Can A GMC Sierra 1500 Tow A Skid Steer?


The GMC Sierra comes with plenty of power, thanks to the many engines you can choose. But in the world of full-size pickups, it’s not the first one you think of when you talk about towing.

So, from time to time, people wonder if the Sierra 1500 can carry hefty loads, such as a skid steer. Let’s find out in this article. 

Can A GMC Sierra 1500 Tow A Skid Steer?

A GMC Sierra 1500 can tow a skid steer with the required flatbed truck. The average skid steer can weigh 7,000 pounds, plus the trailer.

With a maximum towing capacity of 12,200 pounds, the Sierra 1500 truck can get the job done. But not all the models have such a good performance.

Though some skid steers aren’t as big as cars, they can be a lot heavier. Much of this excess weight belongs to the counterweight system. These vehicles are designed to lift and move heavy loads. So, to prevent them from tipping over, they have weights on the back that help with stability. 

The GMC Sierra 1500 is a capable truck but it’s not winning any towing competitions. So, you must understand the vehicle’s pulling capacities before you embark on hauling such heavy cargo. 

While the average skid steer weighs about 7,500 pounds, it varies from model to model. Knowing how much each specific vehicle weighs is valuable. The most precise way to know, for sure, is to check the manufacturer’s specifications. 

We’ll cover all of these topics in this article. Firstly, we’re going further into detail on the GMC Sierra 1500’s towing capacity. 

What Is The GMC Sierra 1500’s Towing Capacity?

The Sierra 1500 comes with plenty of engines to choose from and whether 2WD or 4WD options and different body styles. These options yield varied towing capabilities, so it can be confusing for potential buyers to know how much each model can pull. 

The following table shows you some of the Sierra 1500 trucks available and how much each can tow. Since there are many options out there, we mention the lowest and highest capability of each configuration. 

EngineBody/BedDriveMaximum conventional towing (pounds)
4.3L EcoTec3 V6Crew/Standard4WD7,400
4.3L EcoTec3 V6Regular/Long2WD7,900
2.7L Turbo I4Crew/Standard4WD6,600
2.7L Turbo I4Double/Standard2WD6,900
5.3L EcoTec3 V8 (Base)Crew/Standard4WD9,500
5.3L EcoTec3 V8 (Base)Regular/Long2WD10,000
5.3L EcoTec3 V8Crew/Standard4WD9,200
5.3L EcoTec3 V8Double/Standard2WD11,300
6.2L EcoTec3 V8Crew/Short4WD8,800
6.2L EcoTec3 V8Double/Standard4WD12,200
3.0L Duramax Diesel I6Crew/Standard2WD7,300
3.0L Duramax Diesel I6Crew/Standard4WD9,000

It’s worth highlighting that you need the optional towing package to achieve some of these figures. To learn more about it, be sure to check out our article on the GMC Sierra Max Trailering Package. 

We can see that the most powerful combination is the GMC Sierra 1500 with the 6.2L V8, Double Crew body, standard bed, and 4WD.

Additionally, you must order the towing package to achieve the maximum towing capacity of 12,200 pounds. We’ve talked in detail about how much this truck can tow. If you want to dig deeper into the topic, read this article

Now, most of the skid steers weigh, on average, 7,500 pounds. So, most Sierra 1500s can do the job, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Let’s find out about the requirements to tow one of these. 

Towing A Skid Steer: What You Need To Know

To tow a skid steer, you’re going to need a flatbed trailer or a gooseneck if you’re pulling two or more. For this article, we’ll use only one as an example. 

To safely tow a skid steer, you need to factor in the trailer’s weight. There are two ways of doing this. 

First, you can measure the weights for both the trailer and the skid steer and add them up. The result has to be lower than the Sierra’s towing capacity. But, this method can be complicated because you don’t always have the tools needed to weigh both. 

So, you can use the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR. This is the actual weight of the skid steer and all of its accessories. The equation is as follows: 

Trailer weight + GVWR (skid steer) = Total towing weight

The total towing weight has to be less than the Sierra’s towing capacity. You can easily find these numbers for both the trailer and skid steer in the operating manuals. So, to better understand these terms, let’s use examples of actual skid steers in the next section. 

How Much Does A Skid Steer Weigh?

In this section, we’re going to cover some skid steers that the GMC Sierra 1500 can carry or might be near the limit. The reason why we’re putting the latter is for you to know that you might be pushing your towing capacity to the edge. 

Doing so can lead to damage to vital components of your truck. To find out more about the possible damages, read our article on exceeding towing capacity. The table includes the skid steer’s weight and the trailer and final total weight. 

Skid SteerSkid Steer GVWRTrailer weightTotal GVWR
CAT 226D35,8493,0008,849
John Deere 316GR6,3753,0009,375
Kubota SSV65 Open Cab6,7903,0009,790
CAT 246D37,4783,00010,478
Kubota SSV75 Closed Cab8,4223,00011,422*

*Only the most capable Sierra 1500 can tow this combination

As you can see, the combination of trailer and skid steer can be heavy and put the Sierra to the test. Of course, other models out there could weigh less or more, but these are some of the more popular options. 

From this table and the previous information, we can see that the ideal Sierras for towing skid steers are the following: 

  • 5.3L EcoTec3 V8, with a Crew body, standard bed, and 4WD (9,500 pounds of towing capacity)
  • 5.3L EcoTec3 V8, with a Regular body, long bed, and 2WD (10,000 pounds of towing capacity) 
  • 5.3L EcoTec3 V8, with a Crew body, standard bed, and 4WD (9,200 pounds of towing capacity) 
  • 5.3L EcoTec3 V8, Double body, standard bed, and 2WD (11,300 pounds of towing capacity) 
  • 6.2L EcoTec3 V8, Double body, standard bed, and 4WD (12,200 pounds of towing capacity)

So, now that we’ve seen which of the GMC Sierra 1500s can tackle the job of towing a skid steer, let’s discuss some vital information regarding trailers. 

Trailer And Skid Steer Considerations

When you’re towing a heavy load, such as the skid steer examples we’ve mentioned, you need to consider the trailer’s capacity. Just as the GVWR is essential for knowing how much your skid steer weighs, it’s vital for your trailer as well. 

Your trailer’s GVWR is the amount of weight that trailer can carry. It’s important to note that some manufacturers include the trailer’s weight into this number. Others don’t. The best way to be sure is to check the manufacturer’s specifications. 

For example, one manufacturer can say that the GVWR is 12,000 pounds but doesn’t include the trailer, weighing 2,600 pounds. So, if you were to load it to its total capacity, you’d be towing 14,600 pounds, which can exceed most full-size pickups’ capacity. 

But, another manufacturer can say that the GVWR is 12,000 pounds, including the trailer’s weight. In this case, you now know that you cannot exceed 10,400 pounds of load. 

While there are guidelines and ratings, such as the GVWR, the best procedure to tow a skid steer safely is to check on the manufacturer’s guidelines. In them, you will find not only the weight information but any specific procedure to ensure that your cargo stays in place. 

Towing A Skid Steer With A GMC Sierra

Many of our users have wondered if a GMC Sierra 1500 can tow a skid steer. It’s a valid question since they are heavy pieces of machinery. This article answers this question and also provides more insight into some aspects like weight and towing capacity. 

The GMC Sierra 1500 can tow up to 12,200 pounds. It can pull skid steers that weigh up to approximately 8,500 pounds because you need to factor in the trailer and accessories. 

To achieve this towing performance, you need to order GMCs Max Trailering Package. This option includes heavier suspension, improved cooling, and higher gear ratios. 

Also, the only combination able to tow such numbers is the 6.2L V8 with 4WD. The other engine options will have less towing capacity, but they can still pull significant weights. 

Be sure to factor in the trailer’s weight when towing a skid steer. Most of the trailers that can do the job weigh about 3,000 pounds, but some can be lighter. If you’re carrying two skid steers, then you need a gooseneck, which can increase the total weight considerably. 

To safely tow a skid steer, you’re going to have to consider the GVWR, which is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, of both the trailer and the steer. This is valuable information that determines how much your cargo weighs. 

The GMC Sierra 1500 isn’t the most powerful truck out there. But, with the appropriate tools, it can undoubtedly tow a skid steer. This article helps you do so safely and successfully. 

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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