Your truck is a mean machine that doesn't back down from a hard day of
work. If you're like most truck owners, you expect your vehicle to be in it
for the long haul, keeping you and your load safe and secure mile after
mile. Although your pickup truck can surely pull its weight and more when
asked, overloading your truck is not a smart choice.
We're all guilty of loading up as much as we can in the back of our pickup
trucks on occasion. While an accidental or purposeful overload once or
twice is bound to happen, exceeding the rated load weight for your truck
increases your chances of damaging the vehicle. These damages can leave you
stranded, cost you money and damage the contents of your load. Take it from
the pros at General Spring — you don't want to find out what happens if you
consistently or substantially overload a truck.
10 Signs Your Truck Is Overloaded
How often do you weigh a load before you place it in the bed of your pickup
truck? Whether you use your truck for work or for transporting personal
belongings, most truck owners know that exceeding the payload capacity is
not recommended. Although they understand that they should stay beneath
this limit, some aren't aware of the telltale signs of an overloaded truck.
Here are ten easy ways to tell if a truck is overloaded.
Your truck looks overloaded: We've all watched an overloaded truck huff
and puff down the street with a sagging rear and a haul nearly bouncing
over the edge of the bed. Load your pickup truck responsibly and don't
overfill it. You can always make a second trip but you won't be able to
complete your first trip if your suspension gives out.
You weigh your truck and discover you've exceeded its payload capacity:
It should go without saying that if you ever weigh your truck and
discover that it's overloaded, you should remove items.
The truck takes longer to slow down: An overloaded truck will struggle
to slow down at the appropriate speed, creating a potentially dangerous
scenario for you and others on the road.
Your tires are showing premature wear: Although many truck owners look
to the suspension system for the first signs of damage from an
overloaded truck, the tires will also tell a tale of too much payload.
Premature wear on your tires could be a sign of frequent overloading.
The back of the truck is slouching: Whether you're driving or parked,
you don't want your rear to slouch. Too heavy of a load can put too
much stress on the suspension system and cause the rear to sag.
You hear creaking or squeaking while you drive: Odd noises are never a
good sign, especially when you've got a full load in your truck bed.
Pay attention to these noises and consider inspecting your leaf springs
after driving with an exceptionally large load.
Your truck's suspension isn't bouncing: When you haul a load, your
truck bed should bounce a little as the suspension carries the weight.
A stable tuck bed with a large load is a sure sign that there might be
a problem with your suspension system.
Maintaining steering control is difficult: If you find that handling
your truck is more difficult after filling up your truck bed, you may
have overloaded it. As other problems can also cause difficulty
handling, make sure that an excessive payload was truly the issue
before you continue driving.
You feel the rear bumper scrape the pavement while you drive: Aside
from the bad dips and bumps in the road that tend to give any car a
bumpy ride, your rear bumper shouldn't be low enough to the ground to
scrape the pavement. If you're hauling a load and you're hearing the
back bumper hit the asphalt more than once, chances are you've
overloaded the bed.
You have a feeling you've overloaded the truck: While we don't expect
anyone to be able to calculate the exact weight of a load with the
naked eye, most truck owners who regularly haul significant loads have
an idea of when they've pushed the limit. If you have a feeling that
you've added a little too much to your load, play it safe and remove
Have you noticed any of these ten signs of truck overloading on someone
else's or your own vehicle? Vehicle manufacturers conduct multiple tests to
determine the payload capacities of their trucks. They encourage drivers to
adhere to these limits for safety reasons and so that the vehicles stay in
great shape for as long as possible. What happens if you overload a truck
despite the manufacturer's rating? In short, nothing that you want to
What Happens if You Overload a Truck?
At General Spring, we understand that it's easy to accidentally overload
your truck from time to time. Whether you're in a rush, misjudge the
payload or are unaware of the capacity rating for a truck you're driving,
there are many instances in which you may be unaware of an overload.
Sometimes, an overload may simply be unavoidable. However, all truck owners
should know that what happens if you overload a truck can often be
problematic, expensive and dangerous.
1. You Can Damage Your Truck
One surefire way to increase the probability of damaging your truck is to
overload it. The components that support your suspension system play a
vital role in preserving the performance of your vehicle. By overloading
your vehicle, you can cause these components to break and fail much sooner
than their expected lifespan. The components significantly impacted by an
overloaded truck include:
Leaf springs: Each leaf spring is rated for a specific load rate and
exceeding that weight will put too much stress on the suspension system
and shocks. A failure of the leaves or springs will
impact the suspension system
Center bolts: You could potentially have leaf springs in great
condition but still have a problem with the center bolt. Even something
as simple as a loose U-bolt could cause a center pin to crack and harm
your suspension system.
Failed rear suspension: Broken leaves, springs and center bolts will
immediately send the weight of your load onto the rest of the
suspension system. This creates a scenario equivalent to removing one
leg of a four-legged chair — it creates a structural imbalance that
will fail to carry weight. As the suspension system fails, it will
impact other parts of the vehicle, potentially even the transmission.
Tires: Without a properly functioning suspension system, your tires
will struggle as you attempt to move large loads. This can lead to
premature wear that increases the chances of punctures and blowouts.
Axles and alignment: Replacing cracked leaf springs, broken center pins
and worn tires is a hassle and expense that no one wants. However,
fixing broken axles and correcting misalignment is a more significant
issue that often comes with a serious price tag. Broken leaf springs
place a strain on your axles and can cause your truck to become
2. You May Create Hazardous Driving Scenarios
Safety should be your number one priority when driving, especially when you
have a full haul. Overloading your truck can increase the chances of you or
another driver becoming injured in an accident. Failure to adequately slow
down or control your truck can result in an accident, even if you're simply
reacting to a road hazard. When your truck is overloaded, these items in
your truck bed could become projectiles in the event of a crash.
3. You Could Damage Your Load
In an ideal scenario, the contents of your load make it from Point A to
Point B safely and securely, provided that you responsibly fill up your
pickup truck and make sure all items are properly packed or strapped in.
Your suspension will help you manage the payload so that your truck's axles
don't fail under stress. However, overloading your weigh capacity prevents
the suspension system from working properly.
A damaged suspension system could cause a chain reaction that damages your
load. Trouble controlling your vehicle due to an overload could cause
objects to fall out of your truck bed or shift from side to side. Keep your
load safe by keeping it manageable.
4. You Could Violate the Law
Did you know that many states have
regulations regarding the maximum weight
trucks can carry? These laws were put in place to protect the driver,
cargo, motorists on the road and the integrity of roadways. All truck
owners should be aware of the limits in the states in which live, work and
travel to ensure that they're following all rules and regulations. Weight
restrictions may differ from state to state, so pay special attention to
these rules when crossing state lines.
How Much Weight Can Your Truck Carry?
Before you start loading up, you need to know just how much of a haul your
truck can handle. Do you know the weight limit of your truck? If not, do
you know how to determine the payload capacity of a truck? The class of
your truck can give you a rough idea of its capacity. Each class —
half-ton, three-quarter-ton and one-ton — has a
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
or GVWR provided by the manufacturer.
The GVWR equals the total amount of weight the truck can safely carry,
which includes not only cargo but passengers and fuel as well. You can
determine the GVWR of your truck by referencing your owner's manual or by
looking on the driver's side door frame. To determine the payload capacity
of a truck, you need to subtract the curb weight from the GVWR. Curb weight
is the total weight of the truck including fuel and fluids but without
cargo or passengers.
Your owner's manual may list the curb weight, but if it doesn't, you can
always call the dealership or have your truck weighed. Many half-ton pickup
trucks have a payload capacity of 3,000 pounds (lbs) with a 5,000 lb curb
weight. Three-quarter pickup trucks typically have a payload capacity of
around 4,000 lbs. The one-ton pickup trucks have the largest payload
capacity of any pickup truck class at 6,000 lbs. Your individual truck's
make, model and year may have a different payload capacity. Check the
manufacturer's GVWR and curb weights to be sure.
If you ever have to ask, 'How much weight can my truck carry?', then you
probably shouldn't try to push the limits of its load. Even if you know how
much weight your truck can haul, you can still end up in a predicament if
you realize that your truck can't meet your current needs. Thankfully,
there are easy ways to increase the payload capacity of a truck and avoid
putting excess strain on your suspension system.
How Can You Maximize and Increase Payload Capacity?
You'll never need to discover what can happen to an overloaded truck
first-hand if you follow the payload capacity ratings determined by the
manufacturer. If you use your truck for work or frequent hauling, you'll
achieve the greatest payload capacity
possible without going over. Here are five ways that you can get the most
from your existing payload capacity and also increase it without damaging
Upgrade the Rear Springs: Weight is distributed across the body of the
truck, with four springs supporting the suspension along the tires.
However, the weight isn't evenly distributed. The rear springs, which
may be leaf or coil springs, often incur more stress from the weight.
You can maximize your payload capacity by adding springs or upgrading
to high-grade springs.
Add Coil-Over Shock Absorbers: Ideally, your truck should be able to
drive over smooth surfaces while hauling heavy loads without issue.
Unfortunately, most truck owners need to haul their loads across rough
terrain. These bumps create movements that shift weight onto the
springs. By adding coil-over shock absorbers, you can minimize these
movements, gain better control of your vehicle, take the stress off of
your springs and enjoy a more comfortable ride.
Install a Longer Truck Bed: Although this won't add any additional
payload capacity to the truck, you can maximize your existing payload
capacity by installing a longer truck bed. You can easily add an
extension onto your existing bed to distribute the weight of your haul
across your truck more evenly.
Attach a Trailer: Of course, you can also increase the total amount of
weight you can haul by attaching a trailer to your truck. Although your
truck may only be rated for a few thousand pounds of payload capacity,
many trucks have the ability to tow significantly more weight.
Add Bed Racks: Another way to maximize your payload capacity is to add
bed racks to your truck. These racks will give you additional space for
items that may not fit within the bed and help you utilize every pound
of your payload capacity.
Get Your Leaf Springs and Suspension Parts From General Spring
Knowing how to tell if your truck is overloaded is an important aspect of
truck ownership, and responsibly preventing haul overload is something
every truck owner should take seriously. Over time, your leaf springs and
suspension system will incur normal damage from wear and tear. When you
feel your hauling capacity diminish, hear strange noises or lose comfort in
your ride, consider inspecting your suspension system. We carry reliable,
high-quality leaf springs, coil springs, shackles, bolts, load support and
attachment parts for every truck.
how to measure your leaf spring size
, determine the payload capacity for your truck and keep your vehicle
running and hauling without issue for years by browsing the resources on
our website. When it comes time to replace or upgrade your leaf springs or
other components, you can
explore our inventory
Give us a call today
if you have any questions.