How Much Weight Can a Chevy Truck Tow?

by Rob Wagner

The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, along with its siblings the GMC Sierra and compact Chevy Colorado, can tow from 2,400 lbs. to more than 10,000 lbs. Engine size, type of transmission, rear axle ratio, cargo box size and the amount of torque a Chevy truck can generate are the keys to maximum towing capacity.

Towing Capacity Defined

A truck's value, if used as a workhorse, is based on its payload, which is the amount of weight it carries in the cargo bed, and towing capacity. Chevy truck engines generate torque ranging from 190 lb.-feet to 380 lb.-feet. Torque is the turning effort, or revolutions per minute, of engine power transmitted to the wheels that increase with speed. A high axle ratio, such as 3.23 or higher, allows the engine to perform at high revolutions and provide more torque to the wheels for more towing capacity, according to autoweb.com.

Six-Cylinder 1500

The 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 standard truck powered by a 190-horsepower 4.3-liter 6-cylinder engine can generate 260 lb.-feet of torque. With a four-speed automatic transmission and 3.23:1 rear axle ratio it's capable of towing 4,900 lbs. The four-wheel-drive version offers slightly better towing capacity at 5,100 lbs., according to autoweb.com.

Eight-Cylinder 1500

The Silverado 1500 standard pickup powered by a 302-hp 4.8-liter V-8 with 305 lb.-feet of torque can pull 4,700 lbs. The same standard Chevy truck tuned to provide the same V-8 with 305 lb.-feet of torque is capable of pulling up to 6,000 lbs., according to autoweb.com.

2500HD

The larger 2010 four-wheel-drive Chevy 2500 Heavy Duty truck featuring the long box cargo bed and equipped with a 360-hp 6-liter V-8 generating 380 lb.-feet of torque, a six-speed automatic transmission and 3.73 axle ratio has a towing capacity of 10,200 pounds. The two-wheel-drive 2500HD has as 10,500-lb. pulling power capacity, the best of any Chevy truck, according to autoweb.com.

3500HD

The 322-hp 6-liter V-8 on the 3500HD four-wheel-drive model equipped with dual rear wheels also features a 380-lb.-feet rating, but only achieves 9,700-lb. towing capacity. The single-rear-wheel model with a 3.73 axle ratio performs slightly better with a 10,000-lb. pulling capacity, according to autoweb.com.

Exceptions

Although Chevy pickups are rated with a maximum tow capacity of 10,500 lbs., the 2500HD equipped with an Allison 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine, six-speed automatic transmission, standard trailer hitch and a 4.10 axle ratio is capable of hauling up to 13,000 lbs., according to trucktrend.com.

Chevy Colorado

The compact 2010 Chevrolet Colorado is designed for light hauling and has modest towing capacities. Engines range from the 2.9-liter inline 4-cylinder to the 5.3-liter V-8. Torque ranges from 190 to 320 lb.-feet with the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission options. Towing capacities start at 2,400 lbs. with the inline-four engine to 6,000 lbs with the V-8, according to canadiandriver.com.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.