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Pulling a 5X8 trailer from Indiana to So Cal. Do I need to have a transmission flush?

I’m pulling a 5X8 trailer 2200 miles, from Indiana to So Cal. Do I need to have my transmission flushed before I leave. I have no current issues with my 2013 with 60K miles; just want to be safe.

Look at the service schedule in your manual. That way you can cover all the bases.

I believe I read it should be like 60-100K miles. I just turned 60K, but didn’t know if flushing it would help with the towing? Ill check the manual…thanks.

Do you have a towing package? If not a transmission cooler would be a recommended add on.l

I’d have a ‘drain and fill’ done, not a flush. How much is your tow rating? What is the total weight of the trailer PLUS contents? You’d be surprised how much stuff weighs, easy to overdo it.


The number one enemy of automatic transmission fluid is heat.

And towing with an automatic transmission creates a lot of heat.

Have a transmission fluid flushed to exchange 100% of the fluid before this trip.

A drain and fill only removes 30% of the total amount of tranny fluid.

This would be the same as only removing 30% of the engine oil and replacing it before the trip.

And who would do that?


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I agree with Tester and will only add that if the vehicle were mine I’d install a transmission fluid cooler if the vehicle is not equipped with a towing package.

July in the Southwest combined with mountainous terrain can be tough on the fluid due to heat.

I’m not sure what the total weight of all will be. I only have one chair, a small drop leaf table & the rest is boxes. Not sure either about the tow rating, but I was going to rent a UHaul & was told my vehicle could tow a 6X12. I am going with a 5X8, which will be pretty full I’m sure, just so it wouldn’t be too hard on my vehicle. I have an appointment already; just wanted someone else’s input. Thanks so much!

I do have a towing package. Plan on going the southern route to avoid most of the mountains.

It’s leaner. Suggest to ask your shop tech to take a look at the fluid, and check the odor. If there’s any signs of it being burned or showing signs of that, change the fluid.

Your owners manual will have the towing capacity. Find out what it is. Don’t trust UHaul to tell you the right amount.

Which engine do you have?

With a towing package I think you will be fine. If it were me, I’d still flush the transmission fluid and give it a fresh start. The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination, check the trans fluid, and discover that it is now a bit brown in color.

I don’t think you will have an issue with the Terrain pulling a 5 X 8 trailer. My GMC Sonoma with the 4.3 V-6 is rated to pull 5000 pounds and if the baby truck can yank that much around then so can your Terrain.

I might guess it’s more important to flush the AT fluid AFTER the trip, to get the possibly damaged fluid out.

Any other opinions on this?

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A Terrain is a CUV a bit bigger than a Honda CRV. Not very big or powerful.

Thank you so much!

The fluid already has 60k miles no it and should have been changed already; assuming it has not. Towing may finish it off before the destination.

The OP has not stated which engine they have. The spec I looked at shows a 1500 pound rating for the 4 cylinder and a 3500 rating for the 6 cylinder. I’m assuming (again) that with a tow package the vehicle has the 6 cylinder.

Assuming this 5 x 8 is a U-Haul those are comparatively lightweight. Also assuming it’s not being loaded down with sash weights the 4 will pull it but will likely struggle in the mountains.
The 6 should pull it with no problem although it may also bog a bit on the uphills; and there will be uphills. Just less of them.

I have the 2003 4.2 6 cyl engine and have never had a lack of power issue towing my boat, that I am sure must weigh more than the load the op is talking about.

I have not towed it in the mountains, but up some pretty good hills, and never once thought

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DO NOT FLUSH! I would install a transmission cooler and have the fluid drained and the pan dropped and the filter changed. Use an independent and capable transmission shop. not a chain.

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You’re showing your age @ok4450.


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Probably of more concern than the weight is the sail area of the trailer. Not only will this be an issue driving forward, it is a big factor in swaying when there is a cross wind. Be sure to have adequate tongue weight when you load your cargo.

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