Chevy Express 3500 Towing Capacity: How Much Can a Van Pull?

When you like to travel, using a towable RV is one of the best options to see the country. They are cheaper to buy, can fit in many places Class A RVs can’t, and provide you with a level of luxury you may not get at home. Just make sure not to get one too heavy for your tow vehicle.

How much weight can a Chevy 3500 van pull? This Chevy van seems to be rated to be able to pull up to 9700 pounds of weight. But that doesn't mean that you need to get near that limit. Don’t forget to add the weight of your passengers to the tow weight as that will influence how heavy a trailer you can pull.

To learn more about the Chevy Express 3500 towing capacity, etc., just continue to read our article. it has the information you need in order for you to pick the best vehicle for your tow needs.

How Much Weight Can a Chevy 3500 Van Pull?


The tow weight of this van will depend a lot on the year it was made as well as the engine type. There are a couple of 2015 diesel-powered vans of this model and they can pull about 9700 pounds of weight while one of the two 2016 diesels can pull up to 10,000 pounds. The Mercedes option the same year pulls less than 5000 pounds.

However, the 4 2020 diesel motors can tow between 9200 and 9700. You should find that almost all of the 3500 series vans will tow in just over 9000 to 10,000-pound range no matter the year they were made. The precise weight will depend on the year and the axle rating.

Even the 2006 model seems to be able to tow 9700 pounds which gives you a little leeway on the type of trailer you can use on your RV exploration vacations. Also, you may want to avoid the 2 wheel drive vehicles and stick with the 4 wheel just in case you get caught in some sticky situations.

Chevy Express Towing Package

This model from Chevrolet has been around for about 25 years approx. and sometimes they are upgraded and sometimes they are not. For example, the passenger van option has a lower towing capacity than the cargo van.

The towing package you get for the former may be a bit different than the one for the latter. The reason we say that is that there seem to be several towing packages available for the 3500 series and they seem to be year dependent.

The owner’s manual for the 2021 3500 speaks more on finding the right hitch and hooking up the electrical system properly than it does talk about towing packages. The same goes for the 2020 owner’s manual.

You should talk to your mechanic or dealer on which is the right towing package for your vehicle as there are subtle differences between the years, as well as different trailers, which make using one over the other a little impossible or at least very hard to do.

Just keep in mind that you, the owner, are responsible for obtaining the right towing equipment for the trailer you want to haul.

Express Passenger Van vs Cargo Van Towing Capacity


One point of trivia is that between the 2500 and the 3500 in both categories, the towing capacities are the same. That is when you compare passenger van to passenger van and cargo van to cargo van.

For the passenger van, the 3500 can only tow up to 9600 pounds, give or take a hundred pounds. Then the cargo version can tow a heavier weight but it is not that much more. Its capacity is 10,000 pounds.

This capacity will change from year to year as well as engine size as we found some 2020 3500 vans with a 4 cylinder engine that was only rated to haul 9200 pounds while another option with the same size of motor was up to 9600.

To get an accurate capacity rating, you need to pick the 3500 van you are most interested in and check the specs before you contact the dealer or owner. The reason we say that is because the 2016 models had 8 cylinder motors and could haul more weight.

Doing a generic search on all the 3500s will not give you the information you need to make a smart purchase.

Chevy Express Diesel Towing Capacity

The same information we already provided will apply here as most of the specs we saw were for diesel engines and not gas-powered ones. The 2018 3500 CV diesel class engine only can tow about 6,800 and a tow package is required.

Then the 2018 3500 long wheelbase CV only got rated for 6,500 pounds and a towing package was required for that model as well. If you are looking for a specific model and engine then this website may help you get the information you need.

It covers the Chevy Express from 2009 to 2018. You just click on the drop-down menu to get the model and make that fits the van you are interested in and once that is done, simply view the results.

We checked the 2021 Express at Car and driver’s website but they only list gas models for some reason. Some of their tow capacities reach 10,000 pounds. You may have to do some searching to get the specific tow information you want for the specific diesel model you want to buy.

Chevy 2500 Van Towing Capacity


When just doing a generic search on towing capacities, you will find that the most recent models are supposed to get the same tow rating as the 3500. The passenger vans are rated for up to 9600 to 9700 pounds and the cargo vans are rated to tow up to 10,000.

As we have found throughout our research, those capacities may change depending on the year the 2500 was made and what type of engine is under the hood. The 2012 diesel 2500 Express was given a 10,000-pound rating as well. You can check the Car and Driver website to see all the specs of all the Chevy 2500s that have been built. Just click this link to get to it.

It is impossible or at least difficult to list every 2500 model and its towing capacity as there were quite a few made. The good news is that Chevy did not upgrade its vans as often as it did its more popular vehicles so you may see the same rating for multiple years.

Chevy Astro Van Towing Capacity

If you are wanting to tow a nice 5th wheel or even a standard travel trailer, the news is not good for this model of Chevrolet vans. The Astro is not made for towing and that is the best way we could put that information.

This model is rated to tow up to 5000 pounds only and that towing capacity is linked to braked capacity. The words braked capacity refers to the fact that a trailer braking system has been installed to help with stopping the rig.

This is not good news especially when you want to haul your nice 6000-pound fishing boat or if you have a 7,000-pound travel trailer you want to take out for the weekend. If you do not have that trailer braking system, then Astro’s towing rating goes down quite a bit.

Chevy G20 Van Towing Capacity


Like the Astro, the news for this 1990s van is not good either. It was also not made to tow a lot of different types of trailers around the country or even to your get-away cabin in the next county.

The towing capacity for the 1995 G20 ranged between 5000 and 6500 pounds depending on the model you purchased. That rating differed depending on if you had the 4.3 V-6, the 6.5 V-8 diesel, the 5.0 V-8, or the 5.7 V-8 engine under the hood.

The 1991 year had more models to choose from but the range was a little wider than the 1995 models. Those years you could buy one G20 that was rated for 4000 pounds or one that went up to 7500 pounds. Again, the type of engine played a role in setting those tow rating ranges.

If you want to check other G20 models out just click on this website and put in the details you need and click search.

What Van Can Tow 10000 Pounds?

There are two vans that Chevy makes that reach the 10,000-pound towing marker. They are the 2500 and the 23500 cargo vans. All the other vans tow less than that amount of weight.

Chevy’s thinking seems to be that if you want to tow more than that amount of weight, you should upgrade to their trucks or heavy-duty vehicles, That brings you to the Silverado, The 1500, not HD, tows the lightest of this class at 12,500 pounds.

The Silverado 2500 HD is next at just over 18,000 towing pounds while the 3500 HD is at 25,000+ towing weight. The 2017 Chevy Express was at 10,000 and it was the only one of 9 that reached that level.

Ford, Dodge, and even Mercedes were well below the 8,000 pound level with Nissan coming close at 9,400 approx. vans are not being made to tow but to haul items so you will see them with very low towing capacities with a couple down around 2000 towing weight limits.

What Van Has the Highest Towing Capacity?


For Chevy, you already know the 3 models that reach the 10,000 mark, the 2500, 3500 cargo vans, and the Express. Other van makers do not even come close to that level as even Mercedes Sprinter tops out at 7500 pounds.

The Dodge Ram Promaster reaches only 5100 pounds while the Ford transit matches the Sprinter at 7500 pounds. Then the Nissan NV 2500 has a towing capacity of 9400 pounds. The only van that matches the Chevy models is the GMC Savana.

That model of van also hits the 10,000-pound mark and that is no surprise since GMV owns Chevrolet. The Nissan NV looks more like the old Chevy Suburban mixed truck van model made back in the 70s to 80s era. It looks more like a truck than a van but has that sliding third door on its right side as all vans have.

Can a Chevy Express Pull a Camper?

The Express can pull a camper. The key to achieving this objective would be to check the weight of the camper first before hooking it up. If the camper is going to be heavier than 10,000 pounds then the answer would be no.

If the weight of the camper plus the weight of supplies and passengers do not exceed 10,000 pounds then the answer would be yes but do not get too close to that limit as you would be pushing your luck.

Make sure to check the specs first and the engine size to make sure you have the power to tow a camper. Factor in all the people and gear you want to take along with you to make sure your Express can handle it all safely.

Then make sure the rig can handle the roads if you go off-road for an adventure.

Some Final Words

Two weight capacities are essential facts that you need to take into consideration if you like to go with a trailer on your vacations. To get the weight limit you need, sometimes you have to forget luxury and go with the plain Jane cargo vans.

There are not a lot of van options out there when you want to tow a lot of weight. You may have to upgrade to an HD truck.

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