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How Much Weight Can a Pickup Truck Tailgate Hold?

How Much Weight Can a Pickup Truck Tailgate Hold?

Having a truck is great when you need something moved fast. But you need to make sure that you don’t cause more harm than help, like having your tailgate broken. 

So, it would be best to make sure that when you’re moving stuff on your truck, you don’t accidentally overload the tailgate and have it break.

But just how much weight can a truck’s tailgate hold?

Tailgates are generally built strong to hold large payloads and typically support between 1,400 lbs to 1,700 lbs. This makes them excellent for loading furniture, ATVs, and other things which will distribute the weight between the tailgate and the rear of the truck.

However, there are several other factors that you need to take into account before you start loading!

What Factors Affect How Much Weight A Tailgate Can Hold?

Tailgate cable strength

The loading capacity depends a lot on the cables used to hold it to the rear-end of the truck. 

Any loading capacity deemed reasonable is made assuming that the cables and fittings are in ideal condition and not worn out.

If you’re using worn cables, consider getting OEM cables. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and will be better at holding your tailgate. 

Plus, the load support list in this article also assumes that your truck is fitted with OEM cables.

The brand of the car

The truck’s make and model play a huge role in figuring out the loading capacity of the tailgate.

The lightest was the Chevrolet Silverado, with a carrying capacity of 300lbs, loaded evenly.

This was followed by the Honda Ridgeline, which has a tailgate weight of 85 lbs., and has a loading capacity of about 500 lbs.

This is followed by the Ford F-150 and the Ford Ranger, which have a weight of 60lbs and 70lbs respectively and have a weight capacity of 600lbs and 650lbs, in the same order.

As you transition towards the medium carrying capacity, you have the Ford F-250, which has a tailgate weighing 60lbs., with a payload capacity of 1,400lbs.

This is followed by the Toyota Tundra, GM Colorado, and the GM Canyon. These have a tailgate weight of 90lbs., and have a carrying capacity of 1,500lbs. each.

After this, we have the heavy capacity lineup, with the Dodge Ram, which has a tailgate that weighs 60lbs and has a carrying capacity of 2,000lbs.

And finally, we have the GM 1500 and the GM 2500, which have 95lbs tailgates, capable of carrying a hefty 2,500lbs.

Stressing the tailgate cables

There are several don’ts when it comes to tailgates

Keeping the tailgate open halfway shouldn’t be done, since it might cause the tailgate to wobble with every bump on the road, and places stress on the cable if you’re looping it around the latch striker.

The latch striker is the hook to which the cable is attached. This is located on the vehicle’s rear end and is used to secure the tailgate with the rest of the vehicle. 

Looping the cable around this can cause severe stress on the cable over time, which will deteriorate its condition and eventually lead to break down.

Loading a tailgate

When loading a tailgate with heavy machinery, always make sure to use a loading ramp.

This will spread the weight of the load evenly across the edge of the tailgate, and reduce the chances of it buckling under pressure.

Loading the tailgate evenly is also very important, as loading it all on one side of the tailgate can put pressure on only one of the cables, which won’t be able to withstand it. 

If a truck tailgate has a capacity of 500lbs, it’s best to load 250lbs on each side, so the tailgate won’t buckle.

Tailgate Safety tips

Loading and unloading a tailgate can be a potential hazard if you’re not careful.

It is not unheard of that people have been wounded by falling cargo, or accidents occurring due to poor visibility for the driver. 

That’s why you should follow some of these tips to reduce the chances of an accident occurring.

Get a backup camera

Getting a camera installed on your tailgate that activates when you’re in reverse will allow you to easily backup without having to strain to see through the windows.

Stabilize the unloading

Prevent unloading on a slope or a hilly area, where the cargo can slip out of the truck and onto unsuspecting by-passers.

Secure the cargo

Always make sure to secure the cargo when you’re in transit. This will help prevent any mishaps during travel since unsecured loads have historically caused more than 200,000 accidents. Use ropes, fasteners, and make sure that the tailgate is either fully open or fully closed.

Final thoughts

Well, that’s it! We’ve stated the different truck types and their respective cargo capacities, how to make sure that the tailgate cables don’t break, and some general safety tips. Happy driving!

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!