Trailer Towing Chevrolet Silverado 1500

If equipped with a diesel engine, see [linkin] the Duramax diesel supplement..


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 [linkin] your dealer for important information about towing a trailer with the vehicle.

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.

Trailer Weight..

[symbolwarning] Warning.

Never exceed the towing capacity for your vehicle.

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

Trailer Weight Ratings.

When towing a trailer, the combined weight of the vehicle, vehicle contents, trailer, and trailer contents must be below all of the maximum weight ratings for the vehicle, including:

• GCWR: Gross Combined Weight Rating . GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating . Maximum Trailer Weight Rating . GAWR-RR: Gross Axle Weight Rating-Rear . Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight Rating See [linkin] “Weight-Distributing Hitch and Adjustment” under Towing Equipment 0 292 to determine if equalizer bars are required to obtain the maximum trailer weight rating.

See [linkin] “Trailer Brakes” under Towing Equipment 0 292 to determine if brakes are required based on your trailer's weight.

The only way to be sure the weight is not exceeding any of these ratings is to weigh the tow vehicle and trailer combination, fully loaded for the trip, getting individual weights for each of these items.

A trailering information label on the B-pillar shows tow rating information for the vehicle..

[symbolwarning] 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 Combined Weight Rating (GCWR).

GCWR is the total allowable weight of the completely loaded vehicle and trailer including any fuel, passengers, cargo, equipment, and accessories. Do not exceed the GCWR for your vehicle. The GCWR for the vehicle is on the Trailering Information Label.

To check that the weight of the vehicle and trailer are within the GCWR for the vehicle, follow these steps:

1. Start with the "curb weight" from the Trailering Information Label.

2. Add the weight of the trailer loaded with cargo and ready for the trip.

3. Add the weight of all passengers.

4. Add the weight of all cargo in the vehicle.

5. Add the weight of hitch hardware such as a draw bar, ball, load equalizer bars, or sway bars.

6. Add the weight of any accessories or aftermarket equipment added to the vehicle.

The resulting weight cannot exceed the GCWR value on the Trailering Information Label.

The gross combined weight can also be confirmed by weighing the truck and trailer on a public scale.

The truck and trailer should be loaded for the trip with passengers and cargo.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

For information about the vehicle's maximum load capacity, see [linkin] Vehicle Load Limits 0 197. 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 maximum trailer weight rating is calculated assuming the tow vehicle has a driver, a front seat passenger, and all required trailering equipment. This value represents the heaviest trailer the vehicle can tow, but it may be necessary to reduce the trailer weight to stay within the GCWR, GVWR, maximum trailer tongue load, or GAWR-RR for the vehicle.

Use the Tow Rating Guide ( to determine how much the trailer can weigh, based on the vehicle model and options.

Weights listed apply for conventional trailers unless otherwise noted.

The weight of the trailer, including the trailer and all cargo in the trailer, cannot exceed the maximum trailer weight rating for the vehicle. The allowable trailer weight might be reduced by the weight of the vehicle options, accessories, passengers, or cargo in the tow vehicle. To determine the maximum trailer weight rating:

1. Find the Gross Combined Weight Rating for the vehicle as shown on the Trailering Information Label.

2. Subtract the following:

• Vehicle curb weight as shown on the Trailering Information Label . Weight of the driver and passengers . Weight of cargo in the tow vehicle . Hitch hardware weight including the draw bar, and equalizer bars . Weight of accessories added to the vehicle A step bumper trailer hitch can only support a total trailer weight up to 2 271 kg (5,000 lb). If a trailer hitch ball is added to the step bumper, check the hitch ball rating to be sure it is higher than the total 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.

The Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight Rating for a conventional trailer hitch is shown on the Trailering Information Label.

Do not exceed a maximum trailer tongue weight of 567 kg (1,250 lb) for a conventional trailer hitch.

The trailer tongue weight contributes to the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).

GVW includes the curb weight of your vehicle, any passengers, cargo, equipment, and the trailer tongue weight. Vehicle options, passengers, cargo, and equipment reduce the maximum allowable tongue weight the vehicle can carry, which also reduces the maximum allowable trailer weight.

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 be 10–15% of the total 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 the vehicle, hitch, and trailer.

The trailer load balance percentage is calculated as: weight (1) divided by weight (2) times 100.

After loading the trailer, separately weigh the trailer and then the trailer tongue and calculate the trailer load balance percentage to see [linkin] if the weights and distribution 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 the vehicle. Use the shortest hitch extension that will position the hitch ball closest to the vehicle. This will help reduce the effect of trailer tongue weight on the trailer hitch and 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 or 227 kg (500 lb), whichever is less.

Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR-RR).

The GAWR-RR is the total weight that can be supported by the rear axle of the vehicle. Do not exceed the GAWR-RR for the vehicle, with the tow vehicle and trailer fully loaded for the trip including the weight of the trailer tongue. If using a weight-distributing hitch, do not exceed the GAWR-RR before applying the weight distribution spring bars.

The GAWR-RR for the vehicle is on the Trailering Information Label.

Ask your dealer for trailering information or assistance.

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