Summer Travel Tips: Avoid overloading your Car

28 August 2018 / Lindleys Autocentres

When getting ready for a trip, it's common for most people to over pack planning, taking the ‘just incases’ a little too far. How often have you gone away and realised you only end up using 50% of the clothes you brought along? Overloading your car is a very dangerous, so next time you’re heading out on a trip take the following principles into account for a safe trip.

Why car overloading is a problem

First, let's quickly go over why overloading can become a problem and why it may occur more often than you think.  In most cases, motorists will be unaware of when a car's load becomes heavier than is safe. Not knowing your cars carrying capacity is common, most motorists, therefore, adopt the visual check method. Meaning, ‘is the frame touching the wheels? If not were good to go’ This is an incredibly risky way to make this check, however, as your car could be past its limit long before this point, making it a hazard to drive.

How to know if your cars overloaded?

As a quick rule of thumb, larger vehicles can carry higher loads. But don’t assume because you have a 4x4 it can carry the world. If you are unsure of the carrying capacity of your car, first check its manual. If you don’t have a copy, consult either your dealer, manufacturer or check online for a copy.

There are other factors that contribute to how much a car can carry, so complete these checks before a trip that involves transporting luggage:

  • Brake fluid levels

  • Overall brake health

  • Tyre health

  • Ensure you have a spare tyre

  • Door locking mechanisms

  • Wheel alignment


Most of these checks can be carried out at home, but if you do require an expert opinion were always happy to help as well as providing fast and efficient car servicing.

Car age is also an important factor to consider. Regardless of whether its overall health is good, increased load will expose weaknesses. So take extra precautions with older cars and get them checked before long journeys

What are the risks of overloading your car?

  • Decreased steering capabilities

  • Less effective breaking

  • Weaker car acceleration

  • Tyre overheating and more frequent wear-and-tear

  • Higher fuel costs

  • Suspension issues - higher load will stress your car's suspension making it more rigid and less able to handle sudden jolts.

As mentioned previously your car will always fail at its weakest point. Therefore overloading a vehicle is like trying to intentionally expose it and even a brand new car can fail under high loads.

Remember to travel as light as possible. You want to have the right clothes for every eventuality on holiday, but don't overload your car. If you exceed the recommended carrying capacity, fuel economy, handling and braking distance can adversely be affected. Avoid overloading at all costs, and if your luggage requirements exceed your cars carrying capacity we would recommend hiring a larger car.

If you require any further advice on your car's ability to carry heavy loads or would like to book a service to get checked out, get in touch today. Our friendly staff are always happy to help. If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest car news, and more from our blog you can do so here. Or follow our Facebook and Twitter for the latest from our team.



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