Half Ton Truck – What Does That Mean?


When shopping for trucks, you probably have encountered the terms half-ton, three-quarter ton and one ton. What do each of these terms mean? And if you buy a half-ton truck does it mean your truck weights 1,000 pounds?

A half-ton truck actually does not refer to the weight of the truck. Half-ton pickups actually weigh more than a ton. The weight of a truck is actually described in terms of its ‘curb weight’. According to Edmunds, a 2007 half-ton pickup would normally have a curb weight of around 9000 and 11000 pounds. The term half-ton then refers to the truck’s payload capacity. Payload therefore means the truck’s carrying capacity of both cargo and passengers. And yet, statistically, most modern half-ton pickups can actually carry more than 1000 pounds.  Early model trucks could carry only max loads of 1000 pounds, but this was back in the 1960s. Yet, the term half-ton has stuck, even though it doesn’t mean exactly that. But in terms of classifying trucks, it helps to differentiate the half-ton from the larger three-quarter-ton and one-ton vehicles.

So, if you are looking to see how much your truck can haul, you will want to check out the truck’s specs within the manual or online. Remember that also when looking for hauling capacity, you are only looking at the weight carried, not towed. Towing capacity is completely different than hauling capacity.

In towing capacity there are again more terms to be familiar with. One is Gross Combined Weight Rating or GCWR and the other is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating(GVWR). GCWR is the maximum weight of a truck, including the truck itself, cargo, passengers, fuel, trailer and trailer cargo. The GVWR is just the maximum weight of vehicle including passengers, cargo and tongue weight.

Many people will measure these weights by taking their loaded truck and trailer to a scale to find its weight. To determine the safe towing capacity of a loaded truck, one would take the GCWR and subtract the curb weight and the weight of everything in the truck, including passengers and cargo. They would then, take the GVWR and subtract the curb weight of the truck. Many manufacturers do not advertise these details and only promote the towing capacity of a truck based on only one driver whose weight is approximately 150 lbs. Realistically, your vehicle would have other passengers and cargo as well – all of this adds up.

Other considerations when looking at purchasing a truck for towing capacity is looking at variables such as the engine, transmission, quality of brakes and rear axle.

Although terminology of trucks isn’t completely accurate, it is still pretty much known that a half-ton truck is known for light duty and towing capacity while the three-quarter-tons and one-tons have bigger frames, firmer suspension and more powerful engines for pulling larger loads.

In the automotive industry, it can be difficult for consumers to accurately compare truck towing performance as there is little to no criteria. This is expected to change as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has created a committee that is working on a standard for measuring towing capacity. Until then, do your homework, ask questions and evaluate your needs before purchasing your next truck.


Source by gregchapman