Trailer towing

WARNING - Towing a
trailer
If you don't 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 or fatally injured. Pull a trailer only if you have followed all the steps in this section.

NOTICE
Pulling a trailer improperly can damage your vehicle and result in costly repairs not covered by your warranty. To pull a trailer correctly, follow the advice in this section.

Your Sportage equipped with a 2.7


Your Sportage equipped with a 2.7 liter engine can tow a trailer.

However, we do not recommend trailer towing for the Sportage equipped with the 2.0 liter engine. To identify what the vehicle trailering capacity is for your vehicle, you should read the information in “Weight of the Trailer” that appears later in this section.

Remember that trailering is different than just driving your vehicle by itself.

Trailering means changes in handling, durability, and fuel economy.

Successful, safe trailering requires correct equipment, and it has to be used properly.

This section contains many timetested, important trailering tips and safety rules. Many of these are important for your safety and that of your passengers. Please read this section carefully before you pull a trailer.

Load-pulling components such as the engine, transaxle, wheel assemblies, and tires are forced to work harder against the load of the added weight. The engine is required to operate at relatively higher speeds and under greater loads. This additional burden generates extra heat.

The trailer also adds considerably to wind resistance, increasing the pulling requirements.

If you do decide to pull a trailer Here are some important points if you decide to pull a trailer: • State, provincial, county and municipal government have varying trailering laws. Make sure your hitch, mirrors, lights and wiring arrangements are legal, not only where you live, but also where you’ll be driving. A good source for this information is provincial or local law enforcement agencies.

• Consider using a sway control.You can ask a hitch dealer about sway control.

• After your odometer indicates 800 km (500 miles) or more, you can tow a trailer. For the first 800 km (500 miles) that you tow a trailer, don’t drive over 80 km/h (50 mph) and don’t make starts at full throttle.

This helps your engine and other parts of your vehicle “wear” in at the heavier loads.

• Always drive at a safe speed (less than 100 km/h) commensurate with road conditions.

• On a long uphill grade, do not exceed 70 km/h (45 mph) or the posted towing speed limit, whichever is lower.

• The important considerations have to do with weight:
Weight of the trailer
How heavy can a trailer safely be? It should never weigh more than the maximum trailer weight with trailer brakes. But even that can be too heavy.

It depends on how you plan to use your trailer. For example, speed, altitude, road grades, outside temperature and how much your vehicle is used to pull a trailer are all important.

The ideal trailer weight can also depend on any special equipment that you have on your vehicle.

Weight of the trailer tongue The tongue load of any trailer is an important weight to measure because it affects the total gross vehicle weight (GVW) of your vehicle.

This weight includes the curb weight of the vehicle, any cargo you may carry in it, and the people who will be riding in the vehicle. And if you will tow a trailer, you must add the tongue load to the GVW because your vehicle will also be carrying that weight.

The trailer tongue should weigh a maximum of 10% of the total loaded trailer weight. After you've loaded your trailer, weigh the trailer and then the tongue, separately, to see if the weights are proper. If they aren’t, you may be able to correct them simply by moving some items around in the trailer.

WARNING - Trailer
• Never load a trailer with more weight in the rear than in the front. The front should be loaded with approximately 60% of the total trailer load; the rear should be loaded with approximately 40% of the total trailer load.

• Never exceed the maximum weight limits of the trailer or trailer towing equipment.

Improper loading can result in damage to your vehicle and/or personal injury. Check
weights and loading at a commercial scale or highway
patrol office equipped with scales.

• An improperly loaded trailer can cause loss of vehicle control.

Hitches
It's important to have the correct hitch equipment. Crosswinds, large trucks going by, and rough roads are a few reasons why you’ll need the right hitch. Here are some rules to follow:
• Will you have to make any holes in the body of your vehicle when you install a trailer hitch? If you do, then be sure to seal the holes later when you remove the hitch.

If you don’t seal them, deadly carbon monoxide (CO) from your
exhaust can get into your vehicle, as well as dirt and water.

• The bumpers on your vehicle are not intended for hitches. Do not attach rental hitches or other bumper-type hitches to them. Use only a frame-mounted hitch that does not attach to the bumper.

Safety chains
You should always attach chains between your vehicle and your trailer.

Cross the safety chains under the tongue of the trailer so that the tongue will not drop to the road if it becomes separated from the hitch.

Instructions about safety chains may be provided by the hitch manufacturer or by the trailer manufacturer.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for attaching safety
chains. Always leave just enough slack so you can turn with your trailer.

And, never allow safety chains to drag on the ground.

Trailer brakes
If your trailer weighs more than the maximum trailer weight without trailer brakes loaded, then it needs its own brakes and they must be adequate.

Be sure to read and follow the instructions for the trailer brakes so you’ll be able to install, adjust and maintain them properly.

• Don’t tap into your vehicle's brake system.

WARNING - Trailer brakes Do not use a trailer with its own brakes unless you are absolutely certain that you have properly set up the brake system. This is not a task for amateurs. Use an experienced, competent trailer shop for this work.

Driving with a trailer Towing a trailer requires a certain amount of experience. Before setting out for the open road, you must get to know your trailer. Acquaint yourself with the feel of handling and braking with the added weight of the trailer. And always keep in mind that the vehicle you are driving is now a good deal longer and not nearly so responsive as your vehicle is by itself.

Before you start, check the trailer hitch and platform, safety chains, electrical connector(s), lights, tires and mirror adjustment. If the trailer has electric brakes, start your vehicle and trailer moving and then apply the trailer brake controller by hand to be sure the brakes are working. This lets you check your electrical connection at the same time.

During your trip, check occasionally to be sure that the load is secure, and that the lights and any trailer brakes are still working.

Following distance
Stay at least twice as far behind the vehicle ahead as you would when driving your vehicle without a trailer.

This can help you avoid situations that require heavy braking and sudden turns.

Passing
You’ll need more passing distance up ahead when you’re towing a trailer.

And, because you’re a good deal longer, you’ll need to go much farther beyond the passed vehicle before you can return to your lane.

Backing up
Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. Then, to move the trailer to the left, just move your hand to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move your hand to the right. Always back up slowly and, if possible, have someone guide you.

Making turns
When you’re turning with a trailer, make wider turns than normal. Do this so your trailer won’t strike soft shoulders, curbs, road signs, trees, or other objects. Avoid jerky or sudden maneuvers. Signal well in advance.

Turn signals when towing a trailer When you tow a trailer, your vehicle has to have a different turn signal flasher and extra wiring. The green arrows on your instrument panel will flash whenever you signal a turn or lane change. Properly connected, the trailer lights will also flash to alert other drivers you’re about to turn, change lanes, or stop.

When towing a trailer, the green arrows on your instrument panel will flash for turns even if the bulbs on the trailer are burned out. Thus, you may think drivers behind you are seeing your signals when, in fact, they are not. It’s important to check occasionally to be sure the trailer bulbs are still working.You must also check the lights every time you disconnect and then reconnect the
wires.

Do not connect a trailer lighting system directly to your vehicle’s lighting system. Use only an approved trailer wiring harness.

Your Authorized Kia Dealer can assist you in installing the wiring harness.

CAUTION
Failure to use an approved trailer wiring harness could result in damage to the vehicle electrical system and/or personal injury.

Driving on grades
Reduce speed and shift to a lower gear before you start down a long or steep downgrade. If you don’t shift down, you might have to use your brakes so much that they would get hot and no longer operate efficiently.

On a long uphill grade, shift down and reduce your speed to around 70 km/h (45 mph) to reduce the possibility of engine and transaxle overheating.

If your trailer weighs more than the maximum trailer weight without trailer brakes and you have an automatic transaxle, you should drive in D (Drive) when towing a trailer.

Operating your vehicle in D (Drive) when towing a trailer will minimize heat build up and extend the life of your transaxle.

NOTICE
• When towing a trailer on steep grades (in excess of 6%) pay close attention to the engine coolant temperature gauge to ensure the engine does not overheat. If the needle of the coolant temperature gauge moves across the dial towards “H” (HOT), pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so, and allow the engine to idle until it cools down. You may proceed once the engine has cooled sufficiently.

• You must decide driving speed depending on trailer weight and uphill grade to reduce the possibility of engine and transaxle overheating.

Parking on hills
Generally, if you have a trailer attached to your vehicle, you should not park your vehicle on a hill. People can be seriously or fatally injured, and both your vehicle and the trailer can be damaged if unexpectedly roll down hill.

WARNING - Parking on a hill
Parking your vehicle on a hill with a trailer attached could cause serious injury or death, should the trailer break lose.

However, if you ever have to park your trailer on a hill, here’s how to do it:
1. Pull the vehicle into the parking space. Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the curb (right if headed down hill, left if headed up hill).

2. If the vehicle has a manual transaxle, place the car in neutral.

If the vehicle has an automatic transaxle, place the car in P (Park).

3. Set the parking brake and shut off the vehicle.

4. Place chocks under the trailer wheels on the down hill side of the wheels.

5. Start the vehicle, hold the brakes, shift to neutral, release the parking brake and slowly release the brakes until the trailer chocks absorb the load.

6. Reapply the brakes, reapply the parking brake and shift the vehicle to R (Reverse) for manual transaxle or P (Park) for automatic transaxle.

7. Shut off the vehicle and release the vehicle brakes but leave the parking brake set.

WARNING - Parking brake It can be dangerous to get out of your vehicle if the parking brake is not firmly set.

If you have left the engine running, the vehicle can move suddenly.

You or others could be
seriously or fatally injured.

When you are ready to leave after parking on a hill
1. With the manual transaxle in Neutral or automatic transaxle in P (Park), apply your brakes and hold the brake pedal down while you: • Start your engine;
• Shift into gear; and
• Release the parking brake.

2. Slowly remove your foot from the brake pedal.

3. Drive slowly until the trailer is clear of the chocks.

4. Stop and have someone pick up and store the chocks.

Maintenance when trailer towing Your vehicle will need service more often when you regularly pull a trailer.

Important items to pay particular attention to include engine oil, automatic transaxle fluid, axle lubricant and cooling system fluid. Brake condition is another important item to frequently check. Each item is covered in this manual, and the Index will help you find them quickly. If you’re trailering, it’s a good idea to review these sections before you start your trip.

Don’t forget to also maintain your trailer and hitch. Follow the maintenance schedule that accompanied your trailer and check it periodically.

Preferably, conduct the check at the start of each day’s driving. Most importantly, all hitch nuts and bolts should be tight.

NOTICE
• Due to higher load during trailer usage, overheating might occur in hot days or during uphill driving.

If the coolant gauge indicates over-heating, switch off the A/C and stop the vehicle in a safe area to cool down the engine.

• When towing check transaxle fluid more frequently.

• If your vehicle is not equipped with the air conditioner, you should install a condenser fan to improve engine performance when towing a trailer.

    See also:

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