Cruise control is one of the most useful and smartest features in almost every modern car. It’s totally safe to leave your car on cruise control when there is less or no traffic on the road. But to answer the question, “can I use cruise control while towing.” we’ll have to look at how this feature works and its risks.
Of course, you can use cruise control while towing. You just have to switch on the tow/haul mode and then let the cruise control do its job. However, there are several risks associated with using cruise control while towing. For example, the vehicle will do anything to maintain the desired speed. We’ll discuss the risks in this post later.
However, first, let’s understand what cruise control really is and how it works.
Cruise Control is a feature that allows a car to imitate the driver’s driving pattern and maintain the car’s speed. This feature is useful when you are on a long drive and don’t want to press the accelerator pedal anymore.
However, the road must be almost clear, straight without sharp turns, and free of stoppages and blockades to activate cruise control.
When you switch on cruise control, you can release your foot from the pedal and let the car adjust the speed itself. Moreover, some modern trucks and cars use Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) instead of conventional cruise control.
ACC is the advanced version of conventional cruise control. ACC is an automatic system that reads the speed of the car moving in front of your car. When that car slows down, ACC reduces the speed of your car.
What ACC actually does is it matches the speed of your car with the car in front of you. When that car changes the lane, ACC will set the speed of your car to normal.
Basically, ACC works with the help of a radar sensor. It’s installed on the front side of your vehicle, behind the duct. The radar beam gives a clear view of what’s ahead of your vehicle. Moreover, ACC controls the car’s speed and keeps the car 2-3 seconds behind the vehicle moving in front of you.
Since you are moving on a straight road, there’s no problem for the sensor to sense the traffic ahead. However, the challenge begins when there’s a curved road ahead.
It’s possible that after covering a long straight distance, there’s a curve ahead. Since your truck or car is on cruise control, that system is not going to help you in detecting the cars that will come right in front of you during and after the curve. So what are you going to do in such a situation?
Simply take control of the wheel and reduce the speed manually till the curved part ends. The cruise control feature is of no help on curved roads. Therefore, this shows that you should never completely depend on cruise control.
Now, what if you are towing and a steep road is approaching?
There are two risks involved in this scenario. First, you are towing a heavy load to your car or truck. Second, there’s a hilly road approaching.
Let’s forget the radar sensor for a moment and focus on the weight your car or truck is towing. When you are driving a vehicle manually, you try to adjust the gear and then drive on the inclined roads.
No doubt, the engine needs more power to run the vehicle on the inclination. But you simply shift the gear, reduce the speed, and slowly take your car to the destination.
However, cruise control while towing on an inclined road might make the engine suffer. How?
The job of cruise control is to maintain the speed regardless of the terrain. If a hilly road is right in front of you, cruise control will not shift the gear. Instead, it will force the engine to take the car or truck upwards/ Result?
The engine will be under severe pressure, which would definitely affect its performance and lifetime. Besides, you can use Liqui Moly Synthetic Motor Oil to keep the engine lubricated.
When you are beginning to move on an inclined road while the cruise control is activated, the radar sensor will gradually stop detecting anything in front of it. Why?
Since the sensor is installed at the front side of your vehicle right behind the duct, it horizontally detects the objects that are in front of you. But since you are going at almost 20°-25° elevation, the radar’s beam will detect nothing but the sky.
It’s not dangerous until you reach the top and there’s a sudden drop in the inclination. Cruise control will maintain its speed at any cost. However, it can’t detect the car ahead when you are coming down from the inclined road. Even if the sensor detects there’s a car, it might be too late.
Therefore, the best practice in both scenarios is to deactivate the cruise control system on steep roads and drive your truck or car manually.
Since you are taking a camp, boat, or anything heavy with you, the following safety measures are recommended to check before hitting the road.
- Check the hitch as it’s the most important part of towing. A weak hitch might get easily disconnected anytime. Besides, you can go for the Adjustable Tri-Ball Solid Hitch for a secure towing.
- Do your research and study the route beforehand. Moreover, you can take help from apps like RV Trip Wizard to plan your trip. If the terrain is difficult to pass for a towing vehicle, make some changes in the plan and try another safer route.
- Make sure your car or truck is at its top performance. Check brakes, horns, headlights, taillights, GPS, and indicators before leaving.
- Keep the user’s manual with you in case any emergency occurs. The manual includes everything regarding cruise control, trailer sway, and towing.
While cruise control is a useful feature for your car and truck, you can’t depend on it when the road is not straight. Therefore, you have to manually pass the difficult terrains while towing to safely reach the destination.
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