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How to Turn Off Tow/Haul Mode: Chevy

Tow/haul mode is a feature that comes with most automatic transmission vehicles. The same can be said for Chevrolet trucks and SUVs, although engaging or disengaging the feature with a knob or a push-button is not automatically a given.

For most Chevy models, the tow/haul mode is enabled or disabled via an input sent to the ECM/ECU. This mechanism makes things interesting – especially when the feature stays engaged on its own.

If drivers want to turn off tow/haul mode, they can do so via a control knob, switch, or button found on the dash panel or the shifter lever. Should this procedure not work, they may need to investigate further and resort to one or all of the three steps on how to turn off tow/haul mode below:

  1. Stop wire flexing.
  2. Fix or replace a malfunctioning switch.
  3. Ensure your oil filter is pushed all the way in with no seals missing.

Issues with a vehicle’s tow/haul mode are often taken lightly, as some owners find the problem easy to rectify. However, this should not be the case. A tow/haul mode indicator that goes off intermittently can signify a serious drivetrain or electrical problem. Not to mention that popping the steering column cover and splicing wires is not something you can always do while on the road.

Red Chevy Colorado Truck

Fuse Locations for Chevrolet SUVs and Trucks

In a perfect world, a driver’s means to activate a vehicle feature should be the same way it deactivates or turns it off. That said, we should first go over fuse locations and buttons used to enable the tow/haul mode in Chevy vehicles:

Chevy SUV ModelsTow/Haul Fuse LocationYears
Chevrolet BlazerFuses available are only for trailer-related turn signals, reverse, and brake (in the engine bay fuse box)1996 – 2005 2019 – Present
Chevrolet Bolt EUVFuses available are only for the trailer interface module (in the instrument panel fuse box)2016 – Present
Chevrolet EquinoxTrailer-related turn signal, reverse, and brake found in the engine bay fuse box; 4 (liftgate fuse) located in the passenger compartment2005 – 2009 2010 – 2017 2017 – 2019
Chevrolet SuburbanNo fuse but wired to the column brakes, with its indicator located at the end of the shifter1993 – 1999 2000 – 2006 2007 – 2014 2015 – 2020 2021 – Present
Chevrolet TahoeNo fuse but controlled via the DMC (Driver Mode Control) knob1995 – 1999 2000 – 2006 2007 – 2014 2015 – 2020
Chevrolet TrailblazerNo fuse and no on/off button (though its ECM is tuned for tow/haul operation)2002 – 2009 2020 – Present
Chevrolet TraversePre-2013 models’ fuse box has pins for relays and fuses related to towing a trailer but no actual fuses or relays installed (will require a tow package)2009 – 2017 2018 – Present
Chevrolet TraxF13 (Fuse 13/Liftgate relay in the instrument panel fuse box)2013 – 2017 2018 – Present
Chevrolet ColoradoNo fuse but controlled via a tow/haul button found on the center console2004 – 2012 2012 – Present
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 / Unlimited Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Chevrolet Silverado 3500No fuse but wired to the column brakes, with its indicator located at the end of the shifter1999 – 2007 2007 – 2013 2014 – 2018 2019 – Present

Chevy Silverado

The Chevy Silverado tow/haul mode fuse location has mostly been believed to be under the hood, in the engine compartment. However, this is incorrect, as the Silverado does not have a specific fuse for its tow/haul feature. The said feature’s indicator is connected to the fuse of the instrument cluster, found on the driver side of the vehicle’s instrument panel (behind the plastic cover).

The wires are specifically located at the base of the gear selector or shift lever, making it more prone to becoming brittle over time. Function-wise, an input to the vehicle’s ECM/ECU/BCM tells the latter when you want to turn the tow/haul mode on or off.

Chevy Colorado

Initially, only V6 and Diesel incarnations of the Chevy Colorado had the tow/haul function. But recent-year models showing the tow/haul button on their center console stack now have the feature. Moreover, trailer-related fuses and relays in the engine bay fuse box can be connected to an aftermarket in-dash brake controller.

Chevy Trax

As for the Chevy Trax, trailer-related fuses and relays found in the vehicle’s rear compartment fuse box are used to set up an electrical trailer hitch kit. Meanwhile, the F13 in the instrument panel fuse box is often modded and connected to a multi-switch to engage or disengage tow/haul mode (if the buttons at the end of the gearshift selector do not work). The same can be said for all other Chevies with liftgate fuses and relays, except for some models that need to be equipped with a tow package instead of an e-trailer kit.

How to Turn Off Tow/Haul Mode in a Chevy

Chevy Truck Driving on Road

Now that we have enumerated the different fuse locations and tow/haul buttons on various Chevy models, it is time to get to the meat of today’s guide – how to turn off the tow/haul mode.

In truth, there should only be one step in turning off the said feature – and that is by pressing the tow/haul button at the end of the shift lever and waiting for the tow/haul icon on the gauge panel to disappear. Similarly, the tow haul mode of a Chevy Tahoe requires turning the DMC (Driver Mode Control) knob from “Tow/Haul” back to “Normal” and waiting for its corresponding icon to clear from the instrument panel.

However, this is often untrue, which brings us to having three steps instead of one.

The succeeding section cites possible reasons why tow/haul mode would automatically set on or off. Based on these triggers, let us lay out the steps necessary to turn off the feature:

Step #1: Stop Wire Flexing.

The shifter rubbing the wires down in the steering column is, perhaps, the top reason your vehicle’s tow/haul mode would come on intermittently. And from what I gathered from forum discussions, Chevy owners usually address this by fixing the wires that connect to the tow/haul button.

While this is an easy fix, it is not permanent as the wires will only continue to flex due to repeated shifting. Hence, the better solution is to connect switches to the tow/haul mode circuit to prevent its wires from flexing further. You can access the connectors under the steering column by removing the plastic covering that part. Once the connectors and switch are connected, create a small provision on your dash trim where the push-button end of the switch can stick out.

Step #2: Fix or Replace a Malfunctioning Switch.

Depending on how old your car is or how often you use it, this problem can happen to you sooner than later. It is quite common among Chevy and GMC vehicle owners to experience this. And as established in the first step, it is typically resolved by splicing broken wires together (the culprit behind the issue). Soldering makes the connection more durable but using a wire connector in lieu of the former also works.

Step #3: Ensure Your Oil Filter Is Pushed All the Way in With No Seals Missing.

Your oil filter may seem irrelevant to towing at first. However, a loose oil filter can keep your vehicle in towing mode for all the wrong reasons. An oil filter not tight enough could result in an oil leak, which the ECM/ECU may interpret as consumed oil. Since engines burn more oil when in towing mode, activating tow/haul mode during the day while having a loose oil filter may cause the former to think that you are still using the tow/haul mode feature even if you are not.

Why Does the Tow/Haul Mode Automatically Turn On or Off?

The most common issue associated with this occurrence is transmission damage.

If the indicator light of the feature is flashing, it could mean that your TCM (Transmission Control Module) has detected a tranny problem and that the former would soon constantly upshift or be unable to change gears. Detection of the problem then prompts your TCM to place your vehicle in tow/haul mode for safety reasons.

Conversely, an indicator light not flashing would signify no issues with the TCM. However, there could still be a potential transmission problem warranting the expertise of a professional technician.

That aside, here are other triggers behind an intermittent tow/haul mode.

If Turning ON

  • Shifter may have rubbed the wires down in the steering column
  • Malfunctioning switch
  • The oil filter may not be pushed all the way in, or the seal may be missing
  • Broken connectors

If Turning OFF

  • Your shifter may have split the wires running to the tow/haul mode buttons in two
  • Bad solenoid or electrical circuit
  • Chafed wires connecting to the tow/haul mode buttons (usually the little orange wires located under the rubber flex on the steering column

A problematic gearshift lever assembly (view on Amazon) is one of the last things you should probe when affronted by this predicament. The reason for this is that wiring is often found as the culprit. It is fairly easy to fix old wires – it just requires a bit of splicing here and there. But depending on how severely the wires are damaged, you may need to replace everything.

When to Turn the Tow/Haul Mode On?

Maroon Chevy Vehicle

Some drivers turn the feature on to avoid doing too much up/downshifting – whether off the road or on the tarmac. However, it is not advisable since this practice is believed to wear out a vehicle’s transmission faster (if not result in poor fuel economy). Plus, there are other things to consider before using the tow/haul mode that apply not only to Chevies but also to other trailering vehicles.

One of these considerations is that you should not tow a trailer (which also means not using the tow/haul mode) during the first 500 miles of any new vehicle, lest you risk damage to the axle or other drivetrain component. Another is that you should exercise discretion when using the feature and only do so within the weight capacity of your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual for other OEM-specific recommendations.

These two points aside, there are hard-fast rules on when to utilize the tow/haul mode, such as traversing steep inclines or declines. And while fulfilling these conditions aim to reduce throttle pedal activity and improve shifting predictability, they should never be done without actually pulling a heavy trailer or load.

On this note, never use the tow/haul mode when driving on slick, icy surfaces. The increased engine braking brought about by the said feature can aggravate the propensity of your vehicle’s rear wheels to slide, potentially leading to loss of vehicle control and, consequently, on-road accidents.

Conclusion – How to Turn Off Tow/Haul Mode: Chevy (3 Steps)

To recap, here are the three steps on how to turn off the tow/haul mode in your Chevy:

  1. Stop wire flexing.
  2. Fix or replace a malfunctioning switch.
  3. Ensure your oil filter is pushed all the way in with no seals missing.

To reiterate, only consider these steps if the button/knob/switch the feature came with is not doing its job. Also, understand that this problem is bound to happen (especially for Chevy models with tow/haul mode indicators located at the end of the gearshift selector). Not being too aggressive with the shift lever could help, but it will not completely stop the issue from recurring.

Repeated shifting is inevitable whether you are driving on rolling hills or the interstate. The best you can do is to not aggravate the situation further through neglect, be knowledgeable about the fix, and be ready anytime the problem happens. Lastly, only use the tow/haul mode when appropriate and give your vehicle some TLC – and you should be fine.