THE SELECTION PROCESS
It takes the right truck to give you the specific trailering capabilities you need. A number of factors must be taken into account - everything from the weight of the load to driving conditions. This document will assist you in selecting the vehicle, powertrain and other equipment that best suit your particular application.
You should look for the same qualities in a tow vehicle that you do in any truck - you need it to be strong and powerful, as well as comfortable and accommodating. That's what makes GM trucks such a smart choice for trailering. GM trucks have what it takes for serious towing. Every truck shown here is engineered and manufactured with trailering in mind. And with the extensive lineup of GM trucks, you can be sure there is one that is built to meet your trailering needs.
Safe trailering isn't just a matter of hitching up and driving off - it places demands on all the major systems of your truck, including powertrain, steering, suspension and brake systems. Safe trailering also places the onus on you to meet legal requirements, follow break-in and maintenance schedules, use proper vehicle and trailer loading guidelines and employ safe driving techniques. See your Owner's Manual for more information. Above all, safe and easy trailering requires a properly equipped vehicle.
It is important to ensure that a vehicle is built to handle your specific trailering requirements. For example, if the trailer is too heavy, your vehicle's brakes may be put under undue stress. Pull a trailer only after you have taken the following precautions. Trailer Brakes - If your trailer weighs more than 454 kg (1000 lb.)* loaded, then it must have its own adequate brakes. Be sure to read and follow the instructions for the trailer brake controller so that it is installed, adjusted and maintained properly. Hitches - It's important to have the correct hitch equipment. Crosswinds, large trucks going by and rough roads are just a few of the reasons why you'll need the right hitch. Be sure to use a frame-mounted, weight-distributing hitch and sway control of the proper size if the loaded trailer will weigh more than the limit shown for a weight-carrying hitch in the specific vehicle notes. This equipment maintains proper vehicle weight distribution and good handling.
Note: These safety steps are by no means the only precautions to be taken when trailering. See your vehicle Owner's Manual for additional information.
*Silverado, Sierra, Avalanche, Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Yukon XL can handle loaded trailer weights up to
907 kg (2000 lb.) where local regulations permit.
|CLASSIFICATIONS||TYPICAL EXAMPLES||WEIGHT RANGE(Gross Trailer Weight)||TYPICAL HITCH TYPE||TYPICAL HITCH WEIGHT (tongue or kingpin)|
|Light-Duty Class I||Folding camping trailer, snowmobile and jet-ski trailers||Up to 907 kg (2000 lb.)||Weight-carrying hitch||10%-15% of loaded trailer weight 91kg (200 lb.) maximum|
|Medium-Duty Class II||Single axle trailer, open utility trailer and small boat trailers||908 kg - 1588 kg (2001 - 3500 lb.)||Weight-carrying hitch||10%-15% of loaded trailer weight 159 kg (350 lb.) maximum|
|Heavy-Duty Class III||Dual axle trailers, larger boats and enclosed utility trailers||1588 kg - 2268 kg (3501 - 5000 lb.)||Weight-carrying or Weight-distributing hitch||10%-15% of loaded trailer weight 272 kg (600 lb.) maximum|
|Heavy-Duty Class IV||Large horse or travel fifth-wheel recreational trailers||2269 kg - 4536 kg (5001 - 10,000 lb.)||Weight-distributing or fifth-wheel hitch||10%-15%of loaded trailer weight. 544 kg (1200 lb.) maximum for weight-distributing hitch||15%-25% of loaded trailer weight. Maximum limited by truck's GVWR.|
|Maximum Heavy-Duty Class V||Largest horse, travel and fifth-wheel recreational or commercial trailers||4537 kg (10,001 lb.) and over||Weight-distributing, fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch||10%-15%of loaded trailer weight. 680 kg (1500 lb.) maximum for weight-distributing hitch||15%-25% of loaded trailer weight. 1588 kg (3500 lb.) maximum for fifth-wheel hitch.|
Before you can select the right tow vehicle, you need to define your trailering requirements, including the trailer type, its loaded weight and the way it will be used. Pick your trailer first.
Even if you plan to tow a trailer for only one or two trips a year, your tow vehicle must be strong and stable enough to be safe under the most extreme towing situations it is likely to face. Will towing include trips in mountainous areas with long, steep grades and high altitudes? Will you be driving in extreme temperatures? Will road conditions, winter operation or slippery boat ramps dictate the need for four-wheel drive? Each of these factors has an impact on your choice of a towing vehicle. If you plan to use a vehicle primarily for towing, you should optimize its trailering equipment. If instead you are going to use a vehicle primarily for personal transportation with only occasional towing, your need for specialized equipment may be different. But the vehicle still needs to be capable of towing the trailer you have selected - even the most basic trailering requires some special equipment. Obviously, trailer weight is critical in vehicle selection. In making this calculation, don't forget to include your estimate of the weight of passengers, cargo and other equipment in the tow vehicle. Properly selected vehicle components provide the added durability needed to support, move and safely stop the extra weight of a trailer.
All GM full-size pickups, vans and SUVs equipped with an automatic transmission feature a Tow/Haul mode,* which helps minimize wear and tear on the transmission by reducing the frequency of transmission shifting when pulling a heavy trailer. It also improves performance and control of your vehicle's speed, for smoother operation. Pressing the Tow/Haul mode selector switch located on the end of the gearshift lever (on the instrument panel in Express/Savana Vans) produces a more aggressive transmission shift pattern, which lengthens the shift intervals, stays in lower gears longer for more torque development and produces firmer upshifts.
Take note: this is not the overdrive lock-out used by many competitors. In fact, Tow/Haul mode, combined with Passive Shift Stabilization, permits towing in overdrive for optimum fuel efficiency in most situations. The Passive Shift Stabilization feature detects and reduces a condition referred to as "shift busyness."
*Silverado, Sierra, Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, Yukon XL, Express and Savana