DO YOU KNOW YOUR LOAD? THE FIVE ITEMS THAT COULD OVERLOAD YOUR UTE
Ever been behind the wheel of your ute, loaded up with equipment, and thought, “it’s driving a bit funny, but I didn’t put that much in the tray?”
Vehicle overloading is a real issue on Australian roads, and one of the major causes is people not understanding that everything your ute is carrying, from passengers to tools in the tray, needs to be factored in to load calculations.
To support Isuzu’s webinar, Is Your Load Killing Your Ute?, we compiled a list of the items that so often get forgotten when tradies are thinking about how much their utes can carry. And needless to say every item we’ve listed will also affect your vehicle’s fuel economy.
An Australian favourite, bullbars are often the embodiment of that very True Blue ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy. But ute owners who spend the weekdays dreaming of weekends away off-roading, need to be aware how much adding a bulbar to their work vehicle can reduce the payload.
Even your basic, bare bones alloy bullbars – marketed to ute owners looking for a lightweight accessory to add to the front of their vehicle – can sometimes weigh up to 60 kilograms.
When you upgrade from alloy to steel bullbars, they get even heavier. Start adding features such as electric winches and driving lights, and a bullbar can reduce your ute’s available payload by 100 kilos or more!
Fuel and fluids
Everything, yes everything, in your vehicle is adding to its weight. That means every drop of coolant, windscreen washer fluid and engine oil is taking away from the number of tools you’re legally, and safely, allowed to carry on the back of your ute.
One of the most significant weight burdens you’ll have to put up with is fuel. If you’ve just hit the petrol station and filled up an 80-litre diesel tank, you’re making your ute carry an additional 68 kg.
If you drive a petrol ute, the same tank would still reduce your payload by almost 60 kilos.
Just like bullbars on the front of your ute, a towbar out the back is going to reduce your payload. A solidly built steel towbar might add as much as 135 kg to the weight of your ute.
While a towbar is going to allow you to hitch a trailer to your ute and carry more to job sites, the weight of the towbar and trailer is going to significantly reduce the weight your rear axle will be able to handle before exceeding its individual axle limit.
A roof rack is unlikely to be the bulkiest accessory you put on your ute, but it can lead to some major performance issues.
When the humble roof rack is loaded up it can have a massive impact on your vehicle’s handling.
As soon as you put a load on your roof rack, you’re shifting the vehicle’s centre of gravity upwards. Carrying a small load on your roof rack could end up having a big impact on how much control you have over your ute.
The higher centre of gravity is liable to make your ute more susceptible to rollovers, and can have significant negative impacts on how your vehicle handles – especially at high speeds.
It’s a catch-22 that many modern tradies face: they want to optimise their travel time to and from jobsites by carrying more tools, but this makes them a target for the would-be tool thieves that seem to be lurking around an alarming number of job sites.
The solution to this problem is installing tool boxes in your ute’s tray. While these trays will help keep out sticky fingers, they’ll also take away a substantial chunk of weight that you could otherwise use to transport tools and equipment about.
Even one aluminium tool box will usually weigh around 45 kg. If you chose a pair of steel tool boxes or trays for your ute you might be looking at almost 200 kg of the vehicle payload devoted to just making sure your equipment isn’t going to disappear.
These items are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the weights impacting on your ute. To learn more about what leads to ute overloading, and the grave consequences that drivers and business owners should be aware of, register here for Isuzu’s free webinar, Is Your Load Killing Your Ute?