Car Axle loads

Car and Trailer Weights – The Words (and Letters) We Use

5. Car Axle Loads

Just as your car has a Maximum Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) (refer, each of the axles under the car have a Maximum Axle Load designed to support this total load.

The engineers and designers of these cars have determined these maximum load limits around the car’s construction, suspension, handling, braking and general engine performance.

Car axel

Yeah So, what does this mean for the car axle loads?

All this doesn’t mean that you car’s GVM is shared equally by your car’s front and rear axles.

In the case of my Mighty BT50 (Pedro) the Maximum Axle Loads are 2,020kg (rear) and 1,480kg (front). If you take your shoes and socks off you’ll see that these numbers add up to 3,500kg.

But out-of-the-box, the BT50 has a Maximum GVM of 3,200kg.

So… the BT50 can be loaded to an Actual GVM of 3,200kg – PROVIDED that the load on the rear axle doesn’t exceed 2,020 OR the front axle doesn’t exceed 1,480kg.

Watch Out for Overhangs and Wheelbase

As can be calculated on the App ‘LoadGood’ (refer adding say 200kg to the Tow Ball of the car doesn’t mean that you are only adding that 200kg to the car’s rear axle load.

In fact something far more interesting happens… that 200kg becomes something like 300kg on the rear car axle AND it takes about 100kg off the front car axle.

Also, these impacts aren’t limited to adding a trailer. Where you store your kids’ bikes, the two cartons of beer, the fridge and the family dog in the car can impact on the rear axle as well as the front.

Again, all this can affect handling and braking – and your insurance.

Check your numbers before your next trip – see how at

Note: Pedro, the BT50, had a GVM / GCM upgrade in 2018 – so his GVM has been increased to 3,500kg and the GCM is 7,000kg. But, I’m still constrained by the original Maximum Axle Loads listed above. The upgrade just gives me a higher factor of safety.

More reading on loads

Read related articles


Tare Mass


Tow Ball Mass

Gross Trailer Mass

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