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A red 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is towing construction equipment on a rural road.

What To Look For When Purchasing A 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

It’s time to buy a new heavy-duty pickup for your business or personal use. You need something reliable, durable, and feature-rich while still meeting your budget. The 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD looks good for the job, but you’re probably still contemplating on what features you’re exactly in need of when it comes to purchasing a heavy-duty pickup. The great part about the Silverado 3500 HD is that nearly every trim and configuration is designed to perfectly suit someone’s needs, but there are some things you need to look for when selecting one to purchase.

GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Above all else, the 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is known first and foremost for its towing and hauling capabilities, and this is thanks in part thanks to the stability of the vehicle’s weight. The 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD has a base curb weight of 6,231 pounds with a regular cab, two-wheel drive, and the gasoline engine. Opting for the diesel brings the curb rating up to 7,247 pounds in the same configuration. This is just the empty weight with no passengers on board and nothing in the bed.

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, on the other hand, is the maximum safe weight of the vehicle plus its passengers, cargo, and the tongue weight of any trailer. The 2021 Silverado 3500 HD in its base configuration has a GVWR of 10,750 pounds for the gasoline engine and 11,500 pounds for the diesel engine. Opting for the dual rear wheel, or “dually,” configuration raises that to 14,000 pounds for both engines.

So what does a gross vehicle weight rating have to do with towing and hauling? To begin with, the gross vehicle weight rating determines how much the truck can handle for the kind of jobs you plan on putting it through. It also gives you an idea of how much the vehicle can carry when maxed out with passengers and cargo. Further, the heavier the vehicle is, the more stable it is when it comes to towing and hauling.

If you intend to take on a lot of jobs where you need the bed to transfer and haul cargo via the pickup’s bed, then you have an idea of how much you can carry along with passengers and any additional equipment. Knowing how much the vehicle weighs also gives you a heads-up on where you can take the truck, what sort of weight ratings you may have to abide by depending on the worksite, or what sort of roads you can travel down while towing or hauling.

A red 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is in an open parking lot with heavy machinery on a trailer.

Cargo And Hauling

Knowing the vehicle weight rating only covers a small part of the puzzle. When looking to purchase a 3500 HD, you also need to understand what the towing and cargo capacity is. If you’re not looking for a truck designed for upfitting or utility conversion, then a truck bed is your best bet. The Chevy Silverado 3500 HD provides you with the highest cargo and towing ratings without requiring upfits or any sort of aftermarket modifications to the production model of the truck. This is what helps separate it from medium-duty trucks such as the Silverado 4500 HD, 5500 HD, and 6500 HD.

All that being said, if you intended to use the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD for hauling purposes, whether it be for construction, delivery, logging, or forestry, it offers plenty of cargo capacity. The payload with the diesel engine, regular cab, and two-wheel drive is 4,215 pounds, while the gasoline engine offers 4,481 pounds in the same configuration. You gain significantly more cargo-carrying capacity with the dual rear wheel configuration. This raises the max payload rating to up to 6,523 pounds for the diesel engine or 7,442 pounds for the gasoline engine.

Towing Capacity

Being able to haul cargo in the bed is one thing, but towing is another. The Silverado 3500 HD is regarded as one of the best pickups on the market for max trailering, not only for its ratings but also for its technology. The 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, in particular, underwent some modifications and upgrades of the suspension and frame in order to accommodate higher tow ratings. The 2021 model’s tow rating has been buffed by 500 pounds.

The 2021 Silverado 3500 HD has a maximum conventional trailering rating of 20,000 pounds, although most single rear wheel configurations are rated for 14,500 pounds. For conventional towing and trailering, this makes the 3500 HD great for a wide number of tasks, especially if you go with the dual rear wheel, four-wheel drive configuration, which is what can achieve the 20,000 pounds tow rating when configured with the 6.6 liter V8 turbo-diesel engine.

The tow ratings increase even more with the use of a gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch, which you can attach to the bed. The base max trailering with the 2021 Silverado 3500 HD single rear wheel configuration with the regular cab is 17,370 pounds with the gasoline engine and 18,510 pounds with the diesel. Upgrading to the dual rear wheel configuration will raise that maximum tow rating to an incredible 36,000 pounds.

Some very important facets when it comes to the towing and trailering ratings that you need to consider are the bed size, cab size, and whether it’s a single rear wheel or dual rear wheel. All of these variables will not only change the price of the 2021 Silverado 3500 HD, but they will also change what the maximum tow ratings will be in a real-world trailering scenario.

Trailering Capabilities

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is parked in a field at sunset with hay bales on a trailer.

Just because a heavy-duty pickup can tow a heavy trailer doesn’t mean that it can tow and trailer well. That might seem confusing, but there’s a lot more to towing than just hooking up the equipment and tugging whatever it is hitched behind the truck. A lot of trailering requires prep from the driver on where the trailer is located, usually guiding it in and out of various spots, and lots of cautionary techniques when changing lanes or making turns. To help aid with that process, a suite of trailering technology has been made available for the 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD.

Some of this technology includes a surround-view system with eight cameras and 15 different camera views. These views include multiple angles of the side and back of the truck, as well as camera views for the trailer, the truck bed, and the equipment in tow. The rear trailer view and trailer angle indicator help with assisting in aligning the trailer with the truck, while the rear side-view angles give you clarity on how to position the trailer while reversing or while making transitions while being able to view your blind spots.

New alert systems, such as the trailer length indicator and the jack-knife alert, help with identifying where the trailer is in relation to the truck. They also help warn you of potential jack-knife situations involving the trailer and the truck. If you plan on making use of the Silverado’s new maximum tow rating by hauling equipment with a 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer, then the trailering technology enhancements will surely come in handy and quite essential for anyone in the business of major trailer hauls.


While scouting for a 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD to purchase, one thing to keep in mind is that if you had plans to use it for plowing, such as snow removal, or for moving debris out of the way, the 3500 can be used as a plow truck. In fact, there are various plow manufacturers who have equipment specifically designed for the Silverado 3500 HD since the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8 provides enough heft for the Silverado to easily plow. General Motors actually has fleet specifications for outfitting the Silverado 3500 HD for use as a snowplow or spreader.

If you were shopping for a 3500 HD with the intent of using it for commercial purposes, it’s very well suited to do so and equipped with a lot of the necessary equipment right out of the gate for heavy-duty tasks. Just make sure you’re selecting the right bed size, cab format, and drivetrain configuration for the kind of tasks you have planned for your Silverado.