Hyundai Tucson Owners & Service Manuals

Hyundai Tucson: Trailer Towing / Driving with a Trailer

Towing a trailer requires a certain amount of experience. Before driving, 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 the load is secure, and that the lights and trailer brakes are still working.

Following 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 Distance

You need more passing distance when you are towing a trailer. Because of the increased vehicle length, you may 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 are turning with a trailer, make wider turns than normal. Do this so your trailer does not 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 flashes whenever you signal a turn or lane change. Properly connected, the trailer lights also flash to alert other drivers when you are about to turn, change lanes, or stop.

When towing a trailer, the green arrows on your instrument panel flashes 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 is important to check occasionally to make sure the trailer bulbs are still working. Check the lights every time you disconnect and then reconnect the wires.


Do not connect a trailer lighting system directly to your vehicle’s lighting system. Use an approved trailer wiring harness. Failure to do so may result in damage to the vehicle electrical system and/or personal injury. Contact an authorized HYUNDAI dealer for assistance.

Driving on hills

On a long uphill grade, shift down and reduce your vehicle speed to around 45 mph (70 km/h) to reduce the possibility of engine and transmission overheating. If you do not shift down, you might have to use the brakes and your brakes may overheat and may not operate efficiently.

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

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


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 make sure the engine does not overheat. If the needle of the coolant temperature gauge moves toward “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 may 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, do not park your vehicle on a hill.

If you ever have to park your trailer on a hill:

1. Pull the vehicle into the parking space. Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the curb (right if headed down hill or left if headed up hill).

2. Shift the gear to P (Park).

3. Apply 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 the parking brake.

7. Shift the gear to P (Park) when the vehicle is parked on an uphill grade and in R (Reverse) on a downhill.

8. Shut off the vehicle and release the vehicle brakes but apply the parking brake.


To prevent serious injury or death:

  • Do not get out of the vehicle without applying the parking brake firmly. If you have left the engine running, the vehicle may move suddenly. You and others may 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:

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