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When it’s time for a new tow vehicle, your budget will probably have the final say.
However, it’s crucial to understand towing capacity and ratings for each truck you’re considering. Without this knowledge, you can’t make a safe decision.
Let’s examine a heavy-duty option: the GMC Sierra 3500. This truck features some unique technologies and innovative designs. However, the GMC Sierra 3500 towing capacity makes this vehicle an excellent option for RVers.
Let’s take a closer look!
What Is Towing Capacity?
Towing capacity is the amount of weight your vehicle can safely tow. The manufacturer sets this number. Should you ignore the maximum towing capacity and something happen, your insurance might not cover any damage.
Plus, you could be responsible in the case of an accident because you didn’t heed the manufacturer’s warning.
Towing capacity is different from payload capacity. Towing capacity refers to the amount of weight pulled behind the vehicle.
Payload capacity refers to the amount of weight you place on the vehicle. In the case of a truck, it’s the weight in the truck bed plus all passengers, cargo, etc., in the cab.
Why Does Towing Capacity Matter?
Experts only rate vehicles to handle a certain amount of weight when towing safely. It’s vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers.
If your SUV is only rated to tow 6,000 pounds and tow a travel trailer weighing 7,000 pounds, you’re putting added stress on the brakes, engine, transmission, and more. This could cause failure, or at the very least, excess wear and tear that will lead to early repairs.
In addition, vehicles don’t handle well when towing over their capacity. It influences steering, braking, and horsepower. You’re likely to experience heavy swaying when towing over capacity.
About the GMC Sierra 3500
The GMC Sierra 3500 is the largest model from GMC, with the highest payload and towing capacities.
It also has ample cargo and passenger room and unique features like the six-function multipro tailgate and rear camera mirror. If you need a heavy-duty truck to tow a large fifth wheel, the GMC Sierra 3500 may be an excellent option.
The GMC Sierra 3500 is available in the PRO, SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali trim packages. The Denali is the most expensive, starting at $75,095, while the PRO is the least expensive, starting at $51,395.
All models come with a 6.6L V8 gas engine or a 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 engine with Allison 10-Speed automatic transmission. The AT4 trim is GMC’s off-road vehicle, with twin-tube Rancho shocks, skid plates, and optional 20-inch aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires.
You can add a multicolor 15-inch diagonal head-up display with an off-road inclinometer.
All GMC Sierra 3500 models come with a standard 3.73 rear axle ratio with the option of a 3.42 rear axle ratio. Four-wheel drive is available on all trims, but the PRO, SLE, and SLT also offer two-wheel drive options.
The fuel tank capacity is 36 gallons on all trims. The Denali comes with a few more standard features like front and rear park assist, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, HD surround vision, and a bed-view camera.
Although not standard, all GMC Sierra 3500 models can add trailer wiring provisions for a camper, fifth wheel, or gooseneck trailer. Other options RVers may want to add are digital variable steering assist and traction select with tow/haul and off-road mode.
All models have trailering mirrors, a side bed step, and advanced lighting. The lighting includes LED daytime running lamps, halogen tail lamps, and wheel-molding amber arch lamps over each wheel.
GMC is probably most famous for its innovative six-function multipro tailgate. It improves loading, unloading, and accessing the cargo box. This comes standard on all models except the PRO.
Provide a work surface with the inner gate or a load stop for items longer than the truck bed. The drop-down step holds up to 375 pounds and provides easy access to the truck bed.
What Is the GMC Sierra 3500 Towing Capacity?
The GMC Sierra 3500 towing capacity is the largest of the GMC lineup. Depending on the engine type (gas or diesel), the axle ratio, the truck bed length, and the cab size, each truck will have varying capacities.
For example, a diesel engine will tow more than a gas engine. A shorter cab means a higher towing capacity. So these numbers are general guidelines for the towing capabilities of the GMC Sierra 3500.
2023 GMC Sierra 3500 Towing Capacity
The maximum towing capacity of a properly-equipped GMC Sierra 3500 is 36,000 pounds.
This maximum capacity is for GMC Sierra 3500 models with the 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 engine, rear axle ratio of 3.42, regular cab long box 2WD DRW, and max trailering package.
2022 GMC Sierra 3500 Towing Capacity
The 2022 GMC Sierra 3500 towing capacity isn’t different from the 2023 models. It is still 36,000 pounds with the correct equipment options.
Remember, this is the maximum towing capacity for only specific models. Other GMC Sierra 3500 trucks will have a lower towing capacity with a different engine, bed length, and four-wheel drive option.
2021 GMC Sierra 3500 Towing Capacity
Like the 2022 and 2023 models, the 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 has the same maximum towing capacity of 36,000 pounds. Like the newer models, this is only for gooseneck trailering.
The maximum fifth-wheel trailering is 32,000 pounds, and the maximum conventional trailering is 20,000 pounds.
2020 GMC Sierra 3500 Towing Capacity
The 2020 GMC Sierra 3500 towing capacity is slightly lower than the newer models, but not by much. It’s 35,500 pounds.
This is the same as the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and somewhat higher than the towing capacity of the 2020 RAM 3500. The 2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty towing capacity is slightly higher at 35,750 pounds.
Which Cab Size Offers the Largest Towing Capacity?
The smaller the cab size, the higher the towing capacity. This is true for any brand or trim package. For example, a GMC Sierra 3500 crew cab with 2WD and a long bed with a diesel engine will have a max fifth-wheel trailer weight rating of around 21,330 pounds.
In comparison, a regular cab with 2WD and a long bed with a diesel engine will have a max fifth-wheel trailer weight rating of approximately 21,500 pounds. It’s not a significant difference, but taking away the weight of the extra seating enables the truck to tow slightly more.
Keep in Mind: Does the GMC Sierra 2500 have a similar towing capacity? Let’s find out!
What Are the Sierra HD Featured Packages?
There are three GMC Sierra HD featured packages owners can add to enhance the driving and towing experience.
The Denali Black Diamond Edition includes a power sunroof, auxiliary trailer camera, tire pressure monitoring sensors, and premium all-weather floor liners with removable carpet inserts.
The Denali Ultimate Package includes power-retractable assist steps with LED perimeter lighting, a power sunroof, and a multicolor 15-inch diagonal head-up display.
Finally, the AT4 Premium Plus Package makes your off-road journey even more enjoyable with a Bose premium sound system, HD surround vision with two trailer-view camera provisions, AT4 high clearance step, and 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with high-gloss black accents.
How Much Does a GMC Sierra 3500 Cost?
Depending on the trim, optional packages, and engine type, the pricing of a GMC Sierra 3500 varies. The least expensive option is the PRO, which starts at $51,395.
This comes with the standard 6.6L V8 gas engine, 170-amp alternator, 3.73 rear axle ratio, and trailering package. The SLE trim starts at $57,595, and the SLT trim starts at $65,195.
The two most expensive GMC Sierra 3500 models are the AT4 and Denali. The AT4 starts at $68,595 and comes with the standard 6.6L V8 gas engine, 170-amp alternator, 3.73 rear axle ratio, ProGrade trailering system, and X31 Off-Road Package.
The Denali starts at $75,095 and includes the standard 6.6L V8 gas engine, 170-amp alternator, 3.73 rear axle ratio, automatic emergency braking, Driver Alert Package I and II, ProGrade trailering system, and X31 Off-Road Package.
Keep in Mind: Do you know How Much Your Truck can Really Tow? Knowing your trucks towing capacity is essential to towing safely!
Is a GMC Sierra 3500 Good for Towing?
The GMC Sierra 3500 towing capacity is on par with all major truck brands like RAM, Chevrolet, and Ford.
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty truck to tow your 42-foot, 20,000-pound toy hauler, it’s a great option. You’ll also love the features that distinguish this brand from the others, like the tailgate and standard trailering assists.
So the next time you’re in the market for a tow vehicle, don’t skip out on the GMC Sierra 3500. It might be exactly what you’re looking for!
Does the GMC Sierra 3500 have the towing capacity you need?