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Ford F-150 payload scales, what it is and how it works

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One of the coolest things to come out of a recent drive event showcasing the Ford F-150 Tremor was Ford’s Onboard Scales demonstration. During this event, the F-150 was loaded up with bales of hay and gravel in order to demonstrate how this new feature for the F-150 works.

Mike Levine, Ford truck PR guru, was proudly bragging about this on his Twitter. But just how does it work, and why is it such a great new feature? Is it a gimmick or legitimate?

Ford’s Onboard Scales explained

Vehicle technology continues to get cooler and cooler. Some of these new features are gimmicky and some are downright genius, with awesome real-world applications. In the case of Ford’s Onboard Scales it falls into the latter as it’s something truck owners will likely embrace.

Gauging your total payload is often fuzzy math. But the Onboard Scales make it much more precise as it measures and displays the approximate weight of the payload in the truck. It will even take into account passenger weight (approximately). All of the load information is displayed on the touch screen and presented graphically. Even cooler, it can be displayed through the FordPass app.

I keep using the adjective cool, and I’m going to keep doing it. Perhaps the coolest feature (even if it is somewhat gimmicky) is that the payload capacity is displayed on the F-150’s smart taillamps.

Think about your smart phone displays your battery life with indicator lines. Well, the smart taillamps on the F-150 function the same way as it relates to the payload. The taillights display the percentage of payload capacity by illuminating LEDs in a built-in vertical bar. As the truck is loaded, all four lights illuminate, showing it’s reached full capacity.

If the truck is overloaded, the top lights blink. The maximum payload based on the pickup’s configuration is programmed into the system. Additionally, the truck can be set on scale mode, which zeroes out the current load and allows for approximate weighing of additional items loaded into the bed.

Said Deep, director of Ford’s North American Communication team Tweeted a video of this in action and said: “Crazy smart Ford engineers at it again. Loading gravel or dirt at the local nursery, you can watch new onboard scales for F-150 inside the cabin or outside. Four small LEDs in the tail lamps let you know how much payload capacity you have left or blink if overloaded.”

The bottom line on Ford’s Onboard Scales

I love new vehicle technology. Even if it’s gimmicky. In this instance, there’s nothing gimmicky about the Onboard Scales. Knowing the exact amount of load you’re putting onto your F-150 seems like a valuable and quite useful tool for truck owners.

As Said Deep said, “crazy smart engineering.” And I love that it’s displayed in three places: center touchscreen, on your phone’s app and on the taillamps.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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