Chevy Silverado HD 2500 vs 3500: Do You Need a Dually When Towing? (Video)

2017 2018 chevy silverado hd 2500 3500 diesel duramax towing specs payload

Do you need a heavy duty 3500 dually truck for towing, or can you get away with a single rear wheel 2500 or 3500 HD pickup to get the job done? We get this question a lot, and the answer really comes down to engine choice, suspension, and rear axle ratio.

There is a simpler way to look at it. If you need to haul X amount of weight, get a 2500-series “3/4 ton” truck. If your needs are a bit higher, then a Single Rear Wheel (SRW) 3500-series “1-ton” truck is the ticket. You can step up to a 3500 SRW pickup with a small price increase and without a big impact to your fuel economy or maintenance costs. If that’s still not enough, you can choose a 3500 Dually. A dually truck provides a big leap in capability, but it will cost extra in initial price, maintenance and lower fuel economy. Check out the data table below for capability ratings.

The increased maintenance costs come in when it comes time to perform tire rotations (there are six of them) and tire replacement. Since a dually truck is significantly heavier and has more rolling resistance, the fuel economy goes down as well.

The specifications listed below refer to Silverado HD crew cab 4×4 trucks in base configuration. A truck with additional options will have a heavier curb weight and lower payload and towing ratings. We chose the crew cab 4×4 configuration because it is the most popular.

Chevy Silverado HD

Max Payload (lbs) Max Towing (lbs) GCWR (lbs)
Silverado 2500 3,186 14,800 21,100
Silverado 3500 SRW 4,058 17,200 25,300
Silverado 3500 Dually 5,761 22,700 31,100

At the end of the day, if you are looking to tow a medium-sized 5th-wheel camper, then a 2500 or a 3500 SRW may be the right choice, depending on the loaded weight of the trailer and the tongue weight with which is pushes down on the truck. If you are looking for even greater stability and a bigger/heavier trailer (perhaps heavy construction equipment), then a 3500 Dually is the right tool for the job.

Check out this latest look at the 2017 Chevy Silverado HD 2500 and 3500, as Roman takes them for spin empty and loaded with a trailer.