Opel Insignia Owners & Service Manuals

Opel Insignia: Trailer Towing

General Towing Information

General Towing Information (Hatchback Models)

The vehicle is neither designed nor intended to tow a trailer.

General Towing Information (Station Wagon Models)

Only use towing equipment that has been designed for the vehicle.

Contact your dealer or trailering dealer for assistance with preparing the vehicle to tow a trailer. Read the entire section before towing a trailer.

To tow a disabled vehicle, see Towing the Vehicle. To tow the vehicle behind another vehicle such as a motor home, see Recreational Vehicle Towing.

When towing with the 2.0L L4 engine, only use unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 89 or higher. Using gasoline with a lower octane rating while towing may damage the engine and may not be covered by the vehicle warranty.

Driving Characteristics and Towing Tips

Warning: You can lose control when towing a trailer if the correct equipment is not used or the vehicle is not driven properly. For example, if the trailer is too heavy or the trailer brakes are inadequate for the load, the vehicle may not stop as expected. You and others could be seriously injured. The vehicle may also be damaged, and the repairs would not be covered by the vehicle warranty.

Pull a trailer only if all the steps in this section have been followed.

Ask your dealer for advice and information about towing a trailer with the vehicle.

Driving with a Trailer

Trailering is different than just driving the vehicle by itself.

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

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

The following information has many time-tested, important trailering tips and safety rules. Many of these are important for your safety and that of your passengers. Read this section carefully before pulling a trailer.

When towing a trailer:

  • Become familiar with and follow all state and local laws that apply to trailer towing. These requirements vary from state to state.
  • State laws may require the use of extended side view mirrors.

    Even if not required, you should install extended side view mirrors if your visibility is limited or restricted while towing.

  • Do not tow a trailer during the first 800 km (500 mi) of vehicle use to prevent damage to the engine, axle, or other parts.
  • During the first 800 km (500 mi) of trailer towing, do not drive over 80 km/h (50 mph) and do not make starts at full throttle.
  • Vehicles can tow in D (Drive).

    If the transmission downshifts too often, a lower gear may be selected using Manual Mode.

If equipped, the following driver assistance features should be turned off when towing a trailer:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Super Cruise Control
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Parking Assist
  • Automatic Parking Assist (APA)
  • Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB)

If equipped, the following driver assistance features should be turned to alert or off when towing a trailer:

  • Forward Automatic Braking System (FAB)
  • Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA)
  • Front Pedestrian Braking (FPB)

If equipped with Lane Change Alert (LCA), the LCA detection zones that extend back from the side of the vehicle do not move further back when a trailer is towed. Use caution while changing lanes when towing a trailer.

If equipped with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), use caution while backing up when towing a trailer, as the RCTA detection zones that extend out from the back of the vehicle do not move further back when a trailer is towed.

Warning: To prevent serious injury or death from carbon monoxide (CO), when towing a trailer: . Do not drive with the liftgate, trunk/hatch, or rear-most window open.

  • Fully open the air outlets on or under the instrument panel.
  • Adjust the climate control system to a setting that brings in only outside air.

    See "Climate Control Systems" in the Index.

Towing a trailer requires experience.

The combination of the vehicle and trailer is longer and not as responsive as the vehicle itself. Get used to the handling and braking of the combination by driving on a level road surface before driving on public roads.

The trailer structure, the tires, and the brakes must be all be rated to carry the intended cargo.

Inadequate trailer equipment can cause the combination to operate in an unexpected or unsafe manner.

Before driving, inspect all trailer hitch parts and attachments, safety chains, electrical connectors, lamps, tires, and mirrors. If the trailer has electric brakes, start the combination moving and then manually apply the trailer brake controller to check the trailer brakes work. During the trip, occasionally check that the cargo and trailer are secure and that the lamps and any trailer brakes are working.

Towing with a Stability Control System

When towing, the stability control system might be heard. The system reacts to vehicle movement caused by the trailer, which mainly occurs during cornering. This is normal when towing heavier trailers.

Following Distance

Stay at least twice as far behind the vehicle ahead as you would when driving without a trailer. This can help to avoid heavy braking and sudden turns.


More passing distance is needed when towing a trailer. The combination of the vehicle and trailer will not accelerate as quickly and is much longer than the vehicle alone. It is necessary to go much farther beyond the passed vehicle before returning to the lane. Pass on level roadways. Avoid passing on hills if possible.

Backing Up

Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. To move the trailer to the left, move that hand to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move that hand to the right.

Always back up slowly and, if possible, have someone guide you.

Making Turns

Caution: Turn more slowly and make wider arcs when towing a trailer to prevent damage to your vehicle.

Making very sharp turns could cause the trailer to contact the vehicle.

Make wider turns than normal when towing, so trailer will not go over soft shoulders, over curbs, or strike road signs, trees, or other objects.

Always signal turns well in advance.

Do not steer or brake suddenly.

Driving on Grades

Reduce speed and shift to a lower gear before starting down a long or steep downhill grade. If the transmission is not shifted down, the brakes may overheat and result in reduced braking efficiency.

The vehicle can tow in D (Drive).

Shift the transmission to a lower gear if the transmission shifts too often under heavy loads and/or hilly conditions.

When towing at higher altitudes, engine coolant will boil at a lower temperature than at lower altitudes.

If the engine is turned off immediately after towing at high altitude on steep uphill grades, the vehicle could show signs similar to engine overheating. To avoid this, let the engine run, preferably on level ground, with the transmission in P (Park) for a few minutes before turning the engine off. If the overheat warning comes on.

Parking on Hills

Warning: To prevent serious injury or death, always park your vehicle and trailer on a level surface when possible.

When parking your vehicle and your trailer on a hill:

1. Press the brake pedal, but do not shift into P (Park) yet. Turn the wheels into the curb if facing downhill or into traffic if facing uphill.

2. Have someone place chocks under the trailer wheels.

3. When the wheel chocks are in place, gradually release the brake pedal to allow the chocks to absorb the load of the trailer.

4. Reapply the brake pedal. Then apply the parking brake and shift into P (Park).

5. Release the brake pedal.

Leaving After Parking on a Hill

1. Apply and hold the brake pedal.

  • Start the engine.
  • Shift into a gear.
  • Release the parking brake.

2. Let up on 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

The vehicle needs service more often when used to tow trailers. It is especially important to check the automatic transmission fluid, engine oil, axle lubricant, belts, cooling system, and brake system before and during each trip.

Check periodically that all nuts and bolts on the trailer hitch are tight.

Engine Cooling When Trailer Towing

The cooling system may temporarily overheat during severe operating conditions.

Trailer Towing

Caution: Towing a trailer improperly can damage the vehicle and result in costly repairs not covered by the vehicle warranty. To tow a trailer correctly, follow the directions in this section and see your dealer for important information about towing a trailer with the vehicle.

Trailer Weight

Warning: Never exceed the towing capacity for your vehicle.

Safe trailering requires monitoring the weight, speed, altitude, road grades, outside temperature, dimensions of the front of the trailer, and how frequently the vehicle is used to tow a trailer.

Before towing a trailer, always separately weigh:

  • total weight on the vehicle's tires
  • the trailer
  • the trailer tongue

Warning: You and others could be seriously injured or killed if the trailer is too heavy or the trailer brakes are inadequate for the load. The vehicle may be damaged, and the repairs would not be covered by the vehicle warranty.

Only tow a trailer if all the steps in this section have been followed.

Ask your dealer for advice and information about towing a trailer.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

For information about the vehicle's maximum load capacity, see Vehicle Load Limits. When calculating the GVWR with a trailer attached, the trailer tongue weight must be included as part of the weight the vehicle is carrying.

Maximum Trailer Weight

The trailer should never weigh more than 454 kg (1,000 lb). The maximum allowable weight of the trailer may be lower based on the weight of the passengers and cargo in your trailer.

The maximum trailer weight rating is calculated assuming only the driver is in the tow vehicle and it has all the required trailering equipment.

The weight of additional optional equipment, passengers, and cargo in the tow vehicle must be subtracted from the maximum trailer weight.

Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight Rating

The Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight Rating is the allowable trailer tongue weight that the vehicle can support using a conventional trailer hitch. It may be necessary to reduce the overall trailer weight to stay within the maximum trailer tongue weight rating while still maintaining the correct trailer load balance.

Do not exceed a maximum trailer

Do not exceed a maximum trailer tongue weight of 45 Kg (100 lbs).

Trailer Load Balance

The correct trailer load balance must be maintained to ensure trailer stability. Incorrect load balance is a leading cause of trailer sway.

The trailer tongue weight (1) should

The trailer tongue weight (1) should be 10-15% of the loaded trailer weight (2). Some specific trailer types, such as boat trailers, fall outside of this range. Always refer to the trailer owner's manual for the recommended trailer tongue weight for each trailer. Never exceed the maximum loads for your vehicle, hitch and trailer.

After loading the trailer, separately weigh the trailer and then the trailer tongue to see if the weights are appropriate for your vehicle. If the trailer weight is too high, it may be possible to transfer some of the cargo into your vehicle. If the trailer tongue weight is too high or too low, it may be possible to rearrange some of the cargo inside of the trailer.

Do not exceed the maximum allowable tongue weight for your vehicle. Use the shortest hitch extension available to position the hitch ball closer to your vehicle. This will help reduce the effect of the trailer tongue weight on the trailer hitch and the rear axle.

If a cargo carrier is used in the trailer hitch receiver, choose a carrier that positions the load as close to the vehicle as possible.

Make sure the total weight, including the carrier, is no more than half of the maximum allowable tongue weight for the vehicle.

Ask your dealer for trailering information or assistance.

Towing Equipment


Always use the correct hitch equipment for your vehicle.

Crosswinds, large trucks going by, and rough roads can affect the trailer and the hitch.

Never attach rental hitches or other bumper-type hitches. Only use frame-mounted hitches that do not attach to the bumper.

Always seal any holes in your vehicle if the trailer hitch removed.

If not sealed, dirt, water, and carbon monoxide (CO) from the exhaust may enter your vehicle.

Consider using mechanical sway controls with any trailer. Ask a trailering professional about sway controls or refer to the trailer manufacturer's recommendations and instructions.


  • Do not tow a trailer while using a compact spare tire on the vehicle.
  • Tires must be properly inflated to support loads while towing a trailer. See Tires for instructions on proper tire inflation.

Safety Chains

Always attach chains between the vehicle and the trailer, and attach the chains to the holes on the trailer hitch platform. Instructions about safety chains may be provided by the hitch manufacturer or by the trailer manufacturer.

Cross the safety chains under the tongue of the trailer to help prevent the tongue from contacting the road if it becomes separated from the hitch. Always leave just enough slack so the combination can turn.

Never allow safety chains to drag on the ground.

Trailer Brakes

State or local regulations may require trailers to have their own braking system if the loaded weight of the trailer exceeds certain minimums that can vary from state to state. Read and follow the instructions for the trailer brakes so they are installed, adjusted, and maintained properly. Never attempt to tap into your vehicle's hydraulic brake system. If you do, both the vehicle anti-lock brakes and the trailer brakes may not function, which could result in a crash.

Trailer Lamps

Always check all trailer lamps are working at the beginning of each trip, and periodically on longer trips.

Turn Signals When Towing a Trailer

When properly connected, the trailer turn signals will illuminate to indicate the vehicle is turning, changing lanes, or stopping. When towing a trailer, the arrows on the instrument cluster will illuminate even if the trailer is not properly connected or the bulbs are burned out.

Trailer Tires

Special Trailer (ST) tires differ from vehicle tires. Trailer tires are designed with stiff sidewalls to help prevent sway and to support heavy loads. These features can make it difficult to determine if the trailer tire pressures are low only based on a visual inspection.

Always check all trailer tire pressures before each trip when the tires are cool. Low trailer tire pressure is a leading cause of trailer tire blow-outs.

Trailer tires deteriorate over time.

The trailer tire sidewall will show the week and year the tire was manufactured. Many trailer tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires more than six years old.

Overloading is another leading cause of trailer tire blow-outs. Never load your trailer with more weight than the tires are designed to support. The load rating is located on the trailer tire sidewall.

Always know the maximum speed rating for the trailer tires before driving. This may be significantly lower than the vehicle tire speed rating. The speed rating may be on the trailer tire sidewall. If the speed rating is not shown, the default trailer tire speed rating is 105 km/h (65 mph).


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