Towing in cruise control

toyota
corolla

#1

is it okay to use cruise control while towing? the vehicle in question is a 2008 Toyota Corolla (4 cylinder manual trans.) the unit being towed is a 5x8 teardrop camper (about 800 lbs) if it isn’t, why?

would it be okay on long flat stretches of highway after getting up to cruising speed?


#2

800 pounds isn’t much weight if the wind resistance isn’t too bad. I’d use cruise if it’s flat.


#3

While it likely would be OK, I don’t think I would use cruise.


#4

800 lbs ain’t much weight, but a Corolla ain’t much car. For me it’s borderline. I agree on long flat streches, maybe. Besides, if you can’t use OD, as recomended, I would be less likely to use cruise as well. Your throttle position will tell you. Other than that, it’s a safety issue as there’s less of a tendancy to slow when you should by lifting your foot occasionally and 800 lbs on the back is enough to make a bad day in an emergency manuver for a Corolla. Be real careful; I recommend not with much traffic what so ever.


#5

You can use it, but it may not be very useful. The Corolla will need to be in it’s power “sweet spot” to tow trailer effectively. That is something close to 3,000 rpm. You may find yourself in 4th gear a lot. So, you are going to be shifting a lot more often and may find the cruise isn’t helpful.

50 mph in 4th gear might work with the cruise on flat stretches of highway. Your Corolla is light and doesn’t have a lot of braking power so I’d keep the speeds at 50 to 55 mph. A high speed panic stop at 65 mph would be too interesting for me.


#6

You MIGHT be able to cruise in wide-open flat country, but most of the time you should have FULL CONTROL of the rig while towing. Too many things going on to get lazy and sloppy…


#7

There isn’t a problem using cruise while towing. It doesn’t hurt anything.


#8

Cruise will want to do everything it can to maintain set speed.
With additional weight this will mean a lot of down shifting and higher rpms.

This is not bad for the car but the increased fuel usage just may be a bit un-neccessary unless you’re actually in a time crunch.

You could save some fuel when towing by using the hills to your mpg favor.
Increasing speed on the down hill and fading back a bit on the up hill.


#9

Have you checked to see what your owner’s manual says about towing?


#10

Every owners manual that I’ve ever read has said says specifically not to use cruise control while towing. The reason is that the transmission will “hunt” which means it will keep shifting up and down to control the vehicle speed. This will cause the little trailer to jerk back and forth slightly each time the shift occurs even on level ground. Use your right foot to control the vehicle while towing and forget about cruise control.


#11

I don’t think the cruise control is the issue. I think the issues are that:

(A) You don’t know exactly how much the trailer weighs loaded. Even the newest light weight deardrop campers require at least 2,000 lbs. of towing capacity.

(B) Most cars this small can’t handle towing something this large.

If your vehicle can safely handle this trailer, which hasn’t yet been confirmed, you won’t do any additional harm by using the cruise control.


#12

With additional weight this will mean a lot of down shifting and higher rpms

This Corolla has a manual transmission.


#13

"Every owners manual that I’ve ever read has said says specifically not to use cruise control while towing. "

The most relevant response in the whole discussion !


#14

Mine specifically states not to use cruise while towing. (different car than op) Manual trans and cruise control, what won’t they think of next.


#15

It can’t hunt. It’s a manual trans. But I’m willing to bet that the Corolla manual says not to tow at all.

And if I’m wrong, than I think it’s important to make the point that the OP should begin to reference the Owner’s manual for the proper use of his car rather than believe a website forum…even this one.

I agree with your technical points as they would apply to an automatic, but stand by my post as having everything necessary that the OP needs to know…check the Owner’s manual.


#16

When I was moving, I towed as much as 1,500 pounds (total weight) on a 4x8 trailer with my Maxima. On flat highway, I can’t even feel the trailer, and there was no appreciable change in the throttle position (meaning I didn’t have to press on the gas pedal more than I would without the trailer). This makes sense, because my car weighs about 3,500 pounds and has 190 horse power. 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of towing weight is far less than 1/2 of the car’s weight.

Your Corolla should weigh about 2,700 pounds at least, so adding 1,000 pounds (trailer plus camping gear) should not be a burden on the car. Consider that against a Suburban, which may weigh as much as 5,000 pounds, pulling 3,000 pounds of 6x8 enclosed trailer, which would be considered moderate towing. Towing weight on the Suburban is 3/5 of the vehicle weight.

However, problema arise, because Corolla is never intended to tow stuff, while Suburban is designed to tow stuff on a regular basis. Hence, Suburban’s brakes, chassis, transmission, suspension and other stuff are designed for that purpose, and that’s why it’s so heavy.

On a long stretch of flat road, I would feel comfortable using the cruise control, only if the car feels like it’s not working any harder than it would without the trailer. I say this because on flat road, the added aerodynamic and mechanical drag provided by the trailer is the only thing that requires additional power from the car. I would assume you don’t even need extended side mirrors to see around the trailer, and the trailer does not stick out above the car’s roof. If this is the case, the additional aerodynamic drag should be minimal.

However, the most important issue is that how the car and you would handle an emergency situation. The car was not designed to tow, so you have to be extra careful in BRAKING, especially on a long stretch of downhill or winding roads.

I would agree with previous comments that you shouldn’t use cruise control if the owner’s manual tells you not to. I don’t want to be held liable, if you get in an accident, because you followed my advice.