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Chevrolet Silverado Hitches & Towing: Essential Guide

Chevrolet Silverado Hitches & Towing: Essential Guide

Sure, a Silverado will get you places, but if you needed a car that could simply get you from point A to B than you could have gotten a sedan. A Silverado was built to tow, up to 12,500 lbs. to be exact. Whether it’s helping a friend stuck in the mud or towing a trailer for a camping trip, your Silverado can carry your equipment wherever you need to go. A hitch receiver provides an aggressive look for an already aggressive vehicle, and it can help shield your rear bumper from salt and debris that cause corrosion. With some towing equipment, installing a hitch receiver could really help you or a friend out of a cinch when most needed.

Shop Silverado Hitches & Towing

When it comes to towing serious weight Silverado 1500's are the clear choice to get the job done. When pulling your precious cargo it is important to have the proper equipment installed to make sure your entire haul gets to the destination in 1 piece. Upgrade and maintain your Silverado's towing accessories and get the most out of the power your truck has to offer.

Shop Hitches & Towing

Towing Equipment

New generation Silverado 1500s are designed to tow up to 12,500 lbs. It’s important to know your Silverado’s tow capacity before buying a new hitch receiver. Most Silverado 1500 hitch receivers and extenders are considered either class III or class IV, meaning they can only tow up to a certain weight. 

While there are recovery kits available, if you're looking for a fresh install or a customized hitch kit, it’s crucial you know what each part provides for your Silverado’s towing class.

  • Hitch Receivers are square tubes that are bolted onto frame members and use a ball mount and hitch pin to lock towing equipment in place. 
  • Hitch Adapters extend the opening of your receiver from 1 ¼”x1 ¼” to 2”x2”. 
  • Hitch Extensions add more length to your hitch receiver, but may reduce tow capacity. 
  • Hitch Couplers are locked in place by the ball mount and allow your truck to make more aerodynamic turns while towing equipment. 
  • Ball Mounts lock the hitch couplers in place.
  • Hitch Pins lock ball mounts into the hitch tube.

Towing trailers are required to have taillights, so don't forget to invest in trailer wiring. Work with a professional to ensure your trailer wiring is properly installed before you get a ticket.

If you're using a winch to tow an ATV or motorcycle, considering investing in a winch tower. A winch tower combines the trailer tongue, winch, and standard receiver into one convenient piece so you don't have to keep fumbling with your ball mount the next time you want to tow with you Silverado 1500. 

Towing heavy equipment can also provide a beating on your suspension and drivetrain without the proper equipment. A weight-distributing hitch balances towing weight between the front and rear tires equally ,making your drive a lot smoother. There’s also sway control available with hitch couplers to absorb the impact of trailer equipment the next time you come to an abrupt stop. 

2 Inch Drop Hitch

Choosing the Right Hitch Receiver

Choosing the right type of hitch receiver depends on several variables that will affect your towing class. While a Silverado 1500 can tow up to 12,500 lbs., without the right hitch receiver towing that much would be dangerous. Knowing the hitch class of your receiver, your gross combination weight rating, and your trailer’s tongue weight will be important factors affecting your tow capacity.

Hitch Classification represents the towing capacity of the trailer hitch based on the diameter of the receiver tube. There are five classes with I being the weakest towing class and V the strongest. Typically, newer and older Silverado 1500 hitch receivers are 2” in diameter and considered class IV receivers. Of course, some older Silverado hitch receivers may have a lower tongue weight capacity. 

Tongue Weight represents the amount of weight exerted downward onto the hitch receiver from the tongue of the trailer. Tongue weight also determines the amount of weight the tongue can take to remain balanced. Tongue weight can usually be calculated using a tongue scale. You can measure tongue weight under 300 lbs. using a bathroom scale. 

If your Silverado utilizes a weight distribution hitch then you will need to select special spring bars that can support the weight of the items located behind the rear axle. 

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) represents the maximum weight limit that can be towed. This includes the weight of the vehicle, all contents inside, and gross weight of the trailer (including all contents inside the trailer). 

It’s important to remember your Silverado’s tow capacity will be tied to the rating of your hitch system. Search for an aftermarket hitch receiver or hitch system that will allow your Silverado to do what it was made to do: tow close to 6 tons of weight.

Ensure the ball mount has the same diameter as the couplers. A disproportionate ball mount could leave your trailer loose and uneven with the ground. This could potentially damage your trailer.

Placing a spare tire on the rear bumper of your vehicle may obstruct your hitch receiver, so it's ideal to purchase a hitch extender so you can still fit spares on your rear during towing. Most aftermarket hitch systems are designed with durable powder-coated steel to prevent corrosion and ensure safe towing. 

Other Considerations 

Towing heavy trailers can greatly affect your suspension and drivetrain. Some hitch systems come with reinforced springs and shocks to handle heavy tow loads. Ensure your OEM springs can handle your tongue weight before bringing a trailer on the road. It’s important to check your brakes before going on the road with a heavy trailer for safety reasons.

The greatest stress from towing heavy equipment lies in the transmission. Automatic transmissions will produce more heat, which requires providing more cooling to transmission lines. Many hitch systems will offer radiator upgrades for automatic transmissions that feature a larger heat exchanger. 

Hitch Accessories

Choose from multiple hitch accessories including recovery hooks and d-rings to replace ball mounts for towing light equipment. Hitch tighteners can reduce rattle during vehicle operation and provide a more secure hitch connection. There’s also single step bars that mount onto your hitch, as well as cargo racks and bike racks.

Fitment includes: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Hybrid, LS, LT, LTZ, WT, XFE, Custom, HighCountry