Volvo XC90 2015-2023 Owners Manual / Starting and driving / Driving with a trailer

Volvo XC90: Starting and driving / Driving with a trailer

There are a number of things to consider when towing a trailer, such as the towbar, the trailer and how the load is distributed in the trailer.

Load-carrying capacity is determined by the vehicle's curb weight. The total weight of all passengers and any installed accessories, e.g. towbar, reduces the vehicle's load-carrying capacity by the corresponding amount.

  • Towbars used on the vehicle must be approved for the applicable use.
  • Distribute the load on the trailer so that the weight on the towbar complies with the specified maximum towball weight. The tongue weight is calculated as part of the vehicle's payload.
  • Increase the tire pressure to the recommended pressure for a full load.
  • The engine is subjected to more load than usual when towing a trailer.
  • Towing a trailer affects the vehicle's handling, durability and driving economy.
  • Do not drive with a heavy trailer when the vehicle is very new. Wait until the mileage has reached at least 1000 km (620 miles).
  • On long and steep downgrades, the vehicle's brakes are subjected to much more load than usual. When manually shifting, downshift and adapt speed accordingly.
  • Follow applicable regulations regarding permitted speed and weight.
  • Drive slowly when towing a trailer up a long and steep incline.
  • The maximum trailer weights given only apply to altitudes up to 1000 meters (3280 feet) above sea level. At higher altitudes, engine power (and thus the vehicle's climbing ability) is decreased due to the reduced air density, and the maximum trailer weight must therefore be reduced. The weight of the vehicle and trailer must be decreased by 10% for each additional 1000 m (3280 feet) or part thereof.
  • Avoid driving with a trailer on inclines of more than 12%.
  • Avoid overloading and other incorrect use.
  • The trailer's brakes must be balanced with the vehicle's brakes to help ensure safe stops (follow applicable local regulations).


When towing a trailer using a vehicle with pneumatic suspension*, use the Dynamic drive mode or the Suspension Control Volvo XC90. Driving with a trailer Dynamic setting in the Individual drive mode.


  • Bumper-attached trailer hitches must not be used on Volvos, nor should safety chains be attached to the bumper.
  • Trailer hitches attaching to the vehicle rear axle must not be used.
  • Never connect a trailer's hydraulic brake system directly to the vehicle brake system, nor a trailer's lighting system directly to the vehicle lighting system. Consult your nearest authorized Volvo retailer for correct installation.
  • When towing a trailer, the trailer's safety chains or wire must be correctly fastened to the attachment points provided in the trailer hitch on the vehicle. The safety chain or wire must never be fastened to or wound around the towing ball.


The optional detachable trailer hitch may not be available in all markets or on all models. Consult your Volvo retailer.


Extreme weather conditions, towing a trailer, high altitude and lower fuel grade than recommended are factors that can significantly increase the vehicle's fuel consumption.

Trailer weights


Please adhere to the recommendations provided for trailer weight. If the recommendations are not followed, the vehicle and trailer may be difficult to control during evasive maneuvers and braking.


The specified maximum trailer weights are those permitted by Volvo. National vehicle regulations may set additional restrictions on trailer weight and speed. The trailer hitches may be certified for higher towing weights than the vehicle is permitted to tow.

Self-leveling suspension*

The vehicle's self-leveling system attempts to keep the vehicle at a constant level, regardless of load (up to the maximum permitted weight). When the vehicle is stationary, the rear end of the vehicle will be slightly lowered, which is normal.

Driving in hilly terrain or hot weather

In certain conditions, there is a risk of overheating when driving with a trailer. If overheating of the engine and drive system is detected, a warning symbol will illuminate in the instrument panel and a message will appear.

The automatic transmission adapts the gear for the current load and engine speed.

Steep inclines

Do not lock the automatic transmission into a higher gear than what the engine can handle ‒ it is not always preferable to drive in high gears at low rpm.

Parking on a hill

  1. Depress the brake pedal.
  2. Apply the parking brake.
  3. Put the gear selector in P.
  4. Release the brake pedal.

Put chocks behind the wheels when the vehicle is parked on a hill with a trailer attached.

Starting on a hill

  1. Depress the brake pedal.
  2. Put the gear selector in D.
  3. Release the parking brake.
  4. Release the brake pedal and start driving.

* Option/accessory.

    Detachable towbar

    (Option/accessory.) Volvo recommends the use of Volvo towbars that are specially designed for the vehicle. NOTE The optional detachable trailer hitch may not be available in all markets or on all models...

    Trailer Stability Assist

    (Option/accessory.) Trailer Stability Assist (TSA1) is part of the ESC2 stability system and is a function designed to help stabilize a vehicle that is towing a trailer when the vehicle and trailer have begun to sway...

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      Detachable towbar


      Volvo recommends the use of Volvo towbars that are specially designed for the vehicle.


      The optional detachable trailer hitch may not be available in all markets or on all models. Consult your Volvo retailer.

      Volvo XC90. Detachable towbar

      read more

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