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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Selecting a Tow Vehicle

I read your recent article regarding matching a tow vehicle and travel trailer because we need to select a different tow vehicle for our new trailer. I can follow your guidelines okay, but here is my major concern: Our present vehicle will tow the trailer, but per the owner's manual, in order to not over-stress the transmission due to constantly up-shifting to overdrive and then down-shifting, over and over, we need to lock the shifter in the "3" position instead of the "D" position. Which results in terrible gas mileage.

So here's my question: What vehicles can we expect to tow our trailer in the "Drive" selection? I'm not asking you to endorse any particular vehicle, because it makes no difference to us what we buy, Ford, GMC, Chevy, Dodge, whatever. What we want to avoid is buying one, only to find out we have the same problem. Please recommend as many models as possible with the necessary power train combinations, (gas and diesel), to achieve our goal.

Our new conventional travel trailer weighs 4273 lbs. By the time we have it fully loaded, I figure it will weigh around 5300-5500 pounds. Tim M. (no city, no state) 

Unfortunately, it would be nigh impossible to gather the info you are seeking Tim. One would have to access every single owner’s manual for the qualifying tow vehicles. I think the reason many manuals state to put the transmission in third gear instead of “drive” is just as you state, to keep the tranny from slipping into and out of overdrive.

If any vehicle has a switch that can disable the overdrive function, (both mine do), then it might be possible to select “drive” and just go. You can always downshift to a lower gear if necessary if your road speed is reduced too much. Most likely this will be the case when heading uphill. This certainly would be one of the questions to ask before you purchase the next tow vehicle. But there’s simply no way to research what each owner’s manual might suggest, unfortunately. It's probably best to choose three or four possible tow vehicles based on your remaining criteria and then pop this question to narrow that field further.

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