Ask TFL: Why Is My Truck’s Actual Payload 1,300 Lbs Less Than Advertised?

This is actually very common.

Truck manufacturers love advertising best-in-class claims as they relate to power, efficiency, payload, and towing capacities.

However, the actual payload rating of your truck will be significantly less than the “Maximum Best-in-Class” claim.  Why is that? This question comes to us from Ron T. The question is focused on a Ford Super Duty, but this situation is the same no matter which manufacturer you are dealing with.

Ron T. writes:

I have a 2017 F350 SRW with the 6.7l diesel and a long bed.  Can you help me figure out where all of the additional weight is coming from that reduces the actual payload capacity (listed on the door jam sticker) from the advertised capacity?

Here are many of the relevant specs: F350 4×4 with a 6.7l diesel V8. It has a 3.55 axle ratio and a 11,500 lbs GVWR package. It’s a Lariat Ultimate FX4 crew cab long bed. It’s equipped with a factory 5th wheel package and a factory 48 gallon fuel tank. It’s riding on 20-inch wheels and has a 5-inch chrome step bar. It has the moon roof.
Payload capacity advertised in the brochure: 4,440 lbs. Payload capacity on the door sticker: 3,153 lbs
That is a difference of almost 1,300 lbs (1,287 lbs to be exact). It also means that the curb weight is 8,347 lbs (11,500 – 3,153 = 8,347 lbs).

Ron, I cannot find the advertised 4,440 lbs payload capacity brochure you are referring to. Still, this is a common question that we get often. It’s also a common thing we see across the industry.

The 8,347 lbs curb weight and 3,153 lbs of payload for your truck makes total sense. This week we published a video featuring a 2020 Ford F-250 Tremor diesel that had a GVWR of 10,800 lbs and a payload rating of close to 3,000 lbs. It did not have the long wheelbase, the big tank option, or the 5th-wheel / gooseneck hitch. All these add significant weight.


All manufacturers advertise payload and towing numbers as they relate to very unique truck configurations. If it’s a single-rear-wheel (SRW) one ton truck, the headline advertised payload and towing refer to the most basic 2WD model.


The actual payload that is printed in the door jam sticker is specific that exact truck when it has a full fuel tank fuel and including all optional equipment.

All manufacturers also publish very detailed towing and payload charts & guides that give you much better idea as to the actual payload and towing capacity of your truck.

Here is a link to 2017 Ford Towing/Payload Guide. – page 12 shows camper capacities, which can be a bit less than total payload capacities.