Can A Tahoe Pull A Trailer?


The Chevy Tahoe is powerful, luxurious, and it sports an impressive styling. If you have the newest Chevrolet Tahoe, you will experience a host of safety and convenience features that will help you enjoy your ride. Inside, the Tahoe is spacious, and this allows you to enjoy every minute of the trip. 

If you have one of these beasts, you might have wondered whether you should hire a travel trailer and take it on an adventure. Is the Tahoe powerful enough?

Can A Tahoe Pull A Trailer? 

Yes. The Chevy Tahoe can pull a trailer as long as that trailer’s weight does not exceed 7,700 pounds. The towing capacity of Tahoe changes with each model year released, and you have to check from your user manual the exact towing capacity for your model. 

For instance, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe can tow a trailer of up to 7,900 pounds for the 2WD model and up to 7,700 for the 4WD model. If you add the optional Trailering Package, the 2WD model can tow up to 8,600 pounds. 

There are some travel trailers that are heavier than 8,600 pounds, which is as much as the best Tahoe can tow when in the Chevy Tahoe tow haul mode. For these, you may need to go for a more powerful vehicle such as a half-ton truck. 

What is the Maximum Weight of a Trailer that a Chevy Tahoe Can Pull? 

Under the hood of a Chevy Tahoe is a standard 5.3L V8 engine that generates 355 horsepower and 383 pound feet of torque. The engine has an advanced Dynamic Fuel Management system that pairs to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

With the standard engine, the 2WD model coupled with the optional trailering package can tow up to 8,400 pounds. The 4WD model can tow up to 8,200 pounds. 

You may have a Tahoe with the 6.2L V8 engine. This engine offers more power than the standard engine generating up to 420 horsepower and up to 460 pound feet of torque. The engine also pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

Although this engine is more powerful, it doesn’t tow more than the standard engine. With the optional Trailering package, the 2WD model can tow up to 8,300 pounds while the 4WD model tows up to 8,100 pounds. 

The Trailering package makes it safe and convenient for you to tow a trailer behind your Tahoe. If you add this package, your SUV will cost more, but at least you will have a safer means of bringing your trailer in your next adventure. 

You will get a trailering hitch platform, a two-inch trailering receiver, and an electrical harness with a seven-pin connector. The harness allows you to connect the lights and the brakes of your trailer to those of your Tahoe. To experience the maximum towing capacity of your Tahoe, you need the Max Trailering package, which offers the following:

  • Integrated brake controller for the trailer 
  • Advanced trailering system
  • Hitch guidance system with a hitch view
  • Enhanced cooling radiator
  • A higher towing capacity compared to models without the package

The Chevy Tahoe is better at towing a trailer than the base models of the Colorado and Silverado. Its powerful engine and tough frame makes it that good. 

There are several factors that determine how much a Tahoe can tow besides the manufacturer’s towing capacity. 

How Do I Calculate the Maximum Trailer Weight That My Tahoe Can Tow? 

While the Tahoe can have a towing capacity of 8,600 pounds, you may not bring a trailer that big. Instead, you will consider the weight of the passengers, any liquids in the tank of your SUV, any added accessories, and any cargo in your SUV. The weight of all these and any other items you may have will reduce the towing capacity of your vehicle. 

To be sure of the towing rating of your Tahoe, check the user manual, and it should be listed there. From the towing capacity, you can calculate the size of the trailer you can pull. 

If you exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle, the vehicle might still pull, but you will stress the engine, and you could end up with a damaged transmission system. Again, you put the vehicle and the passengers at risk of an accident as the vehicle takes longer to brake when overloaded. 

Below are a few terms you need to understand to determine the size of the trailer your Tahoe can tow:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, GVWR: This is the total weight your Tahoe can handle without a trailer, and it includes the curb weight of the vehicle, the passengers and the cargo you may have in the SUV
  • Gross Vehicle Weight, GVW: This is the estimated weight of your vehicle with all the fluids in the tank and the passengers and some cargo. However, GVW can change based on the level of fluids in the car, weight of the passengers, and the amount and type of cargo you have in the Tahoe. 
  • Gross Combined Weight Rating, GCWR: This is the weight of your vehicle, the cargo you have, passengers, and a loaded trailer. The GCWR shows the combined weight of your vehicle and loaded trailer, and you should not exceed that. 
  • Gross Axle Weight Rating, GAWR: This is the maximum weight that a single axle can handle. 

When calculating how much you should tow, you need to ensure that you do not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating of your Tahoe. For instance, the 2021 Chevy Tahoe has a GVWR or about 7,400 pounds. The vehicle itself has a curb weight of about 5356 pounds and that leaves 2,046 pounds for your cargo and towing. 

When you are towing, you consider the tongue weight of your trailer. General Motors recommends that you calculate the tongue weight of a conventional trailer with ball mount hitches as between 10 to 15 percent of the total weight of the trailer and the load. 

If you have a gooseneck or a fifth wheel camper, the tongue weight should be between 15 and 30 percent of the total weight of the trailer and its contents. For instance, if you have a conventional trailer that weighs 6,000 pounds, the tongue weight of that trailer is between 600 and 900 pounds.

Add the tongue weight to the curb weight of the Tahoe, and then add the weight of the passengers and any other cargo in the Tahoe. Ensure that the total weight doesn’t exceed the gross vehicle weight rating of your Tahoe. 

You can also check the gross combined weight rating of your vehicle and ensure that you do not exceed that when the trailer is fully loaded. In fact, I recommend that you do not exhaust the towing capacity of your vehicle as you may want to carry other items along the way. 

When your vehicle is lighter, it drives better. You can increase the towing capacity by reducing unnecessary cargo in your Tahoe.

Types of Trailers a Tahoe Can Pull? 

If after your calculation you find that you can only tow a trailer of about 7,000 pounds, you may need to tow only about 6,000 pounds so that you leave your trailer space to carry any other stuff you may come across on the way. This is also a way to ensure that the trailer is not overloaded. 

You can pull a teardrop trailer, which has an empty weight of about 1,700 pounds and a gross weight of between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds. Your Tahoe will easily pull this trailer. It is a trailer for when you are traveling alone. 

An A-Frame trailer is also small and light. It weighs about 1,700 pounds when empty and has a gross weight rating of between 2,500 and 3,600 pounds. If you travel in a group or family of two or three people, this trailer can meet your needs. 

A pop-up camper comes in handy when you need an affordable camper. This unit weighs about 2,300 pound when empty and can carry up to 4,000 pounds. If the campsite you want to visit has weight restrictions, this is an ideal camper for you. 

You can also choose a small or a large travel trailer. A small travel trailer can carry up to 800 pounds while a large trailer can handle up to 10,500 pounds. Your Tahoe cannot carry anything more than 8,600 pounds, so you have to pick a size that meets your needs. 

The large camper is good for large families, but it is also very heavy, and you can only carry a small amount of cargo. 

Closing Thoughts

A Tahoe is a powerful SUV that can pull a trailer with great ease. You can pull a large family trailer with it, but you will have to reduce other types of cargo that you carry so that your Tahoe is not overloaded. 

If you need the maximum towing capacity, you need to get the optional trailering package that adds the towing capacity of your Tahoe. Once you connect the trailer the right way, and you take all the necessary precautions, such as installing the trailer lights and brakes, you will have an easy time on the road. 

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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