Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
You are going to come across a whole slew of numbers which might confuse you, but which are actually quite important to keep you safe.
Curb Weight:  The actual weight of the vehicle, sitting parked at the curb. This includes all fluids, anti-freeze, oil, a full tank of gas or diesel fuel, etc.; but no passengers or cargo of any kind.  Differs from so-called Dry Weight, which is the weight of the vehicle without any fluids.

Gross Vehicle Weight:  (GVW) The actual weight of the vehicle with all the passengers and cargo on board.  This would include the Tongue Weight of any trailer you are pulling, but only the tongue weight – most of the trailer’s weight is carried by the trailer axles.  (BTW, some foreign manufacturers  that are heavily influenced by the metric system may refer to this as GVM or Gross Vehicle MASS.  It’s the same thing.)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating:  (GVWR) The MAXIMUM amount of weight the design engineers say the vehicle can carry.  Unlike your GVW, your GVWR never changes.  Example:  You have a pickup truck with a removable truck camper. Obviously, your Gross Vehicle Weight will be radically different when the camper is on the back than when it is off, but the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating hasn’t changed.

And note that you may modify your vehicle with air bags, helper springs or what-have-you to make it handle the weight better, but nothing you do with aftermarket parts legally changes your GVWR.

Gross Axle Weight Rating:  (GAWR) Your vehicle has two axles, and there is a maximum weigh that each of them can carry.  You will usually find them listed on a sticker on the driver’s side when you open the driver’s door.  Example:  I have a 2012 F250.  The front axle’s GAWR is 4,800 lbs. and the rear axle’s GAWR is 5,200 lbs.  The GVWR is also listed, and unsurprisingly, it is 10,000 lbs.
How much weight is each axle actually carrying?  (It’s GAW) Well, you’d have to weigh your loaded vehicle on truck scales. You will often find them at truck stops.  It will give you separate weights for your front and rear axles and will combine the two GAWs to give you your GVW.  If it turns out that your Gross Vehicle Weight is under your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, but one of the axle weights is more than the Gross Axle Weight Rating, you will need to figure out how to shift some of your load around to transfer some of that weight to the other axle.
Gross Combined Weight Rating:  (GCWR) This is what you are dealing with when you are pulling a trailer.  As we said earlier, most of the trailer’s weight is carried by the trailer’s axle(s) and only the trailer’s Tongue Weight is counted as part of the Gross Vehicle Weight.  But there is a limit to how much weight a vehicle can pull.  And safely stop.  Factors affecting this limit include the horsepower and torque of the engine, strength of the transmission, the rear end ratio, the size of the brakes, etc.

To use my previous example, my F250 has a GVWR of 10,000 lbs.  It’s GCWR is 19,000 lbs.  If I have a truck camper on the back, and my truck is maxed out at it’s rated 10,000 lbs., I could still pull a 9,000 lb. trailer.  If my truck were empty – no truck camper – I could pull an even heavier trailer.  But Ford specifies a Maximum Trailer Weight of 12,500 lbs.  This number probably reflects the strength of the trucks’ frame and trailer hitch.

A Google search on something like: GVWR 2012 Ford or whatever year and vehicle you have will usually get your information from the manufacturer on your vehicle's weight capacities if you can't find a sticker on the vehicle.

CAT scales are the best know and most widely available truck scales.  If you pull a trailer, the scale can give you separate trailer weight as well as your vehicle weight.  You can find CAT scales using this locator:

There is also a general truck scale locator at this site:


I don't like to make advance plans.  It causes the word PREMEDITATED get thrown around in the courtroom!
I'm NOT crazy!  My mother had me tested! Cool
[-] The following 5 users say Thank You to Optimistic Paranoid for this post:
  • Gunny (10-02-2017), AbuelaLoca (10-02-2017), Blacktank (10-04-2017), TrainChaser (10-24-2017), TWIH (11-27-2017)

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)