torque when moving heavy loads.
The most notable and significant change that tow haul mode will have on your vehicle is its effect on the transmission. Activating tow haul mode will raise the level of RPMs that your vehicle will shift at and delay the time when your vehicle shifts.
In the normal mode, your truck switches gear fairly early because even though you don’t have much torque, you’re saving fuel and lowering emissions by not running your engine at those high RPMs.
Because your truck doesn’t have as much torque or power in the normal mode, it can struggle to pull heavy loads up hills or across rough terrain. By increasing the RPMs and increasing torque, your truck can drive more consistently with heavy loads. This also helps prevent wear on your transmission because your vehicle will not be shifting gears as rapidly under strain.
Another thing that the tow haul mode does to your truck is cause it to downshift sooner when going downhill or braking. This helps you keep better control of the truck during a descent.
The tow haul mode will deactivate the multi-cylinder displacement system if you have a 6-cylinder engine. The tow/haul mode does not do this for the 8-cylinder engines.
The multi-cylinder displacement system has been added to the RAM trucks in order to enable better fuel economy and lower emissions. The system itself works by disabling cylinders in the engine so that the truck is only driving with 4 cylinders. This reduces the power of your engine, so it is not ideal for towing heavy loads, which is why it is disabled on 6-cylinder engines.
Tow haul mode also keeps your truck from using overdrive gears. Most RAM trucks have a 7 and an 8 gear, known as their overdrive gears. These gears allow the vehicle to travel fast at lower RPMs. Since the RPMs are lower, you use less fuel and have lower output. The tow haul mode will keep your truck from using these gears since you need the added torque and power of the lower gears.
When Should the Tow Haul Button be Used?
The tow haul button should be enabled when towing or hauling heavy loads over hills or rough terrain.
For those who may not know the difference between towing and hauling. Towing refers to pulling something behind your vehicle using the hitch and a trailer. Hauling refers to the weight that is carried by the truck itself. Trucks can typically tow much more weight than they can haul since the trailer has its own set of wheels. The current RAM 1500s can all tow up to around 12,000 lbs depending on your engine. Most of them can haul around 2,500 lbs.
Using the tow haul mode when moving heavy loads will give you the best performance from your RAM 1500. This is especially true over hills or rough terrain where consistent torque is important. It can also help with braking and steering with heavy loads as well.
Tow haul mode is also useful when driving in traffic since it will assist you in making a controlled stop if you need to do so quickly.
When Shouldn’t the Tow Haul Button be Used?
You should not use the tow haul button when driving on ice or snow. When you’re driving in tow haul mode, your vehicle uses engine braking to help you slow down. This helps you have more control when you have good traction but not when conditions are slippery.
In icy and slippery conditions, engine braking can cause your rear wheels to lock up and lose traction. This can lead to the truck sliding and causing an accident.
The tow-haul mode is also not recommended for normal driving and especially highway driving. While not dangerous, it will have a detrimental effect on your wallet.
Some people find that turning on the tow haul mode when you don’t have a heavy load can cause the truck to feel more powerful. This can be a fun way to drive, I’ll admit, but it’s not very efficient. The normal mode on a truck is designed to be more efficient and better for the longevity of your vehicle.
You also probably don’t need to use tow haul mode when driving on flat terrain with less traffic though it could still help.
Can I Use Tow/Haul Mode all the Time?
Using the tow haul mode constantly will not damage your truck. If you were concerned that leaving the setting on would cause damage to your truck, it will not.
As was mentioned before, using the tow/haul mode will make your vehicle less fuel efficient, and it will also result in more emissions from your truck. The extra power you get in this driving mode is simply unnecessary under normal conditions, but it won’t damage the vehicle.
Modern trucks like the RAM 1500 are designed to give you the tools to keep going in a variety of situations. The tow haul Mode is best utilized in the situation it was designed for. Using the truck in this way will help ensure that your truck will operate normally for a long time.