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Theft-Deterrent Feature THEFTLOCK® is designed to discourage theft of your vehicle’s radio. The feature works automatically by learning a portion of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). If the radio is moved to a different vehicle, it does not operate and LOC, LOCK, or LOCKED could display. With THEFTLOCK® activated, the radio does not operate if stolen.


Audio Steering Wheel Controls Vehicles with audio steering wheel controls could differ depending on your vehicle’s options. Some audio controls can be adjusted at the steering wheel. They include the following:

xw (Next/Previous): Press the down or up arrow to go to the next or to the previous radio station stored as a favorite.

When a CD/DVD is playing, press either arrow to go to the next or previous track or chapter. g (Mute/Voice Recognition): Press and release this button to silence the vehicle speakers only. The audio of the wireless and wired headphones, if your vehicle has these features, does not mute. Press and release this button again, to turn the sound on.

If your vehicle has the navigation system, press and hold this button for longer than one second to initiate voice recognition. See “Voice Recognition” in the Navigation System manual for more information. If your vehicle has OnStar®, press and hold this button for longer than one second to interact with the OnStar® system. If your vehicle also has the navigation system, press and hold this button for longer than one second to initiate voice recognition and say “OnStar” to enter OnStar® mode. See the OnStar® System on page 2-60 in this manual for more information.

SRCE (Source): Press this button to switch between the radio (AM, FM), XM™ (if equipped), CD, and if your vehicle has these features, DVD, front auxiliary, and rear auxiliary. + e − e (Volume): Press the plus or minus volume button to increase or to decrease the radio volume. ¨(Seek): Press the seek arrow to go to the next radio station while in AM, FM, or XM™ (if equipped). Press the seek arrow to go to the next track or chapter while sourced to the CD or DVD slot. Press the seek arrow to go to the next disc while sourced to a CD player, if multiple discs are loaded.

Radio Reception Frequency interference and static can occur during normal radio reception if items such as cell phone chargers, vehicle convenience accessories, and external electronic devices are plugged into the accessory power outlet. If there is interference or static, unplug the item from the accessory power outlet. AM The range for most AM stations is greater than for FM, especially at night. The longer range can cause station frequencies to interfere with each other. For better radio reception, most AM radio stations boost the power levels during the day, and then reduce these levels during the night. Static can also occur when things like storms and power lines interfere with radio reception. When this happens, try reducing the treble on your radio. FM Stereo FM stereo gives the best sound, but FM signals only reach about 10 to 40 miles (16 to 65 km). Tall buildings or hills can interfere with FM signals, causing the sound to fade in and out.


XM™ Satellite Radio Service XM™ Satellite Radio Service gives digital radio reception from coast-to-coast in the 48 contiguous United States, and in Canada. Just as with FM, tall buildings or hills can interfere with satellite radio signals, causing the sound to fade in and out. In addition, traveling or standing under heavy foliage, bridges, garages, or through tunnels could cause loss of the XM signal for a period of time. The radio may display NO XM SIGNAL to indicate interference.

Rear Side Window Antenna Your AM-FM antenna is located in the passenger rear side windows. Make sure the inside surfaces of the rear side windows are not scratched and that the lines on the glass are not damaged. If the inside surfaces are damaged, they could interfere with radio reception. Notice: Using a razor blade or sharp object to clear the inside of the rear side windows may affect radio reception or damage the rear window defogger. Repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not clear the inside of the rear side windows with sharp objects.

Notice: Do not apply aftermarket glass tinting with metallic film. The metallic film in some tinting materials will interfere with or distort the incoming radio reception. Any damage caused to your antenna due to metallic tinting materials will not be covered by your warranty. Because this antenna is built into the rear side windows, there is a reduced risk of damage caused by car washes and vandals. If you choose to add an aftermarket cellular telephone to your vehicle, and the antenna needs to be attached to the glass, make sure you do not damage the grid lines for the AM-FM antennas or place the cellular telephone antenna over the grid lines.

XM™ Satellite Radio Antenna System The XM™ Satellite Radio antenna is located on the roof of your vehicle. Keep this antenna clear of snow and ice build up for clear radio reception. Loading items onto the roof of your vehicle can interfere with the performance of the XM™ system. Make sure that the XM™ satellite antenna is not obstructed.


Section 4

Driving Your Vehicle

Your Driving, the Road, and Your Vehicle ..........4-2
Defensive Driving ...........................................4-2
Drunk Driving .................................................4-2
Control of a Vehicle ........................................4-3
Braking .........................................................4-4
Antilock Brake System (ABS) ...........................4-5
Braking in Emergencies ...................................4-6
Locking Rear Axle ..........................................4-6
StabiliTrak® System ........................................4-6
Steering ........................................................4-9
Off-Road Recovery .......................................4-11
Passing .......................................................4-11
Loss of Control .............................................4-11
Off-Road Driving ...........................................4-13
Driving at Night ............................................4-26
Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads ..................4-26
Before Leaving on a Long Trip .......................4-28

Highway Hypnosis ........................................4-28
Hill and Mountain Roads ................................4-28
Winter Driving ..............................................4-30
If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud,

Ice, or Snow .............................................4-33
Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out .................4-34
Recovery Hooks ...........................................4-34
Loading Your Vehicle ....................................4-35
Adding a Snow Plow or Similar Equipment .......4-41
Towing ..........................................................4-45
Towing Your Vehicle .....................................4-45
Recreational Vehicle Towing ...........................4-45
Level Control ...............................................4-48
Autoride® .....................................................4-49
Towing a Trailer ...........................................4-49
Trailer Recommendations ...............................4-63


Drunk Driving


Drinking and then driving is very dangerous. Your reflexes, perceptions, attentiveness, and judgment can be affected by even a small amount of alcohol. You can have a serious — or even fatal — collision if you drive after drinking. Do not drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking. Ride home in a cab; or if you are with a group, designate a driver who will not drink.

Your Driving, the Road, and Your Vehicle

Defensive Driving Defensive driving means “always expect the unexpected.” The first step in driving defensively is to wear your safety belt — See Safety Belts: They Are for Everyone on page 1-30.


Assume that other road users (pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers) are going to be careless and make mistakes. Anticipate what they might do and be ready. In addition:

(cid:129) Allow enough following distance between

you and the driver in front of you.

(cid:129) Focus on the task of driving.

Driver distraction can cause collisions resulting in injury or possible death. These simple defensive driving techniques could save your life.


Death and injury associated with drinking and driving is a global tragedy. Alcohol affects four things that anyone needs to drive a vehicle: judgment, muscular coordination, vision, and attentiveness. Police records show that almost 40 percent of all motor vehicle-related deaths involve alcohol. In most cases, these deaths are the result of someone who was drinking and driving. In recent years, more than 17,000 annual motor vehicle-related deaths have been associated with the use of alcohol, with about 250,000 people injured. For persons under 21, it is against the law in every U.S. state to drink alcohol. There are good medical, psychological, and developmental reasons for these laws. The obvious way to eliminate the leading highway safety problem is for people never to drink alcohol and then drive.

Medical research shows that alcohol in a person’s system can make crash injuries worse, especially injuries to the brain, spinal cord, or heart. This means that when anyone who has been drinking — driver or passenger — is in a crash, that person’s chance of being killed or permanently disabled is higher than if the person had not been drinking.

Control of a Vehicle The following three systems help to control your vehicle while driving — brakes, steering, and accelerator. At times, as when driving on snow or ice, it is easy to ask more of those control systems than the tires and road can provide. Meaning, you can lose control of your vehicle. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-6. Adding non-dealer/non-retailer accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications on page 5-3.


Avoid needless heavy braking. Some people drive in spurts — heavy acceleration followed by heavy braking — rather than keeping pace with traffic. This is a mistake. The brakes might not have time to cool between hard stops. The 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 vehicle’s engine ever stops while you are driving, brake normally but do not pump the brakes. If you do, the pedal could get harder to push down. If the 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 can take longer to stop and the brake pedal will be harder to push. Adding non-dealer/non-retailer accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications on page 5-3.

Braking If your vehicle is a Two-mode Hybrid, see the Two-mode Hybrid manual for more information. See Brake System Warning Light on page 3-45. 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, whether it is wet, dry, or icy; tire tread; the condition of the brakes; the weight of the vehicle; and the amount of brake force applied.


Antilock Brake System (ABS) Your vehicle has the Antilock Brake System (ABS), an advanced electronic braking system that will help prevent a braking skid. When you start the engine and begin to drive away, ABS will check itself. You might hear a momentary motor or clicking noise while this test is going on. This is normal.

If there is a problem with ABS, this warning light will stay on. See Antilock Brake System Warning Light on page 3-46.

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 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/retailer 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. ABS 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, the computer keeps receiving updates on wheel speed and controls braking pressure accordingly. Remember: ABS 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 the brakes if that vehicle suddenly slows or stops. Always leave enough room up ahead to stop, even though you have ABS.


Using ABS Do not pump the brakes. Just hold the brake pedal down firmly and let antilock work for you. You might feel the brakes vibrate or notice some noise, but this is normal.

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

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.

StabiliTrak® System Your vehicle may have the StabiliTrak® system which combines antilock brake, traction and stability control systems and helps the driver maintain directional control of the vehicle in most driving conditions.


When you first start your vehicle and begin to drive away, the system performs several diagnostic checks to ensure there are no problems. You may hear or feel the system working. This is normal and does not mean there is a problem with your vehicle. The system should initialize before the vehicle reaches 20 mph (32 km/h). In some cases, it may take approximately two miles of driving before the system initializes. If the system fails to turn on or activate, the StabiliTrak® light along with one of the following messages will be displayed on the Driver Information Center (DIC): TRACTION CONTROL OFF, SERVICE TRACTION CONTROL, STABILITRAK OFF, SERVICE STABILITRAK. If these DIC messages appear, make sure the StabiliTrak® system has not been turned off using the StabiliTrak® on/off button. Then turn the steering wheel clockwise from the nine o’clock position to the three o’clock position. If this clears the message(s), your vehicle does not need servicing. If this does not clear the message(s), then turn the vehicle off, wait 15 seconds, and then turn it back on again to reset the system. If any of these messages still appear on the Driver Information Center (DIC), your vehicle should be taken in for service. For more information on the DIC messages, see Driver Information Center (DIC) on page 3-55.

The StabiliTrak® light will flash on the instrument panel cluster when the system is both on and activated.

You may also feel or hear the system working; this is normal.

The traction control disable button is located on the instrument panel below the climate controls.

The traction control part of StabiliTrak® can be turned off by pressing and releasing the StabiliTrak® button if both systems (traction control and StabiliTrak®) were previously on. To disable both traction control and StabiliTrak®, press and hold the button for five seconds. Traction control and StabiliTrak® can be turned on by pressing and releasing the StabiliTrak® button if not automatically shut off for any other reason.

When the TCS or StabiliTrak® system is turned off, the StabiliTrak® light and the appropriate TCS off or StabiliTrak® off message will be displayed on the DIC to warn the driver. Your vehicle will still have brake-traction control when traction control is off, but will not be able to use the engine speed management system. See “Traction Control Operation” next for more information. When the traction control system has been turned off, you may still hear system noises as a result of the brake-traction control coming on. It is recommended to leave the system on for normal driving conditions, but it may be necessary to turn the system off if your vehicle is stuck in sand, mud, ice or snow, and you want to “rock” your vehicle to attempt to free it. It may also be necessary to turn off the system when driving in extreme off-road conditions where high wheel spin is required. See If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow on page 4-33. When the transfer case is in 4LO, the stability system is automatically disabled, the StabiliTrak® light will come on and the STABILITRAK OFF message will appear on the DIC. Both traction control and StabiliTrak® are automatically disabled in this condition.


The traction control system may activate on dry or rough roads or under conditions such as heavy acceleration while turning or abrupt upshifts/downshifts of the transmission. When this happens, you may notice a reduction in acceleration, or may hear a noise or vibration. This is normal. If your vehicle is in cruise control when the system activates, the StabiliTrak® light will flash and the cruise control will automatically disengage. When road conditions allow you to use cruise again, you may re-engage the cruise control. See Cruise Control on page 3-12. StabiliTrak® may also turn off automatically if it determines that a problem exists with the system. If the problem does not clear itself after restarting the vehicle, you should see your dealer/retailer for service.

Traction Control Operation The traction control system is part of the StabiliTrak® system. Traction control limits wheel spin by reducing engine power to the wheels (engine speed management) and by applying brakes to each individual wheel (brake-traction control) as necessary. The traction control system is enabled automatically when you start your vehicle. It will activate and the StabiliTrak® light will flash if it senses that any of the wheels are spinning or beginning to lose traction while driving. If you turn off traction control, only the brake-traction control portion of traction control will work. The engine speed management will be disabled. In this mode, engine power is not reduced automatically and the driven wheels can spin more freely. This can cause the brake-traction control to activate constantly. Notice: excessively while the StabiliTrak®, ABS and brake warning lights and the SERVICE STABILITRAK message are displayed, you could damage the transfer case. The repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Reduce engine power and do not spin the wheel(s) excessively while these lights and this message are displayed.

If you allow the wheel(s) of one axle to spin


Steering If your vehicle is a Two-mode Hybrid, see the Two-mode Hybrid manual for more information. 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 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 the 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 StabiliTrak® System on page 4-6. 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 the 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. Adding non-dealer/non-retailer accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications on page 5-3.


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 the brakes. See Braking on page 4-4. 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.

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.

Passing Passing another vehicle on a two-lane road can be dangerous. To reduce the risk of danger while passing, we suggest the following tips:

Look down the road, to the sides, and to crossroads for situations that might affect a successful pass. If in doubt, wait.

(cid:129) Watch for traffic signs, pavement markings, and lines that could indicate a turn or an intersection. Never cross a solid or double-solid line on your side of the lane.

(cid:129) Do not get too close to the vehicle you want to

pass. Doing so can reduce your visibility.

(cid:129) Wait your turn to pass a slow vehicle. (cid:129) When you are being passed, ease to the right.

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.


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 the steering wheel to go straight down the roadway.

(cid:129) 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 reducing vehicle speed 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 Antilock Brake System (ABS) helps avoid only the braking skid.

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, the 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. Remember: StabiliTrak® helps avoid only the acceleration skid. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-6. If the StabiliTrak® 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.


Off-Road Driving This off-road guide is for vehicles that have four-wheel drive. Also, see Braking on page 4-4. If your vehicle does not have four-wheel drive, you should not drive off-road unless you are on a level, solid surface. The airbag system is designed to work properly under a wide range of conditions, including off-road usage. Observe safe driving speeds, especially on rough terrain. As always, wear your safety belt. 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. If you think you will need some more ground clearance at the front of your vehicle, you can remove the front fascia lower air dam.

The front fascia lower air dam is held in place by two bolts and 10 snap features. The bolts and snap features are accessible from underneath the front fascia. The following steps must be performed on the bolts and snap features to remove the air dam: 1. Remove the two outboard air dam bolts. 2. With a flat-blade screwdriver, push down on the

snap features and disengage the snaps.

3. After the bolts are removed and the snaps are

disengaged, push forward on the air dam until it is free.

When you are back on roads, though, be sure to replace the air dam. Notice: Operating your vehicle for extended periods without the front fascia lower air dam installed can cause improper air flow to the engine. Always be sure to replace the front fascia air dam when you are finished off-road driving. To reinstall the lower air dam do the following: 1. Line up the snap features and push the air dam

rearward to engage the snaps. 2. Install the two outboard bolts.


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 the vehicle has them, are properly attached. Be sure you read all the information about your four-wheel-drive or all-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


(cid:129) 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:129) 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:129) 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.

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:129) Be sure the load is secured properly, so driving on

the off-road terrain does not toss things around.

You will find other important information in this manual. See Loading Your Vehicle on page 4-35 and Tires on page 5-63. 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:129) Always use established trails, roads, and areas that

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

(cid:129) 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:129) 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:129) Never park your vehicle over dry grass or other combustible materials that could catch fire from the heat of the vehicle’s exhaust system.

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.


(cid:129) (cid:129) 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 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: (cid:129) You approach things faster and you have less time

to scan the terrain for obstacles.

(cid:129) You have less time to react. (cid:129) You have more vehicle bounce when you drive over


(cid:129) 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 are driving on or off the road, you and your passengers should wear safety belts.

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:129) Will the surface texture change abruptly up ahead? (cid:129) Does the travel take you uphill or downhill?

There is more discussion of these subjects later.

(cid:129) 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, the 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 Drunk Driving on page 4-2.


(cid:129) 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:129) Are there obstructions on the hill that can block your

path, such as boulders, trees, logs, or ruts?

(cid:129) 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:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) Driving Uphill Once you decide you can safely drive up the hill, you need to take some special steps. (cid:129) Use a low gear and get a firm grip on the steering


(cid:129) 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 the wheels to start spinning or sliding.


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.

Try to drive straight up the hill if at all possible. If the path twists and turns, you might want to find another route.

(cid:129) Ease up on your speed as you approach the top of

the hill.

(cid:129) Attach a flag to the vehicle to make you more visible

to approaching traffic on trails or hills.

(cid:129) Sound the horn as you approach the top of the hill to

let opposing traffic know you are there.

(cid:129) Use your headlamps even during the day. They

make your vehicle 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.

There are some things you should do if the vehicle stalls, or is about to stall, and you cannot make it up the hill: (cid:129) 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).


(cid:129) (cid:129) 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) 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:129) 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.

There are also some things you must not do if you stall, or are about to stall, when going up a hill: (cid:129) Never attempt to prevent a stall by shifting into NEUTRAL (N) 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.



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.

(cid:129) 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.

If, after stalling, you try to back down the hill and decide you just cannot do it, set the parking brake, put your transmission in PARK (P) 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.

(cid:129) Driving Downhill When off-roading takes you downhill, you will want to consider a number of things: (cid:129) How steep is the downhill? Will I be able to maintain

vehicle control?

(cid:129) What is the surface like? Smooth? Rough?

Slippery? Hard-packed dirt? Gravel?

(cid:129) Are there hidden surface obstacles? Ruts? Logs?


(cid:129) 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.

There some things not to do when driving down a hill. These are important because, if you ignore them, you could lose control and have a serious accident: (cid:129) 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:129) Never go downhill with the transmission in

NEUTRAL (N). This is called “free-wheeling.” Your brakes will have to do all the work and could overheat and fade.


Your vehicle is much more likely to stall when going uphill. But if it happens when going downhill: 1. Stop your vehicle by applying the regular brakes.

Apply the parking brake.

2. Shift to PARK (P) and, while still braking, restart the


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:


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.

(cid:129) 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:129) 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:129) 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.


When driving across an incline that is not too steep, the vehicle can hit some loose gravel and start to slide downhill. 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


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.

If your vehicle stalls when you are crossing an incline, be sure you, and any 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.


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, such 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


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.

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. See Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads on page 4-26 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 because some drivers are likely to be impaired — by alcohol or drugs, with night vision problems, or by fatigue. Night driving tips include: (cid:129) Drive defensively. (cid:129) Do not drink and drive. (cid:129) Reduce headlamp glare by adjusting the inside

rearview mirror.

(cid:129) Slow down and keep more space between you and

other vehicles because your headlamps can only light up so much road ahead.

(cid:129) Watch for animals. (cid:129) When tired, pull off the road. (cid:129) Do not wear sunglasses.

(cid:129) Avoid staring directly into approaching headlamps. (cid:129) Keep the windshield and all glass on your vehicle

clean — inside and out.

(cid:129) Keep your eyes moving, especially during turns or


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 might need at least twice as much light to see the same thing at night as a 20-year-old.

Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads Rain and wet roads can reduce vehicle traction and affect your ability to stop and accelerate. Always drive slower in these types of driving conditions and avoid driving through large puddles and deep-standing or flowing water.



Wet brakes can cause crashes. They might not work as well in a quick stop and could cause pulling to one side. You could lose control of the vehicle. After driving through a large puddle of water or a car/vehicle wash, lightly apply the brake pedal until the brakes work normally. Flowing or rushing water creates strong forces. Driving through flowing water could cause your vehicle to be carried away. If this happens, you and other vehicle occupants could drown. Do not ignore police warnings and be very cautious about trying to drive through flowing water.

Hydroplaning Hydroplaning is dangerous. Water can build up under your vehicle’s tires so they 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. There is no hard and fast rule about hydroplaning. The best advice is to slow down when the road is wet. Other Rainy Weather Tips Besides slowing down, other wet weather driving tips include: (cid:129) Allow extra following distance. (cid:129) Pass with caution. (cid:129) Keep windshield wiping equipment in good shape. (cid:129) Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir filled. (cid:129) Have good tires with proper tread depth. See Tires

on page 5-63.


Before Leaving on a Long Trip To prepare your vehicle for a long trip, consider having it serviced by your dealer/retailer before departing. Things to check on your own include: (cid:129) Windshield Washer Fluid: Reservoir full? Windows

clean — inside and outside?

(cid:129) Wiper Blades: In good shape?

Fuel, Engine Oil, Other Fluids: All levels checked? Lamps: Do they all work and are lenses clean? Tires: Are treads good? Are tires inflated to recommended pressure?

(cid:129) Weather and Maps: Safe to travel? Have

up-to-date maps?

Highway Hypnosis Always be alert and pay attention to your surroundings while driving. If you become tired or sleepy, find a safe place to park your vehicle and rest. Other driving tips include: (cid:129) Keep the vehicle well ventilated. (cid:129) Keep interior temperature cool. (cid:129) Keep your eyes moving — scan the road ahead

and to the sides.

(cid:129) Check the rearview mirror and vehicle instruments


Hill and Mountain Roads Driving on steep hills or through mountains is different than driving on flat or rolling terrain. Tips for driving in these conditions include: (cid:129) Keep your vehicle serviced and in good shape. (cid:129) Check all fluid levels and brakes, tires, cooling

system, and transmission.

(cid:129) Going down steep or long hills, shift to a

lower gear.


(cid:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) Stay in your own lane. Do not swing wide or cut

across the center of the road. Drive at speeds that let you stay in your own lane. Top of hills: Be alert — something could be in your lane (stalled car, accident).

(cid:129) Pay attention to special road signs (falling rocks

area, winding roads, long grades, passing or no-passing zones) and take appropriate action. See Off-Road Driving on page 4-13 for information about driving off-road.


If you do not shift down, the 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 the engine assist the brakes on a steep downhill slope.


Coasting downhill in NEUTRAL (N) or with the ignition off is dangerous. The brakes will have to do all the work of slowing down and 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 the engine running and your vehicle in gear when you go downhill.


(cid:129) Winter Driving Here are some tips for winter driving: (cid:129) Have your vehicle in good shape for winter. (cid:129) You might want to put winter emergency supplies in

your vehicle.

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 a couple of 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. Also see Tires on page 5-63. Driving on Snow or Ice Most of the time, those places where the tires meet the road probably have good traction. However, if there is snow or ice between the tires and the road, you can have a very slippery situation. You have a lot less traction, or grip, and need to be very careful.


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 can 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. Whatever the condition — smooth ice, packed, blowing, or loose snow — drive with caution.

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

(cid:129) 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.

StabiliTrak® improves your ability to accelerate when driving on a slippery road. But you can turn StabiliTrak® off if you ever need to. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-6 and If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow on page 4-33. Even with StabiliTrak®, slow down and adjust your driving to the road conditions. Under certain conditions, you might want to turn StabiliTrak® off, such as when driving through deep snow and loose gravel, to help maintain vehicle motion at lower speeds. The Antilock Brake System (ABS) improves your vehicle’s stability when you make a hard stop on a slippery road. Even though you have ABS, begin stopping sooner than you would on dry pavement. See Antilock Brake System (ABS) on page 4-5. (cid:129) Allow greater following distance on any slippery road. (cid:129) 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 can 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 can 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.


(cid:129) (cid:129) {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 the 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 the headlamps. Let the heater run for a while.

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


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.

If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow Slowly and cautiously spin the wheels to free your vehicle when stuck in sand, mud, ice, or snow. See Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out on page 4-34. If your vehicle has a traction system, it can often help to free a stuck vehicle. Refer to your vehicle’s traction system in the Index. If the stuck condition is too severe for the traction system to free the vehicle, turn the traction system off and use the rocking method.


If you let your vehicle’s tires spin at high speed, they can explode, and you or others could be injured. The vehicle can overheat, causing an engine compartment fire or other damage. Spin the wheels as little as possible and avoid going above 35 mph (55 km/h) as shown on the speedometer.

For information about using tire chains on your vehicle, see Tire Chains on page 5-84.


Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out First, turn the steering wheel left and right to clear the area around the front wheels. For four-wheel-drive vehicles, shift into Four-Wheel High or Four-Wheel Low. For vehicles with StabiliTrak®, turn the traction control part of the system off. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-6. Then shift back and forth between REVERSE (R) and a forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. To prevent transmission wear, wait until the wheels stop spinning before shifting gears. Release the accelerator pedal while you shift, and press lightly on the accelerator pedal when the transmission is in gear. By slowly spinning the wheels in the forward and reverse directions, you will cause a rocking motion that could free your vehicle. If that does not get your vehicle out after a few tries, it might need to be towed out. Or, you can use recovery hooks, if your vehicle has them. If your vehicle does need to be towed out, see Towing Your Vehicle on page 4-45.

Recovery Hooks


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.


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.


Notice: Never use recovery hooks to tow the vehicle. Your vehicle could be damaged and it would not be covered by warranty. For vehicles with recovery hooks at the front of the vehicle, you can use them if you are stuck off-road and need to be pulled to some place where you can continue driving.

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 5-63 and Inflation - Tire Pressure on page 5-70. 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 lbs’’ 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 kg or XXX lbs.

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 4-49 for important information on towing a trailer, towing safety rules and trailering tips.

Example 1


Description 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)


Example 2

Example 3


Description 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)

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


1,000 lbs (453 kg)

1,000 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. Certification/Tire Label

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 information about your Front Axle Reserve Capacity.


The label will help you decide how much cargo and installed equipment your truck can carry. 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 will keep going.

And, if you do have a heavy load, you should spread it out.


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.



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

(cid:129) Put things in the cargo area of your

vehicle. Try to spread the weight evenly.

(cid:129) Never stack heavier things, like

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

(cid:129) Do not leave an unsecured child

restraint in your vehicle.

(cid:129) When you carry something inside the vehicle, secure it whenever you can.

(cid:129) Do not leave a seat folded down

unless you need to.

There is 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 4-13.

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 prep package, called RPO VYU, 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 Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) are exceeded. Some vehicles are built with a special snow plow prep package, called RPO VYU. 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 Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), are not exceeded.


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.

Front axle reserve capacity is the difference between your front Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) and the front axle weight of your vehicle 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.

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. 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:129) 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.


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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:

(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


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 vehicle’s front axle reserve capacity is more than 980 lbs (445 kg), you could add the snow plow without exceeding the front GAWR. 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 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) must never be exceeded.



On some vehicles that have certain front mounted equipment, such as a snow plow, it may be possible to load the front axle to the front gross axle weight rating (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 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Maintaining a proper front and rear weight distribution ratio is necessary to provide proper braking performance.

Total vehicle reserve capacity is the difference between your GVWR and the weight of your vehicle 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 vehicle can carry. If you are unsure of your vehicle’s front, rear, or total weight, go to a weigh station and weigh your vehicle. Your dealer/retailer 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/retailer for additional advice and information about using a snow plow on your vehicle. Also, see Loading Your Vehicle on page 4-35. Emergency Roof Lamp Provisions Vehicles with the RPO VYU snow plow prep package also have an emergency roof lamp provision package, RPO TRW. Wiring for the emergency roof lamp is provided above the overhead console. See Auxiliary Roof Mounted Lamp on page 3-19 for switch location.


Towing Your Vehicle Consult your dealer/retailer or a professional towing service if you need to have your disabled vehicle towed. See Roadside Assistance Program on page 7-7. If you want to tow your vehicle behind another vehicle for recreational purposes (such as behind a motorhome), see “Recreational Vehicle Towing” following.

Recreational Vehicle Towing Recreational vehicle towing means towing your vehicle behind another vehicle – such as behind a motorhome. The two most common types of recreational vehicle towing are known as dinghy towing, towing your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, and dolly towing, towing your vehicle with two wheels on the ground and two wheels up on a device known as a “dolly”. With the proper preparation and equipment, many vehicles can be towed in these ways. See “Dinghy Towing” and “Dolly Towing”, following.


Here are some important things to consider before you do recreational vehicle towing: (cid:129) What’s the towing capacity of the towing vehicle? Be sure you read the tow vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

(cid:129) How far will you tow? Some vehicles have

restrictions on how far and how long they can tow.

(cid:129) Do you have the proper towing equipment?

See your dealer/retailer or trailering professional for additional advice and equipment recommendations. Is your vehicle ready to be towed? Just as you would prepare your vehicle for a long trip, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is prepared to be towed. See Before Leaving on a Long Trip on page 4-28.

If you tow a two-wheel-drive vehicle with

Dinghy Towing Two-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Notice: all four wheels on the ground, the transmission could be damaged. The repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not tow a two-wheel-drive vehicle with all four wheels on the ground. Two-wheel-drive vehicles should not be towed with all four wheels on the ground. Two-wheel-drive transmissions have no provisions for internal lubrication while being towed.


(cid:129) Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles

Use the following procedure to tow your vehicle: 1. Shift the transmission to PARK (P). 2. Turn the engine off, but leave the ignition on. 3. Firmly set the parking brake. 4. Securely attach the vehicle being towed to the tow



Shifting a four-wheel-drive vehicle’s transfer case into NEUTRAL can cause your vehicle to roll even if the transmission is in PARK (P). You or others could be injured. Make sure the parking brake is firmly set before you shift the transfer case to NEUTRAL.

5. Shift the transfer case to NEUTRAL (N). See Four-Wheel Drive on page 2-38 for the proper procedure to select the NEUTRAL (N) position for your vehicle.

6. Release the parking brake only after the vehicle

being towed is firmly attached to the towing vehicle.

7. Turn the ignition off.


If you tow a two-wheel-drive vehicle with

Dolly Towing Two-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Notice: the rear wheels on the ground, the transmission could be damaged. The repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Never tow your vehicle with the rear wheels on the ground. Two-wheel-drive vehicles should not be towed with the rear wheels on the ground. Two-wheel-drive transmissions have no provisions for internal lubrication while being towed. Two-wheel-drive vehicles can be towed on a dolly with the front wheels on the ground provided that the wheels are straight. Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Four-wheel-drive vehicles are not designed to be dolly towed. If you need to tow your vehicle, see “Dinghy Towing” earlier in this section.

Level Control Automatic Level Control The automatic level control rear suspension is available on two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive light-duty vehicles and comes as a part of the Autoride® suspension, if equipped. This type of level control is fully automatic and will provide a better leveled riding position as well as better handling under a variety of passenger and loading conditions. An air compressor connected to the rear shocks will raise or lower the rear of the vehicle to maintain proper vehicle height. The system is activated when the ignition key is turned to RUN and will automatically adjust vehicle height thereafter. The system may exhaust (lower vehicle height) for up to ten minutes after the ignition key has been turned off. You may hear the air compressor operating when the height is being adjusted. If a weight-distributing hitch is being used, it is recommended to allow the shocks to inflate, thereby leveling the vehicle prior to adjusting the hitch.


Autoride® If equipped, the Autoride® feature will provide a superior vehicle ride and handling under a variety of passenger and loading conditions. The system is fully automatic and uses a computer controller to continuously monitor vehicle speed, wheel to body position, lift/dive and steering position of the vehicle. The controller then sends signals to each shock absorber to independently adjust the damping level to provide the optimum vehicle ride. Autoride® also interacts with the tow/haul switch that, when engaged, will provide additional control of the shock absorbers. This additional control results in better ride and handling characteristics when the vehicle is loaded or towing a trailer. See Tow/Haul Mode Light on page 3-53 for more information.

Towing a Trailer If your vehicle is a Two-mode Hybrid, see the Two-mode Hybrid manual for more information. Do not tow a trailer during break-in. See New Vehicle Break-In on page 2-26 for more information.


If you do not use the correct equipment and drive properly, you can lose control when you pull a trailer. For example, if the trailer is too heavy, the brakes may not work well — or even at all. You and your passengers could be seriously injured. You may also damage your vehicle; the resulting repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Pull a trailer only if you have followed all the steps in this section. Ask your dealer/retailer for advice and information about towing a trailer with your vehicle.

Notice: Pulling a trailer improperly can damage your vehicle and result in costly repairs that would not be covered by your warranty. Always follow the instructions in this section and check with your dealer/retailer for more information about towing a trailer with your vehicle. To identify the trailering capacity of your vehicle, you should read the information in “Weight of the Trailer” that appears later in this section.


Trailering is different than just driving your vehicle by itself. Trailering means changes in acceleration, braking, handling, durability and fuel economy. Successful, safe trailering takes correct equipment, and it has to be used properly. That’s the reason for this part. In it are many time-tested, important trailering tips and safety rules. Many of these are important for your safety and that of your passengers. So please read this section carefully before you pull a trailer. If You Do Decide To Pull A Trailer If you do, here are some important points:

There are many different laws, including speed limit restrictions, having to do with trailering. Make sure your rig will be legal, not only where you live but also where you’ll be driving. A good source for this information can be state or provincial police.

(cid:129) Consider using a sway control. See “Hitches” later

in this section.

(cid:129) Don’t tow a trailer at all during the first 500 miles (800 km) your new vehicle is driven. Your engine, axle or other parts could be damaged. Then, during the first 500 miles (800 km) that you tow a trailer, don’t drive over 50 mph (80 km/h) and don’t make starts at full throttle. This helps your engine and other parts of your vehicle wear in at the heavier loads.

(cid:129) You can tow in DRIVE (D). You may want to shift the transmission to THIRD (3) or, if necessary, a lower gear selection if the transmission shifts too often (e.g., under heavy loads and/or hilly conditions). See “Tow/Haul Mode” later in this section.

Three important considerations have to do with weight:

The weight of the trailer The weight of the trailer tongue The weight on your vehicle’s tires


(cid:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) (cid:129) Tow/Haul Mode Tow/Haul is a feature that assists when pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load. The purpose of the Tow/Haul mode is to: (cid:129) Reduce the frequency and improve the predictability of transmission shifts when pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load.

(cid:129) Provide the same solid shift feel when pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load as when the vehicle is unloaded. Improve control of vehicle speed while requiring less throttle pedal activity when pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load. Increase the charging system voltage to assist in recharging a battery installed in a trailer.

Press this button at the end of the shift lever to enable/disable the tow/haul mode.

A light on the instrument panel will illuminate to indicate that tow/haul mode has been selected.


(cid:129) (cid:129) Your vehicle is equipped with a button at the end of the shift lever which, when pressed, enables tow/haul. Your vehicle may be equipped with Autoride® which further improves your vehicle’s ride while towing. See Autoride® on page 4-49 for more information. When the button is pressed, a light on the instrument panel will illuminate to indicate that Tow/Haul has been selected. Tow/Haul may be turned off by pressing the button again, at which time the indicator light on the instrument panel will turn off. The vehicle will automatically turn off Tow/Haul every time it is started. Tow/Haul is designed to be most effective when the vehicle and trailer combined weight is at least 75 percent of the vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). See Weight of the Trailer later in this section. Tow/Haul is most useful under the following driving conditions: (cid:129) When pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load

through rolling terrain.

(cid:129) When pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load

in stop and go traffic.

(cid:129) When pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load

in busy parking lots where improved low speed control of the vehicle is desired.

Operating the vehicle in tow/haul when lightly loaded or with no trailer at all will not cause damage. However, there is no benefit to the selection of Tow/Haul when the vehicle is unloaded. Such a selection when unloaded may result in unpleasant engine and transmission driving characteristics and reduced fuel economy. Tow/Haul is recommended only when pulling a heavy trailer or a large or heavy load. Weight of the Trailer How heavy can a trailer safely be? It depends on how you plan to use your rig. For example, speed, altitude, road grades, outside temperature and how much your vehicle is used to pull a trailer are all important. It can also depend on any special equipment that you have on your vehicle, and the amount of tongue weight the vehicle can carry. See “Weight of the Trailer Tongue” later in this section for more information. Maximum trailer weight is calculated assuming only the driver is in the tow vehicle and it has all the required trailering equipment. The weight of additional optional equipment, passengers and cargo in the tow vehicle must be subtracted from the maximum trailer weight. Use one of the following charts to determine how much your vehicle can weigh, based upon your vehicle model and options.


C-1500 (2WD)

Axle Ratio

Maximum Trailer Weight

4800 V8

5300 V8