What Is The Payload On A Truck?

If you are thinking about hauling cargo, you need to be aware of your truck’s payload capacity. Payload capacity is the amount of weight your truck can carry safely. The payload is the cargo itself. Payload capacity is different from the towing capacity. Towing capacity is the amount of weight your truck can safely tow after you have factored in the truck’s weight and any cargo it may have on board.

Payload and towing capacity are frequently misunderstood terms. If you do not take the time to understand payload capacity, you could risk damaging your truck, your cargo, or both. Exceeding your payload capacity can cause all kinds of expensive damage. It could also put people’s lives in danger. We are going to look at some basics in this article.

What Does A Truck's Payload Mean?

As stated, a truck’s payload is the cargo it hauls. Specifically, it is the amount your truck can carry with a full fuel tank. Everything you can put in a truck is the payload. That includes gear, stuff you are hauling, people, even your dog.

To determine the truck’s payload capacity, you must first look at the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The GVWR is the total weight the vehicle can safely weigh when it is loaded. That total includes the curb weight, which is the weight when the vehicle is empty, and the cargo (including passengers) that the truck is hauling. The GVWR also includes the trailer and hitch. The manufacturer determines this number, and it can likely be found in your owner’s manual.

Next, you want to determine your truck's curb weight. Curb weight is the weight of your truck when it is empty. That means no cargo, drivers, passengers, or dogs. Additionally, curb weight does include a full tank of fuel, oil, and other fluids. To determine the curb weight, you can consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer.

You could also have your vehicle weighed. Before you do that, check out your owner’s manual and find the specific amount of oil, gas, and other fluids your truck is supposed to contain. Fill to those exact amounts and have your vehicle towed to an auto shop to be weighed. You now know your curb weight.

To get your payload capacity, you just make a simple calculation. Subtract the curb weight from the GVWR. The result will be your payload capacity. For instance, if your truck's GVWR is 7050 lbs and your curb weight is 4500 lbs, the load capacity will be 2550 lbs. That is the payload capacity; the amount of weight in cargo your truck can safely carry.

What Happens If You Exceed Truck Payload?

Do you notice that your truck has sluggish handling? If so, it might be because the added weight is putting your shocks under additional stress. Your GVWR is a specific manufacturer’s calculation based on specific parameters. Exceeding those adds undue stress to essential elements of your truck.

Your tires have a weight limit, and if you have overloaded your payload capacity, it can put unneeded pressure on your tires. That could result in a blowout. A blowout is bad enough with an empty truck. If you are loaded beyond capacity and lose control due to a blowout, you will have difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle, putting yourself, and many other people in danger. You could cause structural damage to your truck.

 If you are overloaded and going down a particularly bad stretch of roadway, or just hit a bad bump, big pothole, or even crossing train tracks, there is a real possibility of major damage. You could also damage the transmission by putting under too much stress. The best way to avoid any of these risks is to always work under the payload capacity.

What Trucks Have The Best Payload?

Whatever the maximum payload capacity you need, there is a truck that will fit the bill. If you are looking for a work truck that will go the distance, you’ll want to consider that when determining what truck you want to buy. If you only expect to carry light loads across town, investigate some of the high-quality light-duty pick-ups on the market today. If you plan on starting a hotshot business and are expecting to carry large payloads, you will want to look into some of the heavy-duty trucks, possibly with dual wheel drive.

Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge all have great vehicles to choose from. Make sure you do your research and know what you want to achieve before you sign on the dotted line. Some of these trucks have better gas mileage than others. Some have more comfortable interiors. All of that is for you to decide.

The 2019 Ford F-350 Super Duty offers a staggering 7640 lbs. max payload capacity. The 2020 Ford Super Duty’s payload capacity weighs in at 7850 lbs. These are under the standard gas engines. Of the trucks listed here, Ford holds the line with the highest maximum payload.

The Chevrolet 2020 Silverado 3500HD and Sierra 3500HD both have a max payload of 7442 lbs. That is when fitted with the 6.6-liter V8, Regular Cab, and dual wheel drive. That sure is a lot of hauling capacity.

The 2020 Dodge Ram 3500 has a max payload of 7680 lbs. The 3500 comes with multiple cab configurations, a 6'4” or 8' cargo bed, and a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. You can also specify single or dual rear wheels.

In Summary

Payload capacity will differ among different classes of trucks. For example, light-duty trucks will have a lower payload capacity than a full-sized truck. Heavy-duty will typically be able to haul more weight. Choosing the right truck for you is a matter of what you need out of a truck, so do your research and take a few test drives before you settle on one. Remember always to drive safely, follow your manufacturer's guidelines, and do not exceed your GVWR. It is wise to stay under the recommended total.