The most widely asked question that is asked when deciding on a trailer is “How much weight am I going to haul?”
Once that is answered, the next thing is how do we haul it safely?
GVWR is the answer. GVWR or “Gross Vehicle Weight Registered” is basically defined as the total weight being hauled including the weight of the trailer and miscellaneous items that you are carrying. It is the total complete weight.
A trailer should never be loaded beyond the manufactures recommend GVWR.
GVWR drives safety. If a trailer is overloaded a wide variety of problems can occur. That rating is the maximum that you can haul safely at. For example if you have to much weight on the trailer, the brakes may not be substantial enough to stop you safely. Another example is you will also be putting more weight on tires that are only rated for a certain weight. This can cause abnormal wear and even cause blowouts.
Overloading a trailer beyond its rated capacity, even though it may be well balanced and seem to handle fine, is a very dangerous practice.
Be leery of home-made trailers. Home made trailer may not have a proper weight rating. Do you really want to risk lives, your own included, to save a few bucks on a trailer? Hauling extra weight that gets out of control can be very dangerous even for the most experienced haulers.
It is up to you to find out what the maximum gross weight of your trailer should be. Trailers made by reputable manufacturers should contain a tag or instructions which list loading limits. If you cannot obtain actual figures from the original manufacturer for a variety of reasons, please take it to a reputable trailer dealer or repair facility to get an expert to give his best estimate of its capacity.
Load your trailer well below the maximum for the first few times with a new trailer until you are comfortable. Keep track of the weights of the individual items as you load them. Good practice is to always scale your load before heading out to make sure that you are under the GVWR.
By always being aware of your maximum GVWR and with proper loading techniques, hauling your trailer should be an enjoyable safe venture for everyone.