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I’m On The Road Now Towing with a Volvo 850 and it’s heavy.

Just woke up at a hotel in Boise, Idaho. So far I can summarize the 850/trailer combo as this: I’m pulling a house.

See the Volvo 850 towing backstory here — I talk about deciding on what methods to get my stuff from Seattle to Denver, and how I arrived at buying a hitch and renting a U-Haul single axle trailer to tow behind my 850. I tuned up my Volvo before the trip, which here at MVS we call Stage 0. You absolutely need to do this before you tow. The transmission is the most critical component when you’re towing with a Volvo, all else being equal. Be sure your transmission fluid is clear and clean and has been replaced recently, or at the very least, within the Volvo maintenance schedule window.

I’m getting 13.5 MPG at an average 59 MPH. The trailer is VERY heavy, and braking is difficult. The brakes simply don’t “bite”. It’s a good thing I’ve only had to do a full stop only a half dozen or so times.

Not only do I have the trailer but I have a bunch of furniture and goods on the roof rack.

Beware: U-Haul trailers can hold a lot of furniture, goods, bikes, boxes and other items. You can quickly fill it up and go over the Volvo’s tow limit! Weigh your Volvo and trailer at a weigh station if you’re unsure of your total weight… before you start your trip.


Okay, I know this happened last year but a comment about the braking: It’s a good idea when towing a load that really taxes the vehicle you’re driving, to consider trailer brakes. It makes a significant difference in your ability to stop as well as saves wear and tear on your brake system. If you don’t want to deal with electric trailer brakes you can find trailers that have surge brakes; they activate when you brake and the trailer pushing against your hitch applies pressure to the trailer break pads.

There is nothing worse then going down a steep decline with a large load and inadequate brakes. Been there, done that, had the seat fabric surgically removed from my britches.

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