Here are 5 steps for determining your tow vehicle's correct load limit.
Your vehicle may be equipped with a placard that describes your vehicle's load limit, or you may find it in the owner's manual. In either case, locate the statement that says: "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX lbs."
The people inside of the vehicle will contribute to the total weight your vehicle is being asked to carry. Determine the combined weight of the driver and all passengers who will be riding in your vehicle.
Subtract the combined weight of the people in the vehicle from the manufacturer's recommended cargo capacity. The resulting figure equals the available amount of cargo and luggage capacity. For example, if the recommended weight limit equals 3000 lbs. and there will be five 150 lb. passengers in the vehicle, the amount of available cargo and luggage capacity is 2250 lbs. (3000 - (5 x 150) = 2250).
Determine the combined weight of luggage and cargo being loaded on the vehicle. That weight may not safely exceed the available cargo and luggage capacity calculated in the previous step.
If you are going to be pulling a trailer, a certain portion of the weight of your trailer and its load will be transferred to the tongue of your vehicle. This weight must also be included in your load weight calculations. Consult your tow vehicle's manual to determine how this weight transfer reduces the available cargo and luggage capacity of your vehicle.
So, the total load on your vehicle includes the weight of the driver and all passengers + the weight of all luggage or cargo + the tongue weight transferred from your trailer and its load. You must make sure all of these things combined do not exceed the maximum rated weight capacity of your vehicle.