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a mistake. Your brakes may not have time to cool between hard stops. Your brakes will wear out much faster if you do a lot of heavy braking. If you keep pace with the traffic and allow realistic following distances, you will eliminate a lot of unnecessary braking. That means better braking and longer brake life. If your engine ever stops while you are driving, brake normally but do not pump your brakes. If you do, the pedal may get harder to push down. If your engine stops, you will still have some power brake assist. But you will use it when you brake. Once the power assist is used up, it may take longer to stop and the brake pedal will be harder to push.

Braking Braking action involves perception time and reaction time. First, you have to decide to push on the brake pedal. That is perception time. Then you have to bring up your foot and do it. That is reaction time. Average reaction time is about three-fourths of a second. But that is only an average. It might be less with one driver and as long as two or three seconds or more with another. Age, physical condition, alertness, coordination and eyesight all play a part. So do alcohol, drugs and frustration. But even in three-fourths of a second, a vehicle moving at 60 mph (100 km/h) travels 66 feet (20 m). That could be a lot of distance in an emergency, so keeping enough space between your vehicle and others is important. And, of course, actual stopping distances vary greatly with the surface of the road (whether it is pavement or gravel); the condition of the road (wet, dry, icy); tire tread; the condition of your brakes; the weight of the vehicle and the amount of brake force applied.


Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) Your vehicle has anti-lock brakes. ABS is an advanced electronic braking system that will help prevent a braking skid. When you start your engine and begin to drive away, your anti-lock brake system will check itself. You may hear a momentary motor or clicking noise while this test is going on. This is normal.

If there is a problem with the anti-lock brake system, this warning light will stay on. See Anti-Lock Brake System Warning Light on page 3-41.

Along with ABS, your vehicle has a Dynamic Rear Proportioning (DRP) system. If there is a DRP problem, both the brake and ABS warning lights will come on accompanied by a 10-second chime. The lights and chime will come on each time the ignition is turned on until the problem is repaired. See your dealer for service.

Let us say the road is wet and you are driving safely. Suddenly, an animal jumps out in front of you. You slam on the brakes and continue braking. Here is what happens with ABS: A computer senses that wheels are slowing down. If one of the wheels is about to stop rolling, the computer will separately work the brakes at each front wheel and at both rear wheels.


The anti-lock system can change the brake pressure faster than any driver could. The computer is programmed to make the most of available tire and road conditions. This can help you steer around the obstacle while braking hard.

As you brake, your computer keeps receiving updates on wheel speed and controls braking pressure accordingly.


Remember: Anti-lock does not change the time you need to get your foot up to the brake pedal or always decrease stopping distance. If you get too close to the vehicle in front of you, you will not have time to apply your brakes if that vehicle suddenly slows or stops. Always leave enough room up ahead to stop, even though you have anti-lock brakes. Using Anti-Lock Do not pump the brakes. Just hold the brake pedal down firmly and let anti-lock work for you. You may feel the brakes vibrate, or you may notice some noise, but this is normal.

Braking in Emergencies With anti-lock, you can steer and brake at the same time. In many emergencies, steering can help you more than even the very best braking.

Traction Assist System (TAS) Your vehicle may have a Traction Assist System (TAS) that limits wheel spin. This is especially useful in slippery road conditions. The system operates only if it senses that one or both of the rear wheels are spinning or beginning to lose traction. When this happens, the system reduces engine power to limit wheel spin.

The traction control system is enabled every time your vehicle is started. The system will activate if it senses that any of the wheels are spinning or beginning to lose traction. You may hear or feel the system working or notice a lack of accelerator response, but this is normal. The Traction Assist System may operate on dry roads under some conditions. When this happens, you may notice a reduction in acceleration. This is normal and doesn’t mean there’s a problem with your vehicle. Examples of these conditions include a hard acceleration in a turn, an abrupt upshift or downshift of the transmission or driving on rough roads. If your vehicle is in cruise control when the TAS begins to limit wheel spin, the cruise control will automatically disengage. When road conditions allow you to safely use it again, you may re-engage the cruise control. See Cruise Control on page 3-10.

When the traction off light is on, the TAS is off and will not limit wheel spin. Adjust your driving accordingly.

The traction off light will come on under the following conditions:

The Traction Assist System is turned off, either by pressing the TAS on/off button, located on the instrument panel, or by turning off the automatic engagement feature of the TAS. The transmission is in FIRST (1); TAS will not operate in this gear. This is normal. The vehicle is driven on an extremely rough road. When the vehicle leaves the rough surface, slows down or stops, the light will go off and TAS will turn on again. This is normal.

(cid:127) A Traction Assist System, Anti-Lock Brake System or engine-related problem has been detected and the vehicle needs service. If the vehicle has been driven with the TAS system on for long periods of time, or if the vehicle has gone through many several high speed braking maneuvers the system may be automatically disabled. The system will automatically re-enable after approximately two minutes of not using the brakes.

See Traction Off Light on page 3-41.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) The Traction Assist System, as delivered from the factory, will automatically come on whenever you start your vehicle. To limit wheel spin, especially in slippery road conditions, you should always leave the system on. But you can turn the TAS off if you ever need to. You should turn the TAS off if your vehicle ever gets stuck in sand, mud or snow and rocking the vehicle is required. See Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out on page 4-48 and If You Are Stuck: In Sand, Mud, Ice or Snow on page 4-48.

To turn the system on or off press the TAS on/off button located on the instrument panel.

If you used the button to turn the system off, the traction off light will come on and stay on. You can turn the system back on at any time by pressing the button again. The traction off light should go off.

If desired, for a vehicle with QUADRASTEER™, you can change the TAS automatic engagement feature so that the system will not come on automatically when the engine is started. To do so:

1. Park the vehicle with the ignition off and the

transmission in PARK (P) for an automatic transmission, or in gear for a manual transmission.

2. Turn the ignition to RUN; do not start the engine. 3. Apply the brake pedal, shift into NEUTRAL (N),

press the accelerator pedal to the floor, then press the TAS on/off button and hold it down for at least six seconds.

4. Release the TAS button and both pedals. 5. Turn off the ignition and wait a few seconds. The next time you start your vehicle, the TAS will not automatically come on. You can restore the automatic feature by repeating the same procedure. Whether the TAS is set to come on automatically or not, you can always turn the system on or off by pressing the TAS on/off button.


Manual Selectable Ride The main function of this system is to provide superior ride comfort while trailering or fully loaded, as well as for unloaded driving. This system also helps to provide:

Improved trailering stability Improved handling response when trailering or fully loaded

This button is located on the center of the instrument panel near the radio.

Press it to activate the selectable ride setting as desired. An indicator light near the button will illuminate whenever the system is active. It is recommended to use this system as follows:

For optimum ride comfort in an unloaded vehicle the button should be out. The indicator light will not be lit. This button position indicates NORMAL levels of ride control or damping.

For optimum ride comfort when trailering, fully loaded, driving off-road, or when personal preferences demand more control, the button should be pressed in with the indicator light lit. This switch position indicates FIRM levels of ride control or damping.

The following guide can also be used to help determine the best setting.

NORMAL: The indicator light will not be lit when the system is in this setting. Use for normal city and highway driving. This setting provides a smooth, soft ride when the vehicle is unloaded.

FIRM (Unloaded): Press the button to activate this setting, the indicator light will be lit. Use this setting when road conditions or personal preference demand more control. This setting provides more “feel” or response to the road conditions.

FIRM (Loaded): Press the button to activate this setting, the indicator light will be lit. Use this setting to minimize trailer inputs to the vehicle or when the vehicle is fully loaded. This setting is also appropriate for off-road driving. You can select a setting at any time based on road and trailering conditions to provide the best ride and handling. Select a new setting whenever driving conditions change.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) Locking Rear Axle If your vehicle has this feature, your locking rear axle can give you additional traction on snow, mud, ice, sand or gravel. It works like a standard axle most of the time, but when one of the rear wheels has no traction and the other does, this feature will allow the wheel with traction to move the vehicle.

Steering Power Steering If you lose power steering assist because the engine stops or the system is not functioning, you can steer but it will take much more effort. Steering Tips Driving on Curves It is important to take curves at a reasonable speed. A lot of the “driver lost control” accidents mentioned on the news happen on curves. Here is why: Experienced driver or beginner, each of us is subject to the same laws of physics when driving on curves. The traction of the tires against the road surface makes it possible for the vehicle to change its path when you turn the front wheels. If there is no traction, inertia will keep the vehicle going in the same direction. If you have ever tried to steer a vehicle on wet ice, you will understand this.


The traction you can get in a curve depends on the condition of your tires and the road surface, the angle at which the curve is banked, and your speed. While you are in a curve, speed is the one factor you can control. Suppose you are steering through a sharp curve. Then you suddenly accelerate. Both control systems — steering and acceleration — have to do their work where the tires meet the road. Adding the sudden acceleration can demand too much of those places. You can lose control. See Traction Assist System (TAS) on page 4-8. What should you do if this ever happens? Ease up on the accelerator pedal, steer the vehicle the way you want it to go, and slow down. Speed limit signs near curves warn that you should adjust your speed. Of course, the posted speeds are based on good weather and road conditions. Under less favorable conditions you will want to go slower. If you need to reduce your speed as you approach a curve, do it before you enter the curve, while your front wheels are straight ahead. Try to adjust your speed so you can “drive” through the curve. Maintain a reasonable, steady speed. Wait to accelerate until you are out of the curve, and then accelerate gently into the straightaway.

Steering in Emergencies There are times when steering can be more effective than braking. For example, you come over a hill and find a truck stopped in your lane, or a car suddenly pulls out from nowhere, or a child darts out from between parked cars and stops right in front of you. You can avoid these problems by braking — if you can stop in time. But sometimes you cannot; there is not room. That is the time for evasive action — steering around the problem. Your vehicle can perform very well in emergencies like these. First apply your brakes. See Braking on page 4-6. It is better to remove as much speed as you can from a possible collision. Then steer around the problem, to the left or right depending on the space available.

An emergency like this requires close attention and a quick decision. If you are holding the steering wheel at the recommended 9 and 3 o’clock positions, you can turn it a full 180 degrees very quickly without removing either hand. But you have to act fast, steer quickly, and just as quickly straighten the wheel once you have avoided the object. The fact that such emergency situations are always possible is a good reason to practice defensive driving at all times and wear safety belts properly.


QUADRASTEER™ The QUADRASTEER™ System has a control and diagnostic module that monitors and records current system status and operational information. If your vehicle is equipped with the 4-Wheel Steer system, it has the ability to steer the vehicle with all four wheels. Once the 4-Wheel Steer mode is selected, it is recommended to leave the vehicle in this mode at all times, and during all driving and weather conditions. You can select this mode at any speed, however, if you are turning, the system will not engage until the turn is complete. The 4-Wheel Steer system is equipped with three different driving modes:

2: Two-wheel steering

4: Four-wheel steering _: Four-wheel steering with a trailer mode


The switch is located on the instrument panel.

2: In this mode, the vehicle will operate like any other vehicle with two-wheel steering. If you want to use 2-wheel steer mode and your vehicle is not in this mode, press the button until the 2 indicator, located to the right of the 4-Wheel Steer button, lights up. If the 2 indicator is flashing, you will have to center the steering wheel by turning it to the left or right.

Your vehicle will return to 2 when the transmission is shifted into NEUTRAL (N), for example when entering a car wash.

If you want to use tire chains, the vehicle needs to be in 2-wheel steer mode. For more information see Tire Chains on page 5-94.

4: In this mode, all four wheels will help steer the vehicle. If you want to use 4, and your vehicle is not in this mode, press the button, until the 4 indicator, located to the right of the 4-Wheel Steer button, comes on and stays on. If the 4 indicator is flashing, you will have to center the steering wheel by turning it to the left or right.

Slower Speeds (below 40 mph (64 km/h))

At slower speeds the front and rear wheels will turn in opposite directions. This helps the vehicle make tighter turns, such as during parking, cornering and turning into tight spaces.

Higher Speeds (40 mph (64 km/h), and above)

At higher speeds the front and rear wheels will turn in the same direction. This improves stability of the vehicle during lane changes and sweeping turns. _ (4-Wheel Steer Tow Mode): When towing a trailer, the 4-wheel steer tow mode provides enhanced stability allowing the trailer to follow the path of the tow vehicle more closely, especially during lane changes. In this mode the system operates much like the 4 mode, but is enhanced for trailer towing. It is recommended for all types and weights of trailers.


To engage the 4-wheel steer tow mode, press the button until the 4 and tow mode indicators light up on the instrument panel. If the tow indicator is flashing, you will have to center the steering wheel by turning it to the left or right. While in the 4-wheel steer tow mode, it is possible the steering wheel may be slightly off center. For more information, see Towing a Trailer on page 4-69. Car Washes for QUADRASTEER™ Equipped Vehicles Notice: Because your vehicle has a wider rear track a small number of older car washes may be too narrow for your vehicle. Conveyor systems on some automatic car washes may damage your vehicle. Only use conveyor system car washes with 13-inch (33 cm) wide conveyor rails and/or stationary washes with at least 82 inches (208 cm) between the rails. Before using the car wash check with the manager.

A. 13 inches (33 cm) B. 82 inches (208 cm)


Off-Road Recovery You may find that your right wheels have dropped off the edge of a road onto the shoulder while you are driving.

If the level of the shoulder is only slightly below the pavement, recovery should be fairly easy. Ease off the accelerator and then, if there is nothing in the way, steer so that your vehicle straddles the edge of the pavement. You can turn the steering wheel up to one-quarter turn until the right front tire contacts the pavement edge. Then turn your steering wheel to go straight down the roadway.

Passing The driver of a vehicle about to pass another on a two-lane highway waits for just the right moment, accelerates, moves around the vehicle ahead, then goes back into the right lane again. A simple maneuver? Not necessarily! Passing another vehicle on a two-lane highway is a potentially dangerous move, since the passing vehicle occupies the same lane as oncoming traffic for several seconds. A miscalculation, an error in judgment, or a brief surrender to frustration or anger can suddenly put the passing driver face to face with the worst of all traffic accidents — the head-on collision. So here are some tips for passing: (cid:127) Drive ahead. Look down the road, to the sides and to crossroads for situations that might affect your passing patterns. If you have any doubt whatsoever about making a successful pass, wait for a better time.

(cid:127) Watch for traffic signs, pavement markings and lines. If you can see a sign up ahead that might indicate a turn or an intersection, delay your pass. A broken center line usually indicates it is all right to pass, providing the road ahead is clear. Never cross a solid line on your side of the lane or a double solid line, even if the road seems empty of approaching traffic.


(cid:127) Do not get too close to the vehicle you want to pass while you are awaiting an opportunity. For one thing, following too closely reduces your area of vision, especially if you are following a larger vehicle. Also, you will not have adequate space if the vehicle ahead suddenly slows or stops. Keep back a reasonable distance.

(cid:127) When it looks like a chance to pass is coming up,

start to accelerate but stay in the right lane and do not get too close. Time your move so you will be increasing speed as the time comes to move into the other lane. If the way is clear to pass, you will have a running start that more than makes up for the distance you would lose by dropping back. And if something happens to cause you to cancel your pass, you need only slow down and drop back again and wait for another opportunity. If other vehicles are lined up to pass a slow vehicle, wait your turn. But take care that someone is not trying to pass you as you pull out to pass the slow vehicle. Remember to glance over your shoulder and check the blind spot.

(cid:127) Check your mirrors, glance over your shoulder and start your left lane change signal before moving out of the right lane to pass. When you are far enough ahead of the passed vehicle to see its front in your inside mirror, activate your right lane change signal and move back into the right lane. Remember that if your right outside mirror is convex, the vehicle you just passed may seem to be farther away from you than it really is. Try not to pass more than one vehicle at a time on two-lane roads. Reconsider before passing the next vehicle.

(cid:127) Do not overtake a slowly moving vehicle too rapidly.

Even though the brake lamps are not flashing, it may be slowing down or starting to turn. If you are being passed, make it easy for the following driver to get ahead of you. Perhaps you can ease a little to the right.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) Loss of Control Let us review what driving experts say about what happens when the three control systems — brakes, steering, and acceleration — do not have enough friction where the tires meet the road to do what the driver has asked. In any emergency, do not give up. Keep trying to steer and constantly seek an escape route or area of less danger. Skidding In a skid, a driver can lose control of the vehicle. Defensive drivers avoid most skids by taking reasonable care suited to existing conditions, and by not overdriving those conditions. But skids are always possible. The three types of skids correspond to your vehicle’s three control systems. In the braking skid, your wheels are not rolling. In the steering or cornering skid, too much speed or steering in a curve causes tires to slip and lose cornering force. And in the acceleration skid, too much throttle causes the driving wheels to spin. A cornering skid is best handled by easing your foot off the accelerator pedal.

If you have the Traction Assist System, remember: It helps avoid only the acceleration skid. If you do not have this system, or if the system is off, then an acceleration skid is also best handled by easing your foot off the accelerator pedal. If your vehicle starts to slide, ease your foot off the accelerator pedal and quickly steer the way you want the vehicle to go. If you start steering quickly enough, your vehicle may straighten out. Always be ready for a second skid if it occurs. Of course, traction is reduced when water, snow, ice, gravel, or other material is on the road. For safety, you will want to slow down and adjust your driving to these conditions. It is important to slow down on slippery surfaces because stopping distance will be longer and vehicle control more limited. While driving on a surface with reduced traction, try your best to avoid sudden steering, acceleration, or braking, including engine braking by shifting to a lower gear. Any sudden changes could cause the tires to slide. You may not realize the surface is slippery until your vehicle is skidding. Learn to recognize warning clues — such as enough water, ice, or packed snow on the road to make a mirrored surface — and slow down when you have any doubt. Remember: Any anti-lock brake system (ABS) helps avoid only the braking skid.


If you think you will need some more ground clearance at the front of your vehicle, you can remove the front bumper lower air dam.

The front bumper lower air dam is held in place by a series of push-pins located around the lower edge of the front bumper. The push-pins are accessible from underneath the front bumper.

Off-Road Driving This off-road guide is for vehicles that have four-wheel drive. Also, see Braking on page 4-6. If your vehicle is an SS Model or does not have four-wheel drive, you should not drive off-road unless you are on a level, solid surface. If your vehicle is equipped with 20-inch tire/wheel assemblies, do not use your vehicle for off-road driving. See Tires on page 5-76. Off-road driving can be great fun. But it does have some definite hazards. The greatest of these is the terrain itself. “Off-roading” means you have left the great North American road system behind. Traffic lanes are not marked. Curves are not banked. There are no road signs. Surfaces can be slippery, rough, uphill or downhill. In short, you have gone right back to nature. Off-road driving involves some new skills. And that is why it is very important that you read this guide. You will find many driving tips and suggestions. These will help make your off-road driving safer and more enjoyable.


The following steps must be performed on each of the push-pins to remove the air dam:

1. Insert a tool into the

push-pin slot and pull downward until the push-pin snaps loose.

3. Pull the push-pins and

lower dam assembly away from the retainers until the lower dam is free.

2. While continuing to pull

downward on the push-pin, squeeze and turn the expandable end of the push-pin with a tool until it releases from the retainer.

When you are back on roads, though, be sure to replace the air dam. Notice: Operating your vehicle for extended periods without the front bumper lower air dam installed can cause improper air flow to the engine and may allow things like fog lamps or tow hooks on the front of your vehicle to be damaged. Always be sure to replace the front bumper air dam when you are finished off-road driving.


To reinstall the lower air dam, do the following:

1. Line up each push-pin

with its intended retainer and push the washer portion of the push-pin toward the retainer until it locks into place.

2. Push the flat end of the

push-pin toward the retainer until it locks into place, making sure each is secure.

Before You Go Off-Roading There are some things to do before you go out. For example, be sure to have all necessary maintenance and service work done. Check to make sure all underbody shields (if so equipped) are properly attached. Be sure you read all the information about your four-wheel-drive vehicle in this manual. Is there enough fuel? Is the spare tire fully inflated? Are the fluid levels up where they should be? What are the local laws that apply to off-roading where you will be driving? If you do not know, you should check with law enforcement people in the area. Will you be on someone’s private land? If so, be sure to get the necessary permission. Loading Your Vehicle for Off-Road Driving There are some important things to remember about how to load your vehicle.

The heaviest things should be on the load floor and forward of your rear axle. Put heavier items as far forward as you can.

(cid:127) Be sure the load is secured properly, so driving on

the off-road terrain does not toss things around.


(cid:127) {CAUTION:

(cid:127) Cargo on the load floor piled higher than

the seatbacks can be thrown forward during a sudden stop. You or your passengers could be injured. Keep cargo below the top of the seatbacks.

(cid:127) Unsecured cargo on the load floor can be

tossed about when driving over rough terrain. You or your passengers can be struck by flying objects. Secure the cargo properly.

(cid:127) Heavy loads on the roof raise the vehicle’s

center of gravity, making it more likely to roll over. You can be seriously or fatally injured if the vehicle rolls over. Put heavy loads inside the cargo area, not on the roof. Keep cargo in the cargo area as far forward and low as possible.

You will find other important information in this manual. See Loading Your Vehicle on page 4-50 and Tires on page 5-76.

Environmental Concerns Off-road driving can provide wholesome and satisfying recreation. However, it also raises environmental concerns. We recognize these concerns and urge every off-roader to follow these basic rules for protecting the environment: (cid:127) Always use established trails, roads and areas that

have been specially set aside for public off-road recreational driving; obey all posted regulations.

(cid:127) Avoid any driving practice that could damage

the environment — shrubs, flowers, trees, grasses — or disturb wildlife (this includes wheel-spinning, breaking down trees or unnecessary driving through streams or over soft ground).

(cid:127) Always carry a litter bag — make sure all refuse is

removed from any campsite before leaving. Take extreme care with open fires (where permitted), camp stoves and lanterns.

(cid:127) Never park your vehicle over dry grass or other combustible materials that could catch fire from the heat of the vehicle’s exhaust system.


(cid:127) Traveling to Remote Areas It makes sense to plan your trip, especially when going to a remote area. Know the terrain and plan your route. You are much less likely to get bad surprises. Get accurate maps of trails and terrain. Try to learn of any blocked or closed roads. It is also a good idea to travel with at least one other vehicle. If something happens to one of them, the other can help quickly. Does your vehicle have a winch? If so, be sure to read the winch instructions. In a remote area, a winch can be handy if you get stuck. But you will want to know how to use it properly. Getting Familiar with Off-Road Driving It is a good idea to practice in an area that is safe and close to home before you go into the wilderness. Off-road driving does require some new and different driving skills. Here is what we mean. Tune your senses to different kinds of signals. Your eyes, for example, need to constantly sweep the terrain for unexpected obstacles. Your ears need to listen for unusual tire or engine sounds. With your arms, hands, feet and body, you will need to respond to vibrations and vehicle bounce.


Controlling your vehicle is the key to successful off-road driving. One of the best ways to control your vehicle is to control your speed. Here are some things to keep in mind. At higher speeds:

you approach things faster and you have less time to scan the terrain for obstacles. you have less time to react. you have more vehicle bounce when you drive over obstacles. you will need more distance for braking, especially since you are on an unpaved surface.


When you are driving off-road, bouncing and quick changes in direction can easily throw you out of position. This could cause you to lose control and crash. So, whether you’re driving on or off the road, you and your passengers should wear safety belts.

(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) Scanning the Terrain Off-road driving can take you over many different kinds of terrain. You need to be familiar with the terrain and its many different features. Here are some things to consider. Surface Conditions: Off-roading can take you over hard-packed dirt, gravel, rocks, grass, sand, mud, snow or ice. Each of these surfaces affects the steering, acceleration and braking of your vehicle in different ways. Depending upon the kind of surface you are on, you may experience slipping, sliding, wheel spinning, delayed acceleration, poor traction and longer braking distances. Surface Obstacles: Unseen or hidden obstacles can be hazardous. A rock, log, hole, rut or bump can startle you if you are not prepared for them. Often these obstacles are hidden by grass, bushes, snow or even the rise and fall of the terrain itself. Here are some things to consider:

Is the path ahead clear?

(cid:127) Will the surface texture change abruptly up ahead? (cid:127) Does the travel take you uphill or downhill?

(There is more discussion of these subjects later.) (cid:127) Will you have to stop suddenly or change direction


When you drive over obstacles or rough terrain, keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. Ruts, troughs or other surface features can jerk the wheel out of your hands if you are not prepared. When you drive over bumps, rocks, or other obstacles, your wheels can leave the ground. If this happens, even with one or two wheels, you cannot control the vehicle as well or at all. Because you will be on an unpaved surface, it is especially important to avoid sudden acceleration, sudden turns or sudden braking. In a way, off-road driving requires a different kind of alertness from driving on paved roads and highways. There are no road signs, posted speed limits or signal lights. You have to use your own good judgment about what is safe and what is not. Drinking and driving can be very dangerous on any road. And this is certainly true for off-road driving. At the very time you need special alertness and driving skills, your reflexes, perceptions and judgment can be affected by even a small amount of alcohol. You could have a serious — or even fatal — accident if you drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking. See Drunken Driving on page 4-2.


(cid:127) Driving on Off-Road Hills Off-road driving often takes you up, down or across a hill. Driving safely on hills requires good judgment and an understanding of what your vehicle can and cannot do. There are some hills that simply cannot be driven, no matter how well built the vehicle.


Many hills are simply too steep for any vehicle. If you drive up them, you will stall. If you drive down them, you cannot control your speed. If you drive across them, you will roll over. You could be seriously injured or killed. If you have any doubt about the steepness, do not drive the hill.

Approaching a Hill When you approach a hill, you need to decide if it is one of those hills that is just too steep to climb, descend or cross. Steepness can be hard to judge. On a very small hill, for example, there may be a smooth, constant

incline with only a small change in elevation where you can easily see all the way to the top. On a large hill, the incline may get steeper as you near the top, but you may not see this because the crest of the hill is hidden by bushes, grass or shrubs. Here are some other things to consider as you approach a hill.

Is there a constant incline, or does the hill get sharply steeper in places? Is there good traction on the hillside, or will the surface cause tire slipping? Is there a straight path up or down the hill so you will not have to make turning maneuvers?

(cid:127) Are there obstructions on the hill that can block

your path (boulders, trees, logs or ruts)?

(cid:127) What is beyond the hill? Is there a cliff, an

embankment, a drop-off, a fence? Get out and walk the hill if you do not know. It is the smart way to find out. Is the hill simply too rough? Steep hills often have ruts, gullies, troughs and exposed rocks because they are more susceptible to the effects of erosion.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) Driving Uphill Once you decide you can safely drive up the hill, you need to take some special steps. (cid:127) Use a low gear and get a firm grip on the

steering wheel.

(cid:127) Get a smooth start up the hill and try to maintain

your speed. Do not use more power than you need, because you do not want your wheels to start spinning or sliding. Try to drive straight up the hill if at all possible. If the path twists and turns, you might want to find another route.


Turning or driving across steep hills can be dangerous. You could lose traction, slide sideways, and possibly roll over. You could be seriously injured or killed. When driving up hills, always try to go straight up.

(cid:127) Ease up on your speed as you approach the top of

the hill.

(cid:127) Attach a flag to the vehicle to make you more visible to approaching traffic on trails or hills.

(cid:127) Sound the horn as you approach the top of the hill

to let opposing traffic know you are there.

(cid:127) Use your headlamps even during the day. They

make you more visible to oncoming traffic.


Driving to the top (crest) of a hill at full speed can cause an accident. There could be a drop-off, embankment, cliff, or even another vehicle. You could be seriously injured or killed. As you near the top of a hill, slow down and stay alert.


(cid:127) Q: What should I do if my vehicle stalls, or is about to stall, and I cannot make it up the hill?

A: If this happens, there are some things you should do, and there are some things you must not do. First, here is what you should do:

(cid:127) Push the brake pedal to stop the vehicle and keep

it from rolling backwards. Also, apply the parking brake. If your engine is still running, shift the transmission to REVERSE (R), release the parking brake, and slowly back down the hill in REVERSE (R). If your engine has stopped running, you will need to restart it. With the brake pedal pressed and the parking brake still applied, shift the transmission to PARK (P) (or shift to NEUTRAL if your vehicle has a manual transmission) and restart the engine. Then, shift to REVERSE (R), release the parking brake, and slowly back down the hill as straight as possible in REVERSE (R).

(cid:127) As you are backing down the hill, put your left hand

on the steering wheel at the 12 o’clock position. This way, you will be able to tell if your wheels are straight and maneuver as you back down. It is best that you back down the hill with your wheels straight rather than in the left or right direction. Turning the wheel too far to the left or right will increase the possibility of a rollover.

Here are some things you must not do if you stall, or are about to stall, when going up a hill. (cid:127) Never attempt to prevent a stall by shifting into

NEUTRAL (N) (or pressing the clutch, if you have a manual transmission) to rev-up the engine and regain forward momentum. This will not work. Your vehicle will roll backwards very quickly and you could go out of control. Instead, apply the regular brake to stop the vehicle. Then apply the parking brake. Shift to REVERSE (R), release the parking brake, and slowly back straight down.

(cid:127) Never attempt to turn around if you are about to

stall when going up a hill. If the hill is steep enough to stall your vehicle, it is steep enough to cause you to roll over if you turn around. If you cannot make it up the hill, you must back straight down the hill.


(cid:127) (cid:127) Q: Suppose, after stalling, I try to back down the hill and decide I just cannot do it. What should I do?

A: Set the parking brake, put your transmission in

PARK (P), or the manual transmission in FIRST (1), and turn off the engine. Leave the vehicle and go get some help. Exit on the uphill side and stay clear of the path the vehicle would take if it rolled downhill. Do not shift the transfer case to NEUTRAL when you leave the vehicle. Leave it in some gear.


Shifting the transfer case to NEUTRAL can cause your vehicle to roll even if the transmission is in PARK (P). This is because the NEUTRAL position on the transfer case overrides the transmission. You or someone else could be injured. If you are going to leave your vehicle, set the parking brake and shift the transmission to PARK (P). But do not shift the transfer case to NEUTRAL.


Driving Downhill When off-roading takes you downhill, you will want to consider a number of things: (cid:127) How steep is the downhill? Will I be able to maintain

vehicle control?

(cid:127) What is the surface like? Smooth? Rough?

Slippery? Hard-packed dirt? Gravel?

(cid:127) Are there hidden surface obstacles? Ruts? Logs?


(cid:127) What is at the bottom of the hill? Is there a

hidden creek bank or even a river bottom with large rocks?

If you decide you can go down a hill safely, then try to keep your vehicle headed straight down, and use a low gear. This way, engine drag can help your brakes and they will not have to do all the work. Descend slowly, keeping your vehicle under control at all times.



Heavy braking when going down a hill can cause your brakes to overheat and fade. This could cause loss of control and a serious accident. Apply the brakes lightly when descending a hill and use a low gear to keep vehicle speed under control.

Q: Are there some things I should not do when

driving down a hill?

A: Yes! These are important because if you ignore them you could lose control and have a serious accident.

(cid:127) When driving downhill, avoid turns that take you across the incline of the hill. A hill that is not too steep to drive down may be too steep to drive across. You could roll over if you do not drive straight down.

(cid:127) Never go downhill with the transmission in

NEUTRAL (N), or with the clutch pedal pressed down with a manual transmission. This is called “free-wheeling.” Your brakes will have to do all the work and could overheat and fade.

Q: Am I likely to stall when going downhill? A: It is much more likely to happen going uphill. But if

it happens going downhill, here is what to do.

1. Stop your vehicle by applying the regular brakes.

Apply the parking brake.

2. Shift to PARK (P) (or to NEUTRAL with the

manual transmission) and, while still braking, restart the engine.

3. Shift back to a low gear, release the parking brake,

and drive straight down.

4. If the engine will not start, get out and get help. Driving Across an Incline Sooner or later, an off-road trail will probably go across the incline of a hill. If this happens, you have to decide whether to try to drive across the incline. Here are some things to consider: (cid:127) A hill that can be driven straight up or down may be too steep to drive across. When you go straight up or down a hill, the length of the wheel base (the distance from the front wheels to the rear wheels) reduces the likelihood the vehicle will tumble end over end. But when you drive across an incline, the much more narrow track width (the distance between the left and right wheels) may not prevent the vehicle from tilting and rolling over. Also, driving across an incline puts more weight on the downhill wheels. This could cause a downhill slide or a rollover.

(cid:127) Surface conditions can be a problem when you drive across a hill. Loose gravel, muddy spots, or even wet grass can cause your tires to slip sideways, downhill. If the vehicle slips sideways, it can hit something that will trip it (a rock, a rut, etc.) and roll over.

(cid:127) Hidden obstacles can make the steepness of the

incline even worse. If you drive across a rock with the uphill wheels, or if the downhill wheels drop into a rut or depression, your vehicle can tilt even more.

For reasons like these, you need to decide carefully whether to try to drive across an incline. Just because the trail goes across the incline does not mean you have to drive it. The last vehicle to try it might have rolled over.


Driving across an incline that is too steep will make your vehicle roll over. You could be seriously injured or killed. If you have any doubt about the steepness of the incline, do not drive across it. Find another route instead.


Q: What if I am driving across an incline that is not too steep, but I hit some loose gravel and start to slide downhill. What should I do?

A: If you feel your vehicle starting to slide sideways, turn downhill. This should help straighten out the vehicle and prevent the side slipping. However, a much better way to prevent this is to get out and “walk the course” so you know what the surface is like before you drive it. Stalling on an Incline If your vehicle stalls when you are crossing an incline, be sure you (and your passengers) get out on the uphill side, even if the door there is harder to open. If you get out on the downhill side and the vehicle starts to roll over, you will be right in its path. If you have to walk down the slope, stay out of the path the vehicle will take if it does roll over.



Getting out on the downhill (low) side of a vehicle stopped across an incline is dangerous. If the vehicle rolls over, you could be crushed or killed. Always get out on the uphill (high) side of the vehicle and stay well clear of the rollover path.

Driving in Mud, Sand, Snow or Ice When you drive in mud, snow or sand, your wheels will not get good traction. You cannot accelerate as quickly, turning is more difficult, and you will need longer braking distances. It is best to use a low gear when you are in mud — the deeper the mud, the lower the gear. In really deep mud, the idea is to keep your vehicle moving so you do not get stuck. When you drive on sand, you will sense a change in wheel traction. But it will depend upon how loosely packed the sand is. On loosely packed sand (as on beaches or sand dunes) your tires will tend to sink into the sand. This has an effect on steering, accelerating and braking. Drive at a reduced speed and avoid sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers.

Hard packed snow and ice offer the worst tire traction. On these surfaces, it is very easy to lose control. On wet ice, for example, the traction is so poor that you will have difficulty accelerating. And if you do get moving, poor steering and difficult braking can cause you to slide out of control.


Driving on frozen lakes, ponds or rivers can be dangerous. Underwater springs, currents under the ice, or sudden thaws can weaken the ice. Your vehicle could fall through the ice and you and your passengers could drown. Drive your vehicle on safe surfaces only.


Driving in Water Heavy rain can mean flash flooding, and flood waters demand extreme caution. Find out how deep the water is before you drive through it. If it is deep enough to cover your wheel hubs, axles or exhaust pipe, do not try it — you probably will not get through. Also, water that deep can damage your axle and other vehicle parts. If the water is not too deep, drive slowly through it. At faster speeds, water splashes on your ignition system and your vehicle can stall. Stalling can also occur if you get your tailpipe under water. And, as long as your tailpipe is under water, you will never be able to start your engine. When you go through water, remember that when your brakes get wet, it may take you longer to stop.


Driving through rushing water can be dangerous. Deep water can sweep your vehicle downstream and you and your passengers could drown. If it is only shallow water, it can






still wash away the ground from under your tires, and you could lose traction and roll the vehicle over. Do not drive through rushing water.

See Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads on page 4-36 for more information on driving through water. After Off-Road Driving Remove any brush or debris that has collected on the underbody, chassis or under the hood. These accumulations can be a fire hazard. After operation in mud or sand, have the brake linings cleaned and checked. These substances can cause glazing and uneven braking. Check the body structure, steering, suspension, wheels, tires and exhaust system for damage. Also, check the fuel lines and cooling system for any leakage. Your vehicle will require more frequent service due to off-road use. Refer to the Maintenance Schedule for additional information.

Driving at Night

Night driving is more dangerous than day driving. One reason is that some drivers are likely to be impaired — by alcohol or drugs, with night vision problems, or by fatigue.

Here are some tips on night driving. (cid:127) Drive defensively. (cid:127) Do not drink and drive. (cid:127) Adjust your inside rearview mirror to reduce the

glare from headlamps behind you.

(cid:127) Since you cannot see as well, you may need to slow down and keep more space between you and other vehicles.

(cid:127) Slow down, especially on higher speed roads. Your headlamps can light up only so much road ahead. In remote areas, watch for animals. If you are tired, pull off the road in a safe place and rest.

No one can see as well at night as in the daytime. But as we get older these differences increase. A 50-year-old driver may require at least twice as much light to see the same thing at night as a 20-year-old. What you do in the daytime can also affect your night vision. For example, if you spend the day in bright sunshine you are wise to wear sunglasses. Your eyes will have less trouble adjusting to night. But if you are driving, do not wear sunglasses at night. They may cut down on glare from headlamps, but they also make a lot of things invisible.


(cid:127) (cid:127) You can be temporarily blinded by approaching headlamps. It can take a second or two, or even several seconds, for your eyes to re-adjust to the dark. When you are faced with severe glare, as from a driver who does not lower the high beams, or a vehicle with misaimed headlamps, slow down a little. Avoid staring directly into the approaching headlamps. Keep your windshield and all the glass on your vehicle clean — inside and out. Glare at night is made much worse by dirt on the glass. Even the inside of the glass can build up a film caused by dust. Dirty glass makes lights dazzle and flash more than clean glass would, making the pupils of your eyes contract repeatedly. Remember that your headlamps light up far less of a roadway when you are in a turn or curve. Keep your eyes moving; that way, it is easier to pick out dimly lighted objects. Just as your headlamps should be checked regularly for proper aim, so should your eyes be examined regularly. Some drivers suffer from night blindness — the inability to see in dim light — and are not even aware of it.


Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads

Rain and wet roads can mean driving trouble. On a wet road, you cannot stop, accelerate, or turn as well because your tire-to-road traction is not as good as on dry roads. And, if your tires do not have much tread left, you will get even less traction. It is always wise to go slower and be cautious if rain starts to fall while you are driving. The surface may get wet suddenly when your reflexes are tuned for driving on dry pavement.

The heavier the rain, the harder it is to see. Even if your windshield wiper blades are in good shape, a heavy rain can make it harder to see road signs and traffic signals, pavement markings, the edge of the road, and even people walking. It is wise to keep your wiping equipment in good shape and keep your windshield washer tank filled with washer fluid. Replace your windshield wiper inserts when they show signs of streaking or missing areas on the windshield, or when strips of rubber start to separate from the inserts. Driving too fast through large water puddles or even going through some car washes can cause problems, too. The water may affect your brakes. Try to avoid puddles. But if you cannot, try to slow down before you hit them.


Wet brakes can cause accidents. They will not work as well in a quick stop and may cause pulling to one side. You could lose control of the vehicle. After driving through a large puddle of water or a car wash, apply your brake pedal lightly until your brakes work normally.

Hydroplaning Hydroplaning is dangerous. So much water can build up under your tires that they can actually ride on the water. This can happen if the road is wet enough and you are going fast enough. When your vehicle is hydroplaning, it has little or no contact with the road. Hydroplaning does not happen often. But it can if your tires do not have much tread or if the pressure in one or more is low. It can happen if a lot of water is standing on the road. If you can see reflections from trees, telephone poles, or other vehicles, and raindrops dimple the water’s surface, there could be hydroplaning. Hydroplaning usually happens at higher speeds. There just is not a hard and fast rule about hydroplaning. The best advice is to slow down when it is raining. Driving Through Deep Standing Water Notice: If you drive too quickly through deep puddles or standing water, water can come in through your engine’s air intake and badly damage your engine. Never drive through water that is slightly lower than the underbody of your vehicle. If you cannot avoid deep puddles or standing water, drive through them very slowly.


Driving Through Flowing Water

City Driving


Flowing or rushing water creates strong forces. If you try to drive through flowing water, as you might at a low water crossing, your vehicle can be carried away. As little as six inches of flowing water can carry away a smaller vehicle. If this happens, you and other vehicle occupants could drown. Do not ignore police warning signs, and otherwise be very cautious about trying to drive through flowing water.

Some Other Rainy Weather Tips

Turn on your low-beam headlamps — not just your parking lamps — to help make you more visible to others.

(cid:127) Besides slowing down, allow some extra following

distance. And be especially careful when you pass another vehicle. Allow yourself more clear room ahead, and be prepared to have your view restricted by road spray.

(cid:127) Have good tires with proper tread depth. See Tires

on page 5-76.


One of the biggest problems with city streets is the amount of traffic on them. You will want to watch out for what the other drivers are doing and pay attention to traffic signals.

(cid:127) Freeway Driving

Here are ways to increase your safety in city driving: (cid:127) Know the best way to get to where you are going. Get a city map and plan your trip into an unknown part of the city just as you would for a cross-country trip. Try to use the freeways that rim and crisscross most large cities. You will save time and energy. See Freeway Driving on page 4-39. Treat a green light as a warning signal. A traffic light is there because the corner is busy enough to need it. When a light turns green, and just before you start to move, check both ways for vehicles that have not cleared the intersection or may be running the red light.

Mile for mile, freeways—also called thruways, parkways, expressways, turnpikes, or superhighways — are the safest of all roads. But they have their own special rules.


(cid:127) (cid:127) The most important advice on freeway driving is: Keep up with traffic and keep to the right. Drive at the same speed most of the other drivers are driving. Too-fast or too-slow driving breaks a smooth traffic flow. Treat the left lane on a freeway as a passing lane. At the entrance, there is usually a ramp that leads to the freeway. If you have a clear view of the freeway as you drive along the entrance ramp, you should begin to check traffic. Try to determine where you expect to blend with the flow. Try to merge into the gap at close to the prevailing speed. Switch on your turn signal, check your mirrors, and glance over your shoulder as often as necessary. Try to blend smoothly with the traffic flow. Once you are on the freeway, adjust your speed to the posted limit or to the prevailing rate if it is slower. Stay in the right lane unless you want to pass. Before changing lanes, check your mirrors. Then use your turn signal. Just before you leave the lane, glance quickly over your shoulder to make sure there is not another vehicle in your blind spot. Once you are moving on the freeway, make certain you allow a reasonable following distance. Expect to move slightly slower at night.

When you want to leave the freeway, move to the proper lane well in advance. If you miss your exit, do not, under any circumstances, stop and back up. Drive on to the next exit. The exit ramp can be curved, sometimes quite sharply. The exit speed is usually posted. Reduce your speed according to your speedometer, not to your sense of motion. After driving for any distance at higher speeds, you may tend to think you are going slower than you actually are.

Before Leaving on a Long Trip Make sure you are ready. Try to be well rested. If you must start when you are not fresh — such as after a day’s work — do not plan to make too many miles that first part of the journey. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes you can easily drive in. Is your vehicle ready for a long trip? If you keep it serviced and maintained, it is ready to go. If it needs service, have it done before starting out. Of course, you will find experienced and able service experts in GM dealerships all across North America. They will be ready and willing to help if you need it.


Here are some things you can check before a trip: (cid:127) Windshield Washer Fluid: Is the reservoir full? Are

all windows clean inside and outside?

(cid:127) Wiper Blades: Are they in good shape?

Fuel, Engine Oil, Other Fluids: Have you checked all levels? Lamps: Are they all working? Are the lenses clean? Tires: They are vitally important to a safe, trouble-free trip. Is the tread good enough for long-distance driving? Are the tires all inflated to the recommended pressure?

(cid:127) Weather Forecasts: What is the weather outlook

along your route? Should you delay your trip a short time to avoid a major storm system?

(cid:127) Maps: Do you have up-to-date maps?

Highway Hypnosis Is there actually such a condition as highway hypnosis? Or is it just plain falling asleep at the wheel? Call it highway hypnosis, lack of awareness, or whatever.

There is something about an easy stretch of road with the same scenery, along with the hum of the tires on the road, the drone of the engine, and the rush of the wind against the vehicle that can make you sleepy. Do not let it happen to you! If it does, your vehicle can leave the road in less than a second, and you could crash and be injured. What can you do about highway hypnosis? First, be aware that it can happen. Then here are some tips: (cid:127) Make sure your vehicle is well ventilated, with a

comfortably cool interior.

(cid:127) Keep your eyes moving. Scan the road ahead and

to the sides. Check your mirrors and your instruments frequently. If you get sleepy, pull off the road into a rest, service, or parking area and take a nap, get some exercise, or both. For safety, treat drowsiness on the highway as an emergency.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) Hill and Mountain Roads

Driving on steep hills or mountains is different from driving in flat or rolling terrain.


If you drive regularly in steep country, or if you are planning to visit there, here are some tips that can make your trips safer and more enjoyable. See Off-Road Driving on page 4-20 for information about driving off-road. (cid:127) Keep your vehicle in good shape. Check all fluid levels and also the brakes, tires, cooling system, and transmission. These parts can work hard on mountain roads.

(cid:127) Know how to go down hills. The most important thing to know is this: let your engine do some of the slowing down. Shift to a lower gear when you go down a steep or long hill.


If you do not shift down, your brakes could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Shift down to let your engine assist your brakes on a steep downhill slope.


Coasting downhill in NEUTRAL (N) or with the ignition off is dangerous. Your brakes will have to do all the work of slowing down. They could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Always have your engine running and your vehicle in gear when you go downhill.

(cid:127) Know how to go uphill. You may want to shift down

to a lower gear. The lower gears help cool your engine and transmission, and you can climb the hill better.

(cid:127) Stay in your own lane when driving on two-lane roads in hills or mountains. Do not swing wide or cut across the center of the road. Drive at speeds that let you stay in your own lane.

(cid:127) As you go over the top of a hill, be alert. There

could be something in your lane, like a stalled car or an accident.

(cid:127) You may see highway signs on mountains that

warn of special problems. Examples are long grades, passing or no-passing zones, a falling rocks area, or winding roads. Be alert to these and take appropriate action.


Winter Driving

Include an ice scraper, a small brush or broom, a supply of windshield washer fluid, a rag, some winter outer clothing, a small shovel, a flashlight, a red cloth, and reflective warning triangles. And, if you will be driving under severe conditions, include a small bag of sand, a piece of old carpet, or a couple of burlap bags to help provide traction. Be sure you properly secure these items in your vehicle. Driving on Snow or Ice Most of the time, those places where your tires meet the road probably have good traction. However, if there is snow or ice between your tires and the road, you can have a very slippery situation. You will have a lot less traction, or grip, and will need to be very careful.

Here are some tips for winter driving: (cid:127) Have your vehicle in good shape for winter. (cid:127) You may want to put winter emergency supplies in

your vehicle.

Also see Tires on page 5-76.


Whatever the condition — smooth ice, packed, blowing, or loose snow — drive with caution. If you have traction assist, it will improve your ability to accelerate when driving on a slippery road. But you can turn the traction assist system off if you ever need to. You should turn the system off if your vehicle ever gets stuck in sand, mud, ice or snow. See If You Are Stuck: In Sand, Mud, Ice or Snow on page 4-48. Even though your vehicle has a traction system, you will want to slow down and adjust your driving to the road conditions. Under certain conditions, you may want to turn the traction assist system off, such as when driving through deep snow and loose gravel, to help maintain vehicle motion at lower speeds. See Traction Assist System (TAS) on page 4-8. If you do not have a traction system, accelerate gently. Try not to break the fragile traction. If you accelerate too fast, the drive wheels will spin and polish the surface under the tires even more. Your anti-lock brakes improve your vehicle’s stability when you make a hard stop on a slippery road.


What is the worst time for this? Wet ice. Very cold snow or ice can be slick and hard to drive on. But wet ice can be even more trouble because it may offer the least traction of all. You can get wet ice when it is about freezing (32°F; 0°C) and freezing rain begins to fall. Try to avoid driving on wet ice until salt and sand crews can get there.

(cid:127) Put on extra clothing or wrap a blanket around you. If

you do not have blankets or extra clothing, make body insulators from newspapers, burlap bags, rags, floor mats — anything you can wrap around yourself or tuck under your clothing to keep warm.

Even though you have an anti-lock braking system, you will want to begin stopping sooner than you would on dry pavement. See Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) on page 4-7. (cid:127) Allow greater following distance on any

slippery road.

(cid:127) Watch for slippery spots. The road might be fine until you hit a spot that is covered with ice. On an otherwise clear road, ice patches may appear in shaded areas where the sun cannot reach, such as around clumps of trees, behind buildings, or under bridges. Sometimes the surface of a curve or an overpass may remain icy when the surrounding roads are clear. If you see a patch of ice ahead of you, brake before you are on it. Try not to brake while you are actually on the ice, and avoid sudden steering maneuvers.

If You Are Caught in a Blizzard If you are stopped by heavy snow, you could be in a serious situation. You should probably stay with your vehicle unless you know for sure that you are near help and you can hike through the snow. Here are some things to do to summon help and keep yourself and your passengers safe:

Turn on your hazard flashers. Tie a red cloth to your vehicle to alert police that you have been stopped by the snow.


You can run the engine to keep warm, but be careful.

(cid:127) (cid:127) {CAUTION:

Snow can trap exhaust gases under your vehicle. This can cause deadly CO (carbon monoxide) gas to get inside. CO could overcome you and kill you. You cannot see it or smell it, so you might not know it is in your vehicle. Clear away snow from around the base of your vehicle, especially any that is blocking your exhaust pipe. And check around again from time to time to be sure snow does not collect there. Open a window just a little on the side of the vehicle that is away from the wind. This will help keep CO out.

Run your engine only as long as you must. This saves fuel. When you run the engine, make it go a little faster than just idle. That is, push the accelerator slightly. This uses less fuel for the heat that you get and it keeps the battery charged. You will need a well-charged battery to restart the vehicle, and possibly for signaling later on with your headlamps. Let the heater run for a while. Then, shut the engine off and close the window almost all the way to preserve the heat. Start the engine again and repeat this only when you feel really uncomfortable from the cold. But do it as little as possible. Preserve the fuel as long as you can. To help keep warm, you can get out of the vehicle and do some fairly vigorous exercises every half hour or so until help comes.


Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out First, turn your steering wheel left and right. That will clear the area around your front wheels. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, shift into 4HI. If your vehicle has the Traction Assist System, you should turn it off by pressing the TAS on/off button. Then shift back and forth between REVERSE (R) and a forward gear (or with a manual transmission, between FIRST (1) or SECOND (2) and REVERSE (R)), spinning the wheels as little as possible. Release the accelerator pedal while you shift, and press lightly on the accelerator pedal when the transmission is in gear. By slowly spinning your wheels in the forward and reverse directions, you will cause a rocking motion that may free your vehicle. If that does not get you out after a few tries, you may need to be towed out. If your vehicle is not an SS model, you can use your recovery hooks if your vehicle has them. If you do need to be towed out, see Towing Your Vehicle on page 4-62.

If You Are Stuck: In Sand, Mud, Ice or Snow In order to free your vehicle when it is stuck, you will need to spin the wheels, but you do not want to spin your wheels too fast. The method known as rocking can help you get out when you are stuck, but you must use caution.


If you let your tires spin at high speed, they can explode, and you or others could be injured. And, the transmission or other parts of the vehicle can overheat. That could cause an engine compartment fire or other damage. When you are stuck, spin the wheels as little as possible. Do not spin the wheels above 35 mph (55 km/h) as shown on the speedometer.

Notice: Spinning your wheels can destroy parts of your vehicle as well as the tires. If you spin the wheels too fast while shifting your transmission back and forth, you can destroy your transmission. For more information about using tire chains on your vehicle, see Tire Chains on page 5-94.


Recovery Hooks (Except SS Model) Notice: SS Models have recovery hooks that are concealed by the front bumper trim covering. Use of the recovery hooks could cause damage to your vehicle. If you have the SS Model, do not use the recovery hooks. Your vehicle may be equipped with recovery hooks. The hooks are provided at the front of your vehicle. You may need to use them if you are stuck off-road and need to be pulled to some place where you can continue driving.


These hooks, when used, are under a lot of force. Always pull the vehicle straight out. Never pull on the hooks at a sideways angle. The hooks could break off and you or others could be injured from the chain or cable snapping back.

Notice: Never use recovery hooks to tow the vehicle. Your vehicle could be damaged and it would not be covered by warranty.


Loading Your Vehicle It is very important to know how much weight your vehicle can carry. This weight is called the vehicle capacity weight and includes the weight of all occupants, cargo and all nonfactory-installed options. Two labels on your vehicle show how much weight it was designed to carry, the Tire and Loading Information label and the Certification/Tire label.


Do not load your vehicle any heavier than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or either the maximum front or rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). If you do, parts on your vehicle can break, and it can change the way your vehicle handles. These could cause you to lose control and crash. Also, overloading can shorten the life of your vehicle.


Tire and Loading Information Label

Label Example

A vehicle specific Tire and Loading Information label is attached to the center pillar (B-pillar). With the driver’s door open, you will find the label attached below the door lock post (striker). The tire and loading information label shows the number of occupant seating positions (A), and the maximum vehicle capacity weight (B) in kilograms and pounds.

The Tire and Loading Information label also shows the size of the original equipment tires (C) and the recommended cold tire inflation pressures (D). For more information on tires and inflation see Tires on page 5-76
and Inflation - Tire Pressure on page 5-84. There is also important loading information on the vehicle Certification/Tire label. It tells you the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for the front and rear axles. See “Certification/Tire Label” later in this section. Steps for Determining Correct Load Limit 1. Locate the statement “The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX kg or XXX pounds” on your vehicle’s placard.

2. Determine the combined weight of the driver and

passengers that will be riding in your vehicle.

3. Subtract the combined weight of the driver and

passengers from XXX kilograms or XXX pounds.

4. The resulting figure equals the available amount of

cargo and luggage load capacity. For example, if the “XXX” amount equals 1400 lbs and there will be five 150 lb passengers in your vehicle, the amount of available cargo and luggage load capacity is 650 lbs (1400 − 750 (5 x 150) = 650 lbs).

5. Determine the combined weight of luggage and cargo being loaded on the vehicle. That weight may not safely exceed the available cargo and luggage load capacity calculated in Step 4.

6. If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, the load from

your trailer will be transferred to your vehicle. Consult this manual to determine how this reduces the available cargo and luggage load capacity of your vehicle. See Towing a Trailer on page 4-69 for important information on towing a trailer, towing safety rules and trailering tips.


Example 1

Example 2







Vehicle Capacity Weight for Example 1 = Subtract Occupant Weight 150 lbs (68 kg) × 2 = Available Occupant and Cargo Weight =

1,000 lbs (453 kg)

300 lbs (136 kg)

700 lbs (317 kg)

Vehicle Capacity Weight for Example 2 = Subtract Occupant Weight 150 lbs (68 kg) × 5 = Available Cargo Weight =

1,000 lbs (453 kg)

750 lbs (136 kg)

250 lbs (113 kg)


Certification/Tire Label

Example 3




Vehicle Capacity Weight for Example 3 = Subtract Occupant Weight 200 lbs (91 kg) × 5 = Available Cargo Weight =

1,000 lbs (453 kg)

1000 lbs (453 kg)

0 lbs (0 kg)

Refer to your vehicle’s tire and loading information label for specific information about your vehicle’s capacity weight and seating positions. The combined weight of the driver, passengers and cargo should never exceed your vehicle’s capacity weight.

A vehicle specific Certification/Tire label is found on the rear edge of the driver’s door. The label shows the size of your vehicle’s original tires and the inflation pressures needed to obtain the gross weight capacity of your vehicle. This is called Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR includes the weight of the vehicle, all occupants, fuel and cargo.


The Certification/Tire label also tells you the maximum weights for the front and rear axles, called Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). To find out the actual loads on your front and rear axles, you need to go to a weigh station and weigh your vehicle. Your dealer can help you with this. Be sure to spread out your load equally on both sides of the centerline. Never exceed the GVWR for your vehicle, or the GAWR for either the front or rear axle. The Certification/Tire label also contains important information about your Front Axle Reserve Capacity. See “What is front axle reserve capacity, and how do I calculate it?” under Adding a Snow Plow or Similar Equipment on page 4-56.


In the case of a sudden stop or collision, things carried in the bed of your truck could shift forward and come into the passenger area, injuring you and others. If you put things in the bed of your truck, you should make sure they are properly secured.


Do not load your vehicle any heavier than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or either the maximum front or rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). If you do, parts on your vehicle can break, and it can change the way your vehicle handles. These could cause you to lose control and crash. Also, overloading can shorten the life of your vehicle.

Notice: Overloading your vehicle may cause damage. Repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not overload your vehicle. Using heavier suspension components to get added durability might not change your weight ratings. Ask your dealer to help you load your vehicle the right way. If you put things inside your vehicle—like suitcases, tools, packages, or anything else—they go as fast as the vehicle goes. If you have to stop or turn quickly, or if there is a crash, they’ll keep going.



Things you put inside your vehicle can strike and injure people in a sudden stop or turn, or in a crash.

(cid:127) Put things in the cargo area of your

vehicle. Try to spread the weight evenly.

(cid:127) Never stack heavier things, like suitcases,

inside the vehicle so that some of them are above the tops of the seats.

(cid:127) Do not leave an unsecured child restraint

in your vehicle.

(cid:127) When you carry something inside the vehicle, secure it whenever you can.

(cid:127) Do not leave a seat folded down unless

you need to.

There’s also important loading information for off-road driving in this manual. See “Loading Your Vehicle for Off-Road Driving“ under Off-Road Driving on page 4-20.

Two-Tiered Loading By positioning four 2" x 6" wooden planks across the width of the pickup box, you can create an upper load platform. The planks must be inserted in the pickup box depressions. The length of the planks must allow for at least a 3/4 inch (2 cm) bearing surface on each end of the plank. When using this upper load platform, be sure the load is securely tied down to prevent it from shifting. The load’s center of gravity should be positioned in a zone over the rear axle. The zone is located in the area between the front of each wheel well and the rear of each wheel well. The center of gravity height must not extend above the top of the pickup box flareboard. Any load that extends beyond the vehicle’s taillamp area must be properly marked according to local laws and regulations. Remember not to exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) of the front or rear axle.


Add-On Equipment When you carry removable items, you may need to put a limit on how many people you carry inside your vehicle. Be sure to weigh your vehicle before you buy and install the new equipment. Notice: Overloading your vehicle may cause damage. Repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not overload your vehicle. Remember not to exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) of the front or rear axle.

Maximum Weight *Equipment Ladder Rack and Cargo 750 lbs (340 kg) Cross Toolbox and Cargo 400 lbs (181 kg) Side Boxes and Cargo 250 lbs per side (113 kg per side)

*The combined weight for all rail-mounted equipment should not exceed 1,000 lbs (454 kg), excluded 1500 crew cab models (with 5'8" box length.) A reinforcement kit for rail-mounted add-on equipment is recommended. See your dealer. Ladder racks are not recommended for 1500 crew cab models (with 5'8" pick-up box length.) Maximum recommended cross-mounted toolbox and cargo weight is 300 lbs (136 kg) for the 1500 crew cab (with 5'8" pick-up box length.)

If your vehicle does not have the snow

Adding a Snow Plow or Similar Equipment Before installing a snow plow on your vehicle, here are some things you will need to know: Notice: plow prep package, adding a plow can damage your vehicle, and the repairs would not be covered by warranty. Unless your vehicle was built to carry a snow plow, do not add one to your vehicle. If your vehicle has the snow plow option called RPO VYU (snow plow prep package), then the payload your vehicle can carry will be reduced when a snow plow is installed. Your vehicle can be damaged if either the front or rear axle ratings, or the GVW, are exceeded.

Q: How do I know if my vehicle can handle a

snow plow?

A: Some vehicles are built with a special package, called RPO VYU (snow plow prep package). If your vehicle has this option, you can add a plow to it, provided certain weights, such as the weights on the vehicle’s axles and the GVW, are not exceeded.


Q: How heavy can a snow plow safely be? A: The plow your vehicle can carry depends on many

things, such as: The options your vehicle came with, and the weight of those options, The weight and number of passengers you intend to carry, The weight of items you have added to your vehicle, like a tool box or truck cap, The total weight of any additional cargo you intend to carry.

Say, for example, you have a 700 lb (318 kg) snow plow. The total weight of all occupants and cargo inside the cab should not exceed 300 lb (135 kg). This means that you may only be able to carry one passenger. But, even this may be too much if you have got other equipment already adding to the weight of your vehicle.

Here are some guidelines for safely carrying a snow plow on your vehicle: (cid:127) Make sure the weight on the front and rear axles

does not exceed the axle rating for each. For the front axle, if more cargo or passengers must be carried, appropriate counter ballast must be installed rear of the rear axle. Counter ballast must be properly secured so it will not move during driving. Follow the snow plow manufacturer’s recommendations regarding rear ballast. Rear ballast may be required to ensure a proper front and rear weight distribution ratio, even though the actual weight at the front axle may be less than the front axle rating. The snow plow manufacturer or installer can assist you in determining the amount of rear ballast required, to help make sure your snowplow/vehicle combination does not exceed the GVW rating, the front and rear axle ratings, and the front and rear weight distribution ratio. The total vehicle must not exceed the GVW rating.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) In order to calculate the amount of weight any front accessory, such as a snow plow, is adding to the front axle, use the following formula:

Q: What is front axle reserve capacity, and how do

I calculate it?

A: Front axle reserve capacity is the difference

between your front GAWR and the front axle weight of your truck with full fuel and passengers. Basically, it is the amount of weight you can add to your front axle before reaching your front GAWR. The front axle reserve capacity for your vehicle can be found in the lower right corner of the Certification/Tire label, as shown.

(W x (A + W.B.)) /W.B.= Weight the accessory is adding to the front axle. Where: W = Weight of added accessory A = Distance that the accessory is in front of the front axle W.B. = Vehicle Wheelbase

United States



For example, adding a 700 lb (318 kg) snow plow actually adds more than 700 lbs (318 kg) to the front axle. Using the formula, if the snow plow is 4 ft (122 cm) in front of the front axle and the wheel base is 10 ft (305 cm), then: W = 700 lb (318 kg) A = 4 ft (122 cm) W.B. = 10 ft (305 cm) (W x (A + W.B.))/W.B. = (700 x (4 + 10))/10 = 980 lbs (445 kg) So, if your truck’s front axle reserve capacity is more than 980 lbs (445 kg), you could add the snow plow without exceeding the front GAWR.

Q: What if I want to add heavier equipment to

my vehicle?

A: You can add heavier equipment on the front of the vehicle if you compensate for it by carrying fewer passengers, less cargo, or by positioning cargo towards the rear. This has the effect of reducing the load on the front. However, the front GAWR, rear GAWR and the GVWR must never be exceeded.


On some vehicles equipped with certain front mounted equipment, such as a snow plow, it may be possible to load the front axle to the front GAWR but not have enough weight on the rear axle to have proper braking performance. If your brakes can not work properly, you could have a crash. To help your brakes work properly when a snow plow is installed, always follow the snow plow manufacturer or installer’s recommendation for rear ballast to ensure a proper front and rear weight distribution ratio, even though the actual front weight may be less than the front GAWR, and the total vehicle weight is less than the GVWR. Maintaining a proper front and rear weight distribution ratio is necessary to provide proper braking performance.


Q: What is total vehicle reserve capacity? A: This is the difference between your GVWR and the weight of your truck with full fuel and passengers. It is the amount of weight you can add to your vehicle before reaching your GVWR. Keep in mind that reserve capacity numbers are intended as a guide when selecting the amount of equipment or cargo your truck can carry. If you are unsure of your truck’s front, rear or total weight, go to a weigh station and weigh your vehicle. Your dealer can also help you with this. The total vehicle reserve capacity for your vehicle can be found in the lower right corner of the Certification/Tire label as shown previously.

See your dealer for additional advice and information about using a snow plow on your vehicle. Also, see Loading Your Vehicle on page 4-50.


Installing a truck-camper to a vehicle that is

Truck-Camper Loading Information Notice: equipped with the SS trim package could damage the vehicle. Do not install a truck-camper on a vehicle equipped with the SS trim package. This label is inside the glove box. It will tell you if your vehicle can carry a slide-in camper, how much of a load your vehicle can carry, and how to correctly spread out the load. Also, it will help you match the right slide-in camper to your vehicle. When you carry a slide-in camper, the total cargo load of your vehicle is the weight of the camper, plus the following: (cid:127) Everything else added to the camper after it left the


(cid:127) Everything in the camper (cid:127) All the people inside The Cargo Weight Rating (CWR) is the maximum weight of the load your vehicle can carry. It doesn’t include the weight of the people inside. But, you can figure about 150 lbs (68 kg) for each seat. The total cargo load must not be more than your vehicle’s CWR.

Refer to the Truck-Camper Loading Information label in glove box for dimensions A and B as shown in the following illustration.

Here is an example of proper truck and camper match:

Use the rear edge of the load floor for measurement purposes. The recommended location for the cargo center of gravity is at point C for the CWR. It is the point where the mass of a body is concentrated and, if suspended at that point, would balance the front and rear.

A. Camper Center of Gravity B. Recommended Center of Gravity Location Zone The camper’s center of gravity should fall within the center of gravity zone for your vehicle’s cargo load. You must weigh any accessories or other equipment that you add to your vehicle. Then, subtract this extra weight from the CWR. This extra weight may shorten the center of gravity zone of your vehicle. Your dealer can help you with this. If your slide-in camper and its load weighs less than the CWR, the center of gravity zone for your vehicle may be larger. Your dealer can help you make a good vehicle-camper match and help you determine the CWR.


After you’ve loaded your vehicle and camper, drive to a weigh station and weigh the front and rear wheels separately. This will tell you the loads on the axles. The loads on the front and rear axles shouldn’t be more than either of the GAWRs. The total of the axle loads should not be more than the GVWR. Open the driver’s door and look at the Certification/Tire label to find out your GAWR and GVWR. If you’ve gone over the weight ratings, move or take out some things until all the weight falls below the ratings. Of course, you should always tie down any loose items when you load your vehicle or camper. When you install and load your slide-in camper, check