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Are You Overweight

Winter Season Is Here!

The winter season is here, and you want to hit the open road escaping to warmer weather. Maybe cruise down to Florida, Arizona, or California. There is one thought in the back of your mind that keeps pushing itself forward, roads can be icy, snowy, or wet on the way to your destination.

Have you checked the weight of your RV to make sure the rig is balanced on its wheels while rolling down the road? You vaguely remember reading in the forums and online RV gatherings about the horrible accidents last year when trailers rolled over on icy patches of the road, motorhomes failed to stop quick enough, and trips cancelled due to maintenance problems.

Safety first, yes? How about making your first stop a CAT scale. To find one near you, go online to CATscale.com. Enter a zip code, or city, state. There is an option to find all the locations in that state, or just the nearest location within a specified mileage. Select SUBMIT.

Next, a map pops up with the locations you requested followed with the actual address and phone. If you prefer to use your cellphone, download the locator app right from this site. Weigh your rig right from the phone. You never have to get out of the RV.

This app lets you pay for the transaction via Comdata, EFS, Fleet One, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Discover, AMEX, or ACH Account Draft. Yes, Apple and Android versions are both available.

Click here to find the “Getting Started” info.

However, there is no option to weigh each axle (or wheel) separately which would complete the overweight review process. After arriving at the scale, you might check with the operator (or call the 877 number) to find out if you can make several passes through the scale, weighing only the front or rear axles (whatever you need).

CATscale.com is full of surprises. “To make it even easier for you to find CAT scales along your route, you can now download the CAT scale list for your GPS navigation unit. Simply select your brand of GPS unit, enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to download the CAT Scale location file for your GPS unit. It’s that easy!”

Before you start this adventure, set up the CAT scan app with a payment method, just in case there is a glitch (and there is almost always something). When you get to the actual scan location, just drive onto the scale and the rest is automated. You receive the info on your phone, payment is made, receipt emailed to your account address. A PDF copy is available for your records.

If you decide to weigh your RV at a local CAT scan before you actually start the journey, don’t forget to pack the rig with all your vacation stuff. A more accurate weight estimate includes the water tank full (if you travel that way), ATV in the inside garage, etc.

Now that you have a weight number to work with, concentrate on eliminating or moving the load to balance. Basic rule, 60% of weight front, 40% behind rear axle. Pack low, use all onboard storage like sinks, under table storage, heavy stuff on the bottom. Just to give you an idea about water and black tanks, a full 50-gallon tank weighs about 400 lbs.

Some suggestions: Packing a trailer is tricky, tongue height should be level with the truck towbar. Install sway bars for trailers and motorhomes to keep from tail-wagging down the road. Secure everything, use bins, baskets, bunk storage too. Explore the proper tire pressure for your rig and tire combination.

FYI: Most roadside weigh stations are not for recreational vehicles, particularly if  you are under 10,000 pounds. Seek out a CAT scale usually located in truck stops like Love, Pilot or Flying J if you want to weigh your vehicle for personal use. Use the CATscan locator.

A personal note here: Most accidents on the road can be traced back to improper weight balance. Weight limits stamped on the RV ID plate or shown in the manual are not accurate. The numbers rarely include personal gear you bring aboard, so keep that in mind.

Standard Terms


Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum allowable weight of the fully loading vehicle, including liquids, passengers, cargo, and the tongue weight of any towed vehicle.


Gross Axel Weight Rating is the maximum allowable weight each axle assembly is designed to carry, measured at the tires. This includes the weight of the axle assembly (tires, wheels, springs, axle).

This rating assumes that the load is equal on each side. It is also established by rating the axle assembly on the weakest link.


Gross Combination Weight Rating is the maximum allowable combined weight of the tow vehicle and the attached towed vehicle. This rating assumes that both vehicles have functioning brakes.


Gross Trailer Weight Rating is the maximum towed vehicle weight. Each component (receiver, drawbar, ball) of a ball-type hitch has its own rating. Some ball-type hitches have separate ratings when used with a weight distributing system.


Tongue Weight, Tongue Load, and Vertical Load Rating are different terms for the maximum vertical load that can be carried by the hitch.

Tire Ratings

The maximum load that a tire may carry is engraved on the sidewall, along with a corresponding cold inflation pressure. A reduction in  inflation pressure requires a reduction in load rating. In other words, keep the RV tires as the highest maximum psi allowed.


Unloaded Vehicle is the weight of a vehicle as built at the factory with full fuel, engine/generator oil and coolants. It does not include cargo, fresh water, LP gas, occupants, or dealer installed accessories.


Net Carrying is the maximum weight of all personal belongings, food, fresh water, LP gas, tools, and dealer installed accessories that can be carried by the RV.


Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating is the manufacturers designated number of sleeping positions multiplied by 154 pounds (70 kilograms).


Cargo Carrying Capacity is equal to GVWR minus each of the following: UVW, full fresh potable water weight (including the water in the water heater), full LP gas weight, and SCWR.

Liquid Weights (Pounds Per Gallon)

  • Water: 8.3
  • Gasoline: 5.6
  • Diesel Fuel: 6.8
  • Propane: 4.2 at 60 degrees F (expanding at 1.5 percent per ten degrees Fahrenheit)

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