GMC Terrain: Trailer Towing / Trailer Towing


Towing a trailer improperly can damage the vehicle and result in costly repairs not covered by the vehicle warranty. To tow a trailer correctly, follow the directions in this section and see your dealer for important information about towing a trailer with the vehicle.

Trailer Weight


Never exceed the towing capacity for your vehicle.

Safe trailering requires monitoring the weight, speed, altitude, road grades, outside temperature, dimensions of the front of the trailer, and how frequently the vehicle is used to tow a trailer.

Trailer Weight Ratings

When towing a trailer, the combined weight of the vehicle, vehicle contents, trailer, and trailer contents must be below all of the maximum weight ratings for the vehicle, including:

  • GCWR: Gross Combined Weight Rating
  • GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
  • Maximum Trailer Weight Rating
  • Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight Rating

See “Trailer Brakes” under Towing Equipment to determine if brakes are required based on your trailer's weight.

The only way to be sure the weight is not exceeding any of these ratings is to weigh the tow vehicle and trailer combination, fully loaded for the trip, getting individual weights for each of these items.


You and others could be seriously injured or killed if the trailer is too heavy or the trailer brakes are inadequate for the load. The vehicle may be damaged, and the repairs would not be covered by the vehicle warranty.

Only tow a trailer if all the steps in this section have been followed. Ask your dealer for advice and information about towing a trailer.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)

GCWR is the total allowable weight of the completely loaded vehicle and trailer including any fuel, passengers, cargo, equipment, and accessories. Do not exceed the GCWR for your vehicle. The GCWR for the vehicle is on the Tow Rating Chart following.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

For information about the vehicle's maximum load capacity, see Vehicle Load Limits. When calculating the GVWR with a trailer attached, the trailer tongue weight must be included as part of the weight the vehicle is carrying.

Maximum Trailer Weight

The maximum trailer weight rating is calculated assuming the tow vehicle has a driver, a front seat passenger, and all required trailering equipment. This value represents the heaviest trailer the vehicle can tow, but it may be necessary to reduce the trailer weight to stay within the GCW, GVWR, maximum trailer tongue load, or GAWR-RR for the vehicle.

Use the tow rating chart to determine how much the trailer can weigh, based on the vehicle model and options.

GMC Terrain. Trailer Towing

Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight

The Maximum Trailer Tongue Weight Rating is the allowable trailer tongue weight that the vehicle can support using a conventional trailer hitch. It may be necessary to reduce the overall trailer weight to stay within the maximum trailer tongue weight rating while still maintaining the correct trailer load balance.

GMC Terrain. Trailer Towing

Do not exceed a maximum trailer tongue weight of 159 kg (350 lb).

The trailer tongue weight contributes to the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). GVW includes the CURB WEIGHT of your vehicle, any passengers, cargo, equipment and the trailer tongue weight. Vehicle options, passengers, cargo, and equipment reduce the maximum allowable tongue weight the vehicle can carry, which also reduces the maximum allowable trailer weight.

Trailer Load Balance

The correct trailer load balance must be maintained to ensure trailer stability. Incorrect load balance is a leading cause of trailer sway.

GMC Terrain. Trailer Towing

The trailer tongue weight (1) should be 10–15% of the loaded trailer weight (2). Some specific trailer types, such as boat trailers, fall outside of this range. Always refer to the trailer owner’s manual for the recommended trailer tongue weight for each trailer. Never exceed the maximum loads for your vehicle, hitch and trailer.

After loading the trailer, separately weigh the trailer and then the trailer tongue and calculate the trailer load balance percentage to see if the weights and distribution are appropriate for your vehicle. If the trailer weight is too high, it may be possible to trasfer some of the cargo into your vehicle. If the trailer tongue weight is too high or too low, it may be possible to rearrange some of the cargo inside of the trailer.

Do not exceed the maximum allowable tongue weight for your vehicle. Use the shortest hitch extension available to position the hitch ball closer to your vehicle. This will help reduce the effect of the trailer tongue weight on the trailer hitch and the rear axle.

If a cargo carrier is used in the trailer hitch receiver, choose a carrier that positions the load as close to the vehicle as possible. Make sure the total weight, including the carrier, is no more than half of the maximum allowable tongue weight for the vehicle or 227 kg (500 lb), whichever is less.

Ask your dealer for trailering information or assistance.

    Driving Characteristics and Towing Tips

    Warning You can lose control when towing a trailer if the correct equipment is not used or the vehicle is not driven properly. For example, if the trailer is too heavy or the trailer brakes are inadequate for the load, the vehicle may not stop as expected...

    Towing Equipment

    Hitches Always use the correct hitch equipment for your vehicle. Crosswinds, large trucks going by, and rough roads can affect the trailer and the hitch...

    Other information:

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      Vehicle Messages

      Messages displayed on the DIC indicate the status of the vehicle or some action that may be needed to correct a condition. Multiple messages may appear one after another.

      The messages that do not require immediate action can be acknowledged and cleared by pressing V. The messages that require immediate action cannot be cleared until that action is performed.

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