Overloaded car transporters

We've seen quite a few social media posts about this plus seen some interesting examples on the roads ourselves and decided to contribute to the topic.

Look at the two photos. In the first one, it's obvious that the flatbed is inadequate for the size and weight of the vehicle. In the second photo, a lot of people wouldn't immediately see that something isn't right. The car physically fits on the car transporter so what's wrong with it? We tend to perceive cars as lightweight and vans as heavy,  when in reality there might not be that much difference in weight between the two. Cars can easily weigh up to 2.5t, which is over the kerb weight of a Ford Transit. Fiat Ducato vans, although they look much bigger and bulkier, have a payload of only 3.5t. Once you deduct the vehicle weight, there is only enough payload left for a really small car or old car.

One of our staff recently witnessed a VW T4 being carried on a Citroen Relay flatbed, which exceeds the payload by about one ton! That might sound like nothing when compared to the Ukrainian lorry, caught a few years ago, that had managed to be overloaded by a whopping 162 tons, but it is no laughing matter.

Overloading is not just illegal, it's dangerous too! Overloaded vehicles have reduced handling and stability - think of going around corners or passing other vehicles on narrow Norfolk roads, take longer to stop or fail to stop at all, and the extra weight puts pressure on major components of the car transporter: suspension, engine, tyres, to name a few. If it's windy and the overloaded flatbed is travelling fast, the consequences can be devasting for other drivers when the driver of the unstable flatbed loses control and gets blown right into your way. It can happen on the motorway, it can happen on a B road.

There is a common misconception that adding airbags to the vehicle will automatically increase payload. It will NOT. The vehicle needs uprating and air suspension is part of the re-rating process. The quality of the airbags is also of great importance. We've said this before and we'll say it again: beware of cheap kits from eBay/other online marketplaces that claim 4000 kg load capacity, this is not possible in real life. Cheap kits use either counterfeit or lightweight bags, often in combination with thin brackets. Low quality kits with false capacity claims can damage the suspension, making the vehicle unsafe and therefore illegal for road use. If you want to add air suspension for load support or plan to uprate your vehicle, buy quality air suspension which, of course, is what we specialise in.

Whilst the Police and VOSA do not inspect air suspension for quality, they do pull vehicles over for a weight check. Driving an overloaded vehicle is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988. If you need to hire a car transporter, don't just go for the cheapest quote. You need to do the maths to make sure that the flatbed that's arrived to collect your vehicle can actually legally carry it.