Clearly one of the most misunderstood Gross Weight issues in light commercial auto hauling is “Drive Axle” gross weight, and the problem is getting worse. We blame Dodge Trucks.
Now before you get into the danger zone on your blood pressure over the Dodge Truck comment, understand that we hold a strong positive overall view of Dodge dually trucks. The problem is that they are touting “towing capacity” which is the best in its class, but forgetting that drive axle gross weight is a limiting factor. So guys are buying RAM 3500’s thinking they can drag a 4-5 car trailer, when the reality is to load that trailer with 2 units stacked over the back of the truck, they will almost ALWAYS over gross the drive axle weight rating. In fact a heavy unit loaded onto the front of a 3-car trailer could over gross the drive axle on a RAM 3500. In both examples the maximum towing capacity of the truck is not exceeded.
The problem is worse with Chevy’s and Ford because the drive axle gross weight rating on those trucks is typically lower than a Dodge Ram on most model years. While all the manufacturers have been increasing their drive axle gross weight rating in the past 5 years, the towing capacity ratings have increase faster, therefore creating a false understanding of a truck’s limitations for car haulers.
The solution is to understand that not all hotshot trucks are suitable for all light commercial trailers, and we have seen drivers get a big surprise when they find out they can only legally put 3 cars on their 4 or 5 car trailers… ouch! In fairness to these guys their truck’s spec sheet brags on towing capacity as weight “behind” the truck and not the weight “on” the truck. So the unique nature of auto hauling, where cars are “up and over” the back of the truck changes capabilities of the truck, and results all too often with “squatters” going down the road.