There’s nothing quite like a loaded ute that’s ready to tackle any job or adventure. However, before you get excited and start loading up your gear, it’s important to understand what your payload capacity is. Payload capacity is the maximum weight your vehicle can safely and legally carry when fully loaded, including passengers, equipment and accessories. Knowing this limit is vital to avoid overloading, which can lead to serious issues like vehicle damage, accidents and voided warranties. Understanding your ute’s payload capacity ensures safe and efficient use, helping you get the most out of your vehicle without any unwanted complications.

what does Payload Capacity mean

When considering your ute’s payload, it’s important to understand a few key terms:

  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): This is the maximum your vehicle can weigh when fully loaded, as specified by the manufacturer. GVM figures are usually found on the vehicle’s compliance plate or owner’s manual.
  • Gross Combined Mass (GCM): This is the total weight of your vehicle and any trailers it may be towing.
  • Tare Mass: The weight of an empty standard vehicle with all fluids but only 10L of fuel.
  • Kerb Mass: Similar to Tare Mass but with a full tank of fuel and no accessories.
  • Payload: The maximum load your vehicle can carry as specified by the manufacturer. To calculate it, subtract the Kerb Mass from the Gross Vehicle Mass. What’s left is the amount of weight you can load into it.

Ford F-150 payload capacity

For example, consider a Ford F-150 XLT payload capacity:

GVM = 3265kg
Kerb Weight = 2471kg
Payload = 794kg

Understanding these figures will help ensure that you use your ute safely, legally and effectively.


Factors That Affect Payload Capacity

Several factors can influence the payload capacity of a ute, including:

  • Vehicle make and model: Different utes have varying payload capacities. For instance, a Toyota Hilux payload capacity will differ from that of a Ford F-150 payload capacity.
  • Chassis and suspension: A stronger chassis and suspension system can support more weight. Vehicles with reinforced frames and heavy-duty suspension are better suited for carrying heavy loads.
  • Dual Cab vs Single Cab: Dual Cab utes typically have a lower payload capacity compared to Single Cab models due to the additional weight of the extra cabin space.
  • Axle load rating: The maximum weight that each axle can support affects the overall payload capacity. Overloading an axle can lead to uneven weight distribution and increased wear and tear on a vehicle.
  • Accessories and modifications: Adding accessories such as bull bars, winches or toolboxes can reduce the available payload capacity. It’s essential to account for the weight of all of these additions when calculating your ute’s load capacity.

How To Determine The Weight Limit For Your Ute’s Tray

To determine the weight limit for your ute’s tray, follow these steps:

  • Check the owner’s manual: The manufacturer’s manual provides specific details about your vehicle’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) and gross combined mass (GCM).
  • Identify the GVM: The GVM is the total weight your vehicle can carry, including the weight of the vehicle itself, passengers, fuel, accessories and equipment. Subtract the kerb weight (the weight of the vehicle without any load) from the GVM to determine the payload capacity.
  • Consider the GCM: If you plan to tow a trailer, the GCM becomes important. The GCM is the maximum combined weight of your vehicle plus the trailer. Ensure the combined weight of your loaded ute and trailer does not exceed this limit.
  • Calculate the payload: A reminder to use this formula:

Payload Capacity = GVM − Kerb Weight

This will give you the maximum weight your ute tray can safely carry.


Tips For Safely Loading And Distributing Weight On Your Ute

  • Distribute weight evenly: Ensure the load is evenly distributed across the tray to maintain balance and stability.
  • Center heavy items: Place the heaviest items in the centre of the tray, over or in front of the rear axle, to minimise strain on the suspension and chassis.
  • Secure the load: Use straps, ropes or nets to secure the load and prevent items from moving all over the place during transit.
  • Avoid overloading: Never exceed the payload capacity as it can compromise vehicle handling and safety.
  • Regular inspections: Periodically check the condition of your ute and its components, such as the suspension, tyres and brakes, to ensure they are in good working order.

Consequences Of Exceeding Payload Capacity

Exceeding the payload capacity of your ute can lead to serious consequences:

  • Vehicle damage: Overloading can cause excessive wear and tear on the suspension, brakes and tyres, leading to some very costly repairs.
  • Reduced handling and stability: An overloaded vehicle is harder to control, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Legal issues: Driving an overloaded vehicle can result in fines and penalties, and in some cases can void your vehicle or tray warranty, as well as void insurance if damage has occurred due to overloading.
  • Increased fuel consumption: Carrying excess weight can significantly reduce fuel efficiency, leading to higher operating costs.
  • Safety hazards: Overloading can lead to tyre blowouts, brake issues and loss of vehicle control, posing a significant risk to you and others.

Understanding your ute’s payload capacity and adhering to it is essential for maintaining the safety, performance and longevity of your vehicle. By keeping all the above factors top of mind, you can avoid overloading to ensure a safe and trouble-free journey for you, your loved ones and others on the road.

Ready to upgrade your ute to handle heavy-duty loads? Check out Norweld’s ute trays and get a quote today. Norweld’s trays are designed to offer maximum strength and durability, making them the perfect choice for anyone in need of a reliable, versatile and durable heavy-duty ute tray.

We have Norweld-owned branches in Cairns, Townsville, Newcastle, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and various agents around the country. Get in touch with our friendly and experienced team to organise a quote today.

Get a Quote

Finance options available