Hauling 650+ pounds of wood in a Honda


My main question is, is driving with say, over 800 pounds too much for a long drive in this car?

In the name of forest research, (and possibly a temporary loss of my senses) I volunteered to take some heavy wood samples from southwestern VA to MA in my '96 Honda Accord (118,000 miles). (Per the owner’s manual, the max load is 850, and I have a feeling I’m right around there)

I did about 5 hours of the trip and the car handled fairly well with logs in the trunk and back seat area, although the car was a bit more sensitive and the ride was more bouncy than usual.

The car is also, obviously, riding much lower than normal, but I still have maybe 10 inches of clearance from back bumper to ground.

As an aside, when I filled up my tank, I nearly fell over when I calculated 36 mpg hauling the wood. 36 mpg is more than I usually get in rural MA.

Does that mean this is not straining the car and driving another 8 hours would be okay on the car (the car that I’m hoping will last 10 more years…through grad school and beyond)?

Any thoughts, cautions, reassurances? If you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit nervous about this haul.


JMHO, but I would not worry about it. That weight should be no different than if you had say 3 adult passengers and some luggage in the trunk.

It would be prudent to hold the speed down though since the front wheels are essentially riding a little lighter due to the load.


In theory, you should be OK as long as you are within the total capacity of the car. That is quite a bit of weight (almost 2 mothers in law) so you should try to distribute it. Can you put some (maybe half) in the back seat? I would be a little concerned about the handling characteristics if all the weight is behind the rear wheels. Also pay attention to the engine temperature and be aware that your stopping distance may increase.


A few up front may also help balance the load, if you could fit some on the floorboard. Just make sure none can come loose and roll into the driver’s side and get stuck under the pedals.


Hell its a Honda load it up with 1000 pounds of wood and take off across country. It will last forever with no maintance or care. You people are impossible!!!


if it gets 36 with 650 lbs it will probly get 40 with 1000.


I don’t think I’d worry about it. Besides what are you going to do now, drop the wood off on the side of the road? In addition to general handling, I’d make sure the tires were properly inflated. Also you probably just didn’t get the tank full due to the lean of the car which would make it look like you got better mileage.



Sorry I didn’t answer yesterday, but I guess you already figured out what will happen to you if you crash the car. We don’t always think about that when we do crazy things. It seems so normal hauling just a load of wood.


Many thanks for all the advice!


While it may not damage the car, be aware that an additional 850 pounds of weight will significantly alter your accident avoidance capabilities and your stopping distances. Leave yourself lots of extra room and drive as if your life depended on the extra care…it does! By the way, that applies even if the extra weight was from transporting your in-laws.


or Click and Clack!!!