Download PDF Manual

a vehicle:


(cid:127) Muscular Coordination (cid:127) Vision (cid:127) Attentiveness Police records show that almost half 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 16,000 annual motor vehicle-related deaths have been associated with the use of alcohol, with more than 300,000 people injured.

Many adults — by some estimates, nearly half the adult population — choose never to drink alcohol, so they never drive after drinking. 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. But what if people do? How much is “too much” if someone plans to drive? It is a lot less than many might think. Although it depends on each person and situation, here is some general information on the problem. The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of someone who is drinking depends upon four things:

The amount of alcohol consumed The drinker’s body weight The amount of food that is consumed before and during drinking The length of time it has taken the drinker to consume the alcohol


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) According to the American Medical Association, a 180 lb (82 kg) person who drinks three 12 ounce (355 ml) bottles of beer in an hour will end up with a BAC of about 0.06 percent. The person would reach the same BAC by drinking three 4 ounce (120 ml) glasses of wine or three mixed drinks if each had 1-1/2 ounces (45 ml) of liquors like whiskey, gin, or vodka.

It is the amount of alcohol that counts. For example, if the same person drank three double martinis (3 ounces or 90 ml of liquor each) within an hour, the person’s


BAC would be close to 0.12 percent. A person who consumes food just before or during drinking will have a somewhat lower BAC level. There is a gender difference, too. Women generally have a lower relative percentage of body water than men. Since alcohol is carried in body water, this means that a woman generally will reach a higher BAC level than a man of her same body weight will when each has the same number of drinks. The law in most U.S. states, and throughout Canada, sets the legal limit at 0.08 percent. In some other countries, the limit is even lower. For example, it is 0.05 percent in both France and Germany. The BAC limit for all commercial drivers in the United States is 0.04 percent. The BAC will be over 0.10 percent after three to six drinks (in one hour). Of course, as we have seen, it depends on how much alcohol is in the drinks, and how quickly the person drinks them. But the ability to drive is affected well below a BAC of 0.10 percent. Research shows that the driving skills of many people are impaired at a BAC approaching 0.05 percent, and that the effects are worse at night. All drivers are impaired at BAC levels above 0.05 percent.

Statistics show that the chance of being in a collision increases sharply for drivers who have a BAC of 0.05 percent or above. A driver with a BAC level of 0.06 percent has doubled his or her chance of having a collision. At a BAC level of 0.10 percent, the chance of this driver having a collision is 12 times greater; at a level of 0.15 percent, the chance is 25 times greater! The body takes about an hour to rid itself of the alcohol in one drink. No amount of coffee or number of cold showers will speed that up. “I will be careful” is not the right answer. What if there is an emergency, a need to take sudden action, as when a child darts into the street? A person with even a moderate BAC might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid the collision. There is something else about drinking and driving that many people do not know. 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.


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. Please 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.

Control of a Vehicle You have three systems that make your vehicle go where you want it to go. They are the brakes, the steering, and the accelerator. All three systems have to do their work at the places where the tires meet the road. Sometimes, as when you are driving on snow or ice, it is easy to ask more of those control systems than the tires and road can provide. That means you can lose control of your vehicle. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-9. Adding non-GM 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. 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. Adding non-GM accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications on page 5-3.

Braking See Brake System Warning Light on page 3-41. 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 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 3-42.

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 brakes, 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 be equipped with 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 STABILITY SYS DISABLED or SERVICE STABILITY message will be displayed. If the vehicle has gone through heavy acceleration or braking during the first two miles after starting your vehicle, the STABILITY SYS DISABLED message may appear. If this is the case, your vehicle does not need servicing. Turn your vehicle off and back on again to reset the system.

If either message appears on the Driver Information Center (DIC), and your vehicle hasn’t gone through hard acceleration or braking in the first two miles, your vehicle should be taken in for service. The STABILITY SYS ACTIVE message will appear on the Driver Information Center (DIC) only when the system is both on and activated. You may also feel or hear the system working; this is normal. For more information on the stability messages, see Driver Information Center (DIC) on page 3-51.

The StabiliTrak® button is located on the instrument panel.

StabiliTrak® and part of the traction control system can be turned off or back on by pressing the StabiliTrak® button. The vehicle must be in 2HI, 4HI or AUTO 4WD to turn the system on or off.


When the system is turned off, the traction off light will illuminate, and the STABILITY SYS DISABLED message will appear on the DIC to warn the driver that both the stability system and part of the traction control system are disabled. Your vehicle will still have brake-traction control when StabiliTrak® is off, but will not be able to use the engine speed management system. See “Traction Control Operation” next for more information. When the StabiliTrak® 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 4-46. When the transfer case is in 4LO, the stability system is automatically disabled, and the STABILITY SYS DISABLED message will appear on the DIC. In 4LO, the StabiliTrak® button only turns the traction control system on and off.

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, and it will activate and display the TRACTION ACTIVE message in the Driver Information Center (DIC) if it senses that any of the wheels are spinning or beginning to lose traction while driving. If you turn off StabiliTrak®, only the brake-traction control portion of traction control will work. The engine speed management will be disabled. In this state, engine power is not reduced automatically and the driven wheels can spin more freely. This can cause the brake-traction control to activate constantly. For more information on the traction active message, see Driver Information Center (DIC) on page 3-51. Notice: heavy braking and/or because the traction control system has been continuously active, do not allow the wheel(s) of one axle to spin excessively. If you do, you may be causing damage to the transfer case. This could lead to costly repairs not covered by your warranty.

If the traction off light comes on due to


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

If the brake traction-control system activates constantly or if the brakes have heated up due to high speed braking, brake traction-control will be disabled and the TRACTION SYS LIMITED message will be displayed. In the limited mode, the traction-control system will only use engine traction-control and is limited in it’s ability to provide optimal performance since the system will not utilize brake traction-control to control slip on the drive wheels. The system will return to normal operation after the brakes have cooled. This can take up to two minutes or longer depending on brake usage. Notice: excessively while the traction off, ABS and brake warning lights and the SERVICE STABILITY 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. 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 STABILITY SYS ACTIVE message will appear on the Driver Information Center (DIC), 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 3-11. 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 for service.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) System If your vehicle has this feature, engine power is sent to all four wheels all the time. This is like four-wheel drive, but there is no separate lever or switch to engage or disengage the front axle. It is fully automatic, and adjusts itself as needed for road conditions.


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 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 StabiliTrak® System on page 4-9. 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. Adding non-GM 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 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.


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 passenger side 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.

Remember: StabiliTrak® helps avoid only the acceleration skid. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-9. 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. 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.


Off-Road Driving This off-road guide is for vehicles that have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Also, see Braking on page 4-6. If your vehicle does not have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, you should not drive off-road unless you are on a level, solid surface. 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 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.


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 air dam assembly away from the retainers until the lower air 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 towards the retainer until it locks into place.

2. Push the flat end of the

push-pin towards 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 equipped) 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 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) 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 4-48 and Tires on page 5-59.


(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.

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) 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:

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 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.


(cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) (cid:127) 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 quickly?

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 4-3.


(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, such as 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) 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) 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) (cid:127) {CAUTION:

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: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.

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) 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.

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.

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.


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.


(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). 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) 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 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.


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, 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 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 4-34 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 the 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 vehicle’s 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.

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 the 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 the 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 the 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.


(cid:127) (cid:127) 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 fluid reservoir 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.


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.

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.

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


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

City Driving

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 5-59.

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 4-37. 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. 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.


(cid:127) (cid:127) 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) 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 4-17 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.


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.

Hill and Mountain Roads

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



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 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.

(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 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. 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 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 5-59.


StabiliTrak® will improve 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 4-9 and If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice or Snow on page 4-46. Even with StabiliTrak®, you will want to slow down and adjust your driving to the road conditions. Under certain conditions, you may want to turn StabiliTrak® off, such as when driving through deep snow and loose gravel, to help maintain vehicle motion at lower speeds. Your Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) improves your vehicle’s stability when you make a hard stop on a slippery road. Even though you have ABS, 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.


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

(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.


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.


For more information about using tire chains on your vehicle, see Tire Chains on page 5-77.

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 Four-Wheel High or Four-Wheel Low. Turn the StabiliTrak® System off. See StabiliTrak® System on page 4-9. Then shift back and forth between REVERSE (R) and a forward gear, 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. Or, 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 4-58.

If Your Vehicle is 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.


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.

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


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 5-59 and Inflation - Tire Pressure on page 5-65. 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 4-62 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)

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.

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

Notice: Overloading your vehicle may cause damage. Repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not overload your vehicle. 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.


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.



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 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 4-17.

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 gross vehicle weight (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. 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 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.

United States


(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.

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 gross vehicle weight rating (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.

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 in the B-pillar as shown. See Auxiliary Roof Mounted Lamp on page 3-18 for switch location.

Q: What is total vehicle reserve capacity? A: This 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 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 4-48.

A. Body Side Inner Panel B. Emergency Roof Lamp Harness



Towing Your Vehicle Consult your dealer or a professional towing service if you need to have your disabled vehicle towed. See Roadside Assistance Program on page 7-6. 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:127) What’s the towing capacity of the towing vehicle? Be sure you read the tow vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

(cid:127) How far will you tow? Some vehicles have

restrictions on how far and how long they can tow.

(cid:127) Do you have the proper towing equipment? See your dealer 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 4-38.

Dinghy Towing Two-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Notice: If you tow a two-wheel-drive vehicle with 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:127) Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles (NP8)

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 vehicle.


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 2-26 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. All-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Notice: Towing an all-wheel-drive vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, or even with only two of its wheels on the ground, will damage drivetrain components. Do not tow an all-wheel-drive vehicle if any of its wheels will be on the ground.


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 and the steering column has been locked. Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles If your vehicle is equipped with StabiliTrak®, it is not designed to be dolly towed. If you need to tow your vehicle, see “Dinghy Towing” earlier in this section.