Pickup trucks like the Toyota Tacoma are built tough. Their beds and tailgates are designed to haul and carry heavy loads. But just how much weight can the tailgate on a Tacoma handle before it becomes unsafe? This comprehensive guide examines the Tacoma’s tailgate capacity and provides tips for hauling heavy items safely.
What is the Weight Limit of a Tacoma Tailgate?
The exact weight a Tacoma tailgate can hold depends on a few factors:
The Tacoma Model Year
- Older Tacoma tailgates from the 1990s to early 2000s may hold around 200 pounds.
- Newer Tacoma tailgates from 2005 on can handle at least 400 pounds.
The Tacoma Trim Level
- Higher trim levels like the Tacoma TRD Sport have upgrades that make the tailgate stronger.
- These can hold over 400 pounds, maybe more depending on the load.
Where the Weight is Positioned
- The closer the load is to the tailgate latches, the more weight it can handle.
- Loads at the very end of the tailgate should be under 200 pounds.
There is no official weight limit given by Toyota for Tacoma tailgates. But they’ve been tested to be as strong as the tailgate cables they replace.
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Real-World Tacoma Tailgate Capacity
Here are some firsthand accounts of how much a Tacoma tailgate can hold:
- A Tacoma owner reports loading over 400 pounds of sandbags on their tailgate with no issues.
- One person transported a 500-pound dirt bike on their tailgate using a ramp.
- Another Reddit user plans to load a 500-pound bike in the back and drive it home.
These real-world tests show Tacoma tailgates can safely handle 400+ pounds if loaded properly. But it’s wise to stay on the conservative side when approaching the max capacity.
Tips for Hauling Heavy Items on a Tacoma Tailgate
When you need to haul something heavy in your Tacoma’s bed, follow these tips to avoid tailgate damage:
Use Support Bars or Straps
- Add support bars that transfer weight from the tailgate to the bed sides.
- Secure items with ratchet straps attached to the truck frame.
Place Heavier Items Toward the Cab
- Positioning weight closer to the tailgate latches reduces strain.
- Try to keep loads under 200 pounds at the very end of the gate.
Avoid Excessive Bouncing
- Go slow over bumps and turns to minimize bouncing of heavy loads.
- This prevents concentrated force spikes on the tailgate.
Consider a Hitch Rack
- For loads over 500 pounds, use a hitch-mounted carrier.
- High-quality racks can handle 300 to 750 pounds.
Check for Damage Frequently
- Inspect the tailgate mounting points and hardware.
- Look for signs of bending, cracks, or broken welds.
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Dangers of Overloading Your Tailgate
Exceeding the Tacoma tailgate’s weight capacity can lead to some serious issues:
Too much weight can bend or break the tailgate. Replacing it costs $1,000 or more.
Truck Frame Damage
Overloading can warp the bed sides or twist the frame. Frame work is very expensive.
Injury & Liability
If a heavily loaded tailgate fails, falling cargo can injure people and cause property damage.
Toyota may void part of your warranty if damage results from overloading.
It’s best to stay well below your Tacoma’s maximum capacity and use additional support when needed. Never exceed the gross vehicle weight rating.
The Takeaway on Tacoma Tailgate Weight Limits
While Toyota doesn’t publish an official weight limit, real-world testing shows Tacoma tailgates can safely handle 400+ pounds. Older models from the 90s-2000s should be limited to around 200 pounds.
When approaching max capacity, focus the load near the latches and use straps or bars for support. And consider a hitch rack for anything over 500 pounds. Exceeding the tailgate’s limits risks expensive damage and dangerous situations. But staying within reasonable limits allows you to haul heavy items securely.