Picking the right size van – what happens if my van is overloaded?

Hiring a van is useful for people from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking to boost your business reputation with a corporate van, move home or office, or get a large amount of goods from A to B, hiring a van from us makes perfect sense. 

Whatever your reasons for hiring a van and regardless of the length of your rental period, avoiding overloading is vital for every van driver. Overloading a van is not only dangerous, it can leave you subject to fines and penalty points. If you are caught driving an overloaded van, you may also be asked to unload it to a safe weight before proceeding with your journey, which may cause untold disruption to your business or moving plans.

Here at Collison Vehicle Rental, we specialise in delivering hire vehicles for every occasion. Our range includes economic run arounds, small cars, saloons, luxury vehicles, 4x4s, small work vans, large vans, and extra-long wheel base or Luton sized vans. In this blog post, our experts reveal more about overloading, including the signs of overloading, fines and penalties for overloading, and what to do to avoid an overloaded van.

What are the signs of overloading?

Overloading is extremely dangerous. By not adhering to the gross vehicle weight limit of the van, you risk putting too much pressure on the suspension and the tyres. This extra pressure will make the van difficult to control, and also risk other issues such as blown tyres, suspension failures and braking problems.

With the right knowledge, the signs of overloading can be spotted visually. First look at its tyres, do they look underinflated? If the answer is “yes”, then your van may be overloaded. The sides and back of the van may also sit much closer to the ground, and the side wings particularly close to the tyres, due to the pressure of the load on the van’s suspension when overloaded.

How much weight can a van carry?

How much weight a van can transport depends entirely on its make and model. Generally, a larger, 3.5 tonne Luton van can transport up to 1,300kg of weight.

Each make and model of van has its own load weight and gross vehicle weight. The load weight refers to the weight of belongings and other baggage, whilst the gross vehicle weight is the entire weight of the van, driver, passengers, load and fuel. The gross vehicle weight is an important consideration and one that can leave you subject to fines and penalty points if it is exceeded.

What if I exceed these weight limits?

If you exceed the gross vehicle weight of your specific hire van you not only risk the safety of yourself, your passengers, pedestrians and other road users. You will face fines if you are stopped by the authorities. 

Fines of up to £300 are payable if you exceed the gross vehicle weight limit of the van although the exact fine total depends on how much your van is overloaded. If your van is between 5 and 10% overloaded you’ll face a £100 fine, 10 to 15% overloaded and you’ll pay a £200 fine, and 15 to 30% overloaded will land you with a £300 fine.

If your vehicle is overloaded beyond 30% you are likely to receive a court summons, and risk receiving a fine of up to £5,000. In addition to this, penalty points may be added to your licence, whilst drivers of overloaded vans who are involved in an accident will void their insurance and face even greater costs and penalties.

How can I ensure I don’t overload my hire van?

The best way to avoid the hefty fines, penalties and safety risks detailed above is to make sure your van isn’t overloaded in the first place. As well as keeping an eye out for those tell-tale signs of overloading, visiting your local weighbridge before you continue with your journey is recommended to ensure you know exactly how much your van really weighs. 

Picking the right size van is vital when avoiding overloading, and that’s something our team will be more than happy to assist with. We stock a wide range of van makes and models to ensure you can make the best use of your hire. 

Our small work vans are great for personal and professional use thanks to their storage capacity, whilst their car sized shell means you can drive (and park!) with confidence even if you’re new to driving a van. Our large work vans go one step further for customers looking for more space and strength. They’re great for DIY enthusiasts and tradespeople looking to transport equipment and supplies, and easy to manoeuvre into driveways and around car parks. 

Our extra-long wheel base and high top vans are the largest vans in our range, and are great for office and house moves. Better yet, you can drive these larger, 3.5 tonne vans without any additional driving qualifications or specialist licence categories.

Browse our selection of Waterlooville vans for hire or contact our team direct for further information.