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Trucking/cdl required weights


QUESTION: so I understand that if the combined GVWR of truck and trailer exceed 26001 pounds then it is cdl a required. does this include the weight of cargo as well or is that a separate limit before cdl is required

ANSWER: Wyatt;

CDL B truck is any truck with a registered or actual weight over 26,000 lbs.   Empty , the registered weight is the rule even if it actually weighs less than 26,001 lbs.

Loaded , a 26,000 lb truck becomes a class B truck if you were to load it to 26,500 lbs.

The biggest trailer a Non CDL or Class B CDL Driver can pull is 10,000 lbs.

But , if you have a 14,000 lb truck ( registered as a combination ) pulling a 12,000 lb are still non CDL.  In this case , although the trailer exceeds 10,000 , the total registered combination does not exceed 26,000.

Make that a 15,000 lb truck pulling a 12,000 lb trailer and now at 27,000 lbs, you need a Class A.  

Trailers over 10,000 lbs always complicate things.  

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QUESTION: so I have a gvwr on my pickup of 10500 I have a gooseneck that ways 5000 pounds how much weight can I put on the trailer before needing a cdl a

ANSWER: Wyatt,

Your truck qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle if it is used in some sort of money making business AND...

1.  You go out of state and your truck or truck trailer combination exceeds 10,000 lbs.

2.  You go anywhere and your truck or truck trailer exceeds 17,000 lbs.

Your truck can pull whatever the factory rating is.      A great resource is   That's the Trailer Life Magazine website.  It is year specific and model specific down to the engine, gear ratios etc.  

As long as you can safely pull a 10,000 lb trailer, you don't need anything extra to do so.   No CDL  , no special registration etc.

If you exceed 10,000 on a trailer , you will need a combination weight rating ( determined by the manufacturer).   Different sized trucks will have different size trailer capacities.   The basic idea is that they want to limit the size of a trailer based on the size of the truck.  You really don't want someone trying to pull a 14,000 lb trailer with a six cylinder F 150 do you ?   

As far as your gooseneck , what is it registered at ?   If your trailer is at 10,500, you are exempt from CDL territory but you will still need a combination registration.   

Call your dealer with your vin number in hand and they can tell you the biggest trailer you can pull with your current truck.   But based on the GVWR of your truck, the biggest trailer you might be able to pull is 26,000 - 10,500 = 15,500.   I don't know if your truck is capable of pulling a 15,500 lb trailer.  Will also give you an idea of the Max trailer you can pull.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: ok so a better question is  since I do make money pulling with my truck  I use a 94 single cab one ton dodge five speed 12 valve cummins diesel, does that mean no matter what weight is I have to have a cdl


Your truck alone will not cause a CDL.    Your MAX trailer size to avoid needing a CDL is 15,500 lbs.   if you were to get a 16,000 lb trailer that WOULD push into class A territory.  Look at the info below.  According to Trailer Life Magazine....your biggest trailer you can pull is 14,300 lbs.  And yes, a 4x4 weighs more than a 4x2 so it can't pull as much.

I went on and the oldest ratings are for a 1999.   So for a 1999 TD  WITH A MANUAL TRANS , your Max trailer is...

2500  4 x2 14,300.
2500. 4x4.  13,900

3500. 4x2.  14,000
3500. 4x4.   13,600.

AUTO trans for older trucks like yours have a significantly less pull capacity.  Just an FYI.  


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Andy Blair


Commercial Trucking regulations. DOT inspection information. Data Q challenges PA Traffic and Equipment Regulations Out of service criteria.


Police Officer 1986-2011 Weighmaster 1990-2011 DOT Enforcement Certified 1999-2011 Haz-Mat Inspector 2007-2011 Class A CDL Holder CDL Instructor

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American Association of Service Professionals Newsletter

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