How to Determine the Amount of Weight a Pickup Truck Can Carry

Most of us, at some point or another, have passed a truck on the highway loaded to the brim with stuff. Overloading a truck can be dangerous, not only for you but for others on the road as well. It can also seriously damage your vehicle.  If you plan on carrying items in your truck bed, it’s important to know your truck’s payload capacity and knowing how to avoid the common hauling mistakes. The payload capacity is the amount of cargo your truck can safely carry after you’ve filled up the tank with gas and topped off all the fluids. To determine your truck’s payload capacity, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Determine Your Truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

GVWR is the total amount of weight of your truck can carry.  This includes the weight of the vehicle itself, all the necessary fluids for operation (gasoline, diesel, oil and so on) as well as any cargo and passengers.  Your vehicle’s manufacturer calculates  and is located in your owner’s manual or on the vehicle’s door frame. You can also look online to find your vehicle’s GVWR.

Step 2: Determine Your Truck’s Curb Weight

Curb weight is how much your truck weighs on its own without any passengers or cargo. This measurement includes a full tank of gas and any other fluids that are needed to keep your vehicle functioning properly.

There are a few ways to determine your truck’s curb weight. You can look at your owner’s manual or you could consult your vehicle’s manufacturer. Another option is to have your truck weighed.  To do so, start by looking at your owner’s manual to determine the factory-specified fluid amounts required for your truck. Fill your vehicle in accordance with this information. Next, have your vehicle towed to an auto garage and have your truck weighed as is, without any added cargo or accessories. This will give you the curb weight of your vehicle.

Step 3: Calculate Your Truck’s Payload Capacity

Remember, payload capacity is the amount of stuff your truck can safely carry after you’ve filled the tank with gas, like a Kayak or Refrigerator. Payload capacity can be determined by an easy calculation. Simply subtract your truck’s curb weight from the GVWR to get the payload capacity. For example, say your truck’s GVWR is 7050 lbs and your truck’s curb weight is 4500 lbs. Its load capacity would be 2550 lbs. Whatever the payload capacity is, don’t exceed it. That’s the amount of weight your pickup truck can safely carry.

Does lifting a truck affect payload?

It depends on how big the truck is and how heavy it is to lift. Lifting a 4,000lbs truck (with 400-lb plate) will weigh roughly 1,000lbs. Adding a 1,000lb tank (with 400lb plate) would increase the payload weight by only 100lbs. On the other hand, lifting a 5,000lbs truck (with 500-lb plate) will increase the payload to 4,000lbs, but it will also take up more room on the trailer. The extra space taken up by the tank will require an additional 5 to 6 square feet to be added to the frame to accommodate the tank. Therefore the storage space on the truck is reduced.

How can I increase the payload on my truck?

On a standard by-pass axle rear wheel drive truck, the maximum allowable payload is no more than 23,500 lbs. On a by-pass axleshaft rear wheel drive truck the maximum allowable payload is no more than 45,000 lbs. (depending upon axle plate/ballast combination and vehicle frame weight)

The actual payload for a truck may be up to 3,500 lbs. more than that. At each point along the truck, the payload amount is changed by the absolute value of the angle of the axle and the number of axles. Some trucks also have an input (stiffened, elongated) axle plate that adds a minimum amount of additional axle.

How to calculate truck payload?

To calculate your truck weight, use this handy Truck: Weight Calculator to get the maximum payload capacity of your truck:

Pound-forces can be expressed in two ways. By mass-weight, as kg-m and lbs-ton:
b = mass-weight (kg)
c = force-unit (lb-ton)

To calculate the following figures, you first need to find the axle-length of the truck. Then, you must convert the axle-length to ton-kilometers and to cubic meters.

BF = 2100 – 25 * length

What is payload on a truck?

Load on a truck is the weight of the trailer and the weight of the vehicle to be loaded, as well as any box, pillow, or other additional accessory that is carried with it. This can include boxes, toys, couch cushions, books, video games, spare batteries, etc.

Where to find payload on truck?

The place to look is the following: In the middle (bottom) of the truck body. Also in the same area, the harness for tie down straps is around the bed.

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