One of the best investments you could make would be utility trailers. The investment of these rarely hits you right at the time of purchase, yet the more uses you have, and the cargo capacity they offer, they begin to show their value.
They do everything from moving furniture to packing up your kayaks for your next camping trip. However, there is one nagging question you’ll often find at some stage. What is the single axle trailer weight limit? The answer here can be quickly found on a truck axle weight calculator. However, that doesn’t explain why you have a weight limit for your trailer.
In our guide, you can learn more about your single trailer axle weight limit. This will be the amount of gear plus your trailer once it is fully loaded. By the end, you can know that your trailer could carry a total weight heavier than what your car can pull, or there are regulations imposed where you can only carry light loads. (Learn How Much Does A Pop Up Camper Weigh)
How to Determine Your Axle Weight Rating?
If you’re hauling kayaks, camping gear, excess furniture, and possibly trash from your yard cleanup, then knowing exactly what the weight limit on your axle is may not be that vital.
However, should you start lugging a core of firewood, building materials, topsoil, and other such items, then you’ll need to know exactly the weight you have and the weight your trailer can carry.
A car pulling too much weight could catch the attention of the police, and it would be dangerous to drive. Here are two ways to find your trailer’s weight rating:
Check your trailer data plate
If your trailer is relatively new, this shouldn’t be an issue; you’ll find a plate riveted to the frame or on the trailer tongue.
Here will be all the relevant information, much like your vehicle identification plate. Whether you have a single axle trailer or tandem axle trailer, it will contain the necessary information.
Note that overloading a trailer can lead to dangerous situation such as accidents and vehicle damage, and no insurance company will pay out if you are trying to haul too much.
If you don’t have a new trailer, which has been passed on in their family, you may not have such a plate to read. Therefore, finding your axle rating needs another approach.
Measuring Your Trailer Axle
You may measure the axle to determine how much weight it can support. All you need is a tape measure to measure the inches of the axle diameter and then match the diameter to a weight rating.
While it is tricky to get to your axle, it is easy to determine its weight capacity.
You’ll often hear others talking this way, and finding the answer is straightforward.
Note: If you have multiple axles, you can calculate your maximum weight rating for the entire trailer by measuring the diameter of the first axle. Once you figure out the weight capacity for this, you can multiply the figure by the number of your axles.
For instance, if you have two axles at 3.0 inches diameter each, you may calculate the weight capacity to 12.000 lbs. by multiplying 6.000 lbs. by two. (Read Can You Live In An RV On Someone’s Property)
Types of Trailer Axles
There are many axle types on trailers and many types of trailers. Here, we will deal with the two common ones you will likely encounter.
Besides this, even with two-axle types found on utility trailer axles, you’ll discover three lengths, which can also make a difference.
A drop axle looks like a flat bar with an upside-down “L” at each end. The dropped axle holds the trailer bed lower to the ground when loading or unloading a trailer.
It makes loading and unloading more leisurely, although ground clearance’s downside.
The straight axle trailer holds the bed slightly higher, giving you more clearance over the ground or the roadway. However, it’s more difficult to unload and load the trailer because gravity is less of a friend when lifting and lowering the heavyweight from a higher position.
Does Trailer Weight Count Toward Your Axle Weight Rating?
If your axle is 1.75″ and your trailer weighs 700 lbs, you may only add another 1.300 lbs to it before the axle’s specifications are exceeded.
Of course, and for a good reason, the trailer and axles rated weight will mean it can carry less.
A teardrop camper typically weighs about 1.700 lbs. However, most teardrop campers shouldn’t exceed a suggested 700 lbs of additional weight, so they are likely to have an axle large enough to offer plenty of a buffer to add additional weight. (Learn How to Unclog a RV Toilet Holding Tank)
Determining Weight On Each Axle
The trailer axle is not the only one that is loaded when you tow a trailer. You can determine your trailer’s GTR (Gross Trailer Weight), your car’s GVR (Gross Vehicle Weight), and the GCWR.
The towing vehicle’s axle also bears a considerable amount of weight (Gross Combined Weight Rating).
You can infer from these figures how each axle supports much weight. Several established weights are added together to determine the GCWR:
- Vehicle listed curb weight
- Allowable payload
- Driver and passenger weight
- Trailer weight
The Gross Combined Weight Rating, which can then be divided among your axles to determine how much weight is on each axle, is found by adding up all the weights.
While it is appropriate to add precise weights when you may be close to your weights, remember that each passenger counts as 150 lbs when included.
Can you increase trailer load capacity?
The original axle must be removed. No matter how much you strengthen your trailer’s floorboards or rails, it can’t carry more weight than the axle can.
Torsion axles strengthen a trailer’s framework, notably heavier beams and metal framework. This is an upgrade from the most popular utility trailer axle, a leaf spring axle.
Note, should you decide to upgrade the axle and the weight rating, purchasing a better trailer can be more cost-effective.
Diameter of axle and weight rating chart
The axle rating of a utility trailer’s weight capacity determines how much weight it can carry.
Axles have various capacities ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 pounds. The axles of your trailer could break while you are driving if you exceed the trailer load capacity, which leaves you in a dangerous situation.
A safe journey depends on knowing the limitations of your utility trailer and carefully balancing the load before you reach its maximum weight.
- 1.5″ = 1.000 lbs
- 1.75″ = 2.000 lbs
- 2.375″ = 3.500 lbs
- 3.0″ = 6.000 lbs
- 3.5″ = 8.000 lbs
- 4.0″ = 9.000 lbs
- 5.0″ = 10.000 lbs
Multiply the axle capacity by the number of axles. This gives you your maximum load capacity, and what can your single axle boat trailer carry comfortably?
How do I know how much weight my trailer can hold?
Determine your trailer’s empty weight before everything else for trailers with GVWRs over 10,000 pounds. Afterward, find the GVWR listed on the VIN label. Your trailer’s empty weight should be subtracted from the quoted GVWR. The resultant figure represents your trailer’s maximum available cargo capacity.
Can I tow a 14K trailer?
An F450 or similar truck is required to tow a 14K trailer. A bumper pull is much smaller and trickier to maneuver than a 5th wheel. Get the fifth and a CDL if you’re investing in a 450.
Is it safe to tow a max weight?
A “safe” maximum towing weight will be between 80 and 85 percent of the specified maximum towing weight.
The engine size, gearing, shocks, springs, and tires all play a role in deciding this weight.
In addition, make sure your cargo haul is spread evenly or keep the weight forward. Too much on the rear will make your vehicle sway.
What’s the biggest trailer to pull without a CDL?
In most states, they base this on weight rather than size. In the US, 26,000 pounds is the most typical maximum weight trailers can haul.
The total gross weight is that (truck and trailer). With a few exceptions, trailers can be as maximum as 53 feet.
Why do single axle trailers sway?
You can correct several things on your own that can cause trailer sway, besides wind gusts and huge trailers driving by.
Insufficient tongue weight; How much weight you have on the tongue can cause a single axle trailer to sway. Single axle trailers should weigh between 10 and 12 percent of the trailer’s total weight on the tongue. (Read RV Thermostat Troubleshooting)
Can I tow over 10000 lbs?
When towing a trailer with the traditional setup of a tow vehicle such a truck, car, or tractor, the driver needs a CDL if the tow-vehicle manufacturer’s assigned GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
Federal Limits and Gross Vehicle Weight
The federal government merely regulates the maximum legal weight; it does not issue overweight licenses and does not set maximum allowable limits; each state sets them.
The federal restrictions you should know are:
Federal Bridge Formula weight limits: You can use the federal bridge calculator here and read more about it.
In addition to the weight restrictions imposed by the Bridge Formula, federal law places restrictions on axle spacing, limiting tandem axles (located at least 40 inches apart but not more than 96 inches apart) to 34,000 pounds per axle and single axles to 20,000 pounds.
The maximum gross vehicle weight is 80,000 pounds.
The state sets almost everything else:
State Axle Weight Limits
Federal law states dictate how much you can move within a state.
When you have these two values, you’ll have three ranges. For example, Texas’ maximum legal tandem weight is 34,000 pounds, and the maximum permissible weight is 46,000 pounds. So you can load your tandem up to 34,000 without a permit and from 34,000 to 46,000 with a permit.
Maximum legal weight limit
The maximum legal weight for each axle is determined by the federal bridge formula, federal limits for single axle and axle groups, and single axle and axle groups legal limits posted by each state.
Multiple factors determine an axle or axle group’s maximum weight.
Tire weight restriction and single axle/axle group limit are critical for establishing max permissible gross weight. Whichever limit is lower determines your maximum weight.
In some states, the maximum load per inch of tire width is 650 pounds. In addition, some states have differing steer axle tire weight limits.
Manufacturer and per-inch tire width rule determine standard tire weight rating. Manufacturers and states adjust max load on tires as width increases.
Axles or axle group:
Steer Axle: The steer axle offers directional control through the driver’s steering wheel. Typically, the first axle is the only one having just one tire on each side, allowing it to support significantly less weight. Widening the steer tire adds more weight, but it makes steering harder.
Single Axle: A single axle is spaced far from other axles so that single axles won’t be seen as part of a group.
Tandem Axle: A Tandem axle comprises two axles spaced over 40″ but not exceeding a state-specific restriction. Measurements are made between the axles. Two axles less than 40 inches apart are considered one. Drive axles can be tandem axles.
Distance between axles determines axle groups for a truck and trailer in various states. Separating axles increases weight.
Federal Bridge Formula allows 34K for a regular tandem (the standard for all commercial vehicles). With permission, most states allow a truck to be hauling more as they will have more tires taking the weight.