Driving with a trailer

When driving with a trailer, there are a number of points that are important to think about regarding the towing bracket, the trailer and how the load is positioned in the trailer.

Payload depends on the car's kerb weight. The total of the weight of the passengers and all accessories, e.g. towbar, reduces the car's payload by a corresponding weight.

The car is supplied with the necessary equipment for towing a trailer.

  • The car's towing bracket must be of an approved type.
  • Distribute the load on the trailer so that the weight on the towing bracket complies with the specified maximum towball load. Towball load is calculated as part of the car's payload.
  • Increase the tyre pressure to the recommended pressure for a full load. For more information on tyre pressure, see the section "Approved tyre pressures".
  • The engine is loaded more heavily than usual when driving with a trailer.
  • Do not tow a heavy trailer when the car is brand new. Wait until it has been driven at least 1000 km.
  • The brakes are loaded much more than usual on long and steep downhill slopes. Downshift to a lower gear and adjust your speed.
  • Follow the regulations in force for the permitted speeds and weights.
  • Maintain a low speed when driving with a trailer up long, steep ascents.
  • The maximum trailer weights given only apply to altitudes up to 1000 metres above sea level. At higher altitudes, engine power and thus the car's climbing ability is decreased due to the reduced air density, and the maximum trailer weight must therefore be reduced. The weight of the car and trailer must be decreased by 10 % for each additional 1000 m (or part thereof).
  • Avoid driving with a trailer on inclines of more than 12%.


Extreme weather conditions, driving with a trailer or driving at high altitudes in combination with fuel quality are factors that considerably increase the car's fuel consumption.

Trailer connector

An adapter is required if the car's towing bracket has a 13 pin connector and the trailer has a 7 pin connector. Use an adapter approved by Volvo. Make sure the cable does not drag on the ground.


When the engine is switched off, the constant battery voltage to the trailer connector can be switched off automatically so as not to drain the starter battery.

Trailer weights

Information about Volvo's permitted trailer weights is available in the article "Towing capacity and towball load".


Follow the stated recommendations for trailer weights. Otherwise, the car and trailer may be difficult to control in the event of sudden movement and braking.


The stated maximum permitted trailer weights are those permitted by Volvo. National vehicle regulations can further limit trailer weights and speeds. Towbars can be certified for higher towing weights than the car can actually tow.

Direction indicators and brake lights on the trailer

If one or more of the trailer's direction indicators or brake light bulbs is broken, the driver display shows a symbol and a message. Other lamps on the trailer must be checked manually by the driver before departure, see the heading "Checking trailer lamps".

P5-1519-XC90 hybrid-Dim soul symbol trailer turn signal
  • Trailer turn indicator Right turn indicator malfunction
  • Trailer turn indicator Left turn indicator malfunction
P5-1519-XC90 hybrid-Dim soul symbol -trailer stop light
  • Trailer brake light Malfunction

If any lamp for the trailer's direction indicators is broken, the driver display symbol for direction indicators will also flash more quickly than normal.

Checking trailer lamps*

Automatic checking

After a trailer is connected electrically, it is possible to check that the trailer lamps are working via an automatic lamp activation. The function helps the driver check that the trailer lamps are working before starting off.

The engine must be switched off to perform the check.
When a trailer is connected to the towing bracket, the Automatic Trailer Lamp Check message is shown in the driver display.
Confirm the message by pressing the right-hand steering wheel keypad's O button.
The lamp check starts.
Exit the car to check lamp functionality.
All trailer lamps start to flash - then the lamps are switched on one at a time.
Visually check that all lamps available on the trailer are operational.
After a moment, all lamps on the trailer flash again.
The check is complete.

Switching off automatic checking

The automatic checking function can be switched off in the centre display.

Press Settings in the top view.
Press My CarLights.
Deselect Automatic Trailer Lamp Check.

Manual checking

If the automatic checking is switched off then it is possible to start the check manually.

Press Settings in the top view.
Press My CarLights.
Select Manual Trailer Lamp Check.
The lamp check starts. Exit the car to check lamp functionality.

Level control*

The car's system for level control endeavours to maintain a constant height regardless of load (up to the maximum permissible weight). When the car is stationary the rear of the car lowers slightly, which is normal.

  1. * Option/accessory.