Truck & Trailer Payload and Towing Capacity

Making sure your truck and trailer can carry the load

Every pick-up on the market can carry a load of tools and equipment, but not every pick-up has the capabilities to haul or tow the weight that rental customers demand.

So how do you determine if your rental vehicle is equipped to haul or tow a specific amount?

Garrett Heine, Fleet Solutions Manager at Herc Rentals, is often faced with these questions. “The best place to start”, he says, “is by understanding the terms you’re likely to encounter when trying to determine whether the truck and trailer you rent can get the job done.”

  • GVWR –Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the maximum amount a vehicle can weigh, including passengers and cargo. This can be found inside the driver side door jamb.
  • GCWR – Gross Combination Weight Rating. This is the maximum allowable combined weight of a loaded vehicle and its attached loaded trailer. This rating number is calculated by the vehicle’s manufacturer and can be found in the vehicle’s owner manual.
  • Curb Weight – This is the weight of the truck without passengers or cargo.
  • Payload Capacity – This refers to all the cargo weight that you can safely carry. Here’s the calculation:

Payload Capacity = Gross Vehicle Weight Curb Weight

  • Towing Capacity – This refers to how much weight you can safely pull behind your truck. Here’s the calculation:

Towing Capacity = Gross Combination Weight – Curb Weight

Still a bit unsure? Our Rental Solutions Guide has a full breakdown of all capacities including a tow chart.

Some other things to consider before taking to the road are:

  • What is the weight rating of your truck hitch/receiver?
  • What type of tow hitch does your trailer require? (Ball or Pintle)
  • What type of light plug does your trailer require? (4-Way Flat or 7-Way)
  • What type of brakes does your trailer have? (Surge, Electric, or Air)

Just remember, if your GVWR or GCWR is greater than 26,000 lbs. a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required. A Medical Certificate must be obtained when your GVWR or GCWR are greater than 10,000 lbs. To learn more about CDL’s and ME Certificates click HERE.

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