The Silverado shares its platform with the GM Sierra, which is ahead of the Silverado in advancement and comes at a higher initial cost.
Let’s dive into how much each model and generation can tow!
How much can the Silverado 1500 pickup trucks tow?
The maximum towing capacity of older Silverado trucks is around the 7500-pound mark. However, the current maximum towing capacity of the latest Silverado 1500 models is 13300 pounds.
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How much can the Chevy Silverado 1500 tow?
The newest version of the Chevy Silverado has a towing capacity of 9500 pounds when powered by a 2.7L inline 4-cylinder.
However, when equipped with the 6.2L gas V8 or the Duramax 3.0L turbo-diesel inline 6-cylinder, the Silverado has enough grunt to pull up to 13,300 pounds.
We have a more in-depth guide to engine sizes on the Silverado models.
First Generation Silverado’s (1999 – 2007)
The Chevy Silverado 1500 is a light-duty pickup truck on a full-size platform.It entered the market in 1999 and is in its fourth generation of development.
First introduced in 1999 as a replacement for the Chevrolet C/K line of trucks, the Silverado moniker carried over.
It was the name of the top-of-the-line C/K, and Chevrolet badged their entire line of pickups, Silverado’s.
The different trim levels denote each Silverado’s options, engines, and upgrades.
From the WT (work truck) to the top-of-the-line models, Chevrolet set out to make a pickup that would suit a contractor or someone who wants to hook up a trailer and head for the mountains.
The first models of the Silverado only had a regular and three-door extended cab that offered a little space behind the front seat.
The first year of production offered power from one of the following:
- Vortec 4.3L V6
- Vortec 4.8L V8
- Vortec 5.3L V8
The horsepower and torque of each motor depend on the year it is made and put into service. For example, the horsepower range of the Vortec 4.3-liter V6 goes from 195 to 285 horsepower.
In 2003, Chevrolet added the SS badge to the Silverado and fitted it with a 6.0L high-output V8. It produced 345 horsepower and 380-pound feet of torque, allowing it to tow up to 7500 pounds.
The added power enables the Silverado to tow up to 7500 pounds when equipped with the proper equipment and the 6.0-liter power.
The base model Silverado in 2005, when equipped with the 4.3L V6, has a tow rating of 3900 pounds.
As you see, there is almost 2 tons of difference between the amount of weight the different models can tow. This is due to power and transmission configurations and the addition of a transmission cooler.
The addition of the Vortex high-output of the 6.0L V8 changed the towing game of the Chevrolet Silverado. The ability to tow more weight enabled it to haul more cargo and tow bigger boats and trailers.
Second Generation Chevy Silverado (2007 – 2013)
Models of the Silverado introduced in 2007 broadened the lineup and offered more models than in previous years.
In addition, rack and pinion steering replaced the old worm and roller units and was sitting on a new platform.
The body styles of the second-gen Silverado included:
- a regular cab,
- extended cab,
- and crew cab.
In addition, the beds were available in short, standard, and long.
So, there was more to offer buyers than the first generation offered.
The engine options are the same as the previous generation, and a 6.2L V8 was added to the lineup.
The towing capacity of the latter models of the second-generation Chevy pickup is 10500 pounds. That is a 3500-pound increase from the last model year of the 2006 Silverado.
Third Generation Chevrolet Silverado (2014 – 2019)
The third generation of the Silverado is another new platform, and extended cabs were replaced with four-door double cabs.
Also, the 4.3L V6 shows a power increase from 195 to 285 horsepower.
Gone were the Vortec engines when the second generation of the Silverado ended. The third generation of the Chevy Silverado is equipped with a line of EcoTec3 engines.
The Ecotec3 engines offer more power and more significant fuel savings than the Vortec engines they replace. In addition, the range of weight that can be towed by the third generation Silverado is 4400 to 10700 pounds.
The largest engine offered in the Silverado, the 6.2L V8, offers this tow power.
With 420 horsepower and 460-pound feet of torque, this engine allows the Silverado to tow over 5 tons of boat or camper trailer.
That is only 200 pounds more than the SS-trimmed first gen Silverado. However, it is considerably more weight than the earliest Silverado 1500s with the 4.3 L V6 or the 5.3L V8.
The four-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions were dropped from this generation of the Silverado.
The remaining 6-speed and 8-speed automatics are the two automatics available. Connected to your chosen engine, these transmissions can power either the rear wheels or all 4 wheels of your Silverado 1500.
We also saw increased cargo capacity for these Silverado models.
Fourth Generation Silverado (2019 – present)
Between 2019 and 2021, the Silverado offers the new, higher output 4.3L V6 (285 horsepower):
- the four V8s,
- the 4.8L,
- and 6.2L.
These engines give this generation Silverado more towing power than ever.
In addition, the newly offered 2.7L inline 4-cylinder provides more horsepower and torque than the 4.3L V6, which has powered many of Silverado’s over the years.
However, the newer, smaller engine allows the Silverado to tow 9300 pounds when used in the crew cab and has a short bed. Add a longer bed and 4-wheel drive, and the amount you can tow falls to 9000 pounds.
On the other hand, the 4.3L V6 in the crew cab’s short bed drops the towable weight to 7600 pounds.
The standard bed 4-wheel drive with this engine has a tow weight of only 7400 pounds.
So, in 2022, Chevrolet dropped the 4.3L V6 from its option list and all but one of the 5.3L V8 engines.
When equipped with the 6.2L V8, the towing capacity of the 2021 Silverado reaches 11900 pounds.
However, it is only offered on short, standard-bed pickups with 4-wheel drive.
The Duramax diesel is also available on the 4-wheel drive double-cab Silverado. That configuration gives the Silverado the power to tow 13300 pounds when properly equipped.
Every generation of the Silverado offers an optional diesel engine.
Although diesel has been widely used on the 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty Silverado’s, they weren’t as widely used on the 1500 series.
The Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V8 has been the diesel of choice for the Silverado since 1999. It is an enormous, heavy engine used in the 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty Silverado.
In 2020, the larger displacement diesel was dropped from the Silverado 1500 in exchange for a 3.0L turbocharged inline six-cylinder. This engine is the first inline six-cylinder offered in the Silverado.
Chevrolet claims it gets higher mileage than the newly offered gas 2.7L turbocharged inline 4 cylinders and provides more towing power.
Of course, as with all things, time will tell how this new engine performs in the real world, but it’s nice to have options.
How big a boat can a Chevy Silverado tow?
Most boats below 30 feet weigh less than the top tow weight of 13300 pounds of the 2022 Silverado. You can tow most boats that do not exceed the maximum of 8.5 feet wide, which legally is the widest a trailer can be on the highway.
If your load is wider than the legal 8.5 feet, a special permit will allow you to haul your boat if your truck can handle the load.
The most a Silverado can tow, when equipped with the 6.2L V8, is 13300 pounds. However, with that power, you can pull most 30-foot center console boats, cabin cruisers, and many sailboats of the same size and length.
However, the longer the boat is, the wider it is, and you will need to decide whether you need that much truck or that much vessel.
How big a camper can a Chevy Silverado tow?
As with boats, travel trailers come in many lengths and weights.
However, since they are designed to be pulled down the highway instead of dunked in the water, they are narrow enough that special permits aren’t required to pull one 40 feet or more in length.
For example, the longest Jayco travel trailer is 41 feet long and weighs 11345 pounds dry.
So, when weighted down with water, food, and gear, it will be rubbing the edges of your Silverado’s weight capacity limits.
What factors can affect how big a camper or boat I can pull?
The manufacturer’s weight for a boat or camper trailer is the dry weight. This means trailers are weighed with the water and black tanks empty and no gear or provisions on board.
The same is true for a boat.
So, you must allow for water in the live wells, fuel in the tanks, gear you’ve placed on board, and the trailer’s weight.
Therefore, when calculating the weight of what you are towing, including the weight of any items you place aboard.
Because loading your truck beyond its capacity is hard on it, can be dangerous, and will shorten the useful life of your Silverado.