Trailer Weight & Maximum Trailer Load

When you are setting out to buy a new trailer there are some things you will definitely need to know to avoid having a nasty accident or picking up a heavy fine.

The trouble we all run into is with understanding the jargon and how to apply the information to our own situation.

So to make it easier we have broken the information down so that you will know what questions to ask, way you are asking each question and how to apply the information you get to your own situation.

In Basic Terms
So in basic terms the 4 things you need to know are:

1. How much weight can I legally and safely put in my trailer
2. What is the maximum combined weight (trailer weight plus load weight) my trailer can legally be?
3. How much weight can I safely and legally tow with my vehicle.
4. What is the maximum amount of weight I can impose on the tow bar I have fitted to my vehicle?

These are all very important limits as they are all points of potential failure. Too much weight applied to any of these areas will mean you are breaking the law and could cause an accident.

Understanding the Jargon

Firstly – what is the “unladen” weight of your trailer? This is the total weight of your trailer when it is empty.

This is called the TARE Mass – and will be stamped on the trailer by the manufacturer.

Secondly what is the maximum combined weight (trailer plus load) a trailer can be?

This is called GTM (Gross Trailer Mass) – and will also be stamped on the trailer by the manufacturer.

Thirdly – how much weight can you legally tow with your vehicle?

For this you need to know the Maximum Trailer Mass.

You will need to check 2 figures:

1. The capacity of the tow vehicle’s towing attachment
2. The towing limit specified by the vehicle manufacturer for the tow vehicle.

The maximum trailer mass will be the lowest of these 2 figures.

Fourthly – how much weight can I place on the tow ball on my vehicle?

This is called the Trailer Ball Load.

This information can be obtained from your motor vehicle handbook or by contacting the manufacturer.

Help Is At Hand

When you buy a trailer from Adelaide Trailer Sales, we will help you with this information. Our experienced team understand the laws that apply and will ask you the right questions to help work out if the trailer you are looking to buy will do the job you need it for and that you can tow it with the vehicle you have, remaining safe and on the right side of the law.

More useful information on towing can be found through the links below.

SA Government – Light Towing Regulations PDF
SA Government My License – The Drivers Handbook – Towing

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