Rear view of red 2020 Ram 1500 Limited on the road

Payload vs Towing Capacity: What is the Difference?

What Is the Difference Between Payload and Towing Capacity?

There is a lot of convenience in owning a truck, especially if you need to transport items that don’t fit in a regular car. The two terms that describe how much weight a vehicle can accommodate are payload and towing capacity. But what’s the difference between them? Occasionally people use both concepts interchangeably, but they are actually not the same and understanding their difference is important to avoid serious damage to your vehicle. Read on to get a better understanding of these truck terms and why it is necessary to know the difference between them.


Read more: Towing Capabilities of the 2020 RAM 1500


What Is Payload Capacity?

Payload capacity is the amount of weight that a vehicle can safely haul inside the cabin and/or truck bed in addition to its own empty weight, technically known as curb weight. In other words, is how much your truck can carry. The payload can be the weight of you and your passengers, the items on the trunk, or a mix of both.  

Your owner’s manual will tell you what the payload capacity of your truck is. However, you can also calculate it yourself by doing a little math. To do so, simply take the gross vehicle weight (maximum weight your truck can handle) and subtract the curb weight. Then you will know how much weight in passengers and cargo your vehicle can carry.

Rear view of silver 2020 Ram 1500 Limited
Red 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie towing trailer

What Is Towing Capacity?

Towing capacity refers to the amount of weight a vehicle can safely pull with a trailer. Typically, the towing capacity exceeds the payload because the weight is mainly resting behind the truck and not in it.

You can also find your truck’s towing capacity in the owner’s manual or calculate it yourself. The math here consists in taking the gross combined vehicle weight and subtracting the curb weight. The gross combined vehicle weight rating is the maximum weight of your loaded truck and the weight of its attached trailer.

Knowing the difference between these two terms is more important than you might think. If you ignore the payload and towing capacities set by the manufacturer or use them indistinctively, you can do serious damage to the frame, engine, transmission and tires of your truck.


Read more: Is the Ram Engine with eTorque Worth It?


How Much Can the 2020 Ram 1500 Carry and Pull?

The 2020 Ram 1500 is a great choice when it comes to towing and payload capacities. With four different engines to choose from, the pulling capacity of this model varies from 7,730 pounds with the 3.6-liter Pentastar® V6 engine to 12,750 pounds with the powerful 5.7-liter V8 HEMI® engine. Payload capacity goes from 2,100 to 2,300 pounds.

Interested in this model? Check out our online inventory at Albany CDJR to see what is currently available in our lot or give us a call for more detailed information. We will be happy to answer all your questions.