GMC Towing Guide Pt. 1: What to Know Before You Tow

What You Need to Know Before You Tow

GMC Towing Capabilities

GMC designed its trucks and SUVs to work and play, Whether you’re on the open road with a 5th wheel, hauling a boat for the lake, or taking your work with you, drive confidently knowing your vehicle is powerful enough to keep your cargo in tow.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

AWD is perfect for wet or snow-covered roads on a regular basis. All-wheel drive distributes power to the front and rear axles, allowing every wheel to provide driving power. The Acadia and Terrain and Denali SUVs offer advanced AWD.

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

Standard on Canyon, Sierra, Sierra HD, Yukon, Yukon Denali, and Savana vehicles. RWD models have lighter chassis weights to improve fuel economy compared to AWD and 4WD. More of the vehicle’s load-carrying capacity is dedicated to cargo weight.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

All Yukon models and most Canyon and Sierra half-ton models are available with AutoTrac – an automatic 4WD system. It detects wheel slippage and automatically transfers torque to the front, and returns to 2WD when conditions improve.

Guide to HitchesLet’s Talk About Hitches

Next is knowing what you need to actually pull a trailer with your vehicle. Selecting the right hitch for your GMC is essential.

  • Weight-Carrying Hitch:
    • Hitch ball mounted to a step bumper or drawbar, or a tow eye latched to a pintle hook.
  • Weight-Distribution Hitch:
    • Often used for heavy trailering, this hitch distributes the trailer load more evenly by using spring bars which shift some of the weight to the tow vehicle’s front axle or rearward to the trailer’s axles.
  • Heavy Trailering Hitch:
    • Fifth-wheel or Gooseneck hitches
    • Located in the back of the truck, these hitches position the trailer’s kingpin weight over the truck’s rear axle.

While standard on some Sierra and Yukon models, GMC offers an optional Trailering Equipment Package, which includes a trailer hitch platform and other equipment not standard on your GMC.

The wiring harness connects the electrical components of your trailer, the ever-important signal and brake lights, to the vehicle. All Yukon models include a seven-pin wiring harness to make the electrical hookup process easier. Sierra models can include a four- or seven-pin wiring harness.


What Can My Truck Tow?

If you own a GMC Sierra (or are thinking about buying one) you really need to consider what you will be hauling and how often. Basically, the higher the series number, the greater the capability of trailering heavy loads.

If you own an SUV, they’re also highly capable, but not quite as much as a truck. Check out the image below to get a clear idea of how much weight our GMC vehicles are capable of towing (when properly equipped). These numbers include the total weight of the cargo and passengers.

Towing Capacities:

GMC Terrain: 3500 lbs

GMC Acadia: 4000-5200 lbs

GMC Canyon: 7700 lbs

GMC Yukon and Yukon XL: 8300-8500 lbs

GMC Sierra 1500: 9300-12,500 lbs

GMC Sierra HD: 23,000 lbs

Trailer Weights:

Light-Duty: up to 2000 lbs gross trailer weight (ie: folding camping trailer, snowmobiles, personal watercraft trailers). Typically uses weight-carrying hitch.

Medium-Duty: 2001-3500 lbs gross trailer weight (ie: single axle trailers up to 18ft., open utility trailers, small speedboats). Typically uses weight-carrying hitch.

Heavy-Duty: 3501-5000 lbs gross trailer weight (ie: dual- or single-axle trailers, larger boats, enclosed utility trailers). Typically uses weight-carrying hitch or weight distributing hitch.

Extra Heavy-Duty: 5001-10,000 lbs gross trailer weight (ie: two-horse, travel, and fifth-wheel recreational trailers). Typically uses weight-carrying hitch or fifth-wheel hitch.

Maximum Heavy-Duty: 10,001 lbs and above gross trailer weight (ie: largest horse, travel, and fifth-wheel recreational or commercial trailers). Typically uses weight-carrying hitch, fifth-wheel hitch, or gooseneck hitch.

What can your GMC haul?
Measurements are in pounds (lbs).

Average weight of trailer

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