Whether you’re transporting precious cargo or passengers, safety is a priority. We recognize that and go to great lengths to provide you with the safest vehicles and the knowledge you need to operate them. Before you begin trailering, please read through the sections below.
Always attach safety chains between your vehicle and trailer. Cross them under the tongue of the trailer so the tongue is less likely to drop if the trailer separates from the hitch. Leave enough slack in the chain to allow for turns, but make sure it is never dragging.
LOADING YOUR TRAILER
A good rule of thumb is to distribute 60% of the load over the front half of the trailer. Once balanced, all cargo should be secured, as shifting objects, or an imbalanced load, can lead to trailer sway and trailering instability.
DOUBLE CHECK THE FOLLOWING
For safe trailering, you’ll need to slightly modify your driving techniques. Read through the tips below to learn how to tow with confidence and control.
ACCELERATING/BRAKING Avoid overworking your vehicle when trailering by gradually accelerating and allowing extra time and distance while merging or braking. Give yourself plenty of space on the highway—one vehicle and trailer length between you and the vehicle ahead for every 10 mph of speed. When you hit the brakes, apply firm, steady pressure.
PASSING You’ll need additional time and distance to safely pass, especially when reentering the lane. Make sure to signal your pass and reentry well in advance.
CORNERING When approaching sharp turns you’ll need to slow down significantly and, if possible, take a wider angle than normal. Drive the vehicle slightly past the normal turning point and firmly turn the wheel. Be careful not to turn too sharply lest the trailer collide into your vehicle or any objects at the turn’s apex—curbs, trees, or soft shoulders.
BACKING UP Slow and low is the key here. Place your hand at six o'clock on the steering wheel, and begin backing up slowly. To turn the trailer left, move your hand left, and vice versa. Turns should be made incrementally; your hand never straying far from the bottom of the wheel.
Sway often results from improper weight distribution, excessive speed or overloading, crosswinds, poor vehicle maintenance, or hazardous road conditions. Steering or braking can worsen the situation. To learn how GMC has engineered its vehicles to minimize trailer sway, check out the video below.
If you ever find your trailer in sway, you’ll need to slow down and do as follows:
1. Hold the steering wheel as steady as possible.
2. Release the accelerator but do not touch the brake pedal yet.
3. Activate electric trailer brakes (if equipped) by hand, until the sway condition stops.
4. Use the brakes to slow down, pull over, and come to a complete stop.
Once pulled over, you can check for the following causes of sway:
If the sway was caused by strong winds, wait for conditions to improve before continuing your trip.
Before going down a steep incline, reduce your speed and shift into a lower gear. This provides “engine braking” and reduces the need to apply the brakes for long periods. When driving up a steep grade, shift to a lower gear for more torque to maintain speed. Pay attention to your temperature gauges for any signs of overheating.
When temperature gauges register abnormally high, there is a noticeable decrease in power, or you hear unusual engine noises, pull over immediately and following the steps below:
PARKING ON GRADES
Parking on steep grades with a trailer is not recommended. If you must, follow these steps:
LEAVING YOUR PARKING SPOT ON GRADES
1. When properly equipped. Maximum trailer weight ratings are calculated assuming a base vehicle, except for any options necessary to achieve the rating, plus driver.
2. Trailering weights are calculated assuming properly equipped vehicle, plus driver and one passenger. The weight of other optional equipment, passengers and cargo will reduce the trailer weight your vehicle can tow. See dealer for details.
3. EPA-estimated 15 city/21 hwy MPG with the 5.3L V8 engine. Based on 2012 GM Large Pickup segment.
4. EPA-estimated city/hwy MPG: Sierra 1500 with Vortec 4.3L V6, 15/20; Sierra XFE with Vortec 5.3L V8, 15/22; Yukon with Vortec 5.3L V8, 15/21; Yukon Hybrid with Vortec 6.0L V8, 20/23; Yukon XL with Vortec 5.3L V8, 15/21.
5. V6 equipped models only.
6. EPA-estimated 15 city/21 hwy MPG. Based on 2011 GM Large SUV segment.
7. EPA-estimated mpg: Canyon Crew Cab 2WD with 2.9L I-4 engine, 18 city/25 hwy.; Savana 1500 2WD with 5.3L V8 engine, 13 city/17 hwy.; Sierra 1500 XFE with 5.3L V-8 engine, 15 city/22 hwy.; Yukon with 5.3L V8 engine, 15 city/21 hwy.
8. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.