• Ask TFLtruck: What Are the Payload and Towing Specs For Used Trucks?

    1987 chevy c30 dually towing trailer
    1987 Chevy C30 Silverado

    What are the towing and payload specs for older trucks? Why does one has to search around many sources to find this information? We recently received the following questions from Ivan B.

    I’m soon to be in the market for for a used (new to me) pickup. The truck will be my daily driver and future tow vehicle for a travel trailer in the 7,000 to 8,000 lb GVWR. I expect to have a regular payload of 500 to 600 lbs as a daily driver and 1,200 to 1,400 lbs while towing. (excluding tongue weight). I’m looking for a crew cab with a 6½’ or longer bed and a gas engine. Do you know of any resources for towing and payload capacities for all makes of used trucks? The manufacturers show only current model year specs. I have only found a few sites with specifications for individual configurations of one or two models of trucks. Nothing that’s comprehensive.  I would like to narrow my search to acceptable trucks before going to the dealers and finding the trucks to be insufficient. With the information I provided is there a truck that you would suggest I look at?

    Thank you for sending us a detailed question. You towing and payload requirements suggest that you need a 3/4-ton HD used truck. Ivan is looking to carry around 2,200 lbs of payload (1,400 lbs  + 800 lbs of tongue weight).

    Are there resources for used truck specifications? Nadaguides.com offers engine power specs and “weight information” for payload and towing for trucks going back at least two decades.  These numbers tend to be absolute maximum ratings for the truck you are looking up, and not always the specs for the particular configuration you are searching for. Still, nadaguides.com can be used to compares several trucks against each other by the numbers.

    Please let us know in the comments section below: what other resources do you use for payload/towing specs for used trucks?

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    9 thoughts on “Ask TFLtruck: What Are the Payload and Towing Specs For Used Trucks?

    1. Running empty even with the Gen Y hitch doesn’t really show off what it can with a loaded trailer. Okay Andre,break out the water tanks and do it again with a heavy load,lol…

    2. 1400 lbs excluding tongue weight, That’s alot of stuff! Travel trailers i have looked at are around 5000lb dry with two 3500lb axles, leaving 1600- 2000 lbs cargo in trailer.
      Taking a bunch of 200lb people?

      That said, most halfers have near a 6900 GVWR. Starting at a Three-quarter ton is the only real choice for tow vechile in the case presented.

    3. This isn’t that hard. The door jamb label will at least say the GVWR. Take that number, and drive down to a scale with a full tank of fuel. The scale can be a CAT scale or even the scale at a scrap yard or rubbish place will work. Simply subtract whatever your truck weighs from the GVWR on the door sticker. That’s you max payload.

      1. It’s actually easier than that for newer trucks. Look at the yellow Tire and Loading sticker on the door jam next to the GVWR sticker. It’s pretty spot on.

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