Chevrolet Equinox Owners Manual

Driving and Operating
Driving and Operating

Driving Information

Distracted Driving

Distraction comes in many forms and can take your focus from the task of driving. Exercise good judgment and do not let other activities divert your attention away from the road. Many local governments have enacted laws regarding driver distraction. Become familiar with the local laws in your area.

To avoid distracted driving, always keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on the drive.

Do not use a phone in demanding driving situations.

Use a hands-free method to place or receive necessary phone calls.
Watch the road. Do not read, take notes, or look up information on phones or other electronic devices.
Designate a front seat passenger to handle potential distractions.
Become familiar with vehicle features before driving, such as programming favorite radio stations and adjusting climate control and seat settings.

Program all trip information into any navigation device prior to driving.
Wait until the vehicle is parked to retrieve items that have fallen to the floor.
Stop or park the vehicle to tend to children.
Keep pets in an appropriate carrier or restraint.
Avoid stressful conversations while driving, whether with a passenger or on a cell phone.

WARNING

Taking your eyes off the road too long or too often could cause a crash resulting in injury or death.

Focus your attention on driving.

Refer to the infotainment section for more information on using that system, including pairing and using a cell phone.

If equipped, refer to the navigation manual for information on that system, including pairing and using a cell phone.

Defensive Driving

Defensive driving means always expect the unexpected. The first step in driving defensively is to wear the safety belt.

Assume that other road users (pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers) are going to be careless and make mistakes.

Anticipate what they might do and be ready.
Allow enough following distance between you and the driver in front of you.
Focus on the task of driving.

Drunk Driving

Death and injury associated with drinking and driving is a global tragedy.

WARNING

Drinking and then driving is very dangerous. Your reflexes, perceptions, attentiveness, and judgment can be affected by even a small amount of alcohol. You can have a serious or even fatal collision if you drive after drinking.

Do not drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking.

Ride home in a cab; or if you are with a group, designate a driver who will not drink.

Control of a Vehicle

Braking, steering, and accelerating are important factors in helping to control a vehicle while driving.

Braking

Braking action involves perception time and reaction time. Deciding to push the brake pedal is perception time. Actually doing it is reaction time.

Average driver reaction time is about three-quarters of a second. In that time, a vehicle moving at 100 km/h (60 mph) travels 20m (66 ft), which could be a lot of distance in an emergency.

Helpful braking tips to keep in mind include:

Keep enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Avoid needless heavy braking.
Keep pace with traffic.

If the engine ever stops while the vehicle is being driven, brake normally but do not pump the brakes. Doing so could make the pedal harder to push down. If the engine stops, there will be some power brake assist but it will be used when the brake is applied.

Once the power assist is used up, it can take longer to stop and the brake pedal will be harder to push.

Steering

Electric Power Steering (2.4L L4 Engine)

If the vehicle has electric power steering, it does not have power steering fluid. Regular maintenance is not required.

If power steering assist is lost due to a system malfunction, the vehicle can be steered, but may require increased effort.

If the steering wheel is turned until it reaches the end of its travel and is held against that position for an extended period of time, power steering assist may be reduced.

Normal use of the power steering assist should return when the system cools down.

Hydraulic Power Steering (3.6L V6 Engine)

If your vehicle has hydraulic power steering, it may require maintenance.

If power steering is lost because the engine stops or a system malfunctions, the vehicle can be steered but may require increased effort. See your dealer if there is a problem.

Curve Tips

Take curves at a reasonable speed.
Reduce speed before entering a curve.
Maintain a reasonable steady speed through the curve
. Wait until the vehicle is out of the curve before accelerating gently into the straightaway.

Steering in Emergencies

There are some situations when steering around a problem may be more effective than braking.
Holding both sides of the steering wheel allows you to turn 180 degrees without removing a hand.
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) allows steering while braking.

Off-Road Recovery

Chevrolet Equinox: Driving and Operating. The vehicle's right wheels can drop off the edge of a road onto the shoulder

The vehicle's right wheels can drop off the edge of a road onto the shoulder while driving. Follow these tips:

1. Ease off the accelerator and then, if there is nothing in the way, steer the vehicle so that it straddles the edge of the pavement.
2. Turn the steering wheel about one-eighth of a turn, until the right front tire contacts the pavement edge.
3. Turn the steering wheel to go straight down the roadway.

Loss of Control

Skidding

There are three types of skids that correspond to the vehicle's three control systems:

Braking Skid wheels are not rolling.
Steering or Cornering Skid too much speed or steering in a curve causes tires to slip and lose cornering force.
Acceleration Skid too much throttle causes the driving wheels to spin.

Defensive drivers avoid most skids by taking reasonable care suited to existing conditions, and by not overdriving those conditions. But skids are always possible.

If the vehicle starts to slide, follow these suggestions:

Ease your foot off the accelerator pedal and steer the way you want the vehicle to go.

The vehicle may straighten out.

Be ready for a second skid if it occurs.
Slow down and adjust your driving according to weather conditions. Stopping distance can be longer and vehicle control can be affected when traction is reduced by water, snow, ice, gravel, or other material on the road. Learn to recognize warning clues such as enough water, ice, or packed snow on the road to make a mirrored surface and slow down when you have any doubt.
Try to avoid sudden steering, acceleration, or braking, including reducing vehicle speed by shifting to a lower gear. Any sudden changes could cause the tires to slide.

Remember: Antilock brakes help avoid only the braking skid.

Off-Road Driving

All-wheel-drive vehicles can be used for off-road driving. Vehicles without all-wheel drive and vehicles not equipped with All Terrain (AT) or On-Off Road (OOR) tires must not be driven off-road except on a level, solid surface. To contact the tire manufacturer for more information about the original equipment tires, see the Limited Warranty and Owner Assistance Information manual.

Controlling the vehicle is the key to successful off-road driving. One of the best ways to control the vehicle is to control the speed.

WARNING

When driving off-road, bouncing and quick changes in direction can easily throw you out of position. This could cause you to lose control and crash. You and your passengers should always wear safety belts.

Before Driving Off-Road

Have all necessary maintenance and service work completed.
Fuel the vehicle, fill fluid levels, and check inflation pressure in all tires, including the spare, if equipped.
Read all the information about all-wheel-drive vehicles in this manual.
Make sure all underbody shields, if equipped, are properly attached.
Know the local laws that apply to off-road driving.

To gain more ground clearance if needed, it may be necessary to remove the front fascia lower air dam.

Notice: Operating the vehicle for extended periods without the front fascia lower air dam installed can cause improper air flow to the engine. Re‐attach the front fascia air dam after off-road driving.

Loading the Vehicle for Off-Road Driving

WARNING

Unsecured cargo on the load floor can be tossed about when driving over rough terrain. You or your passengers can be struck by flying objects. Secure the cargo properly.
Keep cargo in the cargo area as far forward and as low as possible. The heaviest things should be on the floor, forward of the rear axle.
Heavy loads on the roof raise the vehicle's center of gravity, making it more likely to roll over. You can be seriously or fatally injured if the vehicle rolls over. Put heavy loads inside the cargo area, not on the roof.

Environmental Concerns

Always use established trails, roads, and areas that have been set aside for public off-road recreational driving and obey all posted regulations.
Do not damage shrubs, flowers, trees, or grasses or disturb wildlife.
Do not park over things that burn.

Driving on Hills

Driving safely on hills requires good judgment and an understanding of what the vehicle can and cannot do.

WARNING

Many hills are simply too steep for any vehicle. Driving up hills can cause the vehicle to stall.

Driving down hills can cause loss of control. Driving across hills can cause a rollover. You could be injured or killed. Do not drive on steep hills.

Before driving on a hill, assess the steepness, traction, and obstructions. If the terrain ahead cannot be seen, get out of the vehicle and walk the hill before driving further.

When driving on hills:

Use a low gear and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
Maintain a slow speed.
When possible, drive straight up or down the hill.
Slow down when approaching the top of the hill.
Use headlamps even during the day to make the vehicle more visible.

WARNING

Driving to the top of a hill at high speed can cause an accident.

There could be a drop-off, embankment, cliff, or even another vehicle. You could be seriously injured or killed. As you near the top of a hill, slow down and stay alert.

Never go downhill forward or backward with the transmission in N (Neutral). The brakes could overheat and you could lose control.
When driving down a hill, keep the vehicle headed straight down. Use a low gear because the engine will work with the brakes to slow the vehicle and help keep the vehicle under control.

WARNING

Heavy braking when going down a hill can cause your brakes to overheat and fade. This could cause loss of control and you or others could be injured or killed.

Apply the brakes lightly when descending a hill and use a low gear to keep vehicle speed under control.

If the vehicle stalls on a hill:

1. Apply the brakes to stop the vehicle, and then apply the parking brake.
2. Shift into P (Park) and then restart the engine.

If driving uphill when the vehicle stalls, shift to R (Reverse), release the parking brake, and back straight down.
Never try to turn the vehicle around. If the hill is steep enough to stall the vehicle, it is steep enough to cause it to roll over.
If you cannot make it up the hill, back straight down the hill.
Never back down a hill in N (Neutral) using only the brake.
The vehicle can roll backward quickly and you could lose control.
If driving downhill when the vehicle stalls, shift to a lower gear, release the parking brake, and drive straight down the hill.

3. If the vehicle cannot be restarted after stalling, set the parking brake, shift an automatic transmission into P (Park), and turn the vehicle off.

3.1. Leave the vehicle and seek help.
3.2. Stay clear of the path the vehicle would take if it rolled downhill.

Avoid turns that take the vehicle across the incline of the hill.

A hill that can be driven straight up or down might be too steep to drive across. Driving across an incline puts more weight on the downhill wheels which could cause a downhill slide or a rollover.
Surface conditions can be a problem. Loose gravel, muddy spots, or even wet grass can cause the tires to slip sideways, downhill. If the vehicle slips sideways, it can hit something that will trip it a rock, a rut, etc.

and roll over.
Hidden obstacles can make the steepness of the incline more severe. If a rock is driven across with the uphill wheels, or if the downhill wheels drop into a rut or depression, the vehicle can tilt even more.
If an incline must be driven across, and the vehicle starts to slide, turn downhill. This should help straighten out the vehicle and prevent the side slipping.

WARNING

Getting out of the vehicle on the downhill side when stopped across an incline is dangerous.

If the vehicle rolls over, you could be crushed or killed. Always get out on the uphill side of the vehicle and stay well clear of the rollover path.

Driving in Mud, Sand, Snow, or Ice

Use a low gear when driving in mud the deeper the mud, the lower the gear. Keep the vehicle moving to avoid getting stuck.

Traction changes when driving on sand. On loose sand, such as on beaches or sand dunes, the tires tend to sink into the sand. This affects steering, accelerating, and braking. Drive at a reduced speed and avoid sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers.

Traction is reduced on hard packed snow and ice and it is easy to lose control. Reduce vehicle speed when driving on hard packed snow and ice.

WARNING

Driving on frozen lakes, ponds, or rivers can be dangerous. Ice conditions vary greatly and the vehicle could fall through the ice; you and your passengers could drown. Drive your vehicle on safe surfaces only.

Driving in Water

WARNING

Driving through rushing water can be dangerous. Deep water can sweep your vehicle downstream and you and your passengers could drown. If it is only shallow water, it can still wash away the ground from under your tires.

Traction could be lost, and the vehicle could roll over. Do not drive through rushing water.

Notice: Do not drive through standing water if it is deep enough to cover the wheel hubs, axles or exhaust pipe. Deep water can damage the axle and other vehicle parts.

If the standing water is not too deep, drive slowly through it. At faster speeds, water splashes on the ignition system and the vehicle can stall. Stalling can also occur if you get the exhaust pipe under water.

While the exhaust pipe is under water, you will not be able to start the engine. When going through water, the brakes get wet, and it might take longer to stop.

After Off-Road Driving

Remove any brush or debris that has collected on the underbody or chassis, or under the hood. These accumulations can be a fire hazard.

After operation in mud or sand, have the brake linings cleaned and checked. These substances can cause glazing and uneven braking.

Check the body structure, steering, suspension, wheels, tires, and exhaust system for damage and check the fuel lines and cooling system for any leakage.

More frequent maintenance service is required.

Driving on Wet Roads

Rain and wet roads can reduce vehicle traction and affect your ability to stop and accelerate.

Always drive slower in these types of driving conditions and avoid driving through large puddles and deep‐standing or flowing water.

WARNING

Wet brakes can cause crashes.

They might not work as well in a quick stop and could cause pulling to one side. You could lose control of the vehicle.

After driving through a large puddle of water or a car/vehicle wash, lightly apply the brake pedal until the brakes work normally.

Flowing or rushing water creates strong forces. Driving through flowing water could cause the vehicle to be carried away. If this happens, you and other vehicle occupants could drown. Do not ignore police warnings and be very cautious about trying to drive through flowing water.

Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is dangerous. Water can build up under the vehicle's tires so they actually ride on the water. This can happen if the road is wet enough and you are going fast enough. When the vehicle is hydroplaning, it has little or no contact with the road.

There is no hard and fast rule about hydroplaning. The best advice is to slow down when the road is wet.

Other Rainy Weather Tips

Besides slowing down, other wet weather driving tips include:

Allow extra following distance.
Pass with caution.
Keep windshield wiping equipment in good shape.
Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir filled.
Have good tires with proper tread depth.
Turn off cruise control.

Highway Hypnosis

Always be alert and pay attention to your surroundings while driving.

If you become tired or sleepy, find a safe place to park the vehicle and rest.

Other driving tips include:

Keep the vehicle well ventilated.
Keep the interior temperature cool.
Keep your eyes moving scan the road ahead and to the sides.
Check the rearview mirror and vehicle instruments often.

Hill and Mountain Roads

Driving on steep hills or through mountains is different than driving on flat or rolling terrain. Tips for driving in these conditions include:

Keep the vehicle serviced and in good shape.
Check all fluid levels and brakes, tires, cooling system, and transmission.
Shift to a lower gear when going down steep or long hills.

WARNING

If you do not shift down, the brakes could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Shift down to let the engine assist the brakes on a steep downhill slope.

WARNING

Coasting downhill in N (Neutral) or with the ignition off is dangerous. The brakes will have to do all the work of slowing down and they could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill.

Steering may also be affected when ignition is off. You could crash. Always have the engine running and the vehicle in gear when going downhill

Stay in your own lane. Do not swing wide or cut across the center of the road. Drive at speeds that let you stay in your own lane.
Be alert on top of hills; something could be in your lane (stalled car, accident).
Pay attention to special road signs (falling rocks area, winding roads, long grades, passing or no-passing zones) and take appropriate action.

Winter Driving

Driving on Snow or Ice

Drive carefully when there is snow or ice between the tires and the road, creating less traction or grip.

Wet ice can occur at about 0C (32 F) when freezing rain begins to fall, resulting in even less traction. Avoid driving on wet ice or in freezing rain until roads can be treated with salt or sand.

Drive with caution, whatever the condition. Accelerate gently so traction is not lost. Accelerating too quickly causes the wheels to spin and makes the surface under the tires slick, so there is even less traction.

Try not to break the fragile traction.

If you accelerate too fast, the drive wheels will spin and polish the surface under the tires even more.

The Antilock Brake System (ABS) improves vehicle stability during hard stops on slippery roads, but apply the brakes sooner than when on dry pavement.

Allow greater following distance on any slippery road and watch for slippery spots. Icy patches can occur on otherwise clear roads in shaded areas. The surface of a curve or an overpass can remain icy when the surrounding roads are clear. Avoid sudden steering maneuvers and braking while on ice.

Turn off cruise control on slippery surfaces.

Blizzard Conditions

Being stuck in snow can be a serious situation. Stay with the vehicle unless there is help nearby.

If possible, use Roadside Assistance. To get help and keep everyone in the vehicle safe:

Turn on the hazard warning flashers.
Tie a red cloth to an outside mirror.

WARNING

Snow can trap engine exhaust under the vehicle. This may cause exhaust gases to get inside. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide (CO) which cannot be seen or smelled. It can cause unconsciousness and even death.

If the vehicle is stuck in the snow:

Clear away snow from around the base of your vehicle, especially any that is blocking the exhaust pipe.
Check again from time to time to be sure snow does not collect there.
Open a window about 5 cm (2 in) on the side of the vehicle that is away from the wind to bring in fresh air.
Fully open the air outlets on or under the instrument panel.
Adjust the climate control system to a setting that circulates the air inside the vehicle and set the fan speed to the highest setting. See Climate Control Systems in the Index

To save fuel, run the engine for only short periods as needed to warm the vehicle and then shut the engine off and close the window most of the way to save heat. Repeat this until help arrives but only when you feel really uncomfortable from the cold. Moving about to keep warm also helps.

If it takes some time for help to arrive, now and then when you run the engine, push the accelerator pedal slightly so the engine runs faster than the idle speed. This keeps the battery charged to restart the vehicle and to signal for help with the headlamps. Do this as little as possible to save fuel.

If the Vehicle Is Stuck

Slowly and cautiously spin the wheels to free the vehicle when stuck in sand, mud, ice, or snow.

If stuck too severely for the traction system to free the vehicle, turn the traction system off and use the rocking method.

WARNING

If the vehicle's tires spin at high speed, they can explode, and you or others could be injured. The vehicle can overheat, causing an engine compartment fire or other damage. Spin the wheels as little as possible and avoid going above 56 km/h (35 mph).

Rocking the Vehicle to Get it Out

Turn the steering wheel left and right to clear the area around the front wheels. Turn off any traction system. Shift back and forth between R (Reverse) and a low forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. To prevent transmission wear, wait until the wheels stop spinning before shifting gears. Release the accelerator pedal while shifting, and press lightly on the accelerator pedal when the transmission is in gear.

Slowly spinning the wheels in the forward and reverse directions causes a rocking motion that could free the vehicle. If that does not get the vehicle out after a few tries, it might need to be towed out. If the vehicle does need to be towed out.

Vehicle Load Limits

It is very important to know how much weight the vehicle can carry. This weight is called the vehicle capacity weight and includes the weight of all occupants, cargo and all nonfactory-installed options.

Two labels on the vehicle show how much weight it may properly carry, the Tire and Loading Information label and the Certification label.

WARNING

Do not load the vehicle any heavier than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or either the maximum front or rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).

This can cause systems to break and change the way the vehicle handles. This could cause loss of control and a crash. Overloading can also shorten the life of the vehicle.

Tire and Loading Information Label

Chevrolet Equinox: Driving and Operating. Label Example

Label Example

A vehicle specific Tire and Loading Information label is attached to the vehicle's center pillar (B-pillar). With the driver's door open, you will find the label attached near the door lock post. The Tire and Loading Information label shows the number of occupant seating positions (1), and the maximum vehicle capacity weight (2) in kilograms and pounds.

The Tire and Loading Information label also shows the tire size of the original equipment tires (3) and the recommended cold tire inflation pressures (4).

There is also important loading information on the Certification label. It tells you the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for the front and rear axle. See Certification Label later in this section.

Steps for Determining Correct Load Limit

1. Locate the statement The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX kg or XXX lbs on your vehicle's placard.
2. Determine the combined weight of the driver and passengers that will be riding in your vehicle.
3. Subtract the combined weight of the driver and passengers from XXX kg or XXX lbs.
4. The resulting figure equals the available amount of cargo and luggage load capacity.

For example, if the XXX amount equals 1400 lbs an there will be five 150 lb passengers in your vehicle, the amount of available cargo and luggage load capacity is 650 lbs (1400 − 750 (5 x 150) = 650 lbs).
5. Determine the combined weight of luggage and cargo being loaded on the vehicle.

That weight may not safely exceed the available cargo and luggage load capacity calculated in Step 4.
6. If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, the load from your trailer will be transferred to your vehicle. Consult this manual to determine how this reduces the available cargo and luggage load capacity of your vehicle.

Chevrolet Equinox: Driving and Operating. Example 1

Example 1

1. Vehicle Capacity Weight for Example 1 = 453 kg (1,000 lbs).
2. Subtract Occupant Weight @ 68 kg (150 lbs) × 2 = 136 kg (300 lbs).
3. Available Occupant and Cargo Weight = 317 kg (700 lbs).

Chevrolet Equinox: Driving and Operating. Example 2

Example 2

1. Vehicle Capacity Weight for Example 2 = 453 kg (1,000 lbs).
2. Subtract Occupant Weight @ 68 kg (150 lbs) × 5 = 340 kg (750 lbs).
3. Available Cargo Weight = 113 kg (250 lbs).

Chevrolet Equinox: Driving and Operating. Example 3

Example 3

1. Vehicle Capacity Weight for Example 3 = 453 kg (1,000 lbs).
2. Subtract Occupant Weight @ 91 kg (200 lbs) × 5 = 453 kg (1,000 lbs).
3. Available Cargo Weight = 0 kg (0 lbs).

Refer to the vehicle's Tire and Loading Information label for specific information about the vehicle's capacity weight and seating positions. The combined weight of the driver, passengers, and cargo should never exceed the vehicle's capacity weight.

Certification Label

Chevrolet Equinox: Driving and Operating. Label Example

Label Example

A vehicle-specific Certification label is attached to the lower center pillar on the driver side of the vehicle or on the rear edge of the driver door. The label shows the size of the vehicle's original tires and the inflation pressures needed to obtain the gross weight capacity of the vehicle. This is called Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

The GVWR includes the weight of the vehicle, all occupants, fuel, and cargo.

The Certification/Tire label also tells you the maximum weights for the front and rear axles, called Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). To find out the actual loads on the front and rear axles, you need to go to a weigh station and weigh the vehicle.

Your dealer can help you with this. Be sure to spread out the load equally on both sides of the center line.

Never exceed the GVWR for the vehicle, or the GAWR for either the front or rear axle.

If the vehicle is carrying a heavy load, it should be spread out.

See Steps for Determining Correct Load Limit earlier in this section.

WARNING

Do not load the vehicle any heavier than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or either the maximum front or rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).

This can cause systems to break and change the way the vehicle handles. This could cause loss of control and a crash. Overloading can also shorten the life of the vehicle.

Your warranty does not cover parts or components that fail because of overloading.

The label will help you decide how much cargo and installed equipment your vehicle can carry.

Using heavier suspension components to get added durability might not change your weight ratings. Ask your dealer to help you load your vehicle the right way.

If you put things inside your vehicle like suitcases, tools, packages, or anything else they will go as fast as the vehicle goes. If you have to stop or turn quickly, or if there is a crash, they will keep going.

WARNING

Things inside the vehicle can strike and injure people in a sudden stop or turn, or in a crash.

Put things in the cargo area of the vehicle. In the cargo area, put them as far forward as possible.

Try to spread the weight evenly.
Never stack heavier things, like suitcases, inside the vehicle so that some of them are above the tops of the seats.
Do not leave an unsecured child restraint in the vehicle.
Secure loose items in the vehicle.
Do not leave a seat folded down unless needed.


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