How to Calculate Truck Payload the Easy Way!

how to calculate truck payload

Previously on Truck Styler I’ve spoken about GVWR being confused with towing capacity, and what the differences are. When I wrote that post I talked about truck payload, and today wanted to go into a little bit more detail on that, specifically how to calculate and determine what it is.

How to calculate truck payload? Determine the GVWR, curb weight, and payload capacity. Then you subtract the curb weight from the GVWR. The number you have left is what your truck’s payload is.

Figuring out your truck’s payload is absolutely critical if you are planning on carrying heavy loads. If you get it wrong and go over your truck’s payload capacity then not only could you damage your vehicle, but you’re also putting other road users at risk.

Your truck’s payload capacity is quite simply the maximum amount of weight that if can hold when it’s full of fuel and any other engine fluids.

Use this Truck Payload Calculator Method

Follow the steps shown below as they will tell you how to calculate truck payload in the easiest way possible.

1: Determine the Truck’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

This is the total amount of weight that a truck can hold, including the weight of the truck itself.

Imagine a truck fully loaded with fuel, oil, water, driver, passengers, and a load in the bed. Put that on the scales and weigh it, and the GVWR is the absolutely maximum that total combined weight should safely be.

To determine your own truck’s GVWR take a look in the manual or you could find a sticker stuck into the door frame. If you can’t locate it there, then search on the manufacturer’s website.

2: Determine the Truck’s Curb Weight

This is the first little bit of simple maths you will need to do.

Your truck’s curb weight is how much it weighs without any load on it, including the driver and passengers. But it does include fuel and engine fluids.

In simple terms, just imagine your truck is parked up at the curb, with a full tank of fuel and other essential engine fluids, with nobody in it, and no cargo or load.

That’s your curb weight.

Again, you should be able to find it in the owner’s manual.

If you can’t find it there, and you can’t locate any information online then the next best option, but with a little more hassle, is to get the truck physically weighed.

Take the truck to a garage with weighing facilities, making sure that it’s got a full tank or fuel and all the fluids are topped up… and with nothing else inside. Take everything out.

3: Calculate the Truck’s Payload Capacity

With these two measurements to hand you now figure out and calculate the truck’s payload.

This is how you calculate it:

GVWR – Curb Weight = Truck Payload Capacity

To give you a real-life example, let’s say your trick has a GVWR of 6,500 pounds and the curb weight is 4,000 pounds.

You would subtract the curb weight of 4,000 pounds from the GVWR of 6,500 pounds to give you a payload capacity of 2,500 pounds.

It’s really that simple.


If you do exceed your truck’s payload capacity then you could end up damaging your vehicle, being left with a large bill.

The worst type of damage could be stress on the truck’s frame leading to some cracking.

At the very least, you will be placing strain on the suspension, bed, chassis, and tires. That stress is going to lead to a lot of wear and tear over time, dramatically increasing repair bills, and the life of your truck.

More importantly though, an overloaded truck is dangerous.

Not just to you, but also other road users.

If you exceed your truck’s payload and haven’t calculated it properly, you’re going to take a lot longer to come to a stop, and your brakes could even fail completely.

It’s not worth the risk, so take it safe, and always know your payload and don’t go over it.

You won’t need a clever and complex truck payload calculator, just use the steps provided above.

Josh Henderson

Hi I'm Josh and I'm a huge pickup enthusiast. I started this website in 2018 in order to share all my projects and custom mod tips that I've done with my own Ford F-150.

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