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Silverado Tow Haul Button Not Working – What To Do?

When the tow haul button of your Chevy Silverado is not working, and you need to haul a heavy load, there's no need to worry. This article can help you solve the issue. We have researched the topic and have solutions that you can try. 

If your Silverado's tow haul button does not work, here are some ways to solve the problem:

  1. Clean the contact points of the tow haul button. 
  2. Check if there are loose or pinched wires connected to the gear shift mechanism. Cut and strip the wires where there is a break. Then connect the wires back to the mechanism.
  3. If the problem persists, replace the faulty button with a new one.

You can fix the wires yourself or ask a mechanic to do the work for you. Either way, you should read along to learn the specific steps and avoid adding more problems to the faulty tow haul button.

White brand new Chevrolet Silverado, Silverado Tow Haul Button Not Working - What To Do

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Silverado Tow Haul Button Not Working

The tow haul button of the Chevrolet Silverado aids in gear transmission shifts when towing large loads under different driving conditions. The feature controls the vehicle speed requiring less pedal throttle. 

Many Silverado owners complain that their tow haul button does not work. Here are possible reasons for the issue: 

  1. The surrounding contact points of the button need cleaning.
  2. Pinched, damaged, or loose wires connected to the gear shift mechanism
  3. Faulty shift lever or tow haul button

If you encounter any of the above, continue reading to learn how to fix the problem.

How to Fix a Tow Haul Button That Does Not Work? 

A red colored Chevrolet Silverado at a car dealership

First, you need to clean the surrounding contact points of the tow haul button. The gear mechanism cannot register the button if the parts surrounding the button are dirty and dusty. You should use compressed air to eliminate dust build-up around the button.  

If the problem is not as simple as cleaning, you can fix the tow haul button by following these steps:

  1. Remove the two screws from the bottom of the steering column cover using a Torx bit.
  2. Separate the two wires leading to the button. 
  3. Cut the wire where there is a break. It is common to spot the damage near the wire holder.
  4. Strip the ends of both wires, then fold them in. 
  5. Attach butt connectors to the ends of the wires. Crimp and lightly tug to secure the connectors.
  6. Get some wire, around a gauge of 18 or bigger. You can decide on the length to cut. Then strip both ends. 
  7. Place the wires on the opposite ends of the connectors. Lightly tug the connectors to secure them. 
  8. Cover the connections with electrical tape. 
  9. Start the truck and push the tow haul button. You can check if the button works if you see the light on the instrument panel.
  10. Return the steering cover and secure it with the screws. 

Even after you have tweaked the wires, the problem may persist because the tow haul button is defective. If that is the case, you should have the whole shift lever replaced. You can buy one online or from your car dealership.

If you cannot install the replacement part on your own, let a professional do the job for you to avoid further damage.

Tow Haul Button or Shift Lever Replacement Recommendations

Here are some product recommendations for the part replacement:

1. Shift lever replacement

Click here to see this shift lever on Amazon.

2.  Button replacement 

Click here to see this tow haul button on Amazon.

How Do You Turn On the Tow Haul Mode on a Chevy Silverado?

A huge red colored Chevrolet Silverado

 To activate and deactivate the tow haul mode, press the tow haul button located on the end of the shift lever. For some models with Driver Mode Control, you can activate the tow haul mode with the press of a button or by using a dial. 

Look for the indicator light at the top of the right panel. It will turn on and off. Press the tow haul button on the end of the shift lever.

As a default, the vehicle turns off the tow haul mode when it starts. When turned on, it triggers the gear mechanisms to change the gear shifts of the vehicle. 

What Does Tow Haul Mode Do On Silverado?

The tow haul mode of the Chevy Silverado adjusts the gear transmissions to reduce the shift cycling. Several benefits of the function include:

  • Increases engine performance
  • Enhances transmission
  • Better engine cooling
  • Ensures vehicle control
  • Boosts torque
  • Shifts gears to higher RPM limits
  • Maintains desired vehicle speed
  • Disengages overdrive features of the vehicle to avoid burnout
  • Allows controlled engine braking that saves your brakes from wear and tear 

If you regularly haul heavy loads with your Silverado, the tow haul button should be working to prolong the vehicle's life and give you a safe driving experience.

Do You Need to Press the Tow Haul Button While Driving a Silverado?

Two high end Chevrolet Silverados at a parking lot

For regular driving, it is not necessary to turn on the tow haul mode. If your vehicle carries a light load, you will waste fuel and engine power when the function is on. But there are some instances in which you should activate the tow haul mode for a safe drive. 

It is good to turn on the tow haul mode when driving on high-traffic streets with many stops. Doing so can help you avoid hitting other cars because the button activates the engine braking mode.

If you are learning to drive your Silverado, it is best to refer to the vehicle manual and the car manufacturer on how to use the tow haul mode.

Can You Tow Without Tow Haul Mode?

If you're pulling a heavy load, you should turn on the tow haul mode. The Silverado's tow haul function helps when you transport a heavy load, such as a trailer, cargo, or another vehicle.

The mode allows you to control your vehicle and keep it in low gear for more stability and to boost engine power. Without turning on the function, your vehicle will burn out its engine. In effect, your vehicle will wear faster, resulting in more damage and repair costs.

If you are driving with a load going uphill or downhill, regardless of the load's weight, you should turn on the tow haul mode.

When going up, gravity pulls back the vehicle and makes the load feel heavier. The same applies when going downhill; the tow haul mode slows down the vehicle brakes, so the vehicle stops early.

The function is most effective when you have a load that's at least 75% of the  gross combined weight of the truck. There will be different trailering capacities based on the year and model of your Silverado. You can refer to this guide for the 2021 Silverado max trailering. 

Find out more about trailering from this post: What Is The Silverado Trailering Package?.

What To Prepare Before Towing and Hauling With A Silverado?

A heavy duty van side mirror

After learning how and when to activate the tow haul button, check out the trailering and hitch equipment. The tow haul button is useless without the proper equipment to support it.  

Based on Chevrolet's 2021 Trailering guide, here are some things to remember:

  • Select the right trailering equipment, such as extendable and heavy-duty trailering mirrors.
  • Pick the appropriate hitch equipment, then check the compatibility with the vehicle's electrical connections. The hitch equipment depends on the weight rating of your Silverado model.
  • Choose the correct wiring harness to streamline the electrical connections.
  • Trailer brakes are a must if you carry a load of 2,000 pounds or more. 
  • When choosing, also comply with the raking requirements of your state.
  • Always attach safety chains when carrying a trailer.
  • Load your trailer to reach around 10-15% tongue weight.   

In Summary

White brand new Chevrolet Silverado

A tow haul button not turning on is a common issue with the Chevy Silverado. Fixing the faulty button can be as easy as cleaning its contact points and as tedious as tweaking the wires.

You might need to replace the shift lever or install a new button. Try to familiarize yourself with the tow haul mode to avoid damage to the vehicle, your load, and yourself.

Also, remember that the tow haul button triggers the vehicle's mechanisms. Ensure that the necessary towing and hauling equipment are all present.

Once everything is set and working, you will get a safer towing or hauling experience while maintaining your Silverado's high performance.

You can learn more about Chevy Silverados from these posts:

How To Fix Reduced Engine Power Chevy Silverado

Can a Chevy Silverado Be Flat Towed? Here’s What Truck Owners Need to Know