With the increasing needs of logistic services, we are seeing more cargo being transported globally more than ever before. With that said, there an infinite number of ways of loading up a truck; much of it is common sense, but the professional way is always best to ensure the safety of the cargo being moved.

With more and more load being moved, trucks are loaded and dispatched with very little attention being paid to cargo arrangement, the vehicle’s weight classification and safety of the logistical operation.

With summer on us, towing and hauling of recreational trailers and toys a common sight on the roads every weekend.  The same rules and common sense applies.

What do you need to know?

The truck’s weight classification

The knowledge and understanding of a vehicle’s weight classification is very important before fitting it with a camper, trailer or watercraft. In many cases, the appearance of a truck with a weight rating of half a ton is similar to that of one ton, but this does not mean you can load the half ton truck the same way you load the one ton truck.

You may have noticed a few numbers on your vehicle or in the Owner’s manual that are very important to note whenever hauling or towing:

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – is the maximum amount specified by the vehicle manufacturer for the total weight of the vehicle and any cargo (including people in the cab, not just the pickup bed) to be carried.

GVCR (Gross Vehicle Combined Rating) – hauling a trailer?  This is very important to you.  This number specifies the maximum total weight of the vehicle and trailer(s) attached. Note that this number can be less than total of the vehicle’s GVWR and the trailer’s GVWR!

Curb weight – The current total weight of the vehicle with all fluids and normal operating gear but without passengers, cargo, etc.

TARE – Almost identical to Curb weight, but with only a small amount of fuel in the tank.  Trailer TARE is the weight of the unloaded trailer.

Payload – Take the maximum GVWR and subtract the Curb Weight.  This left over amount is the most that can be additionally loaded onto a vehicle.  Remember that this is not just what goes in the truck bed, but includes all passengers and cargo in the cab of the vehicle too.

GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) – There are actually two GAWRs for your truck: FR (Front) and RR (rear) which signify each axle. The GAWR includes the weight of the components, as measured at the tires. Typically, the rear axle rating is slightly higher, in accommodation of payload. Rear GAWR may be close to, but is not the same as payload capacity.

GTW (Gross Trailer Weight) – This is the total trailer weight when fully loaded.

Tongue Weight – When you tow, the tongue weight is the downward force the trailer applies to the hitch. Tongue weight will typically fall between 9 and 15 percent of the GTW. A proper tongue weight is important for safety reasons. Too light, and the trailer could be in danger of coming off the hitch. Too heavy, and the towing vehicle’s steering could be adversely affected.

Load cargo correctly

Correct loading protects both the cargo and the truck / trailer. The rule of thumb when it comes to loading is always to place the heaviest cargo as far forward in your truck as possible, balancing the cargo on both sides (left and right).  Having cargo sit behind the rear axle of the truck may cause the front end of the truck to have less weight on it and drastically affect braking and steering (and safety!)

Secure all the cargo securely using bungee cords, ratchet straps, cargo net or any other device that will keep the cargo from moving during transit.  Ensure that the safe capacity of your straps is higher than the weight of the cargo!

Loose cargo such as dirt, gravel and sand should be loaded on the front part of your truck bed then uniformly spread towards the rear to be as balanced as possible. All loose cargo needs to be covered to prevent being blown out of a trailer or truck bed. Weight of certain items like gravel or sand can be deceiving. Do your research on your cargo’s weight before it gets loaded to make sure you aren’t exceeding your vehicles GVWR.

There is a lot to know here to haul safely.  If you are ever unsure, we at Latium are always here to advise and lend a helping hand.  Contact us for more details!