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How to calculate payload

Updated February 21, 2017

Knowing your payload is an important aspect of operating your vehicle safely. If you plan on loading up your car, truck or SUV, you should determine how much you can carry safely before hitting the road. The payload is the difference between the total weight of the vehicle at its capacity (the gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR), and the weight of the vehicle empty (sometimes called the curb weight). Subtract the full weight from the curb weight to get your payload.

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  1. Find the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for your car, truck, SUV or other vehicle in the owner's manual.

  2. Find the curb weight of the vehicle in the owner's manual.

  3. Subtract the weight in Step 2 from the weight is Step 1 to get your maximum payload.

  4. Warning

    Do not exceed the maximum payload when loading up your vehicle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Calculator
  • Owner's manual for vehicle

About the Author

Bill Brown has been a freelance writer for more than 14 years. Focusing on trade journals covering construction and home topics, his work appears in online and print publications. Brown holds a Master of Arts in liberal arts from St. John's University and is currently based in Houston.

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