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RV And Trailer Weight Demystified

I do not think there is an RV-associated topic that causes much more arguments than RV weight, unless perhaps it is the argument more than trailer vs. 5th wheel vs. motor coach. Amongst the cryptic way that RV weights are reported by the makers, the lack of clear requirements by the DOT and the normally deliberate misinformation spread by RV dealers RV weights are confusing at most effective. We not too long ago bought a new RV – a procedure that ultimately prompted me to try to completely have an understanding of this topic. The following is what I discovered, and in my humble opinion, an authoritative explanation of what the truth definitely is.

Let's start off with the two stickers that are essential by law on each and every RV sold in America. The RV manufacturer is essential to incorporate a Weight Sticker on the RV that information all the essential weight ratings and maximums. This sticker is ordinarily situated on the inside of one particular of the kitchen cabinet doors. The other sticker essential by law is a tire capacities sticker. This is ordinarily outdoors the RV, someplace close to the hitch on towable RV's. It can be on the inside door frame, close to the engine compartment or on the inside of the service door for motor coaches. In addition to these two stickers on the RV, you will also want the ratings from your tow automobile if functioning with a towable.

The Weight Stickers

The RV's weight sticker displays all of the most essential weights as they apply for your RV. The facts on this sticker has adjustments more than the years, but it ought to include at least some mixture of the following:

  • GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating). The maximum gross weight that the axles will carry. This is independent of the weight rating of the tires.
  • GVWR (Gross Car Weight Rating). The maximum weight that the axles and/or the tires will carry. It is the lesser of the axle carrying capacity or the tire carrying capacity
  • UVW (Unloaded Car Weight). The total weight of an RV as it was delivered to the dealer. It does not incorporate any dealer installed accessories.
  • NCC (Net Carrying Capacity). This is the actual quantity of cargo permitted. It is in simplest terms, GVWR – UVW = NCC. This is in some cases listed as CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity).
  • GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). This is the maximum weight of this RV plus any towed automobile combined. This is listed on the RV for motor coaches, but not towables. For towables you can get this rating from the sticker on your tow automobile.
  • Hitch Weight. The maximum weight the hitch can help. In the case of a towable this is the maximum weight the RV's hitch can help and has practically nothing to do with the hitch rating of the tow automobile. In the case of a motor coach this is the hitch rating of the hitch employed for towing a chase automobile.
  • GVW (Gross Car Weight). See GVWR
  • CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity). See NCC
  • Gross Dry Weight. See UVW
  • Dry Axle Weight. The weight of the trailer when the RV is on the hitch. This can be calculated as UVW – Hitch Weight = Dry Axle Weight.

All of these may well not be on your sticker considering the fact that some only apply to particular RV classifications. In addition, there may well be other weights listed. In addition to the RV's sticker, you will want to have an understanding of the weight rating of your tires. For towables you will also want to get the ratings from your tow automobile. This sticker is ordinarily located on the door frame of the driver door, or can be situated in your owner's manual. It consists of lots of of the exact same ratings as they apply to the tow automobile only.

By this point I was currently starting to really feel the effects of facts overload. Did I definitely want to completely have an understanding of all of these numbers as effectively as the mathematics involved? Was it feasible to lessen this down to a manageable level and make intelligent, informed choices? I ultimately worked it out to a handful of simple formulas that permitted me to completely comprehend all the essential facts. With that in hand, we had been in a position to make an informed acquire for our new RV.

Gross Weights

Let's start off with the gross weights considering the fact that these are ratings that are tough to modify. It is quick to adjust the quantity of cargo you happen to be carrying, or lessen the quantity of fresh water in the tank. The gross weights are fixed nevertheless, and brief of creating big modifications to the RV, are absolute barriers.

In our case we had currently decided on a massive travel trailer for our new RV. I do not intend this report to be a debate in the age-old travel trailer vs. 5th wheel vs. coach argument. Suffice it to say we have extremely great motives for selecting a travel trailer more than the other classifications. With this is thoughts, let's appear at the all-essential gross weights.

The most essential weight to us had been the:

  • GVWR of the trailer, the
  • GAWR of the trailer, the
  • Hitch Weight of the trailer, the
  • Hitch Rating of the tow automobile, the
  • Load Ratings of all our tires and the
  • GCWR of the complete rig as noted on our tow vehicle's sticker.

These are the ratings we could not exceed regardless of how we configured the RV or what we carried as cargo. There are extremely great engineering and legal motives for not exceeding these ratings, no matter how you slice them. In my opinion, these are the most essential ratings to contemplate when acquiring a new RV, regardless of what the RV dealer may well attempt to convince you of.

The Dealer Dilemma

In our search we ran across each sincere dealers and these that had been not so sincere about RV weight ratings. The majority of the time nevertheless, the dealers had been neither. They just did not have an understanding of these weight ratings and had been either misinformed or had no clue how to really enable. Of the dealers that either weren't correctly knowledgeable or these that had been downright dishonest, most attempted to convince us that the only weight that mattered was the UVW and no matter if or not that was at or beneath our tow vehicle's max towing capacity. In addition, I do not know how lots of dealers attempted to convince us that these weight ratings have a small “fudge element” engineered into them.

One particular of the smartest points we did was speak to our lawyer prior to creating a acquire. He informed us that exceeding any of the weight ratings of the RV or the tow automobile was practically nothing much more than a negligence lawsuit waiting to take place. If it is confirmed that you exceeded the manufacturer's ratings in any way, it can quickly be argued that constitutes negligence on your portion in the occasion of an accident. That can lead to troubles ranging from extremely massive settlement amounts to even the possibility of your insurance coverage corporation refusing to spend the claim due to the negligence on your portion. Just place, do not exceed these weights beneath any situations.

The most effective way to appear at it is to take every single and each and every maximum rating and make confident you are beneath each and every one particular of them. Specially soon after you are loaded, fueled and prepared to get on the road. Typically, the only way to do this is to load up your rig and head for the nearest truck quit with a scale. Weighing your rig and understanding the weights you get are crucial to a protected outcome.

Weighing Your Rig

Weighing your rig is quick and fees extremely small compared to the options. Load your rig with all the things your feel is required, fill it with fuel and drive to your nearest truck quit with a scale. In order to get adequate facts to calculate all the major weights, you will want to get to weighings.

Very first, weigh the complete rig as getting towed, or in the case of a coach with chase vehicle attached. Just make confident each your Television (Tow Car) axles and the TT (Travel Trailer/5th Wheel) axle(s) are on three separate weighing pads. That will give you weights for your steer axle, your drive axle and your TT or chase vehicle axle(s). Subsequent, take the TT or chase vehicle and “drop” it in the parking location so you can come back and weigh just the Television or coach once again creating confident the steer axle and drive axle are on distinctive pads to get two separate weights. From these two weighings you can calculate all the weights you want.

GCVW (Gross Combined Car Weight) is the total weight of the 1st weighing. It is essential that you do not exceed your TV's rating or your coach rating on this. If you do, you could be uncover your self facing that law suit for negligence I pointed out earlier, not to mention that reality that it is unsafe. You coach or Television are only engineered to deal with that a great deal weight and you could face brake failure, tire failure of other troubles if this weight is exceeded.

Television GVW (Tow Vehicle's Gross Car Weight) is the total of the second weighing. Like the GCVW, it is essential to not exceed your Television or coach's max rating.

Axle weights. Every of your TV's axles have a max rating, as does your TT. From the person weights of the axles in each weighings you can inform if you happen to be exceeding any of the max ratings for your axles. Spend unique interest to your TV's drive axle from the 1st weighing. It will be heavier than it is in the second weighing since of the tongue weight of the TT or chase vehicle.

TT GVW (Trailer's Gross Car Weight). For this one particular you want to do a bit of math, but it is not tough.

TT GVW = GCVW – Television GVW

Each your TT and your hitch have a max rating for this. This weight will have to not exceed either the GVWR of the TT as located on the sticker, or the Max Towing Capacity of your Television. Hitches also have two max ratings, one particular for the max towing weight (this weight) and one particular for the weight of the trailer tongue.

Tongue Weight. For this one particular you want to do a bit of math as effectively:

Tongue Weight = GCVW – Television GVW – TT Axle Weight

This wants to be inside the max tongue weight rating of your unique hitch.


One particular final factor … your tires on each your Television and TT. Quite a few people today overlook their tire load rating. The load rating is located on the tires sticker and written on the side of your tires and ought to not be exceeded. Personally, I want lots of security margin right here. If you run your tires extremely close to their max load rating it will put on the tires prematurely. Much more importantly, if you practical experience a blowout of 1 tire on a tandem axle, the other tires are now carrying significantly much more weight than they are rated to carry particularly the ones on the exact same side as the blow out. It is feasible to harm several tires in a scenario like this prior to you can even get the rig stopped.


If you spend the most interest to your gross weight ratings, the rest of the capacities look to take care of themselves. Not that the other individuals are not essential, it just seemed less complicated for me to deal with the gross ratings and let the other level out as necessary. Given that we're complete-timers that travel a lot, I weigh normally. It will surprise you how a great deal “cargo” you accumulate as time goes by.

It is quick to weigh at industrial truck stops and the expense is ordinarily affordable. Most truck stops will only charge you complete cost for the 1st weighing, then a compact extra cost for the second weighing. The final time I weighed at a CAT scale at a Love's truck quit, they charges me $7.00 for the initial weighing and only $1.00 for the second one particular. A compact cost to spend for peace of thoughts.

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