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How to Determine the Towing Capacity of a Chevrolet Truck

by Ruth de Jauregui

Camping is one of America's great pastimes. With a camping trailer, you can take a budget vacation at a nearby national park or drive across country. If you already own a Chevrolet truck, you need to know its towing capacity before purchasing a new or used trailer. If you own a trailer and want to pull it with a Chevrolet truck you haven't purchased yet, you need to ensure the Chevy truck's towing capacity exceeds that of the trailer's weight. Besides obvious safety considerations, towing a trailer that is too heavy can damage your engine, cooling system and transmission. Fortunately, it is easy to determine the specifications for a Chevy truck.

Look in your Chevrolet pickup's owner's manual. In the index, locate Chevrolet's instructions on towing trailers. Your truck's towing capacity is listed in the book. Make sure you look at your specific model, including the transmission (manual or automatic), the wheelbase (regular or extended), and the drive configuration (rear-wheel or four-wheel). It does make a difference.

Call or go to a local Chevy dealership. The service desk should have the specifications in the computer. With your VIN, the technician can determine if your truck already has a tow package and can recommend any modifications necessary to tow a trailer. For example, you may need a transmission cooler, trailer hitch and light package. The heavier the load you'll tow, the more likely it is that your Chevy truck will need such equipment to operate properly.

Go online to Chevrolet.com. Click on "Owners," then "Manuals." Select the year of your truck, then the model. A file of the manual will pop up in a new window. Look at the index for tow information, usually listed as "Towing a trailer" or "Trailer towing recommendations."

Walk into a Chevrolet truck dealership that sells heavy-duty pickups. Look for the heavy-duty pickup brochures and the regular pickup brochures. You should find the information you're looking for in the brochures that feature pickups or in a separate brochure about towing.

Tip

  • Know your towing capacity before purchasing a trailer. You should stay at least a thousand pounds under the maximum towing capacity of your Chevrolet truck, no matter what the trailer salesman tells you.

Warnings

  • Do not use a bumper hitch for towing. Modern bumpers are not made for towing a full-size trailer. Proper hitches mount to the frame of your truck, beneath and ahead of the bumper. Custom hitches are available for any type of truck and most cars.
  • Practice towing before heading out on a trip, including backing up and parking.

Items you will need

About the Author

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.

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Photo Credits

  • vacationing in an rv 1 image by Jim Parkin from Fotolia.com