How Much Weight Can A Hotshot Haul With Cdl

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How Much Weight Can a Hotshot Haul with CDL?

As a truck driver, I’ve always been fascinated by the capabilities of hotshots, those nimble rigs that can haul heavy loads with remarkable agility. The question of how much weight a hotshot can haul with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) has intrigued me, leading me to delve into the depths of research and industry knowledge to bring you this comprehensive guide.

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding hotshots. A hotshot is a Class 3 truck, defined by its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds. CDL holders with a Class 3 license can legally operate these vehicles, making them an ideal choice for hauling substantial loads.

GVWR and Payload Capacity

GVWR refers to the maximum weight a vehicle can legally carry, including its cargo. For hotshots, the GVWR determines the maximum payload capacity, which is the weight of the cargo the truck can haul. Understanding payload capacity is vital for ensuring safe and legal operation.

To calculate the payload capacity of a hotshot, we subtract the weight of the truck itself from the GVWR. For instance, if a hotshot weighs 15,000 pounds and has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds, its payload capacity would be 18,000 pounds. This means the hotshot can legally haul up to 18,000 pounds of cargo.

Factors Affecting Payload Capacity

While GVWR provides a legal framework, several factors can influence the payload capacity of a hotshot:

  • Truck Configuration: Single-axle hotshots have a lower payload capacity compared to tandem-axle or tri-axle configurations.
  • Trailer Type: Enclosed trailers are heavier than flatbed trailers, reducing the available payload capacity.
  • Cargo Density: Dense cargo, like metal or machinery, will significantly reduce payload capacity compared to lighter cargo.
  • Hilliness of Route: Inclines and steep roads can limit the payload capacity due to reduced engine power.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as snow or rain, can affect traction and stability, impacting the payload capacity.

Tips for Maximizing Payload Capacity

To maximize the payload capacity of a hotshot, consider the following tips:

  1. Optimize Truck Configuration: Choose a hotshot with the most axles possible to increase payload capacity.
  2. Select a Lightweight Trailer: Opt for a flatbed trailer or open deck trailer to minimize the weight of the trailer.
  3. Plan Cargo Loading: Distribute cargo evenly to maintain proper weight distribution and prevent overloading.
  4. Consider Cargo Density: Avoid hauling dense cargo that reduces payload capacity.
  5. Monitor Weather Conditions: Be aware of adverse weather conditions and adjust the payload accordingly.


Q: Can I legally haul more weight than the GVWR of my hotshot?
A: No, it is illegal to exceed the GVWR. Overloading can lead to safety hazards, legal penalties, and damage to the vehicle.

Q: How can I determine the payload capacity of my hotshot?
A: Subtract the weight of the truck from the GVWR. Ensure the weight of the cargo does not exceed the calculated payload capacity.

Q: What are the consequences of overloading a hotshot?
A: Overloading can result in fines, vehicle damage, reduced fuel efficiency, and safety issues.


Understanding the weight-hauling capabilities of a hotshot with a CDL is essential for safe and compliant operation. By adhering to GVWR limitations, considering factors affecting payload capacity, and following expert advice, hotshot drivers can maximize their payload and ensure efficient and profitable hauling.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in hotshot trucking, I encourage you to explore further resources and consult with experienced drivers to gain valuable insights and ensure successful operations.

HotShot QuickStart Guide | HOTSHOT OWNERS

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