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Can A Chevy Malibu Pull A Trailer?

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Knowing what your vehicle can and cannot tow is vital information to have before you ever hook anything up to its trailer hitch. If you own a Chevy Malibu and wonder if you will be able to pull a trailer with it, we can help. We researched this vehicle from multiple professional sources so that you will know for sure what it is capable of pulling behind it. 

The Chevy Malibu can safely tow a trailer behind it, so long as the GCWR of this model is not exceeded. The Malibu can tow up to 1,000 pounds, but that amount will decrease based upon how much weight is on board from passengers and cargo.

Now that we know the limits of the Chevy Malibu, we'll take a look at how these can be practically applied. You might also be curious if this vehicle will be able to tow a jet ski or how much it can cost to add a trailer hitch to it. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what we've discovered.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan at a dealership, Can A Chevy Malibu Pull A Trailer?

Towing with the Chevy Malibu

To safely tow with the Chevy Malibu, you'll need to follow certain safety guidelines. This will also mean that you'll need to make yourself aware of various weights, as well as the individual limitations of your vehicle. So before you decide to attach anything to the trailer hitch, keep the following in mind.

Chevrolet Malibu changes lanes on interstate highway

Your Malibu's GCWR

GCWR is short for gross combined weight rating. This is the GVWR plus the weight of everything towed by the vehicle itself. If you need a refresher, let's look at GVWR or gross vehicle weight rating.

GVWR is the combined weight of the vehicle and everything on board. The easiest way to figure this is to know its curb weight (what it weighs when empty of passengers and cargo), then add the weight of all the riders and anything else brought on board. This information will vary from model to model, but you can find it in the owner's manual or on a sticker inside the driver's side door frame.

It stands to reason that the more weight is on board the Malibu, the less it will be able to tow safely. The Malibu owner's manual has a bit of a shortcut here, as it states that the vehicle capacity weight is 1,000 pounds and instructs you to subtract passenger and cargo weights from that number, using the remainder as what you can safely tow.

The amount of weight on board your Malibu

The less weight you carry in your Malibu, the more you will be able to tow with it. Don't think you can load it full of five riders with a trunk full of luggage and still be able to pull a jet ski with it. A full car will certainly eliminate you from towing much of anything at all. So be aware. 

The weight of the trailer

Just because those kayaks you want to tow weigh less than 300 pounds doesn't mean that you're in the clear. The GCWR includes the weight that is being towed, including the weight of the trailer.

The amount of weight on board the trailer

Be aware of the amount of weight you pile onto the towing trailer. With a vehicle that has a lower towing capacity like the Malibu, every pound will certainly count.

Can a Chevy Malibu tow a jet ski?

The ability to tow a jet ski behind your vehicle opens up more possibilities for summer recreation. But before you attach one to the trailer hitch of your Chevy Malibu, you'll need to have some important information.

As noted earlier in the post, the Malibu can safely tow weight up to 1,000 pounds. If the vehicle itself is empty of cargo and has only a driver. As the average jet ski trailer weighs 300 pounds, you'll need to deduct that from the weight you have to work with. A standup jet ski will weigh between 350 and 550 pounds, making a lighter one certainly possible to tow with the Malibu.

The importance of not exceeding the Malibu's GCWR is critical here. The weight of all cargo and passengers inside the Malibu, combined with the weight of the towing trailer and the jet ski, cannot exceed that limit. Generally speaking, you should be able to tow a lighter jet ski with this vehicle, so long as you don't fully load the Malibu itself.

A jet ski racing water anchored on a towed cart parked in the harbor

Can you put a trailer hitch on a Chevy Malibu?

You have probably noticed that the Chevy Malibu does not come with a trailer hitch already attached to it. No worries, though. You can have one attached to it as an aftermarket add-on.

Trailer hitch on a trailer for pulling a trailer on a car

Having the trailer hitch installed by a mechanic or at a U-Haul location [if renting a hitch] is the easiest way to get a hitch for your Malibu. While you might pay an additional $700 for installation labor, it will undoubtedly save you a lot of time and effort. Not to mention that professional installation takes your guesswork out of the job.

But if you are interested in doing this yourself, you'll want to make sure that you have the right tools and a proper place to work. This instructional video will help guide you through the process:

How much does it cost to add a trailer hitch?

Having a trailer hitch installed certainly isn't going to be free. But it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg to have one for your Chevy Malibu. The hitch itself isn't very expensive at all.

You should be able to get a new Class 2 trailer hitch for between $80 and $200. We suggest always getting one new, taking the guesswork out of knowing if it has been properly treated. They can be purchased at most auto retailers or from a facility like U-Haul.

The labor for having one installed on your vehicle is where the bulk of your expense is going to lie. This will vary on where you have it performed, but for a Class 2, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $700 for the job.

Metal hitch and electric plug on an SUV

How much weight can a Chevy Malibu tow?  

Generally, there is some fluctuation from model year to model year on how much a particular vehicle can safely tow. Engine upgrades, larger radiators, and tow package options can impact tow capacity from year to year, making certain newer models more attractive.

However, with the Malibu and many other passenger cars, this isn't the case. Vehicles built to tow will have changes from year to year, and Malibu's weren't built to be competitive as far as towing goes. We researched this model car as far back as 2012 and show that the last decade's offerings have had a maximum towing capacity of 1,000 pounds no matter what particular model year. 

As we pointed out earlier in this post, 1,000 pounds is the absolute maximum amount the Malibu can tow. But this amount will decrease based upon how much weight is loaded into the car itself. So if you have a full load of passengers and cargo, this tow limit will substantially be lessened.

In conclusion

While not a vehicle you might think of for towing power, the Chevy Malibu can safely tow lighter-weight objects behind it. Small jet skis, kayaks, bicycles, and other recreational equipment can be moved with this car with ease. Just be sure that you abide by the Malibu's towing capacity and are careful not to exceed its GCWR. Drive safe!

If you found this post on the Chevy Malibu to be helpful, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following posts on these topics related to towing:

15 Travel Trailer Towing Tips Every Driver Should Know

How Long Can You Stay In RV Parks?

Towing Capacity and Trailer Weight – What RV Owners Need to Know