Pickup Trucks 101: What You Need To Know About Weight Ratings

Pickup Trucks 101: Truck Weight Ratings

Because pickup trucks are frequently used to tow and haul, there’s perhaps no more important or confusing statistic to consider when purchasing one than its weight ratings. Accidentally overloading a truck can lead to a dangerous situation, not just for you but for others on the road. It can also lead to premature wear and tear, or damage to the truck’s powertrain, frame and running gear.

Here are the terms you need to know.

Curb weight: The weight of the pickup, including a full tank of fuel, engine fluids (coolant, oil) and all standard equipment. It does not include passengers, cargo or optional equipment.

Cargo weight: Cargo weight is any weight added to the curb weight, including cargo placed in the cab or bed, optional equipment and trailer tongue weight if you’re towing.

Tongue weight: Tongue weight refers to the amount of trailer weight pressing down on the trailer hitch. It's expressed in percent of total trailer weight, so when you see 10 percent tongue weight that means 10 percent of the weight of the trailer you're going to pull. Too much tongue load can push the vehicle down in back, potentially damaging or decreasing the effectiveness of the rear suspension and causing the front wheels to lift to the point where traction, steering response and braking can be severely decreased. Too little tongue weight can reduce rear-wheel traction and cause instability, leading to trailer sway or jackknifing.

Gross vehicle weight rating: The maximum allowable weight for a fully loaded pickup, including passengers, cargo and trailer tongue weight. A truck’s gross vehicle weight (measured by driving a loaded truck onto a scale) must never exceed the GVWR.

Ford F-450 Towing a Triple Axle 20,000-pound Trailer

Gross combined weight rating: The maximum allowable weight for a pickup pulling a trailer, including cargo and passengers, that the truck can handle without risking damage. A truck’s gross combined weight (measured by driving a loaded truck and trailer onto a scale) must never exceed the GCWR. In some states, you may be required to have a commercial driver's license if you tow more than 10,000 pounds.

It’s important to know that a truck’s brake system is typically rated for operation only at the GVWR, not the maximum GCWR. Most states mandate trailers more than 1,500 pounds be equipped with separate brake systems that can be integrated with the truck, so the driver can control both the truck’s and the trailer’s brakes simultaneously or separately (see our story on trailer-brake controllers).

If you’re wondering where you can find these specs for the truck you’re considering, you should be able to find a truck’s GVWR and GCWR on the safety compliance certification label in the driver’s-side door area and in the owner’s manual.

Quick formulas to remember:

Curb weight + cargo weight + passengers = gross vehicle weight

Gross vehicle weight + loaded trailer weight = gross combined weight

Dodge Ram 2500 on a CAT scale to measure gross weight


can I haul a 5th wheel (14K) on my Ram 2500

i have a 2005 f150 what is the maximum weight i can tow? is 4050 ibs too much?

can anyone tell me what my 2010 ford f-150 can haul when i purchased it the dealer says 9000lbs max for travel trailers and 10000lbs in fifth wheel?but every book on weights is different at travel trailer dealers.even fords web site is miss leading they say 8400lbs 9700lbs.going to by a new travel trailer.8000lbs will i be ok.

@Rick - what kind of truck do you have? My 2010 F150 SuperCrew 5.4 with 3.55 gears (no max tow)is rated at 9,500. I didn't look at the 5th wheel specs.
I wouldn't tow a 8,000 lb trailer behind a 1/2 ton. 10% tongue weight would put you at 800 on the truck's tow hitch. Mine is rated for 1450 in the box. That doesn't leave you with much cargo capacity on the truck.
You also have to factor in all of your camping gear, clothes etc. Most trailers can carry 1,500 lb or more. Your 8,000 lb trailer then is 9,500. You also have to consider the aerodynamic drag. A 8,000 lb trailer has a huge frontal area. It is what 29 - 33 ft long?
You'd be safer to look at 25 ft trailers in the 5,500 lb range. That would give you a 7,000 loaded weight with 700 lb tongue weight. That still gives you a margin of 750 lb for passengers and gear in the pickup.
You should check into what the maximum tongue weight is for your truck.
Where to you plan on towing? You might get away with a bigger trailer on flatter terrain or if you only tow short distances.

how much weight can I put on the bed of my truck 1996 Mazda pickup B 3000

Hi, I have a question ,, I'm looking at a 01 gmc Sierra hd classic 2wd with the long wheel base 182" I think. Has a dump rack body. If I pulled a trailer with a 10,000 pound machine behind would that be legal?

can Anyone tell me what a 1971 mitchell and son overhead camper weights? Wanna say 11' and I gotta 04 tahoe lookin 2 get pickup bed trailer 4 it. How bad of an idea is that?

Can I put an 1800 lb cabover camper on my half ton Silverado? It sticks out about a foot and a half (if I leave the tailgate down, not much past that). If so, what kind of anchoring system is recommended?

I have a half ton dodge ram 2010 will it pull a 7500 lb camper

just a random thought... up above, Nissan Xterra... carrying 2 tons? are you an idiot? highly doubtful it could carry a third of that without crouching too much...

that being said all this talk about an f 150 carrying 2000 pounds easy, I load trucks all day every day of the week... a pallet of concrete usually weighs 2800 pounds, 35 bags@80#'s each... plus the pallet, the most I usually ever get loaded safely is about 1800 pounds in a half-ton, unless you have modified suspension you're going to jack it up.

when comparing the makes it always seems dodge and ford full tons squat the least when loading a pallet of concrete, though the dodge usually looks like it could handle a second pallet...

chevy makes a good truck too, I've nothing against any of these brands, but I lean towards dodge as my own truck is one, and the other dodge pulls our 40' trailer pretty easily.

I happen to came by and found this very interesting. I never knew there were different type of weight specifications. And it's good because it will help me find the right term while doing some transport. Thanks!

this is to Fred the toyota lover,
the toyota is a nice car\truck, but it is not heavy enough to compeate with any of our american trucks. commercials are full of %$#*. im sure your 4500 sq foot home looks great with the rockies in the background. My question for you is... if you can afford that kind of american real estate why dont you buy american? im sure i have the answer already....
you voted for the moron in office, well FU!# you and your presedent. P.S. your ram was a piece of SH$! too.

One thing to remember about having your rear end sagging low to the ground and your front end up high, is that in addition to the poor steering and braking control of the front wheels, is that if you're driving at night, your headlights will appear to be on bright to oncoming traffic. That's a sure way to piss them off and have them thinking you're a jerk.

I have a 1999 4x4 Dodge Ram 2500 truck with a short bed. I live in the Bahamas where the cost of licencinig any vehicle over 5000 lbs just increased about 300%---I am told by the local traffic authority that my truck weighs about 5280Lbs according to factory specs.--------does anybody out there really know?

I have a 1 ton GMC with a GVWR of 13200 with the cargo I have on the bed of the truck my GVWR of 13500 does that put me in a DOT claas??

Have a Silverado 2007 Max 6.0l
Getting a new camper 8800 pounds
Our old camper 7500 pounds my
Truck pulled just fine most the time
We got the box of the truck loaded down
Adding 1300 from the new camper do you think I'll have issues
I've been looking at the Ford150 eco-boost
Financing a new truck right now it's kind of question

I know this is an old posting, but I need to haul 2 tons of gravel in my 2004 Ram hemi qc about 15 miles or so. It has the towing package on it, and in the past I've hauled 1.5 tons of material.

I have a 2001 Dodge Ram with the pulling package. I have been pulling a 27' camper. The back of the truck really sits down in back, as far as I can tell it's not exceeding the amount of weight the truck will pull according to the manual. What can I do to correct this short of another truck. I use an equalizer and sway bars. Thanks Dale

I need a truck ( Ford ) that will haul 7000 LBS ,what would I need ? f 350 450 or 550 ?

i have a 2002 dodge ram, could it tow a mobile home? its small 2bed, 2baths. i think, but could i be able to tow it?

The reason for a Ford commercial saying a Ford is bought every 43 seconds is because one breaks down and they are cheap enough to apparently by another one. Im just repeating what the commercial is saying..... I believe it's MOPAR OR NO CAR (truck)... Yes i drive a mopar the 1996 indy pace truck. And nothing has ever gone wrong or broken down... Yes paint is coming off but that happened to all 96year models. Bad batch of primer.. And my dash is cracked into like six pieces. Other that that she run and drives great. It has 225 435miles on it. I put in e3 plugs. I Change the oil. Keep tires aired up and rotated and that is it. Knock on wood haven't had too fix our replace anything yet.

I will take your tundra challenge, I have a f-250 power stroke and have beat several tundras.

Just bought a 2015 Silverado 1/2 ton. Can I haul a 27ft Impact trailer. 6885 ship weight hitch weight 830 lbs

Just bought a 2015 Silverado 1/2 ton. Can I haul a 27ft Impact trailer. 6885 ship weight hitch weight 830 lbs

I have a Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab with a 5.7 liter Hemi , i was wondering if it would be safe to haul a 1988 Chevy Silverado on a UHAUL trailer for about 100 miles. I have the 6.1 rated transmission just wanted to see what anyones thoughts were

Tundra trucks are better then any other truck. I had a 2014 tundra and I was pulling 3500 pounds of dirt in a ez dumper, and did just fine. It never slipped a tire.

When extra long load extends over cab roof, how much weight is safe to load onto Cab Roof of truck using a roof mounted rack?Would using a rubber pad Instead of rack be okay? I have Ram1500 crew cab Eco diesel.

I have a 2008 dodge ram 3/4 tone I want to fill the box with water for a country festival rough math it should be just under 4000 pounds won't be driving with it do you think it well damage my truck

Hi be gentle guys haven't been on the site before I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota quad cab short bed it has a Reese hitch my GV WR is 5680 pounds I'm wanting to know what kind of camper I could Hall safely thank you

I have a 06 tundra with a 4in lift and 35x12.5 tires.. what is the max lbs I can put in the bed? and im looking to get a camper what it the most I can pull?

Can I haul 1000 lbs or gravel 35 miles without ant problems new tires 2007 dodge dakota

Just went through some off the same stuff here in Wisconsin. Have an 08 F250 Crew Cab, went in to register, the guy at the counter listed it as a "light truck". I told him I am sure I needed truck plates, he told me it shouldn't weigh more than 6000lbs. Needless to say another trip back to the DMV today, I'm sitting around 8700lbs, without anything in the bed... YES it's got some modifications and add ons. BUT was wondering because I see it all the time do they ever check your plates versus the vehicle on NON-commercial vehicles?

Only asking because I have my CDL (reason I was worried about plates being wrong), and 1 time in ten years hauling was a little overweight at a scale and remember I didn't like the cost of a mistake.

Guess just wondering anyone ever been pulled over with a pick-up overweight.....??? Again just see the mis-classification here on almost all the trucks.

If my truck is rated to haul 20k
I bought a toy hauler and weighed the trailer and 2 passagers and the truck and it's 19 and change, I think 19,1xx
If I add out 2 atv's and possibly a 3rd passenger it will put my over by about 2k.
I don't haul all the time, just trips in summer for camping so a few per season.

How bad is it on the truck to be over this much?

2012 dodge ram 2500

Sorry. It's a Dodge diesel and towing a 5th wheel

i need to know how much a s10 2.2 engine and it is 1999 and a stick

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