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If you plan on traveling with a camper or travel trailer, you'll want to make sure that the vehicle you are hitching to can handle the tow. While many models of a pickup truck can handle this extra cargo, some certainly cannot. If your current truck is a Silverado, you're probably wondering just how much of a load it can pull safely behind it. We did extensive research on this popular pickup truck and have the answers you're looking for.
The Chevy Silverado can tow many models of campers and 5th wheels, so long as the towing capacity maximum is not exceeded. The weight this pickup truck can safely tow will depend upon the engine options you choose. Here, we list the payload and towing maximums for this model truck:
- 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel with auto start/stop tech: 9,300 lbs maximum towing capacity, 2,060 lbs maximum payload capacity
- 6.2L EcoTec3 V8: 13,400 lbs maximum towing capacity, 2,100 lbs maximum payload capacity
- 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management: 11,500 lbs maximum towing capacity, 2,420 maximum payload capacity
- 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 with Active Fuel Management: 12,100 lbs maximum towing capacity, 2,420 maximum payload capacity
- 4.3L EcoTec3 V6: 9,800 lbs maximum towing capacity, 2,060 lbs maximum payload capacity
- 2.7L Turbo: 11,500 lobs maximum towing capacity, 2,085 maximum payload capacity
Now that we know the Chevy Silverado can pull campers and 5th wheels, we'll look deeper into towing capacities per trim level. We'll also be covering several models of camper that you might be interested in attaching to your Silverado. You might also be wondering what the Silverado Max Trailering Package contains. Or maybe your curious about what would happen if you exceeded your Silverado's towing capacity. To see what we've discovered, read ahead.
What trim levels and engine options mean for towing capacity
Here, we'll break down each trim level and engine type for the 2021 Silverado. This way, you'll know exactly what the limitations are before you get to the car lot. All specs, including towing and payload capacities, can be viewed at Chevy's official site here.
3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel with auto start/stop tech
This engine option is available for the LT, RST, and LTZ High Country trim levels. This will allow you to tow 9,300 lbs. behind you, which would include this model from Lance.
6.2L EcoTec3 V8
The special edition RST Rally and Custom Rally Silverado 1500 have this as one of the engine options. This allows for these model trucks to tow a maximum of 13,400 lbs. behind them, including this model from Durango.
5.3L EcoTec3 V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management
This engine option comes standard with the Silverado 1500 LTZ and is an option for the RST Rally and Custom Rally. The towing capacity of 11,500 lbs will allow it to tow campers and 5th wheels, including the Jayco fifth wheel and the Forest River Travel Trailer.
5.3L EcoTec3 V8 with Active Fuel Management
This engine option comes standard with the Silverado 1500 LTZ and is an option for the RST Rally and Custom Rally. The towing capacity of 12,100 lbs will allow it to tow campers and 5th wheels, including the Keystone Springdale Comfort 5th Wheel.
4.3L EcoTec3 V6
This engine option is available with the Silverado 1500 WT, and Silverado Custom Trail Boss trim levels. The towing capacity of 9,800 pounds will make it possible to tow a variety of 5th wheels and pull behind campers, including the Highland Ridge.
This engine is standard with the Silverado Custom and the 1500 RST trim levels, including the RST Rally and Custom Rally. The maximum towing capacity of 11,500 pounds will allow for this engine to pull many models of camper and 5th wheels, including these two campers from Aliner, the family camper and the grand ascape.
Is Chevy Silverado 1500 a half-ton truck?
The Chevy Silverado 1500 is considered a half-ton pickup truck. But what does this mean exactly?
You might think that the "half-ton" refers to the weight of the truck. This designation is really about the vehicle's payload capacity. The payload is the amount of weight it can have on board. This would include all people and cargo in its bed and cabin. A "half-ton" pickup truck would be able to have a maximum payload of around 1,000 pounds.
In more recent years, "half-ton" pickups, like the Silverado 1500 and the Ford F-150, have capitalized on better technology and engineering. This has resulted in most half-ton trucks safely having a total payload of well over one thousand pounds. The latest model, Silverado 1500, has this amount maxed at nearly two thousand pounds.
What is the Silverado Max Trailering Package?
Chevrolet offers a substantial upgrade to select model pickup trucks so that they can tow more weight behind them. While this package isn't available across all models of trucks, Chevy does offer the Max Trailering Package for Silverado buyers.
This upgrade comes with the following features:
Automatic locking rear differential
This technology makes the Silverado's front and rear wheels turn in sync with each other. This will occur no matter the level of traction that's incurred. In doing so, this will make towing heavy loads much easier.
Handling/Trailering Suspension Package
Upgrades to the Silverado's suspension will not only allow for more weight to be safely towed. This also ensures a much smoother ride.
Enhanced cooling radiator
The more weight an engine is pulling, the harder a radiator will work to keep everything under the hood from overheating. Upgrading the radiator allows it to have a larger cooling capacity. This keeps the engine and transmission from being overworked.
Revised shock tuning
Upgraded shocks make the rides less bumpy.
Heavier duty rear springs and increased RGAWR
The rear-end of the vehicle is engineered to be stronger. This creates a better link between the truck and the trailer.
- 9.76″ rear axle – A bigger and stronger rear axle makes the Silverado capable of towing more weight.
- Integrated trailer brake controller – This technology integrates the trailer's brakes with those of the Silverado. Braking is done in tandem, controlled by the driver.
- Trailering Equipment – As a bonus, the Silverado will be equipped with a sturdy tow hitch.
Should you tow at maximum capacity?
The guidelines the manufacturer has outlined in the owner's manual will give you the exact capacity. Whether or not you should tow up to this amount will depend on several other factors.
The total weight you can safely tow will also depend on how much weight your vehicle has on board. The weight of all cargo in the bed of the Silverado should be counted. You also need to include the total weight of the driver and every passenger in the truck's cab.
You'll want to pay special attention to the vehicle's gross combined weight rating, or GCWR. The GCWR is the maximum amount a vehicle can have on it and attached to it. This measurement considers the weight of the people on board, the cargo, and the trailer.
The less you have onboard the truck's cab and bed, the more weight you can safely tow behind you.
What happens if you exceed towing capacity?
Exceeding any vehicle's maximum towing capacity can result in dire consequences. The Chevy Silverado is no exception to this rule. Towing more weight than what the manufacturer has deemed safe can result in serious physical injury. In addition, you can do irreversible damage to your truck.
Towing beyond your vehicle's capacity makes braking more difficult. Not being able to brake in time can result in a highway crash. In addition to diminished braking ability, your pickup truck will have a lot more trouble navigating turns. Being unable to execute a turn in time properly can lead to a roadway accident.
As for the potential damage to the Silverado itself, exceeding the manufacturer's recommendations can be quite costly. Too much towing weight will place more strain on the vehicle's drive train than it was built to handle. The transmission won't be able to function correctly, causing it to run too hot. Likewise, the radiator is only engineered to handle so much before it runs less efficiently. This amount of excess heat will damage the transmission and the working components of the engine itself.
Exceeding the towing capacity will also put undue strain on the frame of the Silverado. The weight can cause the frame itself to bend or warp. It will also damage the axles, tires, and suspension system.
Before you plan on hitching anything up to your Chevy Silverado, carefully read your owner's manual. This guide will outline the maximum towing capacity. Doing so will ensure a safer trip for you and your passengers.
The Chevy Silverado is capable of towing many models of campers. It can also tow small to mid-sized 5th wheels. This durable truck is an excellent choice for traveling with cargo in tow. Just be sure you don't exceed the Silverado's maximum towing capacity. While other models of pickup trucks available can tow more, the Chevy Silverado has remained a popular choice among travelers.
If you found this post on the Chevy Silverado to be helpful, we believe you'll find the following posts on various model pickup trucks to be useful: