Kia Sportage: Trailer towing / Driving with a trailer

Kia Sportage QL (2015-2019) Owners Manual / Driving your vehicle / Trailer towing / 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 of the increased vehicle length, you’ll need to go much farther beyond the passed vehicle before you can return to your lane. Due to the added load to the engine when going uphill the vehicle may also take longer to pass than it would on flat ground.

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 near the edge of the road. Avoid jerky or sudden maneuvers. Signal well in advance before turning or lane changes.

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.

An authorized Kia dealer can assist you in installing the wiring harness.

CAUTION

Always use an approved trailer wiring harness. Failure to use an approved trailer wiring harness could result in damage to the vehicle electrical system.

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 45 mph (70 km/h) 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.

Towing up hill

Trailer brakes
If your trailer is equipped with a braking system, make sure it conforms to your state’s regulations and that it is properly installed and operating correctly. If your trailer weight exceeds the ...

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 dama ...

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