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Overpacking a small car

I have a '09 Toyota Corrolla sedan and am wondering how much is too much to pack. I’d like to put a cargo box and two bikes on top and two more bikes on back,plus 4 people @ 380 lbs and moderate amount of luggage in trunk. Is this crazy?

Probably. You should have some specs, either on a sticker or in your owners manual, on weight capacity. All that weight up high will not be fun on the highway, either. 4 people at 380 lbs? 95 pounds each?

If you look in the owners manual, it will state the maximum load capacity of the vehicle. Weigh all the items you intend to put in/on the vehicle, and if it’s over that maximum, it’s crazy!


It sounds to me like you would be exceeding the load carrying capacity of your tires.

I suggest that you load up the car as you have described, and then go to a facility where they weigh trucks to see what your total vehicle weight is. Subtract the “curb weight” of the car (this should be in your Owner’s Manual) from the total at the weigh station, and then divide this by 4 to find the load per tire.

Refer to the sidewall of the tires to see what their load carrying capacity is. If you are over that weight (or even close to it), then–YES, you are crazy to try to take a trip in that manner. The probability of catastrophic tire failure is greatly increased by carrying a load that is too heavy, and that probability increases geometrically at highway speeds.

Even if you are comfortably under the load carrying capacity of your tires, be aware that you need to inflate the tires to a few pounds (3 or 4 lbs.) over the inflation pressures noted on the car’s door jamb. Also, be aware that stopping distances will be considerably longer with this added weight, which means that you need to travel more slowly than you normally would.

Edited to add:
Texases’ comment about carrying a significant load on the car’s roof is an excellent point. When that much weight is carried that high up, the weight distribution of the car is disrupted really badly, and this results in very poor road holding on curves and in windy conditions. If you are going to attempt this very questionable adventure, you need to drive MUCH slower than usual.

Bikes are not all that heavy, but they just provide a lot of air drag! I have a Toyota with a factory rack, and it has very limited carrying ability. So, I would get a REALLY GOOD SPORTRACK, especially made for bikes. You will severely damage the roof if you don’t. I have carried 150lbs on my Toyoto rack, evenly distributed, which is made of plastic.

In my opinion a cargo box plus bikes is very difficult with a Toyota Corolla; there is very little room to put all that stuff. If you put things on the roof, makes sure they are very light and compact. Put the heavy stuff in the trunk.

A rear bike rack is best put on a hitch sliding into a trailer hitch receiver. Any other type of bike rack will damage your trunk lid or bumper! Don’ screw or clamp anything on the back bumper. Also, a trailer hitch mounted carrier allows you to open the trunk with the bikes in place. Have the hitch professionally installed!

If you have the standard engine in the Corolla, STAY OUT OF OVERDRIVE! Keep the car in Drive. If standard, you will want to stay out of 5th gear.

The car can carry the loads, but I think this will be a miserable trip form a comfort point of view. From the cargo described, you are plalning a tent camping and cycling trip? If at all possible, REDUCE the weight of your luggage as much as possible.

I would have enjoyed this type of thing when I was 20. Your plans are not crazy, but even if you follow the above dirctions, you will still need small, athletic and easy-going partners to travel with!!

Sounds like renting a van or SUV would be the better option here. Or draw straws to see who has to stay home.

No just make sure your tires are above the suggested psi on the door jamb or in the glove box.

I used to fit 4(150lb-200lb) guys + ski gear(full trunk) in a 88 VW Jetta. No problems ever.