The 8.5×16 enclosed trailer may undoubtedly be one of best selling trailers of all time. At 8.5 feet wide, you’ve got maximum room around your equipment and the 16 foot length is extremely accommodating without being too big to handle. The 8.5×16 is loved by professional landscape companies, contractors, race day haulers, and really anyone looking for an excellent combination of storage space and maneuverability. But have you ever given a second thought to how much weight affects nearly every facet of the trailer?
Today’s total trailer experience is taking you inside the exciting world of 8.5×16 enclosed trailer weights and measures. While it may not be the most glamorous part of trailer ownership, knowing all your trailer’s numbers is vital to safe and efficient operation.
How Much Does the 8.5×16 Enclosed Trailer Weigh?
Okay, let’s just get it out of the way up front with how much an 8.5×16 trailer weighs. The empty, or “curb”, weight of the 8.5×16 tandem axle is right around 2,800 pounds. The tongue weighs in at 420 pounds and the standard 3,500-drop leaf spring axles provide a payload capacity of approximately 4,200 pounds. Now, consider all of these numbers like a baseline because there are so many different factors which can affect what weight does to your trailer. We’ll look at a few of the more common variables having to do with weight which can dramatically affect how the trailer performs while underway.
How Weights Affect How Well Your Trailer Rides
The weight of your cargo affects everything from gas mileage to wear and tear on all the parts and components that make up the enclosed trailer itself. There’s a few factors you should be aware of as you begin hauling loads with a new 8.5 x 16:
- Weight limits: every trailer and tow vehicle has weight limits that give you a threshold for safe operability. You should never, ever flirt with these thresholds as maxing out the trailer puts more stress on every component. Exceeding weight limits can be downright dangerous when components that aren’t rated for that level of stress begin to fail.
- Weight distribution: weight distribution is easily one of the most easily overlooked aspects of safe towing. A balanced load around the axle makes an enclosed trailer safer and more stable. Improperly distributed cargo can rob you off gas mileage, lead to increased wear and tear, and can make the trailer harder to maneuver, especially at speed and with turns.
- Weight laws: depending on what state you live in your Department of Transportation (DOT) may have different regulations for how to tow a trailer. You may have to stop at weigh stations, keep it under a certain Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), and other rules specific to where you’re traveling through. Just like changing speed limits, make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations concerning trailer weights in your location.
Safe trailering helps prevent accidents and generally makes the roads safer as a whole, but it’s also how you’re going to get the most value out of your new 8.5×16. The investment you’re making in the trailer can produce the best value over the long haul when you take good care of the trailer and remember key cargo hauling factors like those outlined above.
Weight Ratings Every Trailer Owner Should Know
Weights can seem like a bunch of numbers, which they are, but luckily trailer and tow vehicle manufacturers test and retest their products to figure out safe thresholds. These thresholds are how weight ratings are determined for enclosed trailers. There’s a few truly crucial ratings every single entity hauling a cargo trailer needs to be aware of before they ever hitch up including:
- Gross Combined Weight Rating: this is the total weight specified by the manufacturer for a fully loaded trailer plus a fully loaded tow vehicle. This is a really important figure for safe and legal driving. For instance, the Florida DOT states that the combined weight of your personal vehicle and the trailer cannot exceed 10,000 pounds or you will be expected to enter all of the weigh stations while driving on Florida’s state-maintained highways.
- Payload Capacity: every trailer manufacturer specifies a payload capacity for the trailer which is how much cargo the trailer can safely transport, with the assumption that the weight will be properly distributed around the axle. The 8.5×16 comes with a standard payload capacity of 4,200 pounds.
- Max tongue weight: your tow vehicle’s manufacturer is going to specify the maximum tongue weight that your bumper-pull enclosed cargo trailer can have. Tongue weight is how much downward force that the tongue of the trailer is pushing onto the tow vehicle’s hitch. Exceeding this means extra stress on the tow vehicle that it wasn’t engineered to handle.
As a trailer owner who knows their numbers and sticks under safe limits you will be setting yourself up for long term success in your 8.5×16. Combined with a stout 5-year warranty that’s included or taking it up a notch with Renown’s ironclad 10-year add-on warranty you can purchase, and you are talking about a great long term investment in a powerhouse hauling machine.
Ways You Can Increase Payload Capacity in an Enclosed Trailer
Did you know your trailer can undergo its own strength training regimen and actually boost how much weight it can safely handle? Okay, it’s not actually a workout routine, but you can increase your payload capacity by upgrading the 8.5×16’s tandem axles. The trailer already comes with a pair of stout 3,500 pound drop leaf spring axles, but you can go up to 5,200 pound tandem axles or even 7,000 pound axles. You can also look to go with torsion axles which can help provide a less bumpy ride. With the 5,200 axles, you’re jacking up the payload capacity up to 7,600 pounds and the 7,000 axles max it out at an extra-beefy 11,200 pounds of payload capacity.
These and other options are easy to add on when you’re shopping the 8.5×16 online, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the customizations you’d like to see on your new trailer.
Common Cargo Weights in Trailer Hauling
So how much do common cargo items weigh? What is common cargo? To give you an idea of how much your 8.5×16 trailer payload capacity can handle, consider these “common” categories of different cargo that our customers look to transport in their new trailers.
- ATV weight: a 2021 Honda Rancher 420 has a curb weight of 676 pounds.
- Motorcycle weight: a 2020 Harley Roadster has a curb weight of 571 pounds.
- Zero turn mower weight: a John Deere Z530M weighs 780 pounds.
- Classic car weight: a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 has a curb weight of 3,185 pounds.
Whenever you start considering an 8.5×16 tandem axle, you are generally in need of a larger trailer for larger loads. Whether that’s two zero turn mowers and a host of other equipment or a set of quads for taking out to the trails, you need to be cognizant of how much your cargo weighs and how that stands in relation to the manufacturers’ limits.
Customizations to Increase Storage Capacity Inside a Trailer
Having an 8.5×16 tandem axle enclosed trailer with all that payload capacity doesn’t get you far when you don’t have a good way to organize everything to load it up right. That’s where customization options can really help boost your overall storage capacity. Because you are being more efficient in your loading, you will be more likely to get more cargo in and on its way.
One the best options for space saving ideas inside an enclosed trailer is to incorporate cabinets up front. The front nose is often underutilized, so mounting base and/or overhead cabinets here can give you a great place to store a bunch of different items in a really organized and accessible place. That frees up the rest of your trailer for more cargo.
Another area to look at which is especially popular with our contractors, gutter companies, landscapers, painters, and others with ladders is a ladder rack up top. The ladder rack helps get your long parts and ladders up and out of the way with an easy rear access ladder for loading and unloading.
Going Over All the Numbers with a Renown Trailer Expert
With everything we covered here, we know it can be a bit overwhelming to take in everything you need to know before you tow. That’s why Renown’s trailer experts are so good at what they do. They’ll take the time to go over each and every aspect of the towing operation—from how to properly hook up and detach the trailer, how to properly distribute loads, and all the important figures that the trailers’ manufacturer sets for safe operability. Contact our team today to talk specs.