Can My Vehicle Be Towed? GMC & Chevy

Can My Car Be Towed? Chevy/GMC Edition

One of the most common questions we get as a company is some variation of "Can my vehicle be towed?" or "What do I need to make a braking system work in my car?" - and it makes a lot of sense why! There's so much information out there about flat towing that it can become very easy to get 'lost in the sauce', so to speak. That's why this series of blog posts exists - to cut through the noise and communicate the ins and outs of various vehicle makes.

Now, a quick disclaimer: This article series isn't designed to dive into the nitty gritty of every single towable model. While we may reference specific cars as examples, this series is more designed to give you general guidelines and words of wisdom when it comes to entire product lineups from car manufacturers. The things we cover here will be generally true across all flat towable models of a particular make - or, at least, true in the majority of cases. However, as with any guidance we give in this area, it's very important you review the Recreational Towing section of your specific vehicle's Owner's Manual. That's the only way to verify that the things we discuss here are applicable to your car.

The Complexity Scale

We're going to introduce something here that we call 'The Complexity Scale' - it's a quick reference to see how complex or difficult a manufacturer's lineup of vehicles is to tow.

1 is something like an older Jeep Wrangler that's completely plug-and-play (very, very easy), with 10 being the Ford CMax (which is literally impossible to tow correctly, even though it's technically "towable").

Chevy Complexity Scale

Why so high? Well, this rating does deserve some additional explanation. Chevy/GMC vehicles are far and away the most electrically complex towed vehicles in production today. However, there are some models (such as the Canyon or Colorado) that are relatively easy to tow - as long as you don't mind installing a battery disconnect (more on that later).

The specific model that brings this rating up so much is the Chevy Equinox - which, unfortunately, is the single most difficult car to tow in existence today. If we had to put that model on this scale by itself, it'd easily be a 9.5 or higher. It's not completely impossible like the CMax - but it's awfully close. This is mainly because Chevy has designed the car with several known electrical and mechanical flaws that drive its parasitic battery drain up to ridiculous levels. Additionally, they push updates to the Equinox via the cloud (which the user cannot control in any way), and some of these updates have destroyed third-party components attached to the battery (like chargers or installed supplemental brakes). To top it all off, Chevy has been incredibly obtuse about these flaws/problems, refusing to update the Owner's Manual for the car and providing little-to-no guidance for RVers on how to successfully tow their vehicle.

Sadly, the Equinox is nothing but a problem when it comes to towing. That may sound harsh - but it's true. It's probably a perfectly fine daily driver, and, if you already own one, our Customer Service team can always provide guidance to make your experience smoother. But, if you're in the market for a new towed vehicle, steer very, very far away from the Chevy Equinox. 

What Additional Equipment Do I Need To Tow?

While not every Chevy/GMC is as complex as the Equinox, they do tend to be more electrically complex than most other cars on the market. That's because, for a long time now, GMC has been trying to push the amenities in their vehicles into the luxury space (moreso than other popular manufacturers). That's all good and fine - but it does mean extra computing power is needed to control those additional features.

As a result of all of this, most Chevy/GMC vehicles need a battery disconnect - though some can get away with using a towed battery charger. I know we always preach checking your Owner's Manual, but it's especially true for any vehicle made by GMC. The reason for that is that if your Owner's Manual says to use a battery disconnect, you cannot substitute a charger for this - you must disconnect your battery. However, if your Owner's Manual doesn't specify or says not to disconnect the battery, then we recommend a charger on these cars. You'll almost assuredly end up with a dead battery if you don't.

You'll also most likely need a third-party, dedicated 12v outlet for your braking system in any Chevy/GMC vehicle. The reason is obvious in any car that requires a disconnect: That disconnect kills power to your outlets, so we have to get around that. However, even in GMC-made vehicles that don't need a disconnect, it's very common for them to either cycle power every few minutes or fully shut off after a set period of time (usually 15+ minutes). Again, we have to get around that.

So, if you're shopping for a portable braking system (like RVibrake3), you'll need either a disconnect or a battery charger, depending on what's specified by your Owner's Manual, and something like our 12v Battery Direct Kit. If you're using an installed system (like RVibrake Shadow), then you can forego the 12v Kit and charger. However, again, if your Owner's Manual says to disconnect the battery, then you'll still need to do that when using your installed braking system. 

Recommended Model

We referenced the Canyon and Colorado earlier - and that's what we're sticking with here. Obviously a truck isn't everyone's cup of tea, but, objectively speaking, it's a car we see few issues on and is relatively straightforward (we're referring to both models singularly because the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado share the same body and electrical architecture).

Our Recommendation: Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon

As long as you don't mind going through the upfront work of getting your battery disconnect installed (which this model needs), you'll be in for a fairly hassle-free experience.


All in all, while Chevy/GMC vehicles are probably the most difficult cars to tow, they're extremely popular - and there are plenty of models that function very well as a towed vehicle. They're typically more spacious than other towable vehicles and they provide a lot of technological amenities that are tough to beat.

If comfort is what you're after - and you don't mind a little more work upfront to make things function properly - absolutely consider a Chevy/GMC vehicle as your next towed*.


* Other than the Equinox. We're not trying to sound like a broken record - but if you're an RVer, avoid, avoid, avoid when it comes to this car.

Which brake is right for you? Compare now.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.