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Is It Bad to Use Cruise Control While Towing?

Is It Bad to Use Cruise Control While Towing?

If you’re hauling cargo on a trailer over a long distance, using cruise control may be tempting.

After all, a long, cross-country trek will feel all the longer if you have to keep your foot pressed just so the whole time.

But is it safe to use cruise control when you’re towing something behind you?

It is illegal to use cruise control in some states, but not all states, when towing a trailer. The added weight of your trailer may make using cruise control more dangerous, so consider both the driving conditions and the weight of your load before using cruise control while towing.

Read on to find out if it is bad to use cruise control while towing a trailer.

Is It Bad to Use Cruise Control While Towing?

No, not really. However, you should pay attention to the speed limit of the road you are on. Also, if the local law allows it, then you can use your cruise control. It will make driving much easier if the road is long and straight.

What is Cruise Control

Cruise control is a feature in your car that allows you to set a certain speed. This is very helpful when constantly changing gears due to changing traffic conditions or steep inclines and declines. 

With cruise control, you can set a speed and maintain it until you change your mind about the speed setting. 

If a steep decline is needed, you can shift up to a higher speed. Likewise, if traffic conditions suddenly change, you can increase the speed to maintain your set pace.

Can You Use Cruise Control While Towing?

The short answer is yes. You can use cruise control while towing a trailer. However, there are some things you should remember and keep in mind when you do this.

1. Don’t leave the cruise control engaged

When you first start driving, it is ok to leave the cruise control set at a speed level that you would like to maintain. This allows you to get used to the feel of the transmission gear changes and not have to worry about maintaining a certain speed. After driving a while, though, you should turn off the cruise control. You don’t want to go too fast and burn out your transmission.

2. Don’t use cruise control when towing a heavy load

When you are towing a heavy load, your vehicle will be under more strain than it is normally under when you don’t have a trailer attached. Your vehicle is going to have to work harder, and it will be more likely to overheat. Don’t engage the cruise control when your vehicle is being pushed hard.

3. Know your speed limits

You don’t want to go over the speed limit, even when towing a trailer. You could get pulled over by the police and have a ticket if you do. Keep an eye on your speedometer and never exceed the limits of the road where you are driving.

4. Don’t use cruise control with a brake controller

If you are braking with a brake controller, do not use the cruise control because it will cause your brakes to lock up and possibly cause an accident.

5. Don’t drive a manual transmission car with cruise control engaged

Since the cruise control is present in automatic transmissions, this will not allow the transmission to shift properly when you need it to. If it does, your car could stall on you.

6. Don’t use cruise control in heavy traffic

When you are towing a trailer, traffic tends to be heavy. If you use cruise control, your vehicle will begin to overheat because it is working so hard. When you are in heavy traffic, it isn’t easy to find a place to pull over and let your vehicle cool down. 

All of these factors make using cruise control in heavy traffic a dangerous idea.

7. Ensure proper air pressure in your tires

If your tires are not properly inflated, your car will have a lot of strain on it, and when you engage cruise control, your vehicle is going to be working much harder than normal and could overheat.

Can You Use Cruise Control While Towing a Boat?

Yes, you can use cruise control while towing a boat, but you must ensure you do not exceed the capacity of your vehicle. Cruise control is very helpful in maintaining a steady speed while towing a boat, but you have to make sure your brakes are in good working order too.

How Does Cruise Control Really Work?

Cruise control is a sensor that constantly monitors the vehicle’s speed. When you press the on-off button, it compares the current speed of your car with the set speed. 

If your car is going too fast or too slow, it adjusts so that you maintain a steady speed.

Cruise control is also sometimes called speed control. You can sometimes find cruise control systems in boats too.

When Should Cruise Control Not Be Used?

It is best not to use cruise control in heavy traffic because it will cause your car to overheat and possibly stall on you. 

Don’t use cruise control if you have a manual transmission, as this will throw off your gear changes.

Don’t use cruise control when you tow a heavy load or drive on winding roads. This will place too much stress on your transmission and could overheat or damage it. 

Also, remember never to use cruise control in slippery conditions. It could cause your brakes to lock up and result in an accident if you do.

Wrapping It Up

As discussed above, cruise control can be used while towing a boat or a trailer so long as you’re aware of your surroundings and when to use it. 

As long as your car cruise control system is in perfect shape and is installed correctly, you should be able to use it without worry. 

Still, use safe driving practices at all times because that’s the best way to keep yourself and your vehicle safe.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!