Dealing With Customers of Size: Is Your Vehicle Overloaded?

Jim Luff
Posted on June 14, 2016

In the airline world, large customers are referred to as a COS: A customer of size. This is an important fact to note in terms of customer convenience and safety. It is also an important fact when loading your vehicle with passengers and luggage.

Every vehicle has weight limits. Don’t be fooled into believing that if you are driving an eight-passenger limousine with six people and luggage that you aren’t over the capacity of the vehicle and the weight capacity of the tires. If you have customers of size and heavy luggage you can easily exceed the manufacturer’s intended weight limits.

Here are some things you should know about the vehicle you are driving. The curb weight is the amount the vehicle weighs with a full tank of gas and sitting empty. The cargo weight is the amount you are adding with luggage and people, including the driver of the vehicle. Every vehicle has a plate mounted somewhere showing the GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. That is the maximum allowable weight of the vehicle and cargo weight combined.

Additionally, the tires must be able to support the load. If a vehicle has a GVWR of 4,500 pounds, then each of the four tires must have a minimum weight rating of 1,125 pounds each. It is important that drivers assess the weight added to their vehicles without coming right out and asking the passenger how much they weigh. Overloading a vehicle can stress the frame, cause engine and/or drive train damage, and cause the vehicle to handle poorly and result in a loss of control.

Related Topics: GVWR, Jim Luff, maintenance, operations, passenger safety, regulations, Shop Talk blog, vehicle safety

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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