The Importance of Understanding RV Weights

One of the most confusing yet important aspects of owning an RV is the RV weight. It’s a topic that has caused heated arguments because of the way RV weights are reported by the manufacturers, as well as ambiguous standards by the Department of Transportation. It’s important to understand rv weights before loading up your Airstream Trailer. When you add this to the incorrect information that can be given by some RV dealers, it’s a situation that can cause the average RV owner some concern.

According to the law there are two stickers that must be on every RV sold in the United States. The manufacturer of the RV must include a weight sicker on the RV. The Weight Sticker provides all the valuable information concerning the RV’s weight ratings and maximus. The location of the wight sicker is normally on one of the RV’s kitchen cabinet doors.

The other sticker required to be compliant with the law is the tire capacity sticker. This sticker is usually located on the outside of the RV. With a towable RV the sticker will be placed someplace near the hitch. The tire capacity sticker can be placed inside the door frame or inside the service door on motor coaches and even close to the engine compartment.

If a person is using a towable RV they’ll also need to have the ratings of the two vehicle listed in addition to the weight sticker and tire capacity sticker.

A weight sticker for an RV will show the important weights as they pertain to a particular RV. Information required to be on the weight sticker has changed over time but will probably have some of the following:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
This identifies the most weight the axles and tires can handle.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
This is the highest weight that can be had by the RV when combined with a towable vehicle.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
This is the most weight that can be carried by the RV’s axles. This rating is separate from the tire’s weight rating.

Hitch Weight
This is the most weight an RV hitch can support. When it comes to a towable RV, this represents the limit of weight that can be supported by the RV’s hitch. In this case it does not represent the hitch rating for the tow vehicle. When it comes to a motor coach, the hitch weight represents the weight rating when a chase vehicle is towed.

Net Carrying Capacity (NCC)y
This represents the quantity of cargo permitted inside the RV. At times the net carrying capacity may be listed as the cargo carrying capacity (CCC).

Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW)
This represents the weight of an RV when it was taken by the dealer from the manufacturer. This number does not take into account any accessories installed by a dealer.

Dry Axle Weight (DAW)
This applies to a towable RV and represents the trailer weight at the time the RV is placed on the hitch.

Not all of this information will be on every sticker. Some of this information will only apply to specific RV classifications. There may also be additional weights listed on the sticker. A towable RV will require ratings for the tow vehicle. This rating sticker will be placed on the frame of the driver’s door or found in the owner’s manual.

If an RV owner keeps within the gross weight rating the other weights seem to also be in line. In order to make certain they’re within the weight capacities an owner can weigh their RV at a commercial truck stop. Keeping within weight limits can reduce some of the concerns that go with RV safety.

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