Truck Payload

Your truck's payload is going to be much heavier than other types of vehicles, so knowing how the truck is classified will help you determine what amount is safe.
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Your truck's payload is going to be much heavier than other types of vehicles, so knowing how the truck is classified will help you determine what amount is safe.

What you consider payload for a truck is going to be considerably different than what you carry in a car or SUV. You probably wouldn't carry long wooden boards for your house's reconstruction inside a small station wagon. At the same time, chances are you don't need a big, heavy-duty truck to move a few bags of groceries.

For the most part, a truck's payload is typically going to consist of heavier cargo. It's important to note that trucks in the United States are classified according to their maximum gross vehicle weight rating. There are actually two ways we can look at this: by class or by category, although both are related to each other. Weight classes, determined by the U.S. government, divide maximum truck GVWR into eight clas­ses:

Weight Class GVWR
Class 1 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms)
Class 2 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms)
Class 3 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms)
Class 4 16,000 pounds (7,258 kilograms)
Class 5 19,500 pounds (8,845 kilograms)
Class 6 26,000 pounds (11,793 kilograms)
Class 7 33,000 pounds (14,969 kilograms)
Class 8 Anything higher than 33,000 pounds

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) also groups these classes into broader categories. Classes one and two are considered light-duty trucks, classes three through five are medium-duty trucks, while everything in class six and above is classified as a heavy-duty truck. Knowing where your truck falls within these categories will make it easier for you to determine how much payload you can afford to carry during your trips.

On the next page we'll take a look at how much you should be able to carry in your car.

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