How to Calculate the Load in a Gooseneck Trailer

by Cody Sorensen

A gooseneck trailer has a gross vehicle weight rating placard that states the amount of weight the trailer can safely and legally carry. The trailer manufacturer is required by the Department of Transportation to place this placard on the trailer in a visible location. Calculating the amount of weight a gooseneck trailer can haul requires knowing what the trailer weighs when it is empty and what it weighs after it's loaded. A scale fulfills this purpose and can be found at truck stops.

Drive the truck pulling the trailer off the scale leaving the axles of the trailer on it. Go inside the truck stop store and ask for a an empty weight ticket. There is a minimal fee for an empty weight and the remaining fee is paid after the loaded weight is recorded.

Load the gooseneck trailer with the cargo.

Drive the trailer back onto the scale loaded and ask the store clerk to record the loaded weight. The slip will automatically subtract the (net) or empty weight from the (gross) loaded weight. The (tare) or actual weight of the load will be on the weight ticket. Pay for the ticket.

Compare the gross weight on the ticket to the gross vehicle weight rating on the trailer's placard. If the ticket weight is higher than the GVRW, remove cargo weight and reweigh the trailer until the legal load weight is achieved.


  • close Failing to load the trailer according to the GVWR may cause structural damage to the trailer and injury to the operator.

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  • photo_camera lake mead national recreation area 14 image by Jim Parkin from