How to Determine the Load Capacity of a Utility Trailer

by Bob White

A utility trailer's weight capacity is limited by its axle rating. Axles are rated at various capacities from 1,000 to 10,000 pounds. Exceeding the maximum load capacity of your trailer creates a dangerous situation in which the axles could break while you are on the road. Understanding the limitations of your utility trailer and properly balancing the load are essential for a safe trip. Two methods will allow you to determine the rating of your trailer's capacity.

Trailer Data Plate

Locate the data plate on your utility trailer. It is typically riveted to the tongue or somewhere on the frame.

Record the trailer's axle weight rating from the data plate. This will be listed under "Axle Capacity."

Weigh the cargo you plan to load on the trailer, using a scale. Make certain you don't exceed the trailer's maximum load capacity as determined in the preceding step.

Axle Diameter

Measure the diameter of the utility trailer's axle with a measuring tape.

Find your measurement in the following table of typical axle diameters: 1.5-inch diameter, 1,000 pounds 1.75-inch diameter, 2,000 pounds 2.375-inch diameter, 3,500 pounds 3-inch diameter, 6,000 pounds 3.5-inch diameter, 8,000 pounds 4-inch diameter, 9,000 pounds 5-inch diameter, 10,000 pounds

Multiply the axle capacity in Step 2 by the number of axles to get the maximum load capacity for your utility trailer.

Items you will need

About the Author

Bob White began his writing career in 2006. Working in sales, he was a technical writer tasked with responding to requests for proposal. White has a Bachelor of Arts in computer science and a diploma in home inspection. He has also worked in construction, landscaping and the pool industry for more than 15 years.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images