How Do I Know If My Chevy Is An LT Or LS? (Easy Guide)

Having trouble recognizing between two versions of the Chevy Silverado? Well, I’ve got your back here. As an automotive technician for the last decade, I’ve seen many people get baffled when it comes to recognizing the difference between a  Silverado LS and LT.

However, spotting the difference is not all that hard. All you have to do is check the VIN number of your vehicle. If the 8th letter of the VIN is 7, 6, C, R, or J, it’s a Silverado LT. If anything other than these letters, you can be pretty sure that it’s an LS.

Now, If you’re thinking of doing an engine swap soon, you need to be 100% certain about whether your vehicle is an LS or LT. So, bear with me while I tell you in detail how to differentiate between these two engines.

How Do I Know If My Chevy Is An LT Or LS? (Easy Guide)

Overview of LS Engine:

The term “LS” (Luxury Sport) engine actually isn’t an official term. Rather, when people casually use the term LS engine, they mean to indicate the Gen3 and Gen4 engines from General Motors’s engine lineup.

Now, the surprising thing here is that all LS engines don’t carry the RPO code “LS”. Rather, there are some LS engines that belong to the GM gen3 and Gen4 lineup but don’t have the “LS”  RPO code.

Vortec engines are a burning example of this (they are LS engines but don’t have a name starting with the “LS” term).

LS engines generally are capable of holding 700 horsepower (in the LS aluminum engines) or 1100 horsepower (in the LS iron engines).

Read also >> What Does SS Stand For Chevy? (Answer Explained)

Overview Of LT Engines:

The LT engine (Luxury Travel) is an updated lineup from General Motors after the LS lineup. These engines can be of two types: the engines that come with trucks are called EcoTec3 LT and the mid-sized engines are called LT engines

However, it’s to be noted that LT engines are just Gen5 engines from General Motors. They tend to be larger in size and more efficient in active cylinder management. And, unlike the LS engines, almost all the LT engines are 6 L engines.

Furthermore, since LT engines belong to a newer generation of engine lineup, their fuel-burning efficiency and torque-producing efficiency is ever higher than LS engines.

That’s why you can expect to have an LT engine in your vehicle if it’s a new vehicle (bought after 2016).

How To Tell If Silverado Is LS Or LT? 3 steps to follow

You can always tell if your Silverado has an LS or LT engine by inspecting the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). As a professional automotive technician, I also recommend that you inspect the engine based on visual examination as well.

#1- Checking The VIN Number:

Vehicle Identification numbers are unique numbers that are provided to each engine during manufacturing. And, this identity number contains several pieces of information regarding the engine.

For instance, you can check the 8th digit of the VIN to generally pinpoint if your Silverado has an LS or LT engine.

If your Silverado has the following letters in the 8th digit of the VIN number, it is probably an LS engine.:

Note: All LS engines don’t have “LS”  in their name. Rather, LS engines are simply just Gen3 and Gen4 GM engines.

The 8th digitEngine displacementEngine nameGeneration

Now, for your convenience, I have also listed down the letters that indicate that your engine is an LT engine (if it’s in the 8th position in the VIN number):

Note: all LT engines don’t have “LT”  in their name either. You have to recognize them by their generation.

The 8th digitEngine displacementCommon nameGeneration
C5.3LEcoTec3 L83
REcoTec3 L8B
J6.2LEcoTec3 L86

#2- Identifying By Online Tools:

In case the above-mentioned table seems a bit overwhelming to you, I have a wonderful website to help you out.  You can use this site to turn in your VIN number and find out if you’ve got an LS or LT right away.

Now, if this link doesn’t work for you, you can also use the online decoder to know the exact model of your Silverado engine. Obviously, you’re going to have to provide your VIN number to this site as well.

Also, you can utilize the website as well. On this website, you’ll have to answer some questionnaires about your engine. Consequently, this site will tell you which engine you have.

#3- Identifying By Visual Inspection:

In addition to the above-mentioned methods, you can always use visual inspection to distinguish between the LS and LT. For example, safety will be much stricter and improved in the LT engines. On the other hand, LS engines are old engines. That’s why the safety mechanism is backdated in these as well.

Furthermore, a major distinction between the LT and LS is that LT engines will have a roof rail. And the LS will not have a roof rail. Moreover, you’ll also notice that the LT has a powered tailgate, which the LS doesn’t. Rather, the LS engines have a simple tailgate.

5 key differences between a Chevy Silverado LT and LS

From a general point of view, most people can’t pinpoint the differences between the Silverado LS and LT. But I, as a veteran professional, know very well in which areas these engines differ.

Luckily for you, I’ve listed down the major differences (based on engine specs) right in this discussion.

1. Generation Difference:

The Silverado LS engines are Gen3 and Gen4 engines from General Motors.

On the other hand, LT engines are upgraded versions of the LS engines. Consequently, LT engines are Gen5 engines.

2. Engine Displacement:

The engine displacement capacity of LS engines and LT engines differ a lot. LS engines are mainly available in the market in 2 base models:

  •  4.3 L
  •  5.3 L

In turn, LT engines come in 5 different versions:

  • 6.6L
  • 6.6 L diesel type
  • 5.3 L
  • 2.7 L four-cylinder
  • 3.0 L six-cylinder diesel type

3. Horsepower Difference:

The most prominent difference between the LS and the LT engines lies in their horsepower capacity.

Aluminum LS engines can hold about 700 horsepower, and iron LS engines (for trucks) can hold about 1100 horsepower.

However, aluminum LT engines can provide up to 900 horsepower and iron LT engines (for trucks) can provide up to 1200 horsepower.

4. Difference In LED Light:

Both the Silverado LS and LT have great LED lights. However, since Silverado LS are from an older generation, they do not provide fog lights for easier travel in the winter.

But, the Silverado LT comes with fog lights, so travelers can easily travel in a foggy winter.

5. Difference In Passenger Capacity:

Since the Silverado LS is not manufactured for luxury travel, it can generally house up to 6 people in a vehicle.

On the other hand, Silverado LT vehicles are made to provide a luxury experience to the user. That’s why they can generally house up to 9 people.

The Next Generation of Chevy V8 Engines: LS vs. LT >> Check out the video below:

people also ask (FAQs)

1. What are the Chevy Silverado trim levels?

As of 2022, Chevy Silverado SUVs are available in 8 trim levels:

  • Work truck (WT)
  • High country
  • LTZ
  • LT
  • RST
  • Custom
  • Custom trail boss
  • LT trail Boss

2. Which is better LS or LT engine for Silverado?

Between LS and LT, the Silverado LT engines are obviously the better choices because they have a much smoother automatic transmission feature. And, it’s also because LT engines belong to a newer generation lineup.

3. How much horsepower does an LS engine have?

In terms of horsepower, a Silverado LS engine can provide up to 700 HP (aluminum LS engines) and 1100 HP (iron LS engines for trucks).

4. How much horsepower does an LT engine have?

Silverado LT engines will generally have the capability to provide up to 900 HP (aluminum LT engines) and 1200 HP (iron LT engines for trucks).

Final Words

In simple terms, you can easily find out If a car has an LT engine or LS by examining and utilizing the VIN number. Plus, you can also employ other methods that I have mentioned above to do this.

Now, in comparison, LS engines are inferior to LT engines in terms of engine performance, the efficiency of fuel consumption, torque handling, etc. Not only that, LT engines are much safer to use as well.

And, considering the interior or exterior upgrades, Silverado LT engines are better winners than LS engines in every aspect. Also, LT engines are simply a better choice because there is a newer generation of engines.

Therefore, when it comes to making engine choices, I suggest that you pick a Silverado that has an LT engine. 

Who Worked on This post?



Anderson is an experienced auto mechanic with over 10 years in the industry. He is skilled in diagnosing and repairing a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to trucks and SUV

Syed Ahmed


Syed Ahmed has been working as an auto mechanic editor for the past five years. He has a background in mechanical engineering and a love for all things automotive

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