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Axle Load Calculation Curtainsided Trailer

What payload weight can I carry on a trailer?

faqs/regulations

The amount of weight you can carry as payload on a trailer depends on a number of factors.

GCW (Gross Combination Weight) or GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) refers to the total weight of the tractor, trailer and payload.

The following refers to GCW/GVWs described by the DfT in the UK:

Axles Max Combination Weight Notes
6 (3 axle tractor unit with 3 axle trailer)  44,000 kgs* See notes (b) and (c)
6 (3 axle tractor unit with 3 axle trailer)  41,000 kgs* See notes (b)
5 (3 axle tractor unit with 2 axle trailer or 2 axle tractor unit with 3 axle trailer) 40,000 kgs See note (a)
4 (2 axle tractor unit with 2 axle trailer) 36,000 kgs / 38,000 kgs*
3 (2 axle tractor unit with 1 axle trailer) 26,000 kgs

 

* If the driving axle, if it is not a steering axle, has twin tyres and road friendly suspension, or each driving axle is fitted with twin tyres and the maximum weight for each axle does not exceed 8.55 tonnes

** Distance between the rear axle of the motor vehicle and the front axle of the trailer is not less than 3 metres

(a) 5 axles or more artic and the 5 axles or more drawbar could alternatively have a 3 axle motor vehicle and a 2 axle trailer

(b) Conditions: - each vehicle must have at least 3 axles. - drive axle has twin tyre and road friendly suspension and maximum of 10.5 tonnes, or each driving axle is fitted with twin tyres and has a maximum of 8.5 tonnes - trailer has road friendly suspension

(c) Conditions for operation on 5 axles: - must have 3 axles on tractor unit - single container 40ft in length conforming to standards laid down by the International Standards Organisation being carried only - vehicle being used for international journey

(d) Powered by a low pollution engine (being at least Euro 2).

ZEVs

It is possible to have a battery electric truck (ZEV) plated or re-plated by the DVSA so that the GCW is increased by 2,000kgs; provided that the GCW does not exceed 44,000 kgs.

As an example, a deisel powered 40T combination could be re-plated to 42T if the truck is a ZEV. Equally, a 38T combination could be re-plated to 40T if the truck was a ZEV.

However, a deisel powered 44T combination cannot be re-plated as 44T is the maximum.

The weight of a ZEV compared to a diesel equivalent is irrelevant. If a ZEV weighs more than its diesel equivalent + 2,000kgs, then your payload potential will be reduced accordingly.

Working Out Your Payload Potential

Once you understand your maximum GVW, the next thing to consider is the unladen weight of both your tractor and trailer (TARE weight).

Examples:

44 tonne GVW: A 3 axle diesel tractor unit may weigh circa 8,500kgs coupled with an example tri-axle trailer weighing 7,500kgs. This would total 16,000kgs. Your maximum potential payload can then be calculated as the maximum GVW less 16,000kgs. The payload potential would therefore be 28,000kgs.

40 tonne GVW: A 2 axle diesel tractor unit may weigh circa 7,500kgs coupled with an example tri-axle trailer weighing 7,500kgs. This would total 15,000kgs. Your maximum potential payload can then be calculated as the maximum GVW less 15,000kgs. The payload potential would therefore be 25,000kgs.

26 tonne GVW: An urban 2 axle diesel tractor unit may weigh circa 5,500kgs coupled with an example single-axle trailer weighing 5,000kgs. This would total 10,500kgs. Your maximum potential payload can then be calculated as the maximum GVW less 10,500kgs. The payload potential would therefore be 15,000kgs.

Published: Tue 14 Nov 2023

Updated: Wed 07 Feb 2024

Don-Bur (Bodies & Trailers) Ltd

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