Towing within your trailer’s load limit refers to the maximum amount of weight you can load onto it. To determine the safest load limit for your trailer, start by locating the Federal Certification/VIN label on the front half of your trailer. It should be located on the left side.
Specifications on the label should include:
GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (the total maximum amount your trailer can safely weigh when loaded)
GAWR – Gross Axle Weight Rating (the maximum amount of weight that can be placed over each axle)
Payload Capacity – the maximum amount of cargo weight that you can safely load onto your trailer (your trailer’s load limit)
Trailer Weight – this is how much your trailer weighs empty (you can weigh your empty trailer at a local weigh station)
Trailer Load Limit Formula
Find your trailer’s GVWR.
Subtract your trailer weight.
This is your trailer load limit.
Check to make sure your truck is capable of pulling your trailer’s GVWR, and that you’re following tire, hitch, and loading specifications.
Let’s go back to our example with numbers. You’ve calculated that your towing capacity is 6,000 lbs. Your utility trailer has a GVWR of 4,000 lbs and it weighs 1,000 lbs empty. Your trailer load limit is no more than 3,000 lbs.
In this case, even though your truck’s tow capacity could handle another 2,000 lbs, your trailer can not. Cargo should only be added up to your trailer’s listed GVWR on the placard.