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Hyundai Tucson: Driving with a trailer

Hyundai Tucson - Fourth generation (NX4) - (2020-2023) - Owner's Manual / Driving your vehicle / Trailer towing / Driving with a trailer

Towing a trailer requires a certain amount of experience. Before setting out for the open road, you must get to know your trailer. Acquaint yourself with the feel of handling and braking with the added weight of the trailer. And always keep in mind that the vehicle you are driving is now longer and not nearly as responsive as your vehicle is by itself.

Before you start, check the trailer hitch and platform, safety chains, electrical connector (s), lights, tires and brakes.

During your trip, occasionally check to be sure that the load is secure, and that the lights and trailer brakes are still working.

Distance

Stay at least twice as far behind the vehicle ahead as you would when driving your vehicle without a trailer. This can help you avoid situations that require heavy braking and sudden turns.

Passing

You will need more passing distance up ahead when you're towing a trailer. And, because of the increased vehicle length, you'll need to go much farther beyond the passed vehicle before you can return to your lane.

Backing up

Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. Then, to move the trailer to the left, move your hand to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move your hand to the right. Always back up slowly and, if possible, have someone guide you.

Making turns

When you're turning with a trailer, make wider turns than normal. Do this so your trailer won't strike soft shoulders, curbs, road signs, trees, or other objects. Avoid jerky or sudden maneuvers. Signal well in advance.

Turn signals

When you tow a trailer, your vehicle has to have a different turn signal flasher and extra wiring. The green arrows on your instrument panel will flash whenever you signal a turn or lane change. Properly connected, the trailer lights will also flash to alert other drivers you're about to turn, change lanes, or stop.

When towing a trailer, the green arrows on your instrument panel will flash for turns even if the bulbs on the trailer are burned out. Thus, you may think drivers behind you are seeing your signals when, in fact, they are not. It's important to check occasionally to be sure the trailer bulbs are still working.

You must also check the lights every time you disconnect and then reconnect the wires.

WARNING

Do not connect a trailer lighting system directly to your vehicle's lighting system. Use an approved trailer wiring harness. Failure to do so could result in damage to the vehicle electrical system and/or personal injury. We recommend that you consult an authorized HYUNDAI dealer for assistance.

Driving on hills

Reduce speed and shift to a lower gear before you start down a long or steep downgrade. If you don't shift down, you might have to use your brakes so much that they would get overheated and may not operate efficiently.

On a long uphill grade, shift down and reduce your speed to around 45 mph (70 km/h) to reduce the possibility of engine and transmission overheating.

If your trailer weighs more than the maximum trailer weight without trailer brakes and you have a automatic transmission, you should drive in D (Drive) when towing a trailer.

Operating your vehicle in D (Drive) when towing a trailer will minimize heat build-up and extend the life of your transmission.

NOTICE

To prevent engine and/or transmission overheating:

  • When towing a trailer on steep grades (in excess of 6%) pay close attention to the engine coolant temperature gauge to ensure the engine does not overheat. If the needle of the coolant temperature gauge moves towards "H" (HOT), pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so, and allow the engine to idle until it cools down. You may proceed once the engine has cooled sufficiently.
  • If you tow a trailer with the maximum gross vehicle weight and maximum trailer weight, it can cause the engine or transmission to overheat.

    When driving in such conditions, allow the engine to idle until it cools down. You may proceed once the engine or transmission has cooled sufficiently.

  • When towing a trailer, your vehicle speed may be much slower than the general flow of traffic, especially when climbing an uphill grade. Use the right hand lane when towing a trailer on an uphill grade. Choose your vehicle speed according to the maximum posted speed limit for vehicles with trailers, the steepness of the grade, and your trailer weight.

Parking on hills

Generally, if you have a trailer attached to your vehicle, you should not park your vehicle on a hill.

However, if you ever have to park your trailer on a hill, here's how to do it:

  1. Pull the vehicle into the parking space.

    Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the curb (right if headed down hill, left if headed up hill).

  2. Shift the gear to P (Park).
  3. Set the parking brake and shut off the vehicle.
  4. Place wheel chocks under the trailer wheels on the down hill side of the wheels.
  5. Start the vehicle, hold the brakes, shift to neutral, release the parking brake and slowly release the brakes until the trailer chocks absorb the load.
  6. Reapply the brakes and parking brakes.
  7. Shift the gear to P (Park) when the vehicle is parked on a uphill grade and in R (Reverse) on a downhill.
  8. Shut off the vehicle and release the vehicle brakes but leave the parking brake set.

WARNING

To prevent serious or fatal injury:

  • Do not get out of the vehicle without the parking brake firmly set. If you have left the engine running, the vehicle can move suddenly. You and others could be seriously or fatally injured.
  • Do not apply the accelerator pedal to hold the vehicle on an uphill.

Driving the vehicle after it has been parked on a hill

1. With the gear in P (Park), apply your brakes and hold the brake pedal down while you:

  • Start your engine;
  • Shift into gear; and
  • Release the parking brake.

2. Slowly remove your foot from the brake pedal.

3. Drive slowly until the trailer is clear of the chocks.

4. Stop and have someone pick up and store the chocks.

Maintenance when towing a trailer

Your vehicle will need service more often when you regularly pull a trailer.

Important items to pay particular attention to include engine oil, transmission fluid, axle lubricant and cooling system fluid. Brake condition is another important item to frequently check. If you're trailering, it's a good idea to review these items before you start your trip. Don't forget to also maintain your trailer and hitch.

Follow the maintenance schedule that accompanied your trailer and check it periodically. Preferably, conduct the check at the start of each day's driving.

Most importantly, all hitch nuts and bolts should be tight.

NOTICE

To prevent vehicle damage:

  • Due to higher load during trailer usage, overheating might occur on hot days or during uphill driving.

    If the coolant gauge indicates over-heating, switch off the air conditioner and stop the vehicle in a safe area to cool down the engine.

  • Do not switch off the engine while the coolant gauge indicates overheating.

    (Keep the engine idle to cool down the engine)

  • When towing check transmission fluid more frequently.
  • If your vehicle is not equipped with an air conditioner, you should install a condenser fan to improve engine performance when towing a trailer.

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