How much can a suburban tow?

How much can a Suburban tow? (2022)

The Chevrolet Suburban is a full-body family SUV first introduced in 1935. 

But, how much can a Suburban tow? 

The maximum tow rating is 8,300 lbs.

However there are many variations on the SUV and so navigating the tow capacity can be tricky. The good news is that we have turned Chevy’s pretty inaccessible information into a much simpler (and searchable) table.

Main factors that impact towing

When we dive into the main table below you will see that there are many different factors that impact how much the modern Suburban can tow. The main factors are:

  • Engine
  • 2WD / 4WD
  • Whether it has the Max Trailering Package installed

To find out the details of your own SUV you may need to consult the window sticker, the driver’s door jamb sticker, the owner’s manual or Chevy’s website.  

How much can a Suburban tow?

The main issue to consider is the engine, and the Suburban comes in three standard engines. Note this is for model year 2023. 

  • 5.3L V8
  • 6.2L V8
  • 3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel

However, it’s not just the engine that’s important, you will want to consider the other factors we highlighted above. 

But how do you compare the tow ratings of all the models? 

We got you bud! We’ve converted Chevy’s information into a straightforward and easily searchable table. 

Table of tow ratings

The table below gives all the different Suburban configurations, with one vehicle per row. The last two columns give the max Tow Rating and payload of the applicable vehicle. 

Engine2WD/4WDMax Trailering PackageMax PayloadMax Tow Rating
5.3L V82WD17507800
5.3L V82WDYes17508300
5.3L V84WD17597600
5.3L V84WDYes17598000
6.2L V82WD16127700
6.2L V82WDYes16128200
6.2L V84WD16127400
6.2L V84WDYes16127900
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel2WD16258100
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel2WDYes16258100
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel4WD15397800
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel4WDYes15397800

Suppose you want to search for all 6.2L V8 models and find their Tow Rating. In the search bar in the top right of the table simply type “6.2L”.
If you then want to refine your search to 4WD models just type “6.2L 4WD” in the search bar. If you then click on the Tow Rating column you can order the vehicles from largest to smallest Tow Rating.
You will see that the highest tow rating model has the Max Trailering Tow package and can tow 7,900lbs.
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Gross vehicle weight rating of the Suburban

We will come back to the trailer shortly. However one key check you need to make is that the weight of the Suburban’s cargo does not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). 

When you’re towing you don’t have an empty SUV. You need to consider the weights of the;

  • Driver,
  • A tank of gas and other vehicle fluids,
  • Other passengers, 
  • Specific vehicle options, 
  • Passengers,
  • Any stuff that you might have in the vehicle. 

None of this is in the trailer but it’s important to note that it does count towards the GVWR.

The GVWR of the Suburban depends on what options are installed. The only real way to find this out is to look at your vehicle’s safety compliance sticker on the driver’s door jamb. If you are shopping for a Suburban then it’s recommended that you ask the dealer to send you a photo of this sticker so you can see the precise GVWR. See the picture below for where to find the GVWR.   

door sticker

How to check your Suburban is not overloaded

You need to either weigh your fully laden SUV on a CAT scale or estimate the total weight.

To estimate the laden weight you need the weight of the empty vehicle from the manufacturer (curb weight) plus an estimate the weight of the people and cargo.  In addition your will have some weight from your trailer through the tongue weight (more on this below). You can assume that the tongue weight is between 10% -15% of the gross trailer weight. 

What is the curb weight of a Suburban?

An empty Suburban is measured by the manufacturer as the curb weight

The US EPA defines the curb weight as the weight of the vehicle with standard equipment and fluids, but not including options, driver, passengers or cargo. Your vehicle will have different options and will have a driver, passengers and cargo. So what do you do?

The curb weight of a Suburban depends on the engine and whether it is 4×2 or 4×4. The curb weights vary between 5,616lbs and 6.072lbs. The best place to find the weight of your vehicle is to look on the sticker on the driver’s door jamb. 

The following table provides the curb weight of all the different Suburban models.

Curb WeightEngine2WD / 4WD
5,8643.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel2WD
6,0723.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel4WD

You can then use our calculator with the curb weight and add the weight of passengers and cargo plus the weight of your trailer to ensure it is within the GVWR shown above. 

Are we done? 

Not quite! We now need to check the combined weight of the SUV and the trailer. 

Gross combined vehicle weight

There are a few constraints to consider when towing a trailer. First you need to establish whether your trailer and its contents are within limits.


What is the payload of the Suburban?

The payload is the total allowable weight of the cargo, passengers and tongue weight of the trailer. 

The following table details the payload of the Suburban in the second-to-last column. 

Table of maximum payload for the Suburban

Engine2WD/4WDMax Trailering PackageMax PayloadMax Tow Rating
5.3L V82WD17507800
5.3L V82WDYes17508300
5.3L V84WD17597600
5.3L V84WDYes17598000
6.2L V82WD16127700
6.2L V82WDYes16128200
6.2L V84WD16127400
6.2L V84WDYes16127900
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel2WD16258100
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel2WDYes16258100
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel4WD15397800
3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel4WDYes15397800

Suppose you have the diesel model of Suburban. In the top-right search bar in the table type “diesel”. This will filter to the four diesel models. You will see two 2WD models with a payload of 1,625lbs, and two 4WD models with a payload of 1,539lbs

What is the GCWR of the Suburban?

The GCWR is the maximum weight of the Suburban, the cargo, passengers plus the loaded trailer. For the 2002 Suburban the GCWR is;

  • 14,000lbs for the 5.3L V8 and 6.2L V8 (without max Trailering Tow Package) models
  • 14,500lbs for all other models 

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What is the maximum tongue weight of a Suburban?

When you are towing a trailer the weight of that trailer gets transmitted down through two places – the axle and wheels of the trailer and the hitch between the trailer and your Suburban.

You need to ensure that there is not too much weight being transmitted through the hitch. Chevy recommends a maximum tongue weight of 1,250lbs and it should be between 10-15% of the gross trailer weight. .  

How should I measure trailer tongue weight?

You have three options to measure the tongue weight from your trailer. 

  1. Use a specialized tongue weight scale such as a Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scale
  2. Weigh your vehicle and trailer on a CAT scale
  3. Estimate the tongue weight

Option 1 is best, followed by 2. However let’s look at option 3. 

Your trailer’s manufacturer will usually provide an indication of the tongue weight.  For a travel trailer with batteries and propane you may need to add that weight if the manufacturer has not included it. In addition you need to add the weight of the hitch. Note that this is an estimate since not all the weight of these objects will be transmitted through the hitch, so adding 100% of the weight to your tongue weight will over-estimate it. Also some of the weight of the trailer cargo will get transmitted through the hitch. 

Tongue weight rule of thumb

It’s recommended that the tongue weight is between 10%-15% of the gross trailer weight (dry weight plus the weight of the cargo). Chevy has this recommendation in their manual. If the tongue weight is below 10% then that will cause towing instability and the trailer may porpoise, and if the tongue weight is too high then the trailer will be pitched forward and put too much load on the hitch. You want a level trailer and ideally the tongue load will be 12% of the gross trailer weight.  

So one check you need to do is to take the gross trailer weight you calculated above and check that 10%-15% is within the maximum tongue weight given in the table above. 

Suppose you have calculated your gross trailer weight as 8,000 lb. The ideal tongue load is between 10% and 15% of this amount. That would be between 800lb – 1,200 lb. If you have a weight distributing hitch then this is within recommended limits. However, without a WDH you are outside the recommended tongue weight.

Adjusting tongue weight

You have two main methods to adjust tongue weight;

  • Either add or remove load from the trailer. Adding weight to the trailer will increase the tongue weight, and removing weight will reduce the tongue weight. 
  • Moving weight around the trailer. You can increase tongue weight by moving existing load to the front of the trailer. Similarly, you can reduce tongue weight by moving existing load to the rear of the trailer. 

However, you do not want your trailer very unbalanced, and you want a level trailer while towing.  

Weight-distributing hitch for the Suburban

Chevy requires a weight-distributing hitch for trailers in excess of 6,000lbs.  For trailers under 6,000lbs a weight-distributing hitch is not required by Chevy.

Check the rear axle weight rating

The rear axle weight rating is similar to the tongue weight. All vehicles have a weight limit that they can take on the rear and front axles. Usually the best place to find this information is on the driver’s door jamb sticker. The best way to check you are not exceeding this amount is to weigh your trailer and towing vehicle at a CAT scale. 

Or you can just weigh your fully-laden SUV and make an allowance for trailer weight that is transmitted to the rear axle – namely the tongue weight. 

However, if you’re within the tongue weight guidance, then in all likelihood your rear axle will be within limit but it’s very dependent on the load you are carrying in your SUV.  


What is the maximum trailer frontal area?

If your trailer and Suburban have passed all the previous tests then you are probably good-to-go. Usually the manufacturer gives a restriction on the trailer frontal area. This is area of the front of the trailer that creates drag. You can have a very light trailer that is within the weight restrictions described above, but if it’s a huge sail that blocks airflow then it’s a no-no.

Trailers with a more aerodynamic profile, such as a teardrop, are clearly better in this respect. So for completeness let’s summarize the maximum frontal area measured in square feet.  

However, Chevy provides no guidance on maximum frontal area for a trailer. 

Suburban max trailering package

All Suburban vehicles have the following as standard; trailer hitch platform, 7-wire harness, 2in trailering receiver and Hitch Guidance. 

The max trailering package additionally includes; Hitch Guidance with Hitch View, integrated trailer brake controller, trailer side blind zone alert (on  Premier and High Country) and extra capacity cooling system (not Diesel model). 

Putting it all together!

Have you been following everything upto now?

There are a number of checks you need to make to ensure that you have a safe towing experience with your truck. 

  1. Check that the gross trailer weight is within the tow rating of the SUV
  2. Check that the SUV is not overloaded and the gross weight of the SUV plus the tongue weight does not exceed the GVWR
  3. Check that the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer does not exceed the GCWR
  4. Check that the tongue weight is between 10% -15% of the gross trailer weight

In theory you also need to check the rear-axle load, front-axle load and trailer frontal area. However if you have passed all the above tests and are within 10% on all of them then you are probably fine. 

I’m confused and I have questions!

There is a lot to keep straight here. 

However we have now provided you with all the information on the Chevy Suburban to enable you to input all the key data into our towing calculator.  This is the easiest way to check that you have completed all the steps. 

Our tool is simple but comprehensive. You won’t miss anything is you follow all the steps, but drop us a note if you are struggling! Stay safe!

What can a Suburban tow?

Given the above numbers, you might be asking – What kind of trailers can a Suburban tow? Let’s dig into it now!

As we saw above the maximum tow rating for a Suburban was 8,300 lb. A Class IV Extra Heavy Duty Hitch has a maximum rating of 10,000 lbs, so this would be required as a Class III tops out at 6,000lbs.  

ClassMaximum Trailer Weight
Class I - Light Duty2,000 lb
Class II - Medium Duty3,500 lb
Class III - Heavy Duty6,000 lb
Class IV - Extra Heavy Duty10,000 lb
Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

Frequently asked questions

What Suburban has the highest towing capacity?

If you order the table above by towing capacity you will see that the Suburban with the highest towing capacity is the 5.3L V8 2WD model with the max trailering package. The max rating is 8,300lbs.

Are Suburbans good for towing?

Generally yes. The minimum rating is 7,400lbs and the maximum is 8,300lbs. But it all depends on what you want to tow!

Can a Suburban tow 8,000lbs?

Yes, many of the models can tow in excess of 8,000lbs, however not all can. So you must check the details of your vehicle with our guide. 

All Suburban models can tow in excess of 7,400lbs. There are a number of models that can tow in excess of 8,000lbs, and the maximum is 8,300lbs. However you must check the details of your model with our guide.

More Questions? Important Notes

If you have remaining questions please contact us.
Please refer to the disclaimer for important notes and limitations on this article

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