How to Determine the Load Capacity of a Utility Trailer


A utility trailer's weight capacity is limited by its axle rating. Axles are rated at various capacities from 1,000 to 10,000 pounds. Exceeding the maximum load capacity of your trailer creates a dangerous situation in which the axles could break while you are on the road. Understanding the limitations of your utility trailer and properly balancing the load are essential for a safe trip. Two methods will allow you to determine the rating of your trailer's capacity.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape

Trailer Data Plate

  • Locate the data plate on your utility trailer. It is typically riveted to the tongue or somewhere on the frame.

  • Record the trailer's axle weight rating from the data plate. This will be listed under "Axle Capacity."

  • Weigh the cargo you plan to load on the trailer, using a scale. Make certain you don't exceed the trailer's maximum load capacity as determined in the preceding step.

Axle Diameter

  • Measure the diameter of the utility trailer's axle with a measuring tape.

  • Find your measurement in the following table of typical axle diameters:

    1.5-inch diameter, 1,000 pounds

    1.75-inch diameter, 2,000 pounds

    2.375-inch diameter, 3,500 pounds

    3-inch diameter, 6,000 pounds

    3.5-inch diameter, 8,000 pounds

    4-inch diameter, 9,000 pounds

    5-inch diameter, 10,000 pounds

  • Multiply the axle capacity in Step 2 by the number of axles to get the maximum load capacity for your utility trailer.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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