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The Chevy Suburban is a full-size SUV with plenty of power for moving cargo around. But what about when the Suburban is the cargo? Can you flat tow a Suburban, and if so, how? We've done the research, and here's what you need to know:
You can tow Chevy Suburbans equipped with four-wheel drive. Suburbans with a two-wheel-drive drivetrain are not suited for flat towing. Improper flat towing can damage the transmission and other components of your vehicle.
In this article, we'll cover the process for getting your Suburban ready to flat tow. We'll also look at some great motorhomes with the power to keep your Suburban in tow, as well as some other tow-ready Chevy vehicles. Read on to learn all about it.
How to flat-tow a Chevy Suburban
Flat towing is convenient to tow your vehicle without needing a car trailer. However, it is essential to use the correct method. Otherwise, you may damage your vehicle, yourself, or other drivers.
This section will look at the essentials of properly towing your Chevy Suburban. Be sure to also check your owner's manual before flat towing your vehicle.
Make sure you have the right drivetrain
Before attempting to flat tow your Suburban, make sure that it has Chevy's four-wheel-drive (4WD) drivetrain. Do not flat tow a two-wheel-drive [2WD] Suburban. This will result in nasty damage to your transmission and potentially other components too.
The easiest way to find out if you have FWD is to look for a transfer case dial. Suburbans equipped with 4WD have a dial near the steering wheel for toggling between different settings.
In recent model years, these settings are 2-High, Auto, 4-High, 4-Low, and N [neutral]. While the first four settings are marked in white, the N setting is dark. We will see it again later.
You can see what the dial looks like and understand the settings functions in the video below.
You can also locate your VIN and contact your dealer to determine which drivetrain your Suburban has.
Connect to your tow vehicle
Now that you know your Suburban has the right drivetrain, it's time to connect it to the tow vehicle, such as an RV. We'll cover some examples in a later section below.
Park the tow vehicle on a flat surface with plenty of space behind to position your Suburban. Pull the Suburban in behind the tow vehicle, facing forward. Getting the distance right can take some practice, but once you've done it a few times, it will come easily.
To connect your Suburban to the tow vehicle, you will need a few components. You will need a base plate on the front of your Suburban. Before purchasing one, make sure that it is compatible with your model year and configuration.
You will also need a tow bar that connects to the base plate and the tow vehicle's hitch receiver. Be sure that this tow bar is weight rated for your Suburban. The gross vehicle weight rating for the 2022 Suburban is 7,700 lbs. The tow bar pictured below has a 10,000-lb weight rating, so you'll be more than set and safe.
Once the tow bar is attached to your tow vehicle and Suburban, you will need to connect safety chains and wiring for signals. These will ensure that you and other drivers are safe while flat towing your Suburban.
You will also need a braking system, but you will connect that after setting your Suburban to full neutral. We will cover both more below.
Set the Suburban to Neutral
When flat towing, you need the wheels freely to avoid damaging the transmission or engine. To do this, you'll need to switch your Suburban into full neutral, both with the transmission and transfer case.
After you've connected the tow bar and safety chains between the Suburban and the tow vehicle, you will be ready to shift to neutral. Starting with the Suburban off, apply the Suburban's parking brake. Press the brake pedal down and apply pressure throughout the next several steps.
Now you can turn on your Suburban. With the engine running, use the shift lever for the transmission case to switch from P [park] to N [neutral].
Next, turn the knob for the transfer case from 2-high to the black N [neutral] and hold it there until the N turns red, which should take 10 seconds. When you release, the knob should return to the 4-low position, but the red light on the N should stay on.
At this point, you can double-check that the transfer case has completed shifting into neutral. With the engine still running, shift the transmission into D and R [reverse], then gently release the brake.
If the transmission case is fully in neutral and the vehicle is on a flat surface, it shouldn't move. It will roll in the same direction in both D and R on uneven surfaces.
You can see how to perform and reverse this process in the video below.
Disconnect the battery and check the steering
Now that the transfer case is in neutral shift the transmission to D and turn the ignition to ACC/Accessory. Now you can disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery and secure the nut and bolt. Cover the negative battery post with a non-conductive material.
With the battery disconnected, shift the transmission to P. Turn the steering wheel to make sure that it isn't locked. Now you can release the parking brake.
Remember that your battery is disconnected, so keyless locking and unlocking will not work. Just lock and unlock your doors with your key normally.
Connect the braking system
With your Suburban in full neutral and the battery disconnected, it can roll and turn when flat towed. However, it cannot brake independently. That is why you will need to connect an auxiliary braking system when flat towing.
Blue Ox, who make the tow bar from earlier, also make a great towed vehicle braking system. Their system allows you to apply variable pressure to your towed vehicle's brakes. You can see this braking system in the link and video below.
With your braking system in place, you are now ready for the final step.
Before hitting the road, you'll want to do a final inspection of your setup. Take a few minutes to double-check that everything is connected correctly, the tires are in good condition, the turn signals and brakes are working correctly, and the braking system is functioning correctly.
Doing a final inspection only takes a few minutes, but it can save you from dangerous and expensive problems down the road.
What can I use to tow a Suburban?
The Chevy Suburban is a proper, full-size SUV, so you'll need a powerful vehicle to tow it. The 2021 and 2022 Chevy Suburban has a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,700 lbs with 4WD. Models between 2015 and 2020 are slightly lighter, at 7,500 lbs for the 4WD drivetrain.
For that kind of recreational towing, you'll likely want a Class A or C motorhome.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are those with the same chassis for buses and commercial trucks. These are among the largest and most luxurious motorhomes. Class A motorhomes aren't just about luxury, though. They can also offer towing power.
The Berkshire XLT comes in four different floor plans, but each has a towing capacity of 15,000 lbs. The Phaeton has a lower towing capacity than the Berkshire XLT, but at 10,000 lbs, it's still plenty for towing your Suburban. Either would be a great choice for your next road trip.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes use the chassis from vans or trucks instead of buses. These motorhomes are typically smaller than their Class A counterparts, but they also tend to be more fuel-efficient and easier to park and drive. Many Class C motorhomes also have the towing power needed for the Suburban.
Depending on the floorplan, Thor Motor Coach builds the Magnitude Super C on a Ford F-550 or F-600 chassis. The towing capacity differs for both 20,500 lbs and 21,000 lbs, respectively, but is more than enough to flat-tow your 4WD Suburban or pull a 2WD Suburban on a car trailer.
Another great choice would be the Isata 5 by Dynamax. With the Ram 5500 SLT chassis, this motorhome has a towing capacity of 18,000 lbs.
You can see more tow-ready Class C motorhomes in our article, "How Much Can You Tow with a Class C Motorhome?"
What Chevy vehicles can be flat towed?
Chevy is a popular brand for flat towing because they make a wide range of vehicles that can be flat towed, including the 4WD Tahoe, Silverado, and Colorado, among others.
Even several of their cars can be flat towed. The Spark can be towed if it has manual transmission instead of automatic, and the Malibu with the 2.0L engine can be as well. Even the Equinox can be flat towed. You can learn how in our article, "Can I Flat Tow a Chevy Equinox?"
Always be sure to consult with your owner's manual to verify that your specific model, year, and configuration are safe for flat towing.
Can you flat tow a 2021 Chevy Suburban?
As long as it has the 4WD drivetrain, yes! Just follow the process detailed above. All model years of Suburban can be flat towed if they have the 4WD drivetrain, but the process may vary for older models. Check your owner's manual to get the process for your specific year.
Flat towing is a convenient way to take your motorhome and vehicle with you on the road. Now you know which Suburbans can be flat towed as well as how to do it. All that's left is to hitch up and haul out!