How to Pick Out (and Install) a GMC Trailer Hitch

With so many engine configurations and options, picking the right GMC trailer hitch can be complicated. This guide can help.
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
has built its reputation on strength, and most of its vehicles were made to haul heavy loads. Many, but not all, come with standard trailering packages, and those that don’t have packages and accessories available so you can hitch up your load with confidence. 
If you’re looking to haul serious weight―and we mean, like, excavator-sized weight―you’ll want the
GMC Sierra Heavy Duty 3500
, which has a trailer weight rating of up to 36,000 pounds. But if you plan to tow something more in the range of a boat or an RV rather than major construction equipment, you can settle for less. A
Sierra 1500
or even a
ought to do. 
While some GMC models come standard with a trailering package, others offer them strictly as an available package or by individual accessory purchases. Of course, if you’re not entirely married to the idea of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, you can also look into aftermarket trailering kits. 
It’s a lot of technical specifications to sort through, and that’s why
super app
and licensed
car insurance
has put together this guide on everything you need to know about trailering with your GMC.
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Which GMC models come with a trailer hitch? 

If you want your GMC to come equipped right off the lot with all the trailering equipment you’ll need to hook right up, you’ll want a Sierra. The Sierra 1500, Sierra 1500 Limited,
Sierra 2500 Heavy Duty
, and Sierra 3500 Heavy Duty all come standard with GMC’s basic trailering package. That package includes a 2-inch receiver hitch, wire harness, and electrical connectors for the trailer lights and brakes. 
You can also get the trailering package as an option on the GMC
, and
Yukon XL
To get started trailering with your GMC, you’ll need two main components―the receiver hitch and the hitch mount for a basic towing setup. Or, you could get a fifth-wheel hitch, often used for recreational towing, or a gooseneck hitch, which is preferred for farming and occupational trailering.
While it doesn’t impact the physical work of trailering, you’ll also want to make sure you have a trailer wiring harness, which can cost as little as $10. This hooks up your trailer’s lights and brakes to your vehicle’s existing electrical system, and is a vital safety component that you can’t forget!
To help you get started, here’s a quick guide to GMC’s models, maximum trailering weights, and price ranges for the manufacturer's OEM towing equipment.
Maximum trailer weight rating
5th Wheel price range
Gooseneck price range
Ball hitch price range
Ball hitch mount price range
2022 Sierra Heavy Duty 3500
36,000 lbs
$1,135 to $1,610
$815 to $915
$18 to $459
$30 to $199
2022 Sierra Heavy Duty 2500
18,510 lbs
$1,135 to $1,610
$645 to $915
$18 to $459
$30 to $199
2022 Sierra 1500
11,800 lbs
$18 to $459
$30 to $199
2022 Canyon
7,700 lbs
$19 to $280
$30 to $140
2022 Terrain
1,500 lbs
$18 to $20
$30 to $140
2022 Acadia
4,000 lbs
$18 to $20
$30 to $140
2022 Yukon
8,400 lbs
$18 to $459
$30 to $140
2022 Yukon XL
8,300 lbs
$19 to $459
$30 to $150
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How to pick a GMC trailer hitch

If you’re not buying a new GMC, or you aren’t interested in the OEM offerings, you can shop around to see if aftermarket hitches are better suited for your budget and needs. If you don’t find what you want from aftermarket retailers, you can always go back to GMC to see what they can set you up with.
But before you start shopping, it’s important to understand the different types of hitches you can apply to your GMC. These include:
  • Weight-carrying hitch: A weight-carrying hitch will use a hitch ball that is mounted to a step-bumper or drawbar. Or, it might be a tow-eye with a pintle hook. Because hitch balls come in a wide range of sizes, you’ll want to confirm that the ball diameter matches the coupler on whatever trailer you’ll be pulling. Also, make sure the hitch ball or tow-eye is rated at or above your vehicle’s gross trailer weight capacity. 
  • Weight-distributing hitch: These are also called load-equalizing hitches, and they’re best used for the heaviest hauling. These use a spring bar system to distribute the weight more evenly, pitching some of the trailer’s weight forward to the vehicle’s front axle and backward to the trailer’s rear axle. 
  • Fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches: The fifth-wheel setup uses a large, u-shaped hitch attached to the bed of a truck rather than a tow bar system, allowing it to perform heavy towing and trailering. A gooseneck hitch similarly is affixed to the truck bed on the underside, bolted to the frame. It uses a hitch ball to pull gooseneck trailers.

Genuine GMC trailer hitches vs. aftermarket hitches for GMC

You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of going with an OEM hitch setup from GMC versus an aftermarket retailer. While aftermarket trailering parts can be much cheaper than genuine GMC hitches, you’ll run a few risks with them.
First, GMC hitches can be installed by your GMC service center on a new vehicle or a vehicle you already own, and the parts can be covered by a limited warranty. With an aftermarket hitch, you’ll have to do the installation yourself or find someone else who can do it, and you won’t get any warranty coverage from GMC. 
On the other hand, you may find GMC’s trailering parts selection limited for some models, while aftermarket retailers open up many more options. 

Intro to trailer classes

When you’re buying a hitch and mount for your car, you want to make sure you’ve got the right trailer class for your vehicle. Make sure the hitch setup you buy is equal to or higher than the trailer rating for your vehicle. Here’s how trailer weight classes are divided: 
  • Class I: up to 2,000 lbs
  • Class II: 2,000 to 3,500 lbs
  • Class III: 3,500 to 8,000 lbs 
  • Class IV: 5,000 to 12,000 lbs 
  • Class V: 10,000 to 25,000 lbs 
For trailering that exceeds 25,000 pounds, you’ll want to get a fifth-wheel, gooseneck, or pintle hitch

The best GMC Sierra 1500 trailer hitch

While the Sierra 3500 is the most powerful of GMC’s lineup, its towing capacity is largely reserved for farm, industrial, and commercial work. But when it comes to cargo, livestock, and recreational trailering, the GMC Sierra 1500 is more than capable with a maximum trailer weight rating of 11,800 pounds. Here are the best hitches for the Sierra 1500:

The best GMC Yukon trailer hitch

If you won’t be hauling loads quite as heavy as the Sierra’s, and you’ve got a family or friends in need of passenger space, the GMC Yukon might be more your style. Here are our hitch recommendations for the Yukon:

The best GMC Canyon trailer hitch

If you prefer the feel of a pickup truck and don’t need all the passenger volume of an SUV, consider the
GMC Canyon
. It’s a little smaller and is rated to haul a little less, but it’s also more economical and efficient. Here are the best Canyon trailer hitches:

The best GMC Terrain trailer hitch

While none in the GMC lineup could be called “small,” the smallest of the bunch is the
GMC Terrain
, which also has the lowest trailering weight rating of 1,500 pounds. If you plan to do some light-duty hauling (something like an aluminum fishing boat or a motorcycle trailer), then the Terrain can get the job done if properly equipped. Here are the hitches we thought stood out:
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How to install a trailer hitch on a GMC

You can take your GMC to a service center or body shop for trailer hitch installation. Or, with the right tools and enough time, you can do the job at home. Start by gathering the supplies you’ll need, including:
  • A ratchet and ratchet extension
  • A torque wrench
  • A socket set
  • A swivel socket
  • Work gloves, safety glasses, and a work light 
The hitch you purchased for your GMC should have detailed instructions included in the packaging. Be sure to follow these thoroughly and completely. Also, take the time to look over these tips:
  • To make the job a little easier, lift your vehicle on jack stands.
  • Get someone to help you tackle the job. They can pass you tools and help you haul heavy gear. 
  • When tightening the bolts, make sure they are torqued to the specifications indicated in the instructions that came with your new hitch.

How to upgrade your GMC insurance

When you’ve got the proper hitch mounted to your GMC, you can hit the road hauling whatever it is you need to tow—as long as it's within your vehicle’s trailering capacity! But before you head out, take a minute to make sure your car insurance coverage includes everything you need. With the
app, this part is a breeze.
Jerry makes finding and switching over to a quality, affordable car insurance policy super fast and super easy. It only takes a few minutes, and you can do everything from the palm of your hand using the mobile app. Best of all, the average Jerry user saves over $800 a year on car insurance! 
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The 2022 Terrain does not come standard with a trailer hitch, and GMC doesn’t offer a tow package for the model. But, you can buy trailering accessories from GMC, or you can shop for a trailer hitch from an aftermarket retailer.
GMC Hitch Guidance is an enhancement to the manufacturer’s rear-view camera. It shows a guideline on the rear camera display, as well as an up-close view of the hitch, to help you line up to your trailer when you’re backing in. It also lets you check your trailer while driving using the rear-view camera.
Today’s travel trailers can weigh as much as 8,500 pounds, but that’s well within the Sierra 1500’s capacity of 11,800 pounds. So even if your travel trailer is loaded up with amenities and you’ve got the jet skis in tow, you should manage the load just fine as long as your Sierra 1500 is properly equipped with the right hitch and mount.
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