How to Calculate Tonnage for a Truck or Van

by Bill BrownUpdated July 12, 2023
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Overloading your truck or van can, at the least, cause extra wear and tear on the vehicle. At worst, it can be a rollover or safety hazard. The tonnage capacity for your vehicle is another way of referring to the payload. The payload, the most weight you can safely load into the truck or van, is calculated by subtracting the allowable fully loaded, gross vehicle weight of the vehicle, from the empty, or curb, weight. It used to be that a "half-ton" truck meant the maximum tonnage of the truck was 1,000 pounds; manufacturers have now exceeded these terms, and the payload of a half-ton truck can be considerably more.

1. Find Gross Vehicle Weight

Refer to your owner's manual to get the fully loaded, or gross vehicle weight, of the truck or van. It is sometimes referred to as an acronym, GVWR, or gross vehicle weight rating.

2. Get the Curb Weight of the Vehicle

Refer to the owner's manual for the truck or van to get the curb weight of the vehicle.

3. Subtract Gross Vehicle Weight from the Curb Weight of the Vehicle

Subtract the maximum allowed fully loaded weight from the curb weight to get the maximum tonnage or payload.

4. Your Maximum Tonnage is the result.

Refrain from overloading your truck or van for safety and optimum operation of the vehicle.

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