Cruise Control or No Cruise Control

Sep 4, 2021
2016 Nissan Frontier w/ V6 towing a Flagstaff Pop-Up that weighs about 3k lbs. Cruise control or no cruise control. I use it constantly when not towing but have been reluctant to use it while towing. Any pro tips???


Active Member
Nov 23, 2010
I very rarely use cruise control. This area has a lot of hills which would cause too much shifting. If you tow where its flat and doesn't cause excessive shifting, it shouldn't hurt anything.


Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
Not an option here on the east cost, too many people on the highway. Never used it. And probably never will.


Active Member
May 29, 2016
Mt. Wachusett area, MA
Do I use cruise control when towing? Yes, but....
I use cruise a bit differently than many, probably most. I set cruise to the SLOWEST speed I want to travel. I use the accelerator to go faster (the rarity of passing, or when speeding up avoids a conflict as another car is merging onto the highway) then coast back to my set speed. That's towing, or not.
What I don't get is the 'adaptive' cruise that slows the car from the set speed when traffic ahead slows. If there's that much traffic, cruise shouldn't be in use. (rant off).
I discovered that her truck transmission (8 speed automatic) 'hunts' for a desired ratio less when the selector is put in its 'sport' mode. Without the trailer (Casita 17), 'normal' mode works just fine.


2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
Northern Virginia
As mentioned it's rare for me to get the opportunity to use Cruise control, but I have used it on occasion when towing. Mostly flat areas so the engine remains constant. I don't have a "smart" car though so I'm still very much in control. Traffic around here though does make it extremely difficult to use cruise control.


Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
Try it and see how it works. If the truck hunts for gears and shifts more than once or twice on a hill then shut it off. If it has no problem holding gears and downshifts once going up the hill then holds it till the top you’re good. Hunting for gears and a bunch of shifting is what you want to avoid.

I use cruise 90% of the time on the highway, towing or not. The 6-speed in our Sienna with 5th and 6th (both overdrive) locked out has no issues cruising at 65-70 mph with a 2,000 lb pup, even in the hills/mountains of KY and TN. It does a good job of sometimes downshifting once and then holding it, but a lot of times doesn’t even need to shift out of 4th. If it seems to hunt at all I’ll kick it off and turn it back on at the top.
Sep 8, 2018
Eastern NC
"hunting" for gears more often under a load is normal for most modern cars, it's just responding to the abnormal engine load under otherwise similar conditions. I can't speak for all makes, but with newer Fords or other makes that use an Adaptive Learning shift table, letting it "figure out" the load for the first few miles may calm down the shifting.


Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2008
I never let mine hunt. If it shifts up and down more than a time or two on a steep grade, I lock out the highest gear until the climb is over.


5 Star Eagle Camper
Aug 5, 2010
Near Elmira, Southern Ontario
I hate the hunting of a transmission due to the computer can't figure out what gear it wants to be in. Transmission is already cooking up enough heat because of the strain of the trailer it's pulling and all the camping gear that it's hauling around. When that thing starts hunting for where it wants to be, slipping in and out of this gear or that gear, shifting up, shifting down, shifting up, shifting down, its generating heat like mad. The new 6, 8 10 speed transmissions are super expensive when they get wrecked, and nothing destroys them faster than overheating. A used Ford 6R80 is about $2000-$2500, then all the headaches of installing it, flashing computers, and the added stress of not knowing how the previous owner treated it. Maybe you wind up with a dud and can do the job all over again when that one craps out, even if it IS under warranty. Having your current one rebuilt will be even more money, probably stretching up to $5000 or more depending on what all crapped out in there. So as for using snooze control, you should only use it if you're on a long flat straight stretch of road. If there's too many hills or twisty roads, don't use it with a trailer on the back.
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A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
There was a really long thread about this a year or two ago. I was surprised to see how many people were using cruise... I typically do but I always thought it was one of those things people frowned on while towing.

In general if your vehicle isn't constantly "seeking" gears I think it's just fine.


Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
I use cruise on more level open road, and don't use it in hilly terrain or among traffic.

I can't see any down-side. Imagine driving on flat road without a trailer you're using 40 of your vehicle's 220 horsepower. Ok, so now you add a trailer and you're using 60 of the vehicle's 220 horsepower. The cruise control doesn't care. As long as your cooling system and transmission can handle applying a little more horsepower mile after mile, it shouldn't matter.

Now when you get into hilly terrain, it's different. You may want to take advantage of down-hill stretches to gain some momentum to carry you over the next hill. Cruise wouldn't do that for you. And you may want to back off a little on the up-hill. Cruise wouldn't know how to do that either.

So cruise is good for places where you don't have to think much. If you need to anticipate traffic and terrain, turn it off.

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
Read your owners manual. Varies by vehicle. My Tacoma manual says not to to use cruise.
THIS^...manual should be the guide, I tow in 4th (Tacoma) w/ anything over 1,000 lbs., on a RARE occasion I'll slip into OD on a decline/level, 4th on any upward incline...
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Super Active Member
Apr 21, 2016
Albuquerque NM
What you should have noticed is that nobody with advice here has the same setup as you do.
No pro tips just other personal experiences with a variety of different vehicles.