The Importance of Determining the Right Cargo Weight for Your Trucks (Quality Scales Unlimited)

Posted in Shipping on Jun 04, 2018, tagged with freight shipping, guest article

The Importance of Determining the Right Cargo Weight for Your Trucks (Quality Scales Unlimited)

Properly loading a trailer and weighing a truck's cargo is one of the most important parts of coordinating any shipment. Imbalanced or poorly loaded truckbeds can cause damage to the cargo being shipped, the truck, and the road, as well as the chance of personal injury or delay resulting from an accident or breakdown.

Kevin Hill from Quality Scales Unlimited is joining us to help you understand the importance of properly weighing cargo, as well as how to ensure your cargo is properly loaded and distributed. Keep reading for his expert advice:



Did you know that trucks that exceed legal weight limits increase the risk of traffic accidents and damage to infrastructure? They also pose a grave risk to their drivers.

Overloading your trucks to increase payload and reduce your fuel costs can be a very costly mistake—it’s considered an illegal offence, and carries penalties and fines that can even lead to prison sentences in certain cases. This makes weighing scales all the more important. Weighing your cargo on truck scales prior to loading it and ensuring that the weight is properly distributed will help you keep your trucks within their legal towing limits.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s important to use weighing scales to determine the right weight before transporting your cargo. Keep reading for tips on how to avoid overloading, and how to tell if cargo weight is properly distributed.

1. Prevent accidents

Overloaded vehicles are more difficult to control, more unstable, and harder to stop in an emergency. As a result, as an overloaded truck is more likely to get into an accident and have serious consequences compared to a legally loaded truck. Here are some consequences that can be avoided by properly weighing your cargo:

  • Truck instability
  • Braking default
  • Loss of driving maneuverability
  • Overloads leading to overheated tires

2. Reduce damage to infrastructure

Overloaded trucks are more likely to damage roads and bridges due to the excessive pressure they put on the road. This reduces the predicted life expectancy of the roads and bridges, as well as increases infrastructure maintenance costs.

3. No increase to operating costs

Overloading your trucks increases fuel consumption, as well as increases the wear and tear on your tires.

4. Less fleet downtime

Determining the right cargo weight and legally loading your trucks accordingly ensures that your truck will not be stopped, checked, or break down en route. This will also help you avoid overweight fines and penalties.

5. You remain completely legal

Overloading your trucks is illegal and can annul your insurance coverage, leaving you to face an expensive bill if there is an accident. Overloading can also lead to suspension, loss, or your truck driver’s license being revoked altogether.

4 Tips to Avoid Overloading

  1. Know your vehicle’s weight limit: Check your truck’s identification plate. It will display the maximum permissible axle weight that your truck can carry, as well as the maximum permissible gross vehicle weight of your truck.
  2. Check your truck’s axle weight: Gross vehicle weight includes the weight of the vehicle and the overall load, and takes the weight of the cargo, driver, passenger and fuel into account, so treat weight statements on your delivery notes with a bit of skepticism. The easiest way to ensure that your truck’s maximum permissible weights are not exceeded is by using a weighbridge.
  3. Distribute the loads evenly: The dangers of overloading a truck’s gross vehicle weight are well known; however, the significance of axle weight is usually overlooked or missed. In certain cases, the gross vehicle weight is usually not exceeded, while the load on the maximum permissible axle weight is.
  4. Be familiar with all the rules and regulations that are related to the freight industry.

How to tell if cargo weight is distributed properly

1. Know your Gross Axle Weight Rating(GAWR)

The Gross Axle Weight Rating is the maximum distributed weight that your truck’s axle can support.

2. Check your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

Check your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which is located on the VIN label found on your trailer. GVWR is the maximum weight that your trailer and cargo can carry.

3. Determine your trailer’s tongue weight

Tongue weight is the vertical pressure that is exerted by your trailer tongue onto the hitch ball. You can check this by moving the trailer till the tongue is not on the scales and the scale is reading the trailer weight on the axle alone. Subtract the weight on the axle from the overall weight.

4. Proper distribution of cargo weight

60% of your cargo weight needs to be loaded onto the front half of the trailer. Load the heavier items at the front of the trailer and keep the smaller and lighter items at the back of the trailer.

Understanding the importance of weighing scales in the freight industry and ensuring that your cargo weight is properly distributed will ensure that you tow your cargo safely from one destination to the next.

About the Author

Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.

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