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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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

  • Measuring tape

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