What gear to tow in? - Kia Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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What gear to tow in?

Hi all,
Brand new to the forum. I have a 2016 red Sorento EX that I got last June and absolutely love so far.
One of the reasons I decided on this vehicle was the 5000 lb tow capacity, as I am picking up a brand new fibreglass holiday trailer next week! (Very excited!)
As many here have stated, it seems to be very difficult to find out much info on towing, other than what is in the manual. I have been reading several of the posts here on towing, but there's one piece of info that I can't seem to find anywhere. (And forget the dealership - clueless!) Anyway, I've been towing trailers for 20 years and have always been instructed not to town in overdrive (occasionally do if on flat roads at cruising speed). Given the the transmission doesn't seem to have any way to not be in OD, that leaves me wondering if the Sport mode is the way to go?? What do people here tow in? And has anyone found any reference for this?
Thanks a million! I leave Monday to get my trailer, and have to go through some high mountain passes, so I'd love to know the best way to approach this.
Thanks in advance for any input!
Brenda

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 12:44 AM
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My limited experience is this... Sport mode does help! Holds gears longer, revs higher to get into the power band of the motor etc. Personally I leave it in sport mode until I get to the highway and then I switch it to manual mode and 5th gear is the highest gear I use. For whatever reason, even with a really lite trailer load, it wants to stay in 4th gear. 4th gear is great since it's revving a lot higher and it's making full power, but I haven't found it needs to run continuously in 4th, waste fuel and extra wear and tear. I set my cruise control on the highway, 5th gear is my highest but it does great. We don't have high mountains but when I come to hills I do pay attention to speed and if I drop more than 3-4 mph I'll bump it into 4th until I'm over the hill, then shift back to 5th gear. It's not great at choosing it's own... it just wants to rev high. Manual mode works best for me.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by "manual mode"? I have regular, Eco, and Sport. Do they make one with a true manual transmission? (That would be easier - I know how to drive those!)
How many gears are there in Sport mode? I haven't really used it much.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Blhvet View Post
Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by "manual mode"? I have regular, Eco, and Sport. Do they make one with a true manual transmission? (That would be easier - I know how to drive those!)
How many gears are there in Sport mode? I haven't really used it much.

Slide the shifter to the side and you can shift your gears 'manually" by pushing it forward or backward and pick what you want the car to stay in provided you are not going too slow for a specific gear. Your car has 6 gear ratios.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 10:04 AM
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I've always been a firm believer that towing near the max ability of a vehicle like the Sorento, or many other CUV's, can cause premature wear and tear on the vehicles driveline components. I personally have a truck to tow with and I wouldn't be comfortable trusting the Sorento to tow anything more than a quad trailer, pop up tent trailer or small boat, especially if doing so on a regular basis or anywhere that aren't ideal towing conditions.

If I have to force the transmission to stay in a lower gear to tow comfortably, to me, the vehicle is overworked. I see "half tonne towable" trailers advertised that would be near dangerous for an average half tonne truck to tow in anything but flat roads without being severely over taxed. Hence why summer holiday road trips are usually painful as 20 vehicles wait for a safe place to pass the vehicle driving up a slight hill at 20 or 30km/hr under the speed limit, struggling to pull their trailer.

My apologies for the long winded response, and it is certainly nothing but my personal opinion based on my own experience. Tow what you are comfortable with, do your maintenance on your vehicle and I wish you the best of luck.

Cheers!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 11:28 AM
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You have to remember that are sixth gear is really only meant for flat ground. Even when the car is empty, it will downshift to 5th on a mild grade. When we were in the mountains and I was going 80 miles an hour up hills, sometimes it would shift into 4th to maintain speed. Obviously towing will put more stress on the drivetrain, but that doesn't mean it's going to hurt anything. I wouldn't want to do it all the time with a heavy load, though a couple times of a year shouldn't make a big difference in the longevity of the vehicle assuming that it's well-maintained. As long as you're not constantly towing.... I wouldn't think twice about going for it and you might as well enjoy the most out of your vehicle.

Having a separate tow vehicle could make sense if it was something that was done all the time, but is not needed if your Sorento can tell your load and you're not doing it all the time. Plus, for most of us having a separate vehicle just for telling would be a huge expense and not practical. Just my two cents
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianC302 View Post
You have to remember that are sixth gear is really only meant for flat ground. Even when the car is empty, it will downshift to 5th on a mild grade. When we were in the mountains and I was going 80 miles an hour up hills, sometimes it would shift into 4th to maintain speed. Obviously towing will put more stress on the drivetrain, but that doesn't mean it's going to hurt anything. I wouldn't want to do it all the time with a heavy load, though a couple times of a year shouldn't make a big difference in the longevity of the vehicle assuming that it's well-maintained. As long as you're not constantly towing.... I wouldn't think twice about going for it and you might as well enjoy the most out of your vehicle.

Having a separate tow vehicle could make sense if it was something that was done all the time, but is not needed if your Sorento can tell your load and you're not doing it all the time. Plus, for most of us having a separate vehicle just for telling would be a huge expense and not practical. Just my two cents
Well said and I completely agree, especially if only used a few times per year.

I spent most of my life in the Rocky mountains watching far too many people abuse their vehicle towing far too much weight because a salesman convinced then their vehicle could tow it. Felt bad for them, and the people stuck behind them but they were usually near max or slightly over max capacity of their vehicles.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blhvet View Post
Hi all,
Brand new to the forum. I have a 2016 red Sorento EX that I got last June and absolutely love so far.
One of the reasons I decided on this vehicle was the 5000 lb tow capacity, as I am picking up a brand new fibreglass holiday trailer next week! (Very excited!)
As many here have stated, it seems to be very difficult to find out much info on towing, other than what is in the manual. I have been reading several of the posts here on towing, but there's one piece of info that I can't seem to find anywhere. (And forget the dealership - clueless!) Anyway, I've been towing trailers for 20 years and have always been instructed not to town in overdrive (occasionally do if on flat roads at cruising speed). Given the the transmission doesn't seem to have any way to not be in OD, that leaves me wondering if the Sport mode is the way to go?? What do people here tow in? And has anyone found any reference for this?
Thanks a million! I leave Monday to get my trailer, and have to go through some high mountain passes, so I'd love to know the best way to approach this.
Thanks in advance for any input!
Brenda
I think one of the most important things to do is keep the revs up, or, don't lug the engine at lower rpms. be ready and eager to downshift at the least amount of extra load (ie hill). Better to rev the engine a little higher. At higher revs all the pumps (oil,water,transmission etc) are spinning faster and circulating more of their fluids through the various coolers and through the engine. This will help with cooling.

You will need to experiment but set yourself a low rpm limit, like say 3000 rpm, and try to stay there or above with transmission selection. If the car/weight won't accelerate when you press on the gas then that defines lugging and then you need a lower gear. When towing, far better to rev a little higher than to lug the engine. Lugging can generate a lot of heat on the surface of the pistons and as mentioned above all the pumps are going slower. Use engine braking by downshifting to slow as well as this helps reduce the heat on the brakes a little.

And do not exceed the max towing weight, in fact stay well under it if you can. I instrument my car more than most and I have found that the temp gauge on these cars is anything but a precision instrument. So if you see it starting to rise above normal, back off for a bit because that means the sucker is getting HOT.

Good luck.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and give you an update. Got the new trailer home last month and the Sorento did an awesome job. The Sport mode worked amazingly well - my brother went with me to share the driving and he was very impressed. Mileage wasn't even too bad - around 15 L/100 km through the mountains and with winter tires. Good thing I kept the winter tires, as we drove the last 600 km in blizzard conditions. And it did well through that, too. The last 8 miles on dirt roads were quite the adventure, but I'm thinking that might be the worst weather I ever drive in, so it's all up from here!!! I've attached a pic of my new baby.

I have a question on the rear end sag, but I suppose I should start another thread.

Thanks again.

Brenda
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 05:58 AM
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Towing and my Sorrento

I've been 2 years towing a 21 foot Slingshot(rated 3700 lbs.). I drove through the Cape Breton Highlands in Nova Scotia - Motto"You want hills? we got HILLS". Anyone who's been to Cape Breton is now nodding - "Yup". I was impressed, I maintained a steady 45 mph up the hills in this area. I did drive, however, in Eco mode. On the advice in this forum I'm going to drive in Sport mode this summer. i'm using a WDS and anti-sway and the trailer was pretty steady.
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