101 2ND STREET, EUREKA, CA 95502

Open daily 08:00 am to 05:30 pm

Maximizing Towing Capacity in the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Diesel

Towing Capacity

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel is an incredibly capable pickup truck known for its strong towing capacity. With the available 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel engine, this full-size truck can confidently haul heavy trailers and large loads. For truck owners who regularly tow boats, RVs, horse trailers, or equipment for work, understanding the Silverado 1500 diesel’s towing capabilities is essential.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down key factors that affect towing capacity in the 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel, including:

  • Engine and transmission options
  • Cab, bed, and drivetrain configurations
  • Factory-installed towing features
  • Aftermarket accessories for towing
  • Proper hauling techniques and safety tips

Whether you’re researching your next potential truck purchase or looking to get the most out of your current Silverado 1500 diesel, use this resource to maximize your towing muscle.

Engine and Transmission for Towing

The star of the show when it comes to towing in the 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel is the available 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel engine. This powerplant generates 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, providing plenty of low-end grunt for pulling heavy loads.

The Duramax 3.0L diesel is paired exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Having 10 gears allows the powertrain to always find the optimal gear ratio for power delivery or fuel efficiency, whether cruising empty or towing near max capacity. The transmission also features a dedicated Tow/Haul mode that modifies shift points to improve power delivery while towing or hauling heavy cargo.

Diesel engines like the Duramax 3.0L provide three key advantages for towing compared to gas engines:

  • More torque at low RPMs – Diesels generate peak torque at much lower engine speeds than gas engines. This allows the engine to lug down to low RPMs when under heavy load without struggling.

  • Greater fuel efficiency – The diesel’s increased torque output means it doesn’t have to work as hard as a gas engine when towing. This results in better miles per gallon, saving you money on long hauls.

  • Longevity – Modern diesel engines are built to last hundreds of thousands of miles, lasting far longer than most gas engines before requiring major service. This makes a diesel a smart long-term choice for those who tow frequently.

Cab, Bed, and Drivetrain Configurations

The overall capabilities of your Silverado 1500 diesel will depend on the cab, bed, and drivetrain configurations:

Cab Configurations

  • Regular Cab – Seats 3, two full doors
  • Double Cab – Seats 6, full rear doors
  • Crew Cab – Seats 5-6, full rear doors

Bed Lengths

  • Short (5′ 8″)
  • Standard (6′ 6″)
  • Long (8′)


  • 2WD – Rear-wheel drive
  • 4WD – Four-wheel drive with low range gearing

Max Towing Capacity by Configuration

Configuration Max Towing Capacity
Regular Cab, Short Bed, 2WD 9,500 lbs
Double Cab, Short Bed, 2WD 9,300 lbs
Crew Cab, Short Bed, 2WD 9,300 lbs
Regular Cab, Long Bed, 2WD 12,100 lbs
Double Cab, Standard Bed, 4WD 9,300 lbs
Crew Cab, Standard Bed, 4WD 9,100 lbs

*Towing capacities are when properly equipped with trailering package and hitch. See owners manual for details.

As you can see, the Regular Cab Silverado 1500 diesel with 2WD and a long bed offers the highest max towing capacity from the factory at 12,100 pounds. The caveat is that the Regular Cab provides far less interior room and overall versatility compared to Double or Crew Cab models. Ultimately, choose the cab and bed length that best fits your needs, keeping max towing capacity in mind.

Opting for 2WD does allow for slightly higher tow ratings compared to 4WD. However, the benefit of 4WD is the increased traction and control when towing in wet, snowy, or off-road conditions. For those who plan to tow in inclement weather or venture off the beaten path, 4WD is likely worth the small compromise in max capacity.

Factory Towing Features

To achieve its max tow ratings, the 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel needs to be properly equipped from the factory for towing. Here are the most important available factory towing features:

  • Trailering Package – Includes hitch, wiring for trailer lights, auxiliary external transmission oil cooler, and pre-installed trailering camera system. This package is essential for maximizing towing capacity.

  • Gooseneck / 5th Wheel Package – Contains a gooseneck hitch instead of standard trailer hitch for towing heavy-duty gooseneck or 5th wheel trailers. Allows for increased towing capacity compared to standard hitch.

  • Tow/Haul Mode – Transmission mode that optimizes gearing and power delivery when towing. Engaged using a button on the shifter.

  • Hitch Guidance – Provides visual overlays and steering cues on the backup camera to help line up the hitch. Takes the frustration and guesswork out of hitching up solo.

  • Jack-Knife Alert – Warns driver if trailer starts to sway excessively, indicating potential jack-knife situation. Can help avoid loss of control when towing.

  • Diesel Exhaust Brake – Uses compression of engine to help slow vehicle down, reducing wear on brake pads. Especially useful when towing downhill.

  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller – Allows driver to apply electric or electric-over-hydraulic brakes on properly equipped trailers for smooth, controlled stops.

The more of these advanced towing features your Silverado 1500 diesel has, the safer and more confident you can be hauling heavy loads near max capacity. Consult your owner’s manual or an automotive specialist to ensure you get the proper factory towing equipment for your needs.

Aftermarket Accessories for Towing

Beyond the factory installed features, certain aftermarket accessories can further enhance towing performance:

  • Fifth-Wheel/Gooseneck Hitch – Higher weight rating than factory fifth-wheel hitch allows pulling heavier fifth wheel or gooseneck trailers.

  • Receiver Hitch – Allows for different types of hitches like bike racks or cargo carriers. Provides flexibility when not towing.

  • Trailer Hitch Ball – Upgrade to a Class V hitch ball rated for heavy trailers exceeding tow vehicle’s capacity. Provides peace of mind against hitch failure.

  • Sway Control – Aftermarket sway control systems exert force on trailer to dampen swaying motions, improving stability at highway speeds or in windy conditions.

  • Airbags – Airbag suspension kits lift the rear end to provide more clearance and improve ride quality when loaded down with cargo or hitched up.

  • Brake Controller – Standalone brake controller with more power and adjustability than integrated OEM unit for smoother, more responsive electric trailer brakes.

  • Side Mirror Extenders – Extended towing mirrors widen field of view to better see around wide trailers. Prevent collisions from lane-changes.

  • Backup Cameras – Auxiliary reverse cameras provide improved visibility when backing up trailers with limited rear visibility. Reduce blind spots.

While not necessary, certain aftermarket upgrades like an airbag suspension or high-end brake controller can noticeably enhance the towing experience. Consult with knowledgeable automotive professionals to select accessories tailored to your specific towing needs.

Towing Technique and Safety Tips

Equipping your truck properly is only half the equation – you also need to employ smart towing techniques:

  • Use lower gears – When starting from a stop or climbing steep grades, manually shift to lower gears using the tap shift mode. This allows the engine to stay in the power band.

  • Watch transmission temperature – Monitor coolant temperature gauge or warning light when towing heavy loads on hot days. Pull over and let transmission cool if overheating occurs.

  • Check trailer weight distribution – Ensure adequate tongue weight by distributing load appropriately. Too little tongue weight can cause trailer sway.

  • Watch speed – Drive 5-10 mph slower than normal when towing, allowing extra distance for braking. Obey speed limits for towing.

  • Use tow/haul mode – Keep tow/haul engaged to automatically prevent unwanted gear hunting and provide engine braking.

  • Allow extra room – Leave ample space around the vehicle and avoid sudden maneuvers. Trailers require wider turns and longer stopping distance.

  • Regularly check trailer – Inspect lights, connections, tire pressure, brakes, hitch,

2020 Chevy Silverado Diesel vs World’s Toughest Towing Test – Can It Get The Best Ike Score Ever?

Written by


Leave a Comment