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Vehicle weight is something everyone who drives should know about.  It doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you are driving, you need to know about the gross vehicle weight and the gross vehicle weight rating it has, which is what this article will focus on.





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What Is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating And How Does It Work?

The gross vehicle weight rating is a weight limit that is imposed on your vehicle.  This limit is set by the manufacturer of the vehicle.  When calculating the gross vehicle weight rating often called (GVWR), a number of factors are taken into consideration.  These include the base curb weight of your vehicle, the weight of any optional items, your cargo, and your passengers. 

The main reason for gross vehicle weight rating is for safety.  If you overload any vehicle, a number of safety issues can arise.  If your vehicle is too heavy, the brakes may not be strong enough to stop or slow down quickly enough.  Your suspension can also be damaged if you have too much weight in your vehicle.  There are a number of other potential hazards that can occur, and that is why is it important to both know and adhere to your vehicle’s weight rating.

The gross vehicle weight rating is not how much your vehicle weighs, but how much weight your vehicle can have at any given time.  This is the maximum amount, and it includes your passengers, your fuel, and any additional items you may be carrying.

What’s The Difference Between Curb Weight, Gross Vehicle Weight, And Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings?

These are three common terms that can easily be confused.  The vehicle curb weight is the actual weight of your vehicle without any passengers or cargo.  It is referred to as the base weight, and this weight is used when calculating the gross vehicle weight or the weight of a fully loaded vehicle.  The gross vehicle ratings are different, as well, and these are the ratings that decide the amount of weight that a vehicle can have when it is filled with fuel and loaded to its maximum capacity.

Which Websites Feature Vehicle Weight Charts?

If you would like to know about your gross vehicle weight rating, there are a number of websites that display this information.  The information can be found inside the door frame of your vehicle too. 

Your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight can be found online where many manufacturers print a list of vehicle weights.  Some of the websites that feature this information are http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity/vehicle/gvwr1.htm and wareseeker.com/free-vehicle-weight-chart/.  You can also check your manufacturer’s website.
Ask.cars.com lists ratings side by side using a comparison tool and all the weight ratings, and the tow capacity specifications are listed once you select the trim level in their comparison tool.

Why Is Vehicle Weight Rating Important?

Vehicle weights are important especially for anyone who is planning to tow a trailer.  The gross vehicle weight rating is the specific weight that has been determined by the manufacturer, and it is the maximum weight a vehicle can contain.  When planning to tow a trailer, you need to be aware of the gross combination weight rating.  This is the maximum weight of a loaded tow vehicle including the trailer load.  This weight should never be exceeded.

The gross combination weight rating takes into consideration both the towing vehicle and the trailer.  There is one main reason for setting a gross combination weight rating, and this is because overloading a tow vehicle or trailer can be very dangerous and detrimental to the driver should an accident occur.  Again, the gross combination vehicle ratings can be found on manufacturers’ websites. 

The weight in your trailer will not affect the gross vehicle rate, as this is a predetermined weight for your vehicle that includes the vehicle curb weight.  Your gross vehicle weight is also different from your actual vehicle weight and should not be confused.  The gross vehicle weight is the maximum amount of weight that your vehicle can safely carry.

Your maximum gross trailer weight is also different, and this is the maximum weight that your vehicle can safely tow. 

How Is The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Determined?

Every manufacturer determines the maximum weight limits that their vehicle can carry.  This figure includes the combined weight of the strongest weight bearing components of the vehicle, the axles, and the vehicle’s body weight, frame weight, suspension, and tires.  The gross vehicle weight rating also includes the passengers the vehicle can carry and any additional extras that might be transported.

What Can Happen If Your Vehicle Is Overloaded?

The main reason for the gross vehicle weight rating is for safety and to prevent accidents.  If you overload your vehicle, there are a number of safety risks.  The frame, suspension, brakes, and tires can be affected if you do not adhere to the gross vehicle weight ratings.  Your brakes could fail; your tires could blow out.  There are many safety hazards, and that is why it is important to make sure that you don’t overload your vehicle.  The easiest way to ensure that you don’t do this is to find out your gross vehicle weight rating and then subtract your actual vehicle weight.  What you have left is the maximum weight that you can carry, and this includes your passengers, fuel, and any cargo.
If you are thinking of purchasing a new vehicle, it might be wise to look at a list of vehicle weights and the vehicle weight chart for the vehicle you think you might buy.  You may find that the vehicle you were looking at does not meet the standards you require when it come to their gross vehicle weight. 

Also, if you are planning to tow a trailer, you will need to check the gross vehicle weight rating for the trailer before making your final decision.  There is a lot of information about gross vehicle weight ratings online, and a little research before choosing your new vehicle can be very beneficial.
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